COLD BREW NEGRONI

If there is one drink I know Ryan LOVES it's a Negroni. I call it the hipster cocktail because almost every time we go out he orders this drink at a hipster spot. I think it has become is favorite cocktail of all time, and it's a safe bet for a Father's Day treat. So, since I'm a novice when it comes to cocktail making, I asked expert cocktail maker, Jason of Barrel Aged Dad, to create the perfect Negroni with a twist, and oh - my - gosh did he deliver. I want to drink this just as much as Ryan does. 

The twist that Jason incorporated is adding cold brew (Ryan's favorite non-alcoholic beverage). So, really, I'm just guaranteed a win now. Ha! When I tasted it I particularly loved the aroma of the orange with the coffee. It made me wonder why we don't pair those two together more often. Below you will find the recipe and some expert comments from Jason on the cocktail creation. 

When thinking about my hipster friends and what they like to drink, two things came to mind: coffee and bold, unconventional spirits. Ergo, the Cold Brew Negroni was a match made in hipster heaven. The Negroni is the kind of cocktail your order if you want immediate respect from the bartender or any cocktail aficionado. It’s made up of equal parts gin (in this case swapped for the coffee), Campari and sweet vermouth. The Campari and coffee mix very well together, with the bitter notes of the Campari playing off the dark, earthy flavors in the coffee. This is a low ABV, bitter cocktail that is sure to please any trendy fella.
— Jason, Barrel Aged Dad

Cold Brew Negroni

1 1/2 oz cold brew concentrate (I used Trader Joe's)

1 oz Campari

1 oz Sweet Vermouth

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir for 15-20 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. Express orange peel oil over cocktail and drop it into the glass. 

Combine ingredients with ice and stir briskly for 15 to 20 seconds. 

Combine ingredients with ice and stir briskly for 15 to 20 seconds. 

Strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. (Jason made his own ice cube, but whiskey rocks can work for amateurs like me. ;)

Strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. (Jason made his own ice cube, but whiskey rocks can work for amateurs like me. ;)

Express orange peel and then rub around the rim of the glass for that tasty aroma. 

Express orange peel and then rub around the rim of the glass for that tasty aroma. 

FINISHED!

FINISHED!

Photos by Rennai Hoefer

PORTER & BOURBON BOILERMAKER

Father's Day is fast approaching, so I invited Jason of Barrel Aged Dad to share with us some cocktails and drinks dads will want to enjoy on their special day. Ryan loves handcrafted cocktails and beer, but I can't say I know much about them. The only cocktail I have ever made is a margarita. Ha! I'm a wine girl, mostly, so I'm way out of my league when it comes to knowing what liquor to buy and what pairs well together. If you're in the same boat, have no fear, because Jason is going to share with us a variety of drinks sure to please any guy. Our first one is for the beer lover...

We're starting out simple with boilermaker. This is the perfect, simple drink for beer lovers. In Jason's words, "Simplicity doesn't mean you have to sacrifice flavor however. Shot and beer pairings are now a "thing" from trendy east coast cocktail bars to upscale sports bars in LA. The rich, oaked caramel notes of the Bulleit bourbon are a perfect compliment to the dark chocolate and roasted nut flavors of the Vanilla Porter. Alternate sips of each to see how the flavors compliment one another.

Boilermaker:

12 oz Breckenridge Vanilla Porter 

1 shot of Bulleit Bourbon

Make sure to check back next week for another drink idea to serve for Father's Day. Also, be sure to follow Jason on Instagram for more cocktail ideas. 

Photos by Rennai Hoefer

LEMONADE GRANITA

If you're looking for a refreshing summer treat for you and your kiddos consider making a lemonade granita. It's like a slushy except you don't have to worry about all of the flavor going to the bottom. It's incorporated throughout. Levi and I are dairy-free as well, so it's a good alternative to ice cream. 

LEMONADE GRANITA

½ cup of sugar

1 cup of water

3 cups of lemonade made from Minute Maid Frozen Lemonade Concentrate

9 x 13 pan

Pour water into a saucepan, add sugar and bring to a boil. Boil for two minutes. Cool down your saucepan to room temperature. Meanwhile, make your lemonade by following the directions on the back of the Minute Maid frozen lemonade concentrate can. Pour three cups of the lemonade into the 9 x 13 pan. Add the cooled simple syrup mixture and gently stir. Cover with plastic wrap and place in your freezer. Every 30 minute give your mixture a stir. After about 2 hours you’ll notice a nice crystal texture. Serve in bowls or glasses garnished with a lemon slice or with some lemon zest. Enjoy!

ARIZONA OUTDOOR ENTERTAINING

This post is sponsored by Hayneedle.

The best thing about living in Arizona is the weather. It's dry and sunny almost every day of the year. Even during our high temperatures we find ourselves outdoors because we have a pool, and also because we have a backyard that feels like a sanctuary. Last year, we got patio furniture so we could enjoy the space more, and this year we finished decking out our outdoor grill area thanks to Hayneedle. 

Hayneedle offers the best outdoor decor and entertaining essentials and great prices. You better believe we will be enjoying some margaritas and carne-asada this week for Cinco de Mayo. We love using our grill, and we are able to sit and enjoy each other's company while we cook using these woven bar stools. I selected these because they appeared durable, more heat resistant than metal, and brought texture to the space. I freshened them up with some color using outdoor pillows with blues and aqua. 

We also put up a living wall to cover the ugly block wall we have, as well as to have a space to plant herbs and spices. Since the area gets sun all day long and the hot days are coming, I planted lavender and rosemary for now. They will grow in almost any weather. 

We also added some green with our big planters and covered some of the boring beige stucco with our log hoop. It's functional and it adds some interest to the space.

I thought adding some lanterns to the area was a pretty way to make the bar come alive. It's also functional for evening entertaining, and the lanterns won't blow away (something to think about for outdoor styling). 

Shade is important in Arizona, so we ordered an umbrella for the bar. I like the striped pattern for interest, but I stuck with the white and tan so it didn't over power the space.

Being able to eat poolside is amazing, but safety is important too. I ordered some durable plastic plates and other entertaining essentials. You can see the rest of my selects on the Hayneedle's blog. 

Photography by  Rennai Hoefer

Photography by Rennai Hoefer

THE PERFECT GIFT BASKET

This post is sponsored by Coca-Cola.

Every extended family has that one person that champions Christmas. That person that rallies the troops for holiday baking, sets a date to see Christmas lights or plans the secret Santa gift exchange. I have someone like that in my family. It's my sister-in-law, Nicky Vender. Her home is always decorated beautifully for the holiday, she bakes the best cookies and she gives the best gifts wrapped to perfection. She is always the person you secretly hope picks your name for the gift exchange because you know your gift is going to be awesome. Well, this year Coca-Cola has asked me to highlight my unsung heroine of Christmas as part of their #ShareACoke campaign, and I would like nothing more than to #ShareACoke with Nicky. Truthfully, her jolly Christmas actions go unthanked a lot, and I want to thank her with the ultimate gift basket!

Her energy and excitement for the season is what keeps me going because I think my energy peeks shortly after hosting Thanksgiving or maybe it's because my kids tire me out...Either way, her holiday spirit and joy make Christmas much more fun. To honor her, Coca-Cola personalized her favorite drink, Diet Coke, with her name on it, and then I put together the ultimate gift basket.

Gifts always feel more special when they are personalized. Wouldn't you agree? You can get 40% off a personalized six pack of Coca-Cola using shopping code HOLIDAY40 at checkout.

To take the personalization one step further, I had a wooden sign made for her family that she can hang on a wreath year round. In addition, I packed some more of her favorite things in a lovely basket. 

1. Diet Coke - Her favorite drink
2. Madonna ornament - Her favorite 80's pop star
3. Chocolate and caramel - Her favorite treat
4. Bottle opener  (similar)- To help her enjoy her Diet Coke, of course
5. Personalized wooden sign for any wreath or basket - It can be used in many ways
6. Hand cream - Beauty products always win.
7. Nail files - Her toes are always painted to perfection
8. Wrapped soap - Who doesn't like to bathe in the scents of Christmas?! Haha!
9. Throw - To keep her warm and cozy
10. Beautiful basket - Something that she can use to store things in her home
11. Boxwood wreath - It's a beautiful and neutral gift for the season.
12. Bouquet of Holly - Everyone loves flowers, especially Christmas ones. 

I left the basket on her doorstep like a good little elf to let her be surprised, and she sure was! I got a call with tears and joy. I'm sure Santa would be proud. The fun doesn't stop there though. I want to give you something special too.

You can win your very own six pack of Coca-Cola that's personalized with your name, as well as a $100 gift card. The total value of the prize is $130. To enter, please tag your Christmas hero or heroine in my Instagram post (click here). Contest ends on December 11th at 11:59 PM, and one winner will be chosen by December 12th and contacted via direct message on Instagram. Please make your Instagram account public so that I can contact you if you win.

This prize was provided by The Coca-Cola Company. The Coca-Cola Company is not a sponsor, administrator or connected in any other way with this campaign.

Photos by Rennai Hoefer