Ah, yes! Hot summers, sitting on the porch, indulging in the summer-fresh flavor of a Lemon Mint Martini! A little tart, a little sweet – sort of like lemonade, but with a kick! Feel free to adjust the amounts on this recipe – some people like it more sweet, some less! (I’ve been told I tend to go light on the sweet, so you may want to add more simple syrup to the recipe!)
For The Simple Syrup: Go a little crazy and make the simple syrup with fresh mint (be sure to strain the syrup before storing)! Here is my recipe for simple syrup, with several flavor variations: Click Here
The Heat is on this summer, and we all are looking to cool things down a little. The Simple Solutions Diva has a few icy beverage recipes & ideas (all non-alcoholic), perfect to chill out with this summer!
Fruit Kicks Up Drinks To The Next Level
Put the fruits of the season to work! If you have strawberries, peaches or raspberries, and they are about to become overripe, puree them in a blender and freeze the puree in ice cube trays – pop a few cubes into a glass to add a refreshing, fresh flavor to any lemonade or iced tea!
Fruit Puree Recipe:
2 Cups Fruit (Wash and remove stems – like strawberries – or peel fruit – like mangos or peaches – first)
2 Tablespoons sugar – I used 1 Tablespoon turbinado sugar
2 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon lemon
Combine ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour puree into ice molds, cover with plastic wrap and freeze 24 hours. Pop out and serve immediately in favorite beverage like iced tea or lemonade. Save remaining in freezer bag, removing as much air as possible from the baggie!
Perfect Iced Coffee
This is a bit of a process, but so worth the effort! Start it in the early morning (or the night before!), so you have it in the late afternoon! This will make a large batch for the week. Plus, you can freeze any leftovers in ice cube trays to add to your future iced coffee the next week (and the coffee ice cubes won’t water down your coffee)! Best Review From The Biggest Critic – My husband says:
This iced coffee maintains its integrity as the ice melts!
This large-batch recipe is from the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond – you just can’t improve on perfection with this recipe! She has two types – regular iced coffee and vietnamese iced coffee – both are YUMMY! Click HERE to go to her fantastic recipe!
Crank Up The Heat To Chill Out
Sometimes it takes adding a little heat to get you to cool down! The theory is, if you sweat a little, it is your body’s way to cool you off! This Jalapeño Watermelon Limeade is a perfectly tasty way to cool you off – just enough of a kick, balanced with sweetness!
Jalapeño Watermelon Limeade
4 cups watermelon, pureed in blender
1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (about 5 limes)
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2-3 pinches of sea salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Jalapeño Simple Syrup (see recipe below) in each serving glass. Use this amount as a guide-add more or less to taste!
Jalapeño Simple Syrup Directions: In a saucepan, cook 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon chopped jalapeños-I used canned, but you can use fresh- boil for five minutes, Set aside and allow to cool; strain through a sieve, store in air tight container in fridge for up to 1 month)
Combine the watermelon, lime juice, 1/4 cup sugar, and water in blender and blend! Serve in ice-filled glasses, stirring in 1/2 teaspoon Jalapeño Simple Syrup (more or less to taste!). Garnish with a slice of lime and a wedge of watermelon!
Simple Syrup is the secret ingredient for many cocktail recipes! Since simple is in the name, I, of course, love it! You can also use Simple Syrup when baking cakes to give them extra moisture – just brush the layers of cake with a little simple syrup (imagine adding the flavored syrup for another hint of flavor!). Here is the basic recipe:
Simple Syrup Recipe
1 Cup water
1 Cup sugar
Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and cook over med-high heat. Stir frequently, ensuring the sugar dissolves – bring to a boil, then quickly remove from heat. Allow to sit until the mixture is cool.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Basil Simple Syrup
Add one cup of washed/dried basil leaves to the sugar water mixture. Bring to boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour mixture through a sieve to remove basil leaves. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one month.
Lemon Basil Simple Syrup
Follow the Basil Simple Syrup recipe, adding the zest of one small lemon.
Mint Simple Syrup
Follow Basil Simple Syrup recipe, replacing basil with mint.
Apple Cinnamon Simple Syrup
Add the peels of three apples, plus three cinnamon sticks to the basic simple syrup recipe above. Bring to boil, remove from heat and allow to cool at least 30 minutes. Strain through sieve and store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one month. (This one is perfect for Autumn Cocktails like this one – The Clean Slate Cocktail from AboutFood.com!)
Here is one of my favorite martini recipes, Ruby Red Grapefruit Martini (Adapted from TommyBahama.com). The flavor is fresh and light:
Ruby Red Grapefruit Martini
2 ½ parts Grey Goose Vodka
¼ part freshly squeezed Ruby Red Grapefruit juice
¾ part Basil Simple Syrup
2 Fresh Basil Leaves, washed and dried
Muddle one basil leaf with simple syrup in a mixing glass. Add remaining ingredients. Add ice and shake well. Strain into martini glass and garnish with remaining basil leaf.
Ringing in the New Year is a fun tradition, and Simple Solutions Diva has a few simple ideas on how to bring in the New Year with a little style and not a lot of money! A BIG thank you to WTLV-TV’s First Coast Living (Weekdays at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m) for inviting Simple Solutions Diva on to share these ideas!
Choose To Make Nicer New Year’s Resolutions
New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be about loosing weight or radically changing behaviors. Those types of resolutions are much harder to keep because they require drastic changes. Try making nicer resolutions that are more like goals you work towards all year. Need some ideas? Print out this Nicer New Year’s Resolution Worksheet below; it includes prompts to help you get your creative juices flowing! (Be sure to print it out in landscape format!)
Plan a Giving 2014 New Year
This is a great idea for a family celebration! Each family member submits several family volunteering ideas for 2014; Use New Year’s Day to decide, as a group, what volunteer opportunities the family will commit to for 2014 and schedule them into your calendar. Giving back and helping others really makes life enjoyable!
Start A Memory Jar For 2014
Create a Decorative Jar filled with memories collected over 2014; near New Year’s 2014, open the jar and relive the fun memories from 2014!
A Clean Glass Jar
Small, blank tags, cards, or bookmarks (I used bookmarks)
Chalkboard Self-Stick Labels (I got this little packet, including chalk, for $1.00 at Michaels!)
Clean the jar and remove all sticky price labels. Let dry. Apply the chalkboard label to the glass jar. Write 2014 on the chalkboard label. Add blank bookmarks or cards and a pen. Place Jar in active place in the house (ours is in the kitchen). As fun events or memories happen, write them down on the blank cards and place them in the jar. At the end of year, sit down with family and revisit all the fun times over 2014 by reading the cards aloud. Wipe 2014 off with a slight damp cloth, and write the new year and start all over again!
Kids New Year’s Eve Party
Pick a time in the early evening to invite the kids over and toast the New Year early with DIY Noise Makers and a Cookies & Milk “Midnight” Toast!
DIY Noise Maker Supplies:
Empty and clean water bottles, with labels removed.
Variety of stickers
Add a handful of craft beads to the empty water bottles and secure the top. Lay out the stickers and let the kids decorate their own shaker.
Cookies & Milk “Midnight Toast Supplies:
“Fancy” glasses (these can be champagne glasses, wine glasses or whatever works for you)
Hot Fudge Sauce (I used Smucker’s brand)
Chocolate Chip or M&M cookies (I bought mine pre-made from the grocery store)
Using a knife or back of a spoon, rim the top of the glasses with room-temperature hot fudge sauce. Pour sprinkles into a bowl or small plate. Roll the fudge covered rims of the glasses in the sprinkles, so sprinkles adhere to the glass & fudge. Fill with milk. Place a cookie on top of glass and serve.
Simple Party For The Adults
Try a Dessert & Champagne Party! Simple Solutions Diva featured a whole “how-to” video and outline to create a simple party. Click Here to see the video and all of the suggestions to make a party easy for you!
For easy invitations, try using the website Evite.com, where you can customize one of their great designs and import email addresses to send out invites electronically! Good for you AND the environment!
A Champagne Bar is easy to do! Offer a variety of add-ins for your champagne, like cranberry, peach, pomegranate juices, strawberries and pomegranate seeds. For Champagne, I served Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut, recommended by the wine expert at World Market. With a price point under $7.00, I was a bit wary. I was extremely surprised by how wonderful the champagne tasted! It was rated by Wine & Spirits Magazine as the Value Brand Of The Year for 2013 (3rd year in a row!).
Desserts are so simple! Use a combination of store-bought and homemade desserts. Items on my dessert table included:
A tasting plate of flavored dark chocolates – Chipotle Chili, Pomegranate and Strawberries & Champagne.
Ginger Crisp cookies and Chocolate Lace cookies from World Market.
Two beautifully decorated mini cakes from Publix Supermarket.
Kick off your July 4th Celebrations with a Bang! This holiday-themed martini, created by TheMartiniDiva.com, features flavors reminiscent of those red, white and blue-colored popsicles!
1 oz. Raspberry Flavored Rum
1 oz. Blue Curacao
1/2 oz Lemonade
1/2 oz. Maraschino Cherry Juice
Maraschino Cherry for garnish
Chill martini glass in freezer. Combine Raspberry Rum, Blue Curacao, Lemonade, and Maraschino Cherry Juice in shaker filled half-way with ice. Shake until well chilled. Pour into chilled martini glass and drop in the Maraschino cherry garnish. Enjoy responsibly!
TheMartiniDiva.com features hundreds of creative martini recipes, foods that pair perfectly with martinis, and recipe cards for purchase.
Summer is HERE! Simple Solutions Diva has collected some great summer recipes, ideas, cocktails, and more on her new Pinterest Board, Summer Lovin’! Click on the photo above to visit the board! Stay cool and refreshed all summer long!
Everyone loves summer, and with the first official weekend of summer approaching, it is time to break out those blenders and shakers! Simple Solutions Diva has gathered some favorites together for your cocktail menu consideration!
6 Mint leaves
.75 oz Simple syrup (one part water, one part sugar, boiled until thickened. Cool for use)
.75 oz Fresh lime juice
1.5 oz White rum
1.5 oz Club soda
Mint Sprig Garnish
In a shaker, lightly muddle the mint. Add the simple syrup, lime juice and rum, and fill with ice. Shake well and pour (unstrained) into a highball glass. Top with the club soda and garnish with a mint sprig.
Recipe Credit: Liquor.com
Margaritas By The Pitcher
10 oz Fresh lime juice
14 oz Cointreau (orange flavored liquor)
3.5 oz Agave syrup or simple syrup
22 oz Tequila
Lime Wedge Garnish
For this recipe you need a 52-ounce pitcher. First, add the fresh lime juice and then the Cointreau. Have a taste—it should still be a bit tart. You can add a little more Cointreau but not much.
Adjust the sweetness with a little agave syrup (two parts agave nectar, one part water) or simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water)but don’t use more Cointreau, which would change the balance of the drink.
Add the tequila and taste. The mixture should still be intense, because you haven’t added any ice yet.
When a guest wants a drink, pour 3 ounces of the mix into a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a stemmed Margarita or cocktail glass with a half-salted rim or a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.
Garnish with a thin wheel of lime. If you have a large shaker or a gallon jar with a screw-top you can shake a whole bunch of drinks at the same time.
Recipe Credit: Liquor.com
Juice of 2 limes
2 teaspoons sugar
16 ripe strawberries, cut in half
1/2 teaspoon aged balsamic vinegar
4 ounces Grand Marnier
4 ounces premium vodka
8 ounces California Pinot Noir
Combine the lime juice and sugar in a small heavy-bottom saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then immediately reduce the heat to very low and simmer about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Divide the strawberries among 4 old-fashioned glasses. Sprinkle equal amounts of balsamic vinegar over them (it’ll be just a few drops in each, about one-eighth teaspoon). Divide the Grand Marnier among them, and muddle the ingredients in each glass.
Fill each glass about two-thirds full with ice, then pour equal amounts vodka over the ice in each. Add one-half ounce of the simmered lime juice to each glass. Pour equal amounts of the wine into each glass, then stir gently and serve.
Recipe Credit: Recipe Adapted by LA Times from bar chef Albert Trummer at Fraîche.