As I sit here, the remnants of Winter Storm Stella are whirling around outside, although the major storm is blessedly moving on, leaving mostly flurries and wind behind. At our house we have a little over a foot of snow, which I spent the morning shoveling while I carried on a strongly-worded internal dialogue regarding the snow’s lack of cooperation. “I’ll do the driveway, you shovel the walks,” Ray said. It seemed like a pretty good deal given that we have a long driveway. Except I didn’t take into account that this snow is ridiculously wet, which means that upon scooping it up, the blasted snow immediately packs down, sticking together and to the bottom of the shovel. It never really slides out of the shovel, no matter how hard you attempt to heave it in your intended direction. So you scoop some, deposit about a quarter of it where you wanted, then bang the shovel on the ground to unpack it, then scoop it up again. And repeat. I consider it a great personal achievement that I finished both the front and back walks, twice, without actually launching the shovel into the woods. Or at Ray.
Have you tried Jack Daniels Winter Jack Cider? If not, go out and buy some pronto, because it is super tasty. You could just sip it from a glass as is, but it is equally nice in this perfect-for-the-holidays cocktail.
Sangria is the perfect party drink. It almost pains me to say that because you could argue that my favorite drink, margaritas (plural because why would you just have one?), is the ultimate party drink because they contain tequila and tequila = party, plain and simple. Sadly, not everyone shares my affinity for tequila, or margaritas, so sangria has more crowd appeal. Sangria can also be made fairly inexpensively, which is also helpful if you are serving lots of people. You can use whatever ordinary wine is currently on sale at the liquor store and no one ever knows because you are infusing it with lots of different flavors.
Lemonade, it seems, ranges from being tart enough to make you pucker to super sweet, and everything in between. This lemonade is an old recipe of my mom’s that she picked up somewhere and has become a staple at our summertime gatherings ever since. The addition of orange juice concentrate to the mix mellows the tartness of the lemon juice and steeping mint in the citrus mixture makes it so very refreshing! I think it’s perfect. In fact I like it so much that we mixed up a huge batch to serve our wedding guests as they waited for the reception to start while we took pictures after the ceremony.
……Actually, I have no memory of preparing the lemonade that day, it just magically appeared after the ceremony as I had requested. Which means that on top of everything else she had to worry about that day, my Mom was also mixing lemonade for 150 guests to fulfill another whim of the bride. Now, 12 years later, I still think of that day every time I have a glass and it makes me smile. :) Thanks Mom (and your lovely friends who I’m sure helped)! :)
The beauty of this mint-infused lemonade is that it makes a lemonade mix from frozen orange juice concentrate and bottled lemon juice so there is no squeezing of lemons involved! This makes a lot of lemonade mix, so it works great for a crowd! Just combine the mix with equal parts water and you are ready to go! In my version seltzer water and spirits give it some extra sparkle, so it was right at home at our July 4th picnic over the weekend.
To start, dissolve some sugar in water. Add all of your remaining ingredients and let it steep for 1-2 hours. Strain the mint and your mix is ready! Combine it with plain water as called for in the original recipe or substitute seltzer water to make it fizzy. A nice splash of triple sec and vodka make it a party! Be warned: you can’t even taste the vodka so drink with care!