I believe in saying goodbye to the year with a bubbly beverage. If you wish to serve something else then a straight glass of Champagne, consider these 5 sparkling wine cocktails for your celebrations.
photo credits: 101 Champagne Cocktails book by Kim Haasarud – visit Epicurious for the Classic Champagne cocktail recipe
photo credits: Negroni sbagliato recipe at Liquor.com
photo credits: Prosecco-Berry Sparkler recipe at Rachel Ray| Pink Fizz recipe by Lotte Duncan via Food Network
photo credits: Champagne Punch recipe at Martha Stewart
Lastly, there is the Watermelon and Mint Collins that I shared last August.
They all seem tasty. I will have a hard time making a selection. Which one would you prefer to drink on New Year’s Eve?
I would be proud to serve these desserts for Halloween. They look awesome! As you might have guessed, they are all from Martha Stewart.
photo credits: Almond Brownie Coffins | Orange Jack-o’-Lanterns with Sorbet | Witch cupcakes | Boo-nilla Shake recipe
On Halloween morning, I want to serve the Boo-nilla shake to my son. To make your own, simply paint the ghost faces inside the glass with melted chocolate. You can decorate your glasses up to one day ahead. But wait until serving to make the milk shakes.
Any of these treats would make a great finale to the Spooky Forest Halloween Party Food I showcased three weeks ago.
photos: Maxime Juneau for At Home with Kim Vallee
Add style to your closing ceremony get together by serving a bronze, silver and gold metal cocktails. Or be the judge and pick one as your signature drink.
The recipes are from Bombay ambassador, the master mixologist Raj Nagra who made the cocktails for me at the Bombay Sapphire event in Montreal two weeks ago. I already shared the recipe for the Bronze medal cocktail. Now, it is time to share the silver and the gold medal cocktail recipes.
Silver medal: Watermelon and Mint Collins
- 2 parts (60 ml) Bombay Sapphire
- 4 Chunks of ripe watermelon chunks
- 8 mint leaves
- 1 part fresh lemon juice
- 1 part simple syrup
- 2 parts (60 ml) Processo
Glass: Wine glass
Method: Muddle, mint and sugar in your shaker. Add other ingredients and shake with ice. Pour in wine glass and top with the Processo.
Garnish: Long mint tip
Gold medal: Citrus Splash
- 1 heaped tsp Citrus marmalade
- 1 part Spiced syrup
- 1 part Fresh lemon juice
- 2 parts Bombay Sapphire
- Fresh Sage
- 1 Egg white
Glass: Cocktail coup
Method: Shake all ingredients (except nutmeg). Shake again with ice. Strain into cocktail couple.
Garnish: Fresh nutmeg and grapefruit wheel
All three drinks were delicious. If I have to pick a favorite it would be the Watermelon and Mint Collins. To my surprise, I was delighted when I took a sip by the Citrus Splash; I was unsure that I would like it when I saw some of the ingredients. But I did!!! The ingredients remind me of a late late brunch.
Are you planning something special for the Olympics closing ceremony?
photo: Maxime Juneau for At Home with Kim Vallee
Last week was the annual Bombay Sapphire event that I like to attend. I am in love with this year formula because it enables me to get unique content. For the occasion, the new Bombay ambassador, the master mixologist Raj Nagra, made three summer cocktails that fit my own taste. Any of those could become a signature drink for my outdoor parties.
I am sharing today the easiest one of the three. It is a girlie twist on the classic Collins. I love the color! The swizzle stick looks like a piece of jewelry. I was kind of hoping that I found a set inside our gift box. To be fair, the gift box was nice and I will be proud to serve drinks in the tumbler glasses that they gave us.
Blueberry & Basil Collins recipe
- 2 parts (60 ml) Bombay Sapphire
- 8 Blueberries
- 4 basil leaves
- 1 part (30 ml) Fresh lemon juice or the Juice of one lemon
- 1 part (30 ml) Simple syrup
- Soda water
Method: Muddle blue berries and simple syrup. Add Bombay, basil and lemon juice. Shake with ice and strain over ice. Top with soda water and stir gently.
Garnish: Blueberries on a swizzle stick
I will try to share the two other recipes
before the weekend shortly.
Photos: National Watermelon Promotion Board except for number 4: The Party Dress magazine
I was happy to share my summer entertaining tips for the 2012 awareness campaign of the National Watermelon Promotion Board in Canada. Since the refreshing watermelons are available all summer long, I feel that watermelon is the fruit of summer.
If you are looking for more ways to serve watermelon to your guests this summer, you will find many more recipes at the National Watermelon Promotion Board Website. I compiled my top 5.
- My number 1. Another way to serve the Spiked Melon Balls would be on a lollipop. Serve the lollipops speared into a wheatgrass bed or onto a watermelon.
- My number 2. If you host a brunch on a hot summer day, replace the classic by the more refreshing Watermelon Mimosa. To make watermelon juice, you simply need to blend cubed watermelon and strain it through a sieve. Try it with a light Champagne.
- My number 3. Finish a grown up dinner with this lovely Watermelon Lavender Granita that contains a hint of vodka. Use watermelon or citrus flavoured vodka to enhance the flavour.
- My number 4. I found my fourth choice on The Party Dress magazine. They got me with the stylish food presentation of their watermelon appetizer with feta and basil. The recipe is a mix between a caprese salad and a Mediterranean Watermelon Salad.
My last recipe idea is a twist on the tacos.
- My number 5. For a summer picnic with family and friends, impress the crowd with some delicious Jamaican Rock Lobster Tacos wrapped in parchment paper and tied with twine. I would probably prepare my tacos with seasonal clawed lobsters since they are a local product for me.
Writing this post made me hungry. I will pour myself a glass of my watermelon and mint spa water while I cook dinner.
Note: I wrote this post on my free will; it is a not part of the program that I did for the National Watermelon Promotion Board in Canada.
Mom-tini recipe from NUVO Sparkling Liqueur | Pomtini recipe from POM | Pink Blossom recipe from SAQ | Nude Nuvo recipe from NUVO
Here are four feminine cocktails that you could serve your mom this Mother’s Day. Personally, I look forward to sip my Pink Blossom.
- 2 oz POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice
- 2 oz Vodka
- Splash of fresh lime juice
- Top with 1oz of chilled NUVO Sparkling Liqueur
- Garnish with an orange peel and serve in a martini glass
If you live in a place where the NUVO Sparkling Liqueur is not available, you could prepare a Pomtini instead.
- 1 oz. freshly squeezed pomegranate juice* or POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
- 1 1/2 oz. vodka
- 1 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice
- 1/2 oz. sour mix, or 1/2 oz. freshly squeezed lime
- 1/2 oz. simple syrup (equal parts sugar and cold water dissolved together)
- Ice cubes
Assemble all ingredients in bar or mixing glass. Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass.
Garnish with spiraled orange rind.
Pink Blossom recipe
- 45 ml (1 1/2 oz) dry gin
- 15 ml (1/2 oz) lemon liqueur (Limoncello or other)
- 90 ml (3 oz) pink‐grapefruit juice
- 3 ice cubes
Combine all the ingredients in a shaker ﬁlled with ice cubes.
Shake vigorously for 8 to 10 seconds.
Strain into a martini glass using an ice strainer.
Garnish with two raspberries or small strawberries.
Nude Nuvo recipe
The last one can’t be easier then this.
- Chilled NUVO sparkling liqueur
- Served over ice in a champagne flute
Although its color is a faded pink, I enjoy the taste of the grapefruit mimosa at Griffintown Café. This is where we will go for brunch this Sunday.
How do you plan to treat your mom this Sunday? Start by telling me which cocktail (it doesn’t have to be those) that you or your mom will be delighted to drink?
Planning to take a bottle of wine to that dinner party this weekend? Though your host probably won’t turn it away, a favorite bottle of red (or white) is a somewhat conventional take along.
Pretty packaging may be one way to dress it up, but Corkers – a new creation by Reddish Studio – offer something unexpected.
Smartly packaged in a wine bottle hang tag are push pin sets that bring bottle corks to life as adorable animals. Available in six creatures – monkey, deer, buffalo, bear, bunny and crow – each pack includes the body parts for one creature.
Corkers are sure to add some interesting conversation, creativity, and whimsy around the dinner table. We’ll drink to that!
+ Corkers, $8, Monkey Business
+ Reddish Studio
+ Via Not Cot
There seems to be no end to the versatility of baking tins: from container gardens to home office organizing stations. Though as useful as they may be elsewhere in your home, turns out they can be put to creative use in the kitchen too.
With its inverted moulds, Wilton’s Non-Stick Ice Cream Cookie Bowl tray makes a simple scoop of ice cream practically gourmet. The fluted edges of each “bowl” mimic vintage ice cream sundae dishes, but you can create the look (and the taste) for less by flipping over a regular muffin tin, adding a generous coat of cooking spray and forming your cookie dough around the mounds.
Lest you work up a sweat baking these sweet treats in the summer heat, keep cool by adding oversized ice cubes to your drink. Place slices of lemon and lime in muffin tins, fill with water and freeze! Try freezing cucumbers and pairing them with this recipe for Spa Cucumber Water, or use berries and plop the ice cubes in a punchbowl. If you don’t have a large freezer, remember to make room to balance the muffin tin.
We want to know: have you re-purposed kitchen tools or utensils in creative ways? Share your tip in the comments!
+ Wilton Non-Stick Ice Cream Cookie Bowl, $11.99 USD
+ Lemon-Lime Ice Cubes from Industrious Justice
Cranberry juice is an easy way to give a cocktail festive flavour and colour. It pairs well with vodka, gin or tequila. You can also substitute cranberry for orange juice in a brunch-standard mimosa – just top it with champagne or sparkling wine, like Prosecco. For a non-alcoholic version, try sparkling mineral water or ginger ale.
Providing simple syrups made with fresh herbs and citrus fruits to mix with the cranberry sparkler, as shown on Tokyo Terrace, is a creative way to offer several drink options, especially if your bar budget is limited. Since the cranberry sparkler is a simple combination that doesn’t require complicated techniques or additional bar tools, you could even set up a tasting station so guests can sample all of the flavors available.
To garnish the drinks, be sure to provide citrus slices, sprigs of herbs and frozen cranberries: use them in place of ice to keep drinks cool or pretty up a punch bowl.
I spotted those on the last issue of Sweet Paul Magazine. Although it was intended for a Holiday brunch, I feel that it is something fresh and appetizing that you could serve anything. A sparkling sangria can replace any welcome punch. And for a modern twist, forgo the traditional punch bowl for a big glass jar.
I often serve a fennel and fruit salad with a grilled fish. Remember the tropical fennel salad I prepare with a mango and a green apple. Fish and salad make a healthy meal that you can serve on a week day to your family or whenever you entertain. The grapefruit gives it a morning twist. I like to use a frisée salad because it feels elegant and adds textures. I bet that this salad will become popular on my salad repertoire. Get the recipe for his Grapefruit, fennel and apple salad with a grapefruit dressing.
+ Brunch menu with recipes on the Holiday 2010 issue of Sweet Paul Magazine
+ Styling and photography by Andrew Purcell
My top three finds from the December 2010 issue of Canadian House & Home allow me to discuss three simple and effective way to set up a beverage station this Holiday season. These ideas can work with any types of party and at any time of the year.
First, all you need to transform a side table is a cork sheet, 8 eye hooks, a brass ball chain, 4 casters and contact cement. A good choice is VEJMON side table because it has a middle shelf. (page 70)
If you prefer a solution that is not permanent, you will love this one. You can hide two styrofoam coolers inside an IKEA BYHOLMA chest. This affordable idea offers plenty of room to keep your bottles cold. After the party, you can use the chest to store occasional bedding, linens or throws. (page 78)
The simplest form is when the beverage station is a part of your appetizer table or is next to the dinnerware and flatware. Just make sure to separate the bottles from the food with trays or platters. There is a purpose besides the good look; your drink station will stay cleaner if you contain the bottles and the glasses. (page 138)
You will find many more great entertaining ideas on that issue. I encourage you to get a copy.
+ Canadian House & Home – December 2010