Tag Archives: cocktails

{cocktails} the aviation.

before reading about it on food52 a few months ago, i’d never heard of an aviation cocktail, but right away i knew i wanted to try it. i mean, come on, it’s purple! i love gin cocktails, especially in the summer, and this one is particularly easy. the hardest part is probably going to be convincing yourself that you should buy the bottle of creme de violette and maraschino liqueur that you’ll need to make it, but i promise you’ll use them in enough other drinks to make it worth the splurge. we’ve been making these on saturday evenings while we cook dinner, and it’s the only cocktail i’ve made myself that i would also pay $10 for in a restaurant. see below for instructions, and hope you’ll give it a try!


Ingredients (serves 2)

4 oz gin
1.5 oz lemon juice
.75 oz maraschino liqueur
.75 oz creme de violette


shake all ingredients with plenty of ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
garnish with maraschino cherry.

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{cocktails} the negroni.

now that we live in a house with a built-in bar in the basement, we kinda have to step it up a notch with our drinks. we definitely go through little drink phases around here, and lately it’s been all about the negroni. i’ve had them a few times at nicer bars, but up until a few weeks ago had never ventured into making our own. we made the (good) mistake of stopping by a liquor store a few weeks ago and telling the guy working that we were thinking about making these. we ended up walking out with three new bottles of liqour, including much nicer gin and sweet vermouth than i would ever have normally bought. but, these are the compromises you make when you have a basement bar. le sigh. i thought it would be fun to put together some illustrated how-to’s for our various drinks of the moment, so…without further adieu, here’s how to make one yourself:

the great thing about this drink it that it’s pretty foolproof to make, but it tastes like it’s a lot more complicated. the guy at the liquor store told us to get a london dry gin and cocchi for the sweet vermouth, so that we did and these turned out great. don’t forget the orange peel either! cheers!

[oh, and if you’re similarly trying to step up your home bar ensemble, read this]

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{cocktails} cucumber-basil tom collins.

cucumber-basil tom collins | hk in love

in tucson we used to frequent this restaurant / bar on university called pasco¬†after work with our friend claudia. they have the best fries, an amazing albondigas soup, and lots of great vegetarian options, but their craft cocktails is where they really shine. they have a long list of cocktails featuring their homemade syrups and bitters and jams, and we never tried a bad one in our years of going there. but our favorite was always hands-down the “patio herb collins,” a drink with gin, muddled cucumber, sweet basil syrup, and freshly squeezed sweet and sour.

the patio herb collins was always the perfect summer drink, which in tucson of course meant it was perfect pretty much year round. but now that we’re finally getting some warmer weather here (except today, it’s going to snow! wtf may?!), we’ve been craving this drink and took a stab at recreating it last weekend. we did things a little differently…fresh basil and regular simple syrup instead of an actual basil syrup, lemon and lime juice instead of sweet and sour…but all of the elements are there, and we think it ended up tasting pretty close to what we remember. if you’re in the market for a great summer cocktail, give this a try!

cucumber-basil tom collins | hk in lovecucumber-basil tom collins | hk in love

ingredients (serves 2):
-4 fresh basil leaves, washed and chopped into a chiffonade
-about 1/3 large cucumber, diced
-3 oz gin
-1 1/2 oz simple syrup, homemade or store bought (look for something made with real cane sugar, though)
-juice from 1/2 fresh lime
-juice from 1/2 fresh lemon
-tonic water or club soda

add half of the cucumber and half of the basil to each of your glasses (try a highball glass, or a 12 oz tall mason jar like we used here). muddle the cucumber and basil using a muddler or the back of a spoon until they start to get a little juicy.

next, add 1 shot (1 1/2 oz) of gin and 3/4 oz simple syrup to each drink. then, squeeze juice from 1/4 of a lime and 1/4 of a lemon into each drink.

add a few ice cubes to each glass, then top off with your favorite tonic or club soda. serve with a fancy straw, and repeat!

cucumber-basil tom collins | hk in love cucumber-basil tom collins | hk in lovecucumber-basil tom collins | hk in love

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{recipe of the week} grapefruit-cayenne sangria.

if you live in the midwest, chances are you’re probably pretty ready for spring & summer to be here already. last weekend at lunch, i ordered a blackberry sangria that had a hint of cayenne pepper in it; it was the perfect mix – still a very summery drink, but the heat made it seem a little bit “warmer” for winter. i was inspired to create something similar at home and decided on a grapefruit-cayenne combination, and i think it turned out really well. if you don’t really do spicy, i say give this a try anyways, because you might be surprised. but if you absolutely insist on no spice, just omit it and you’ll still have a delicious, citrusy sangria.

ingredients (serves 4):
-1 bottle red wine (i used trader joe’s cabernet sauvignon)
-3 oz triple sec or other orange liqueur
-1/2 apple w/peel, cut into small slices
-1/2 grapefruit w/peel, cut into small slices
-1/2 tsp – 1 tsp cayenne pepper (add 1/4 tsp at a time and taste)
-grapefruit soda, such as san pellegrino (but any clear carbonated beverage will do)

combine all ingredients except soda in a large pitcher or carafe. fill tall glasses or mason jars with ice, then pour sangria into glasses until about 2/3 full, making sure some of the fruit is added to each glass. top each glass with a few ounces of grapefruit soda and serve with fun straw :) cheers!

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our new home bar.

over the past few months, as you may have noticed, we’ve been really getting into coffee. this slight obsession has resulted in lots of different both green and roasted coffee beans, several different coffee brewers, a new grinder, a gram scale, an electric water kettle, and other miscellaneous coffee paraphernalia. we’ve been discussing for a while now how great it would be if we had two of our ikea-hacked bar cabinets in our kitchen: one for drinks, and one for coffee. however, due to space constraints and a lack of ikea nearby, that wouldn’t work out.

this past weekend, we decided to get a new cabinet to serve as our drink bar, and we set it up in the living room so the existing bar could accomodate our coffee stuff. initially, i was a little worried that i wouldn’t like having our bar in the living room, but i actually love it! it feels really old-timey, and what i especially love is that we set it up such that we can actually prepare drinks on the top surface of the cabinet. with the other bar, everything looked nice on the shelves, but we had to take everything off and move to the kitchen counter to actually make a drink.

we also decided to just keep two of each type of glass (white wine, stemless red, pint glass, champagne flute, etc) out on the new bar instead of all of our glassware to keep things simple. we don’t usually use more than two at a time anyways, and we have plenty of cabinet space in our kitchen to store the rest for when we do have drinking company. we hung the stemmed glasses on the same wine rack we used on the old bar, and put the other half in a wicker basket tray we picked up at target.

i’m still working on setting up the new coffee bar, but once it’s finished, we’ll post photos of that here, too! i’m excited to have designated areas for all our favorite beverages now! oh, and that muddled berry gin + tonic you see on the chalkboard? delicious. i’ll post the recipe here soon.

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