Vanilla Bean Café au Lait

RECIPE

If you're looking for an easy way to mix up your morning coffee routine, this is for you. It's also great to serve a crowd on a Sunday morning. Use the leftover simple syrup for cocktails later on in the day!

[SERVES 4]

Ingredients:

Simple Syrup:

  • ½ cup sugar

  • ½ cup water

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1 vanilla bean

Café au Lait:

  • 2  cups 2% milk

  • 2-3 tablespoons vanilla simple syrup

  • 2  cups strongly brewed coffee

  • whipped cream (optional)

  • cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

Simple Syrup:

  1. In a small pot combine the sugar and the vanilla bean

  2. To ensure maximum vanilla flavor, open up the bean, scrape out the seeds and add the seeds and vanilla bean both to the sugar

  3. Rub the sugar between your hands well to incorporate the vanilla into the sugar

  4. Add water and salt to the pot and bring to a boil

  5. Boil until all the sugar is dissolved

  6. Transfer to a small container and keep in your fridge until it’s all used up

Café au Lait:

  1. Combine your desired amount of sugar with the milk into a small pot (if you just made your simple syrup you can use that pot without cleaning it before use)

  2. Heat it up until it’s really hot but hasn’t yet boiled

  3. If you have a large teapot, chemex, coffee pot or french press you can also combine the milk and coffee before serving and let everyone pour their own, which is what I like to do

  4. Or, if you’d like to serve it in individual cups, pour ½ cup of coffee and ½ cup of vanilla milk into each cup and top with whipped cream and cinnamon (if desired)

Slightly Sophisticated Italian Soda

RECIPE

There’s nothing like sipping a refreshing soda while watching a movie and this adult version is just the ticket (too much? Just enough?)! Reminiscent of the Italian sodas of your youth, but not as syrupy and kicked up a notch with vanilla bean infused vodka. Honestly, the Torani syrup in this drink is manufactured to taste delicious, you really don’t have to do much with it. It’s a deliciously fun, easy cocktail with a couple of sprigs of rosemary and lots of club soda to balance the sweetness.

[SERVES 1]

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons Torani raspberry syrup (obviously NOT sugar-free)
  • 1 ½ cups club soda (or sparkling water)
  • A splash of vanilla bean infused vodka ***
  • a few sprigs of rosemary
  • ice

Directions:

  1. Toss a sprig of rosemary into a tall glass and fill with ice
  2. Pour the syrup in followed by the club soda and vodka (if using)
  3. Nestle in another sprig of rosemary and a straw if you feel like it

Enjoy cold.

*** Flavor your vodka at least a day before.  Split a vanilla bean down the center and scrape the seeds into the vodka and let steep.  Make sure to seal the bottle up tight.

Pre-Game Punch

RECIPE

Aperol is bomb. If you haven’t tried it do so immediately! Or wait until evening or brunch time if you’re reading this at 6am. Aperol is an Italian aperitif made from a SECRET recipe (intriguing) that gets its main flavor from bitter orange. It’s a beautiful color and makes a great cocktail. This recipe has it all- it’s pretty, simple and a crowd pleaser, seems impressive but it’s easy to make. You can also very easily toss all the ingredients into a bowl for a quick and easy punch.

[SERVES  1]

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce aperol
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • Juice of ½ blood orange (or whatever citrus is in season)
  • ¼ ounce blood orange syrup (1 part sugar to 1 part blood orange juice)

Directions:

  1. It’s very simple. Just shake these ingredients together and serve COLLLDDDD.

Quince Vodka Shrub

NWT-INNAShrub-2.jpg

RECIPE

Shrubs are becoming a thing.  For cocktails.  Not your garden.
Before they start to bore your friends and they’re on the hunt for the next thing, start shrubbing.

[SERVES 1]

Ingredients:

  • 2 part vodka
  • 1 part shrub (I used Inna Jam quince shrub)
  • 2 parts sparkling water
  • Squeeze of lime
  • Cranberries if you want to go full-on holiday mode

Directions:

  1. Layer the ingredients into your favorite glass with ice and stir
  2. Garnish with a little lime and some cranberries, if you feel fancy

Perfect Sunday Michelada

NWT-Michelada-5.jpg

RECIPE

I'm a huge fan of a michelada because it's an incredibly easy to prepare crowd pleasing drink. It's easily customizable and you really only need 1 glass to get the job done.  Not to mention it's delicious, effervescent, slightly spicy, slightly acidic and it goes really well with fish tacos.

Shout out to my friend Mika who got me hooked me on this drink and has really nailed the perfect combination.

[SERVES 1]

Ingredients:

  • 1 beer (Mexican lager if you've got it)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • a few dashes of soy sauce
  • a few dashes of Tapatío
  • Tajín (or a combination of chili peppers and sea salt)

Directions:

  1. Drop a few splashes of the Tapatío on a plate and gently slide the rim of your glass through it
  2. Pour a small amount of Tajín into a bowl and dip the hot sauce rim of your glass into the mixture (if you don't want a salted rim you can just eliminate this part and move onto the drink)
  3. Pour the lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and Tapatío into your glass
  4. Depending on your preference you can put ice in the glass and pour the beer over it, or just pour the beer directly into the glass (I prefer the later because the ingredients mix really well, really quickly) and drink

Bourbon Cider Both Ways

NWT-Cider-1.jpg

RECIPE

This cocktail is fantastically versatile, perfect hot or cold. If you can master this guy you can use it a bunch of times during holiday season no matter the weather.

[SERVES 1]

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces apple cider
  • 1.5 ounces whiskey
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 ½ inch piece of ginger

Directions:

  1. To serve cold gently mix all ingredients and serve on ice with an apple wedge on the side of the glass
  2. To serve hot bring the ingredients to a simmer and serve in a mug with a fresh cinnamon stick