Turn Around Bright Eyes

I intended on posting this recipe yesterday so you all could enjoy an adult bev while viewing the Solar Eclipse today but I figured I shouldn’t promote drinking gin on a Monday around the 2 o’clock hour.   

Solar Eclipse Cocktail

However, I do recommend ending any workday with a little libation, especially on a Monday.

Solar Eclipse Cocktail

This solar eclipse-themed cocktail gets its dark hue from activated charcoal and its name (Turn Around Bright Eyes) from that song that’s been stuck in your head all day. 😉

Solar Eclipse Cocktail

| recipe |

Feeling a little unsure about mixing charcoal and booze? Don’t worry, I did my research before shaking up this combo. And by research… I mean I googled, “Will you die if you drink gin and activated charcoal?” We’re in the clear! Also, I’m no scientist but I think the detoxing qualities of activated charcoal will cancel out any chance of a hangover – so drink up, my friends! #ThingsITellMyself

Solar Eclipse Cocktail

Solar Eclipse Cocktail

Solar Eclipse Cocktail

Solar Eclipse Cocktail

| Shaker // Tools // Coupes // Plates |

 

Limoncello Spritz

Because Mondays are rough and we all could use a little cocktail pick-me-up…  

limoncello cocktail

This past weekend was spent celebrating our very special gal, Abbye, for her 27th birthday.  If you follow my Instastories – you probably already saw that we had a very fun weekend. 😉

Selfishly, my favorite part was having everyone over to my apartment for some pre-dinner drinks and snacks. Having all my closest friends in one place makes my heart so full. 

limoncello cocktail

Since I don’t have a ton of space, I kept the spread simple. I put together a quick cheese board with some sweet and salty accompaniments, tossed some beer in an ice-filled beverage tub and because I can’t fathom the thought of a pre-party without a yummy cocktail –  I mixed up a large batch libation using some ingredients I had on hand.

limoncello cocktail

limoncello cocktail

To keep things easy, I made the cocktail a few hours in advance and kept it in the fridge until right before my friends arrived. When it came time to serve, I poured the Limoncello Spritz into a couple of glass bottles and chilled them next to the beer. (Which I think is my new favorite way to serve cocktails to a crowd! Who wants to play bartender all night?) Since they were pre-mixed, everyone could help themselves. I ended up pulling out some champagne to top things off because everything is better with a little bubbly!

limoncello cocktail

limoncello cocktail

limoncello cocktail

Large batch cocktails are one of my go-to’s when entertaining friends and with such an easy setup it leaves me more time to mingle and enjoy everyone’s company.

What are your favorite entertaining tips and tricks? I would love to know!

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limoncello cocktail

 

An American Cocktail: Wazimalon

Happy Monday from Cape San Blas!

I’m at the beach for the Fourth with my favorite crew of people. (I lovingly refer to them as my “old people friends”, even though they’re not old and occasionally still get carded.) I used to tag along on these beach trips as the babysitter, now I just come for fun. So in honor of my favorite Gen X’ers, I’ve mixed up a beachside beverage highlighting a classic American throwback – Zima.

According to my sister, Zimas are best enjoyed ice cold with a jolly rancher floater – but it never hurts to add a little extra booze. We are on vacation after all. 😉 Scroll down for the recipe!

                                                                             

 | recipe |

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Cheers to you, America!

Bar Cart Basics

Today, we’re talking about one of my favorite pieces of furniture – ever.

[Hint: it rhymes with car fart.] 😉

Is a bar cart a necessity? Nope Depends on who you ask. Does it have potential to be the most stylish piece in your home that also serves the very important purpose of holding your most cherished libations? Absolutely.

When it comes to interior decorating, time and patience is a virtue. Some pieces you seek out and know exactly what you want, while others are just ideas waiting to be found and executed. Same goes with styling your bar cart. My best advice is to stock up on the essentials (quick buys) and the other knick knacks will come together over time. So, in hopes of inspiring you to add a new piece of functional furniture to your space or rearrange your current situation – I’m sharing my bar cart essentials.  

THE CART | Bar carts can follow under a wide price range but I’ve linked some more affordable options below. Choose a design that suits your personality but that will also be aesthetically pleasing and fit your space. Personally, I prefer a thinner design with not a lot of bulk. After all, I’m going to load it down with lots of stuff so the simpler the better.  

TOOLS | A shaker, bottle opener, and jigger are must-haves. Other tools like a strainer, muddler, bar spoon, and lemon peeler/zester are good additions if you’re wanting to whip up some slightly advanced craft-like cocktails.

LIBATIONS | Stocking up on booze is the fun part. While I’m always tempted to judge alcohol based on how pretty their bottles are (silly, I know), it’s best to go with what you know you like. If you like Burnett’s because it reminds you of college, then live your life and add that thing to your cart. (But really try Ketel One – it’s great). Keep a variety of liquors on hand, so that way your company has a small menu of options to choose from. (I’m not a huge fan of darker liquors but keep a stash for guests.) Vodka/gin (do both!), tequila and whiskey is a good place to start.

For mixers – I recommend on keeping ginger beer, flavored sparkling soda, juice, tonic and/or soda water on hand at all times. You never know when a long day might call for more than a glass of wine. 😉 I keep my mixers chilled in the fridge – must leave room for a few decorative pieces.

ADDITIONS | Bitters, a bowl of citrus, books, and fresh florals are not must-haves but really complete the look. Bitters (highly concentrated flavored alcohol) are kind of like spices for your cocktail. My favorite brands include 18·21 Bitters, Scrappys and Fee Brothers. I like to keep a couple fresh lemons and limes on hand at all times so even if I’m just making a gin & tonic, I can add fresh lemon wedge. A small, dainty bowl is the perfect home for citrus. I also love stacking small books to add height and serve as inspiration for recipes. Fresh florals don’t serve a real purpose besides just looking pretty – making your bar cart less about being an open shelf and more about being a styled design element in your living room.

Happy decorating (& drinking)!

Orange You Glad

Blood oranges may no longer* be in season… 

But that doesn’t deter me from making this citrus-centered cocktail!

It seems like every part of the country is experiencing a heat wave. So while it’s easy to sit in front of the fan to keep cool, I find it more fun to indulge in a cold (& boozy) beverage.  If I’m going to shvitz, I may as well do so while tipsy. Amiright?

Served in a highball glass and over lots of ice, this citrus and mezcal combination is a dream team for all cocktail lovers. Scroll down for the recipe!

| recipe

Stay cool, Atlanta! 

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*Don’t let the fact that blood oranges aren’t in season keep you from enjoying a citrusy libation. I live for this blood orange Italian soda found at Trader Joes. San Pellegrino is another great alternative! 

Lavender Lemon Collins

This cocktail is dedicated to all the men and women who got shit done working on the I-85 bridge.

Cheers – y’all rock.

If you’re a fellow Atlantan, you’ve probably been complaining about traffic more than usual with the bridge collapse. As of Saturday, the bridge has officially reopened, meaning we can dial back on the road rage while traffic returns to its normal level of being unbearable. 😉

Speaking of traffic… I once spent an entire Saturday driving from Lowes to L’Occitane to Whole Foods to Home Depot to another Whole Foods trying to track down lavender. #Priorities. I was making infused-sugars for a shower and was determined to have a lavender option. My efforts were to no avail…I guess lavender was out of season? But ever since I’ve always kept my eyes peeled when shopping.  

So you can only imagine my reaction when I saw potted lavender outside of Trader Joes a few weeks ago. I think I actually squealed (embarrassing, I know). I scooped up one without hesitation and have since been trying to keep it alive (it’s not too hard) with intentions to make a cocktail.   

This cocktail is super dainty and gin-lovers dream. The light floral flavor of the lavender syrup and tartness of the lemonade sing together beautifully! Scroll down for the recipe.  

| recipe |

Piña Paloma

Feliz miércoles!

Special thanks to Google Translate for helping me with the intro of this blog post. 😉

I’m kicking off the Cinco de Mayo celebrations a little early this week with a Mexican-themed cocktail you never knew you needed. A classic Paloma elevated with a little pineapple makes for the most refreshing combination. It’s truly a fiesta in a glass – salud!  

| recipe |

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Rose & Raspberry Fizz

Happy Monday – we’ve lost an hour of sleep, Nick has gained a fiancé and I’m over here drinking just trying to make it to Tuesday. 

Today’s cocktail is appropriately rose-focused as a nod to the season finale of The Bachelor. Who else is happy that this season is almost over? I realize no one is forcing me to watch it but I feel obligated to keep up (we have the best episode debriefs at work)!

Back to the cocktail – this bev isn’t too strong, making it the perfect weeknight libation. The hint of rose pairs perfectly with the citrus tang of the lime juice and Cointreau – all in all a very girly cocktail but not too sweet.

| recipe

Cheers to making this week a good one! 

 

Spicy Grapefruit Margarita

Tomorrow is Valentine’s day, today is Monday and whether you’re single or in a relationship – you most likely need a drink.

Let’s celebrate with our lover, tequila, shall we?

It’s no secret that I love a spicy cocktail (evidence here & here). Add in a citrus sidekick and all my needs are met. While this recipe may appear to be on the summery side, it’s never not the season for a margarita. 😉

| shaker // tools (similar) // glasses |

If spicy cocktails aren’t your thing or you just want some more boozy inspiration, check out these equally-festive but less spicy options – Rose & Lemon Spritzer, Prickly Pear Margarita, Strawberry Lemon-tini.

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Giveaway: Cocktail in a Box

In celebration of Gin & Jewels turning 2, I thought it would be appropriate to gift one of my readers a “Cocktail-in-a-Box” for my very first giveaway!

Gin // Lavender Grapefruit Bitters  // “Sweet Ginny” Sugar (for garnish) // Fever Tree Tonic 

Hammered Copper Mini Cocktail Shaker // Granada Tumblers

From a mini copper cocktail shaker to small-batch, local bitters – I’ve picked out all of my favorite things to help you create a delicious (& pretty) drink. All you need to do is find a friend to cheers with. 😉

To enter, scroll down and make sure you’re following Gin & Jewels on Facebook. You can receive extra entries by following G&J on Pinterest and Instagram too. Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Hello from Highland, North Carolina

Cheers to another girls weekend in the books!

If you can’t already tell from previous trips I’ve posted about, my friend group is made mostly of very organized planners. We send out “save-the-weekend” emails months in advance, meal plan, research restaurants and make reservations – I guess you could say we’re professional vacationers at this point. 😉 Even with some planning involved, our weekend in Highlands was super low-maintenance, with athleisure and pajamas being our primary uniform. We even canceled our Saturday night dinner reservation to watch football and eat pizza – it was wonderful!

One of our best tricks for keeping the weekends fuss free and easy going is divvying up the meals. I volunteered to make an appetizer and cocktail for Friday. I’d been itching to test out a recipe from my new cookbook (thanks, Sissy!) and thought our mountain weekend would be the perfect opportunity. Naturally, I chose something bacon-based.

I put together a platter of crostinis with whiskey bacon jam, Brie cheese and pear. Talk about a crowd-pleaser. I made the jam the day before, stored in a mason jar and packed all the fixings to whip up the crostinis Friday evening. Scroll down for the recipe! 

For the cocktail, I mixed up an herbal + citrus rendition of a Moscow mule – unofficially coining it The Highland Mule. I combined all the ingredients in a pitcher, set out some rosemary and sliced grapefruit for garnish, and kept ginger beer close by in the fridge to top everything off. Both treats were delicious and more importantly, easy to travel with. 

Whiskey Bacon Jam
spreadable bacon is the new kale
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Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1.5 lbs thick cut, peppered bacon
  2. 3 medium shallots
  3. 3 gloves of garlic
  4. 3/4 cup brewed coffee
  5. 1/3 cup whiskey
  6. 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  7. 4.5 Tbsp maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Chop bacon into 1-inch pieces and cook completely in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, stir occasionally.
  2. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
  3. Pour out all but 1 Tbsp of bacon grease and add chopped shallots and mince garlic.
  4. Saute shallots and garlic until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  5. Slowly pour in the brewed coffee, whiskey, light brown sugar and maple syrup. Stir well.
  6. Bring mixture to a boil and then turn heat to low, simmering for about 1 hour. Stir occasionally.
  7. Once the mixture has thickened and is almost glazelike, remove the pan from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.
  8. Combine mixture and cooked bacon in a food processor or blender.
  9. Pulse until the mixture is a spreadable consistency, with visible bits of bacon.
  10. Store in an air tight container in the fridge.
  11. For the crostini - spread jam on to toasted rounds of a French loaf. Top with slices of Brie cheese and pear.
  12. **This recipe yields about 7 oz. of jam.
Notes
  1. The jam is good in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Adapted from Ultimate Appetizer Ideabook
Adapted from Ultimate Appetizer Ideabook
Gin & Jewels http://www.ginandjewels.com/

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The most special part of the weekend was hiking to Sunset Rock, where our dear Allison is getting married this April (this was her first time seeing the ‘venue’!). We poured champagne, Alli made a toast and tears may or may not have been shed.  It seems the older we get, the more sentimental we become. I think we all cherish these weekends because we know in a few short years it will be husbands and children occupying most of our time and girls trips will be few and far between. So until then, we’ll load down the car with cases of wine and pimento cheese and trek to any city, cabin, condo we can!

Check out our first girls trip to Highlands, NC here and last year’s staycation here!

P.S. Don’t forget to check back this afternoon (3 pm EST) for an exciting giveaway! 

Spiked Hot Xoco

Sometimes all you need in life is a warm cup of hot cocoa with homemade marshmallows and a splash of Baileys. 

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…Or a heavy pour of Baileys – it’s up to you and I don’t judge. 

While fall may be my favorite season, the holidays are my favorite time of year. As we pulled out the Christmas décor and blasted Glow in the living room it only seemed fitting that we sipped a hot toddy as well. So just in time for the cold weather, let me introduce you to your new favorite nightcap – Spiked Hot Xocolatl. 

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I chose to upgrade the standard hot cocoa ingredients with Xocolatl’s Vanilla & Cinnamon Spiced Drinking Chocolate and homemade marshmallows. (Bailey’s was a no brainer – anytime you have a chance to add Irish cream to anything, do it.) Homemade mallows are optional but I highly recommend taking the time to whip up a batch. They’re easier to make than you would think and keep well. They also make great treats for teachers, co-workers, neighbors… hell I’m sure the mailman even loves marshmallows. 

I followed Ina’s recipe and the results did not disappoint. Proof that when you have a stand mixer and a pound of confectioners sugar, you can accomplish anything.

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| ingredients include sugar, vanilla, corn syrup and unflavored gelatin |

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Spiked Hot Xoco
Serves 1
proof that everything is better with Bailey's
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup almond milk (or cow's milk)
  2. 3 tablespoons drinking chocolate
  3. splash of Bailey's Irish Creme or heavy cream
  4. optional: homemade marshmallows, candy canes, whipped cream
Instructions
  1. Warm milk and drinking chocolate in a pot on the stove. Stir well.
  2. Add a splash of cream if desired.
  3. Serve in a festive mug and top with garnishes.
Gin & Jewels http://www.ginandjewels.com/

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May your holiday season be warm, bright and tad bit tipsy. 😉 

xo Bree

Fellowship & Friendsgiving

I’m in a food coma and I’m not sure if I will ever recover. HALP. 

 

table

Happy Monday, you guys. Like many of you, we spent the weekend before Thanksgiving preparing our stomachs for all of the turkey and fixings – read: Friendsgiving. Last year, Stacey, Anna and I hosted at our townhome and took it upon ourselves to nominate Chaz and Caroline to host in 2016.  They would be in their new house and married by then – we couldn’t wait. Well, the past year has flown by and last night we ventured over to Woodstock for Friendsgiving at the Bagwell’s!

We had quite the spread – our mama’s would be proud.  And even though we let our age show by passing Tums around the table after dinner (before dessert), we powered through and were determined to not let any food go to waste. Our wonderful hosts even had to-go boxes ready for us when it was time to leave.

grid

Caroline and Chaz had their house decked  for fall – from the fire to the place settings – every detail was pure perfection. Here are a few photos from our feast…

moscow-mules

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turkey

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dessert

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girls

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I’m the type that reflects on our friendships pretty regularly. Whether it’s a Monday night watching the Bachelor or a weekend road trip, my heart is always full when I’m with my besties. I tend to get pretty sentimental and can probably tear up on command if I let myself. Even so, Friendsgiving felt extra special this year – it was so sweet get to celebrate in Chaz and Caroline’s first home! I’m entering the week feeling especially grateful for all the wonderful people in my life, friendships that have lasted well past college, and moscow mules (love you, Tito’s). 😉

Happy Thanksgiving week, friends! 

xo Bree

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Wouldn’t be a gathering without a grainy self-timer couch photo!

couch-picture

 

Ghouls Night In

This post is for the ladies that are over the crowded bars, long bathroom lines with “sexy <enter any profession here> girls” and drunk Ferris Buellers spilling their pumpkin beer on you.

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Halloween is (and will always be) one of my favorite holidays – a close second to Thanksgiving. But when it falls on a Monday, it’s a bit of a buzz kill.  So to save us all from a regretful, hungover-tainted Tuesday, I’m recommending a ghouls night in…

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Entertainment – Break out the board games and Taboo to keep you busy between answering the door for trick-or-treaters. If board games aren’t really your thing, this G&J drinking game is just as entertaining. Note: instead of “shots” we’re taking “sips” because, 1. we’re old and 2. we don’t want to be hungover Tuesday, remember?  

Game Recos | Clue // Trivial Pursuit // Cards Against Humanity

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Snacks – Did I say snacks? I meant to say candy. Because October 31st is the only acceptable day to consume more candy than one grown woman should. Splurge, buy the good stuff and have a wide variety because if you can’t switch from chocolate to fruity to caramel to sour chews to chocolate then you’re doing it wrong! Don’t worry about your caloric intake, you’ll go to spin tomorrow and get back on track. 😉

Candy Recos | Caramel Apple Pops // Lemon Heads // Twix

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Libations – The plus side of staying in is getting to be your own bartender. For your GNI, set up a “cocktail lab,” replacing carafes with beakers and have your guests mix up their own concoction. This blackberry sage margarita is dark, delicious and perfectly festive. Another option would be to host a beer + candy pairing, every kidult’s dream combination.

Drink Recos | Big Wooly Mammoth // Chambord Gin Fizz // Cranberry Moscow Mule

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xo Bree

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trickrdrink

 

Pumpkin Spiked Beer

Want some booze with that brew?

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| Recipe |

It’s finally feeling like autumn, which means lots of gourd décor, football filled weekends and pumpkin-flavored everything. While I’m not a huge fan of the latter (PSL’s are just not my thing), I am a fan of seasonal cocktails… even when pumpkin is involved. And since tailgating is a major part of our fall social calendar, what’s more appropriate than a beer-based cocktail? Pumpkin beer, a pour of vodka, and a dash of bitters is all you need to get the party started.  

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| Beer Can Glasses // Napkins

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| Scrappy Bitters // 1821 Bitters | 

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Cheers!

xo Bree

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