Sparkling Strawberry Bourbon Lemonade

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Ok, I know it’s been 10 days since July started, but happy July!!!  Did everyone have a great Fourth?  I spent mine getting fried to a lobster-y red crisp while floating the Truckee River on a donut tube, and it was *worth it*.  Everyone was out, and it was like a giant Fourth of July party!  The water wasn’t even that cold, and I became friends with a guy dressed like Jack Sparrow.  I christened him Pirate Steve, and then he gave us a bunch of PBRs that were kept cold by the melted ice water that is the Truckee River.  Pirate Steve was the ~homie~.  We kept scraping our backs and booties on the rocks, since the river was fairly low, but if you don’t have battle scars, did you even float the Truckee?

After floating for a few hours, we doused our sunburned bodies in all the lotion we could find in the house, and then we went out for some beers at a local biergarten!  We ate lots of chicken wings and watched some fireworks and stayed out well past my bedtime.  The next two days at work, I wanted to absolutely die from exhaustion and mid-week, post-holiday laziness.  However, I made up for it this past weekend, because I helped move the boyfriend into his new apartment, and there was no parking in front of his house which meant we were carrying boxes down two blocks and up two flights of stairs in 90-something degree weather.  It was ok though, because I think I got, as the kids would say, swoll, and then we celebrated with pizza and beer!

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Now let’s talk about the perfection that is sparkling strawberry bourbon lemonade!  When I was in Vegas, I met the bf’s family, and they made this huge, amazing dinner.  His cousin is apparently a cocktail-aficionado, and he threw together a huge pitcher of bourbon lemonade that almost made me die.  It was so good.  I basically took the same idea for this recipe, and then added strawberries, because everything is better with tons of strawberries added to it.  It’s perfect for summer BBQs and summer drinking, because it doesn’t taste toooo heavy and boozy, but it gets the job done.  The hardest part is pureeing the strawberries, which I’m confident you can handle.

We took this in a big punch bowl to a Third of July BBQ.  Third of July BBQs are when you want to have a Fourth of July BBQ but you work the next day, so you celebrate the day before instead.  Or, in my case, you make bad decisions and celebrate both nights and don’t recover until Sunday night.  Whatever.  I digress.  This lemonade rocked.  Everyone who tried it loved it.  Make it.  Double it.  Put it in a huge bowl, and let people ladle it out and party their faces off.  The end!

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xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Little Dark Age by MGMT

Watermelon-Rhubarb Margaritas

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IMG_5158I have a fairly strict criteria when it comes to my margs: fresh lime, on the rocks, salt.  I’m pretty leery of  margarita mixes that are the color of Dipsy the Teletubby and taste like lime-flavored candy in all the wrong ways.  My favorite Mexican restaurant in town makes perfect margaritas made in what can only be described as fish bowls, so usually I just use a margarita craving as an excuse to go eat chile rellenos + all the chips and salsa in the restaurant.  However, this weekend is both Cinco de Mayo and my cousin’s sixth birthday, so we’re going to throw a unicorn-themed Mexican food night!  I’m bringing a pitcher of margaritas + unicorn cupcakes.  Rumor has it there will also be a piñata and coloring books.  It’s going to be off the chain!!!

On another note, I’ll be in Napa next weekend visiting lots of family and celebrating Mother’s Day with my mama and grandma!  We’re going to stop at Ikeda’s on the way to eat cheeseburgers and buy lots of fresh produce and then we’ll spend Saturday night making a birthday dinner for my grandma.  I’m hoping there’s going to be lots of good wine involved!  Maybe I’ll make a super special cake??

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I’m fairly late to the game when it comes to rhubarb, meaning I never had it until it was baked into a strawberry pie I tried a few years ago.  Also, I’ve never cooked with it.  I know, am I even a food blogger?!  Luckily, Instagram inspired me this week, and even though I had to go to multiple grocery stores to find it, I walked victoriously out of the store with armfuls of rhubarb!  Then I threw it in a blender with some watermelon and tequila, because what else would I do the week of Cinco de Mayo?  They turned out the most beautiful shade of pink, which obviously is perfect for a unicorn party.  The mix of sweet watermelon + tart rhubarb is amazing and so refreshing with tequila.

This recipe makes a large pitcher that will serve eight people, but you can easily halve it or even quarter it for just a few drinks.  You could also blend it if you like frozen margaritas – just add 3-4 cups of ice or freeze the watermelon before blending it all up.  For this recipe, I added about half a cup of simple syrup, but if your watermelon is especially sweet, I would start with a quarter cup and work your way up.  Once the summer melons come out, you probably won’t need very much simple syrup at all!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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Watermelon-Rhubarb Margaritas
Serves 8

Ingredients

6 c. watermelon (about 3-3.5 lb. personal watermelon)
2 c. rhubarb (about 1/2 lb.)
1 1/2 c. white tequila
1/2 c. Triple Sec
1/4-1/2 c. simple syrup
4 limes, juiced
Salt, for rim
Watermelon, limes, and rhubarb, for garnish

In a blender, juice the watermelon and rhubarb together (you may have to do this in two separate batches).  Immediately strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pushing out all the juice with a spoon.  You will have about a half cup of fibrous pulp leftover.

Mix the watermelon-rhubarb juice with the tequila, triple sec, simple syrup, and lime juice in a pitcher.  Salt the rims of 8 glasses, and divide the margaritas between each glass.  Garnish with extra watermelon, lime slices, and rhubarb.

*Note: Try your watermelon before you make these.  If it’s really sweet, start with 1/4 c. of simple syrup, and add more as necessary.


xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Grita el Silencio by Alfonso André

Ginger Old Fashioned

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Hello, my name is Sara Lynn, and I am a young NYC man living in the year 1958 a 20-something woman who loves Old Fashioned cocktails.  But you can call me Don Draper.

Today, I will be sharing my favorite Old Fashioned recipe, because it’s my birthday, and I will be celebrating with Bourbon, Angostura bitters, and orange peel all night long if I have my way.  However, I’ll try to sneak a lemon drop or Manhattan in, so I can feel like Carrie Bradshaw.  I may have an identity crisis at the end of the night, but so be it.  Tonight is for celebration and cake and drinks with my friends!

Last summer while I was in London, the beers and ciders became kind of mundane after my 200th IPA.  One night, a group of (other) Nevada students and I went to a bar down the road from our dorm where I asked the bartender if they could mix cocktails.  Ignoring the slightly dubious look in the recent high-school-grad-of-a-bartender’s eyes, I asked for an old fashioned, which he then responded with, “What’s in it?”.  It was then that I learned that old fashioneds are American cocktails, and that England is strictly for wine, beer, and cider.  Message received.

I had an old fashioned when I flew home to the states, and while London is my absolute favorite place in the world, I’d really love if they would learn the finesse of an old fashioned.  (Or, if I just ended up at the wrong spot, if a local could recommend a good place for some whiskey).  However, since the first time I tried an old fashioned, I’ve been obsessed and haven’t looked back.

My first old fashioned was made with Bulleit bourbon and served out of a Tigger coffee mug around Christmas time while it snowed outside.  That’s a true story.  I’ve come a long way since then, but I can’t say that scenario won’t reoccur.  I am in college after all, and sometimes Disney coffee mugs are the only vehicle for alcoholic beverages.  However, I still do not own whiskey mugs, so discount water glasses bought at Home Goods will have to do for now.  The classic old fashioned is made with sugar cubes, Angostura bitters, citrus peel, ice, and Bourbon.  However, with the warmer weather, I decided to twist it up with some grenadine and Ginger Ale to make it a little more summery.  I love slow-sipping drinks, and I definitely think this one is perfect for an outdoor BBQ.

If you are more of a traditionalist, you can make the recipe the classic way without the Ginger Ale, maraschino cherries, and grenadine.  Or, if you like a drier drink, you can sub Club Soda for Ginger Ale.  If you’re having a party, you can leave these ingredients out for people to make their own Old Fashioned cocktails while you cook or talk with your friends. Old Fashioneds are forgiving and appealing to most cocktail-drinkers, so I consider them the perfect party drink.

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As a bday present to me, please make this Old Fashioned tonight (or order one at your favorite bar 😉 )

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Dreaming by Seapony