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
  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
  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.
  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/


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! 

4 thoughts on “Hello from Highland, North Carolina

  1. I grew up in Highlands, as did my father, my grandmother, and my great-grandmother. It’s a WONDERFUL place, and I’m so glad you had a great weekend there. Important note: it’s NOT “The Highlands.” The name of the town is Highlands. …despite what other tourists may try to tell you. Be an ambassador for correctness! And keep enjoying my hometown. …I love sharing it with people who appreciate it! Can’t wait to try the jam…it sounds delicious.

    1. Hi Rhonda, Thank you for sharing your hometown with us! We love absolutely love visiting Highlands. I appreciate you clarifying The Highlands vs. Highlands – I’ve always heard it both ways but I went ahead and corrected it throughout my post. 🙂 Thanks again for stopping by! xo Bree

  2. We love Highlands too! My family has 2 homes there, one is THE WRIGHT COTTAGE! It has hosted several girl get-await weekends including a recent one with my Mom who is 89! (It’s her property!). I can’t wait to try your Highland Mule recipe!

    1. Hi Lisa,
      Thanks for stopping by G&J! Hope you test out the Highland Mule recipe – let me know what you think. 🙂 xo Bree

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