I love the hustle and bustle of the upcoming holiday season. Yes, there is gift buying and home decorating, but I’m pretty sure most of us will admit that one of our favorite parts of the holidays is the FOOD! Who doesn’t have at least one memory of a favorite food shared with friends and family during this time of year? Maybe it’s going to your mom’s house for cookie baking. Or your friend’s swanky cocktail party with the best spread ever. Or maybe it’s brunch with your girlfriends for a gift exchange. Whatever the reason, December brings us a calendar stuffed full of chances to gather with loved ones.
It’s holiday party planning time, and that, my friends, makes me giddy. This year, Kevin and I will be hosting our 7th annual holiday party, and it is my absolute favorite night of the year. To make entertaining easier, we set up a self-service martini bar for our guests. It is such a fun addition to our party. People always ask to help the hosts, and making their own cocktails is the perfect job to give them. We set up several different martini stations around a table and include recipe cards with a few signature martinis, all of the alcohol needed for those drinks and a a couple trusty martini shakers. This way we get to enjoy the party and not play bartender all night. Genius, right? We add a new martini to the mix every year, and we’re super excited to unveil the martini of 2013: the Kahlúa Cocoa Martini.
When did life get so busy? My friend, Sarah, and I were talking the other day about how we are exhausted by the time Saturday night rolls around. All of the running around from the week – work, school and family commitments – makes me want to simply collapse on the couch. But Kevin and I still try to find time for date night in the midst of all the craziness. We just enjoy it at home instead of going out. Actually, it’s really nice. We take time to make dinner a little extra special, catch up on some recorded TV and enjoy a cocktail together. This is our latest date night cocktail creation: the Kahlúa French Vanilla Cooler.
Fall is my absolute favorite season of the year. I love everything about it, from pumpkins and apples to crunching leaves and changing colors. Those cooler fall evenings mean two things at our house: perfect sleeping weather and perfect bonfire weather. Kevin and I love to have bonfires. Three years ago, we built an in-ground fire pit (best thing ever!) and have fallen in love with it. It is so peaceful to sit outside, listen to the crackling fire, unwind and catch up after our busy week. Of course, no bonfire is complete at our house without a cocktail, and we created a delicious new way to toast the season with this Kahlúa Pumpkin Scotchie.
I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but the Midwest is in the midst of a late summer heatwave. The weather makes it hard to believe that NCAA Football season starts today, especially when the game is going to be a scorcher. (These are times I’m thankful that our seats are in the shade. Ask me again in November, and I’m quite certain you will get a different response.) These Rosemary Gin Spritzers are the perfect way to kickoff the football season and the long weekend. Summer, meet fall. Fall, meet summer.
C’mon, I know it’s already August, but summer isn’t over yet! Yes, there are school supplies to be purchased. And deadlines and late fees for fall activities are bearing down on us at every turn. But let’s savor these last few weeks of visits to the pool, s’mores, bonfires and lazy nights in the backyard before the crazy school schedules start again. And what better way to appreciate these dwindling days of summer than with a refreshing Watermelon Mojito in hand?