5 Gorgeously Festive Cranberry Cocktails (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

If you’re looking for festive, seasonal cocktails, it can be a bit limiting around this time of year, when we tend to lean toward rich, creamy drinks like eggnog and twists on chocolate peppermint.

Of course, these are all wildly delicious, but it can feel like more of a challenge to find something fruity and perhaps a bit lighter while staying appropriate to the theme for those holiday parties.

Fortunately, I have a solution for you: cranberries! These distinctively tangy fruits just scream winter, especially when you pop a few of them in a drink for an utterly festive garnish.

1. Cranberry Mojito Punch

This big, sparkling cocktail can be made in a huge batch, and it’s a great crowd-pleaser if you’re throwing a bash.

2. Crock Pot Cranberry Cider

This tasty, set-it-and-forget-it beverage is chock full of subtle, seasonal spices — plus, you can make it boozy or non-alcoholic, whatever you prefer.

3. Vanilla Cranberry Mimosa

With just three ingredients, these are super fast to make, and the vanilla brings a unique richness to the whole thing.

4. Cranberry Mulled Wine

This lovely mulled wine uses a sugar substitute, but if you want to use the regular stuff, you can use about a third of a cup of white or brown sugar. A glug of triple sec would be great too!

5. Crockpot Cranberry Apple Sangria

With red wine, white wine, apple cider, cranberry juice, brandy and spices, this easy slow-cooker warm sangria is perfect for winter — plus there’s an option to make it virgin if you don’t want the booze.

Featured Image: Personal Creations/Flickr

Tags: cocktail recipes, cranberry cocktails, cranberry drinks, drinks for holiday party, Thirsty Thursday
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5 Unique Thanksgiving Cocktails To Drink With Your Fam (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

Thanksgiving can be stressful, y’all!

Whether you’re hosting on Turkey Day or just have to be around a home full of your relatives for hours on end, there’s a chance that you might get a bit overwhelmed and feel the need to relax.

Plus, a nice drink or two is the perfect accompaniment to an evening full of good food and good company, so you might want to mix up a couple of these on the big day to please the crowd:

1. SALT Restaurant and Bar’s The Fall Guy

Need an escape from the family? If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you can head over to SALT Restaurant & Bar at the Marina Del Rey Hotel, since they will be open on Thanksgiving day from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. With offerings like lobster pasta, braised meatballs and avocado hummus, you’ll find a nice alternative to turkey at the restaurant, just in case somebody burns down the kitchen!

Staying in? Here’s how to make the bar’s The Fall Guy, a truly complex, deeply spiced and perfectly balanced low-ball, great as a digestif when you can’t manage another bite of turkey:

1 1/2 ounces Remy 1738
1/2 ounce Leo Apple Whiskey
1/2 ounce cinnamon syrup
1/4 ounce apple shrub
1/2 ounce lemon juice
3 dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters
2 star anise pods (for garnish)

Build all ingredients in shaker over ice, shake, strain and garnish with anise.

2. Hot Caramel-Popcorn Bourbon Apple Cider

This one is truly the best of both worlds, since the spiked apple cider gets a pat of butter floated on top, reminiscent of rich, creamy hot buttered rum. Plus, you get sweet caramel popcorn-infused whiskey, which totally brings the whole thing to a new level of delightful.

For the Caramel Popcorn-Infused Bourbon:
1 cup caramel popcorn
1 cup bourbon
For Each Drink:
2 1/2 ounces hot apple cider
2 ounces Caramel Popcorn-Infused Bourbon
1 small pat butter

Warm cider on stove or in microwave, stir in infused bourbon and top with butter. Full recipe here.

3. Cranberry Champagne Cocktail

Fizzy, light, refreshing and a touch sweet — perfect to keep you going between two rounds of the food marathon, since it won’t make you feel too full.

1 ounce cranberry juice (sweetened)
1 wedge lime
Champagne or sparkling wine
Cranberries (frozen)

Pour cranberry juice and a squeeze of lime into a champagne flute, then top with champagne and garnish with cranberries. Full recipe here.

4. Turkey and Sage Cocktail

The festively named drink features strong, high-proof bourbon, complete with hints of vanilla and caramel, because you need a bit of bite to stand out against something as strongly fragrant as fresh sage.

10 fresh sage leaves
2 ounces Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon
1 tablespoon pumpkin butter (see note above)
1/4 ounce lemon juice, from one lemon
2 dashes Angostura bitters

In a shaker, muddle sage, reserving one leaf for garnish. Add ice and remainder of ingredients, shake, pour, garnish and serve. Full recipe here.

5. Spiced-Rum Coffee With Butterscotch Whipped Cream

Irish coffee is fabulous, especially to help you fight off that turkey and wine-induced food coma that seems to come around at the end of every Thanksgiving meal. When you swap out the whiskey for spiced rum, you get a mellow booziness with a pop of those lovely spiced flavors that go fabulously with coffee!

3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons malted milk powder, such as Carnation
1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Tiny pinch kosher salt
6 ounces hot black coffee
2 ounces spiced rum
1 tablespoon simple syrup (2:1)
Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish (optional)

This one has a fair few steps, though it won’t take you too long to make. Best check the full recipe here.

Featured Image: Pexels

Tags: fall drink recipe, holiday drink, Thanksgiving cocktails, Thanksgiving drinks, Thirsty Thursday
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7 Stupendously Sippable Cocktails Perfect For November (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

Looking for some delightfully seasonal cocktails to make this month? You’ve come to the right place!

Whether you want to indulge a little on a night in or keep yourself and your Thanksgiving guests calm and relaxed while you rush to finish making dinner, you’ll surely be able to find the perfect fall-flavored drink here.


1. Knockout Bourbon Punch

Be warned: This punch packs some serious power, just as the name indicates, but it’s so smooth that you might not realize it! Plus, with cinnamon, ginger, cranberry and nutmeg, you’re getting the perfect balance between refreshing fruit and seasonal spices.

2. Persimmon and Pomegranate Thanksgiving Sangria

Not only is this fabulously festive, uniquely flavored sangria totally tasty, it’s perfect for when you’re hosting a large group — like for Thanksgiving — because you can make it a few hours in advance and not have to worry about it when you’re busy prepping all the food. Or just, you know, prep it in advance if you’re planning a lazy night in.

3. Pumpkin Hot Buttered Rum

Hot buttered rum is just delightfully cozy and warming after dinner on a cool fall evening. So why not add a bit of rich pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice to really amp up the desserty seasonal feel to this twist on a classic?

4. Cranberry Gin Fizz Cocktail

This beautiful cocktail is wildly refreshing without being terribly sweet. With cranberry, citrus, ginger ale and gin, you get a bright, subtle fruity and complex bubbly delight that is just so dang good!

5. Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sour

If you love whiskey sours, you’re going to adore this spin on them — it’s pretty much the same formula, but with a couple tweaks to bring some added brightness and depth. If you don’t have maple syrup, you can sub honey or dark brown sugar, though they might be a bit sweeter, so if you’re going to do this, start conservatively and sweeten to taste. Yum!

6. Apple Old Fashioned

The original recipe calls for Honeycrisp apples, but you can use any sweet apple like Fujis, Pink Ladies or really whatever you want — you can even try it with sour Granny Smiths or even something totally different, like pears.

7. Pumpkin and Apple Cider Fizz

A light, bright pumpkin cocktail? Who would have thought? Bonus: You can throw a Harry Potter party, call it pumpkin juice and serve it out of goblets and tankards, which is pretty much the only way to improve what is already such a lovely sipper.

Featured Image: Pixabay

Tags: cocktail recipes, fall drinks, November cocktails, Thanksgiving cocktails, Thirsty Thursday
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7 Stunning Ways To Warm Up With Spiked Hot Chocolate (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

Gosh, is it winter already?

Well, not quite — the solstice doesn’t happen for approximately two more months, so we still have plenty of fall left. But you’d never know it from the way that retail spots have totally neglected brown and orange motifs and moved straight into the red and green, as if Thanksgiving and pumpkin spice mean NOTHING to these people.

As we plunge headfirst into the uncertainty of November, that blank space in the middle of fall — or as the shops would have it, the void between Halloween and Christmas — keep your gourds and turkey decorations up and make sure you stay warm and stave off the holiday stress for as long as possible.

Since the weather is getting chillier and chillier, why not grab your favorite cozy mug and whip up a nice boozy hot chocolate for yourself? It’s super easy to make, since most recipes really only require a couple minutes of your time to chop, stir and melt, but you’ll end up with a gourmet-tasting treat that’s just as great for a blanket and Netflix as it is for a wild party.

1. Nutella Hot Chocolate​

If you want a super easy, thick hot chocolate, that magical tub of hazelnut spread is the way to go. Simply combine a glob of it with milk and a cinnamon stick and you’ve got yourself an impossibly easy and impossibly tasty indulgence. But it doesn’t stop there! Hit it out of the park with a glug of liquor or liqueur and top the whole thing with toasted marshmallows. Wow!

2. Red Wine Hot Chocolate

If this sounds weird to you, consider how good red wine and dark chocolate taste together, and then (gently, so as not to boil out the booze) heat the whole thing up. If for some reason it doesn’t taste alcoholic enough for you, you’re welcome to add a few drops of brandy for that slightly fruity kick.

3. Hot Peppermint Patty

“Archer” fans might recognize this drink from their hero’s thermos in Season 6, though this thick, minty, boozy treat has been around a bit longer than that. Either way, you’ll lose it over the soft mintiness, which conveniently comes in the form of three different kinds of schnapps and liqueur. Yup.

4. Boozy Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate

The sheer richness of buttery white chocolate and spiced pumpkin puree will rock your socks off. Spike it with your choice of booze (the recipe recommends bourbon or Kahlua, although a whipped or caramel-flavored vodka would also be delightful here). Then top with some whipped cream (here’s how to make your own pumpkin whipped cream, if you desire) and caramel (homemade Salted Caramel-Bourbon Sauce? Don’t mind if I do!) and you’ll be cooking.

5. Kahlua Hot Chocolate

Forget about that boxed stuff. This real version of your favorite cocoa mix comes together in just five minutes when you stir it over the stove with cocoa powder, milk, sugar and a little bit of spice. The best part is that you can customize it to your liking and of course, you get to add as much Kahlua as you want. Got a creme brulee torch lying around? Run it over the marshmallow topping to toast them for bonus points.

6. Coconut Cardamom Bourbon Hot Chocolate

This rich, sweet spiced delight just so happens to be dairy free, vegan and gluten free. Although you can of course sub in regular milk or another non-dairy variety like almond or soy milk, the gentle spice of cardamom creates perfect harmony with the deep, rich coconut milk, vanilla-y bourbon, dark chocolate and coconut whipped cream, so you might want to keep it as is.

7. Pumpkin Butterbeer Hot Chocolate 

Whether you are a Harry Potter fan or not, you’re going to love this magical cinnamon, pumpkin, chocolate and butterscotch twist on your favorite hot drink. If you like things a bit sweeter, you can swap out the bourbon for a complementary flavored booze like Fireball (in which case you’ll want to cut out the added cinnamon) or any dessert flavored vodka like whipped cream, caramel or vanilla (in which case, cut down on the vanilla extract).

Featured Image: christopher cornelius/Flickr

Tags: alcoholic hot chocolate recipe, boozy hot chocolate, hot chocolate, Thirsty Thursday, warm winter cocktails
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Aliens Will Love These 7 Space Themed Cocktails Drinks (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

If you want to throw a creepy party this Halloween, why not go alien-themed?

The outer space sci-fi aesthetic is full of ethereal, shimmering, smoking and sometimes unsettling images, and it lends itself perfectly to the spooky holiday while putting a somewhat different spin on the usual eyeballs and monsters.

Plus, you get to enjoy some thoroughly delicious alien-themed drinks, space drinks, space-themed drinks, and space-themed cocktails, space cocktails, alien cocktails and space themed cocktail drinks.

1. The Color-Changing Martini

Surprisingly, a few dashes of red cabbage juice and baking soda coupled with dry ice make this martini do all kinds of wild things. Note that this is a standard dry martini, so it’s not going to be sweet despite the bright colors.

2. The Fox Mulder

With floral rye whiskey, bright lemon, zingy pineapple juice and a float of ethereal, herbaceous Green Chartreuse, this cocktail somehow manages to taste both out there and grounded at the same time.

3. The Upside Down Blackberry Smash

This “Stranger Things” cocktail is a little spooky, but once you get into it, you’ll find that it’s sweet and, like the Upside Down, a little hard to pull yourself out of. If you don’t want to spring for black food coloring, you can sub in a little activated charcoal or swap the regular vodka for black vodka. Want to make it even more eerie? Add a bit of dry ice like so.

4. Brain Shooter

This nasty little shooter really does look like a brain, though with Southern Comfort (you can use your favorite whiskey or vodka if you’d prefer, though no promises that it’ll look the same), triple sec and Irish cream, it tastes pretty nice. Just make sure to pour the ingredients (which should all be the same temperature) very slowly and carefully so that they layer properly. For something even wilder, here’s how to make an Alien Brain Hemorrhage.

5. Pangalactic Gargleblaster

If you fancy “having your brains smashed in by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick,” then the “Best Drink in Existence” (adapted with Earthly ingredients, of course) is for you. Add a few flakes of gold leaf or a glug of Goldschlager and garnish with a twist if you want!

6. Sonic Screwdriver

sonic screwdriver cockatil

This easy, sweet drink combines the signature blue and green for a gorgeous combination of a few different looks, but if you’d rather have something that looks a little more allons-y and less Geronimo, you can make this version. Feel free to add in your own shimmery liqueur, and don’t forget to GET. YOUR. COAT.

7. The Outer Galaxy

the outer galaxy drink

If you’re craving a big tropical drink but want to keep to the space aesthetic, this is the one for you! If it’s hot out, you can blend the ingredients with ice. Or for an easier, faster version, skip that step and serve it on the rocks. (Star-shaped ice cubes would be fun here!)

Featured Image: Ryan Hyde/FlickrTags: alien cocktail, alien themed drinks, Halloween cocktails, outer space drinks, space cocktails, space drinks, space themed cocktail, space themed cocktail drinks, space themed cocktails, space themed drinks, Stranger Things cocktail, Thirsty Thursday
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Reward Your Inner Child With 7 Candy-Inspired Cocktails (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

It’s time to let loose and indulge. What’ll it be: booze or dessert?

Dilemmas, dilemmas. And this is a near-impossible one.

But you know what? You are a gosh darn adult. You can have both, for goodness’ sake!

If you are technically grown up but secretly a kid at heart, you are probably well aware of the joy of candy-sweet cocktails. Why not whip up a drink based on your favorite sweet treat and let beautiful things happen?

1. Junior Mint Martini

Love the gentle creamy mint taste of this boxed classic? Why not turn it into a rich, elegant dessert cocktail?

2. Laffy Taffy

This tastes just like the chewy fruity candy. Jokes are not attached, but you’ll be making your own after a few sips of the strong, sweet drink.

3. Cotton Candy Cocktail

This one calls for marshmallow vodka, though you can use any similarly sweet flavor, like whipped cream or birthday cake.

4. Nilla Wafer Martini

Just like its namesake, the Nilla Wafer Martini is a little sweet and simple but won’t hit you over the head with heavily concentrated, syrupy concoctions that can be a little tough to stomach at times. This two-ingredient treat makes for a perfect and easy after dinner sipper.

5. Orange Creamsicle

Remember everyone’s favorite popsicle as kids? If you think about it, sweet orange and cream is the absolutely perfect environment to add a few drops of booze. How did I not think of this before?

6. Whiskey and Cola Gummies

You’ve probably had vodka gummy bears, but why not put a new and honestly waaaay better-tasting spin on the boozy snack by soaking soda bottle gummies in a ton of smooth whiskey? It’s the perfect combo. Plus, who doesn’t want to get buzzed off candy?

7. Red Hot Shots

Remember those chewy, spicy cinnamon candies everyone used to love? Well it turns out that those flavors go perfectly with tequila. A few of these and you’ll definitely be feeling nostalgic.

Featured Image: Pixabay

Tags: candy booze, candy cocktails, childhood cocktails, cocktail recipes, Thirsty Thursday
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6 Creepy Cocktails To Get You Into The Halloween Spirit (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

It’s always a treat when Oct. 13 lands on a Friday!

The wildly unlucky day (or extra lucky one, to some!) is a great excuse to celebrate. Grab some friends and go wild on the second spookiest day of the year! Here are some fabulously spooky cocktails you can keep by your side as good luck charms:

1. Monster Mash Slush

With honeydew melon, orange liqueur, citrus and tequila, this tastes a bit like a sweet margarita. Have a couple of them and you’ll surely be doing the mash!

2. Black Cat

With easily blendable vodka, sweet cherry brandy, tart cranberry juice and bubbly cola, this drink sure is an easy sipper. If you want to make it even more festive, consider using some black vodka or a drop of food coloring.

3. The Broken Mirror

With Absinthe, Green Chartreuse, bitters and lime, this well-balanced drink gets a welcome pop of herbal flavors. Plus it’s BRIGHT GREEN!

4. Booger Beer

Gross!! Booger beer sounds like something that would put you off your dinner, but once you taste the dark, rich stout (any type is fine, although Guinness mixes well with sweet things) combined with a bit of Apple Pucker and topped with green marshmallow cream and surprisingly tasty sugared green pea chunks, it’ll be hard to resist.

5. The Conjuring

It looks terrifying, but take a sip and the sweet licorice creaminess of this unusual mix will win you over in a flash!

6. Good Luck Charm

This one is a bit like a good whiskey sour, but it gets an extra kick from limoncello liqueur and a few spearmint leaves for a burst of freshness.

Featured Image: Shanna S/Flickr

Tags: Friday the 13th, Halloween, October cocktails, recipe, Thirsty Thursday
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6 Fab Ginger Cocktails To Warm You On A Chilly Night (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

I LOVE ginger drinks. I could drink Jameson and Gingers, Moscow Mules and Dark and Stormies from now until the end of time, and I’d never complain.

The slightly spicy, fresh root perfectly complements all kinds of boozy flavors, and it is a great flavor to help you enjoy the crisp fall season. But since it goes so well with so many different types of cocktails, why limit yourself to just the classics?

Let’s get a little wild! From lime beer to tequila to apple brandy, here are some cocktail recipes featuring a number of delectable ginger combinations that you probably haven’t thought of:

1. Ginger Beer Party Punch

Bud Light Lime, ginger beer and lemonade make for an excellent crowd sipper! If you want it a little stronger, add a few glugs of vodka or any type of ginger-flavored booze.

2. Pom Pomme

With just four ingredients, this strong yet sweet, perfectly balanced apple-pomegranate cocktail is an excellent way to enjoy fall fruit!

3. Napoleon’s Loss

If for some reason, the delicious name isn’t enough to get you interested in mixing up one of these, the triumphant fall return of robust tequila and smoky mezcal should get you excited to sip one of these.

4. Spicy Ginger Citrus Cocktail

Love Moscow mules? This is basically the same thing, but it gets a welcome extra spicy kick from hot sauce or serrano chilies. You can also infuse your vodka with the serranos. Quarter around 10-15 chilies (jalapenos, habaneros, or any combination thereof also work!) removing the seeds if you like it with a little less heat, and store it in a cool, dry place for a week or so.

5. The Dahlgren

This sweet, spicy highball features tequila, lime, creme de cassis and ginger ale with an extra rich kick from tawny port. A truly unusual yet excellently balanced affair!

6. The Wayland’s Bermuda Black

Love yourself a Dark ‘n Stormy? I sure do too! This is basically a 2.0 version of the old standby, with two different kinds of rum, spicy ginger juice and chocolatey beer (like porter or stout) for an extra fizzy punch. Fun!

Featured Image: Krista/Flickr

Tags: ginger beer, ginger cocktails, ginger syrup drink, Moscow Mule, Thirsty Thursday
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Spice Up Your Life with 7 Cinnamon Cocktails (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

Few things call to mind autumn like a spiced cocktail that warms you to the bone and provides a little tingle in your throat to combat the crisp air. There’s just something about a certain fiery red spice that perfectly accentuates seasonal fall foods like pumpkin and apple.

So if you want to have a red hot evening, grab some cinnamon and your usual cocktail ingredients and get ready to turn things up!

1. Spiced Manhattan

The bittersweet, boozy original is a classic for good reason, but this cognac version is fabulous as well. Sweet vermouth infused with allspice, cinnamon, cloves and cayenne pepper highlight the herbal flavors you get in a Manhattan for a fun fall twist.

2. Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail

Bourbon goes beautifully with apple flavors. So what better way to enjoy the season than mixing it with some fiery apple cider that gets an extra kick from cinnamon and ginger?

3. Holiday Apple Cinnamon Old Fashioned

Swap out the typical aromatic orange peel for a more autumnal apple skin (or an unpeeled apple wheel slice) and sweet apple butter that gets stirred right into the mix. Yum!

4. Coriander and Cinnamon Gin and Tonic

Spiced gin goes so well with a bit of coriander and cinnamon, which bring out the fresh flavors in the liquor for a subtle way to mix up your go-to cocktail. Scroll down to #4 on the recipe page to learn how to make this tasty drink.

5. Caramel Cinnamon Martini

As the weather gets colder and colder, I find myself putting down the fruity cocktails in favor of thicker, desserty drinks. This milk-based RumChata and caramel vodka mixture makes an absolutely fab beverage to sip while you warm yourself by the fire.

6. Apple Pie Moonshine Cocktail

Because any excuse to drink apple pie moonshine is a good one. If you don’t see it in stores near you, it’s not hard to make something similar yourself — here’s how.

7. Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cocktail

Not only is this recipe impossibly easy — it only requires three ingredients (plus optional cinnamon sugar to rim the glass) — it tastes fabulously similar to one of your favorite childhood cereals. Check the accompanying blog post for ideas on how to make other drinks that taste like classic sweet treats such as cinnamon buns, cinnamon grahams and cherry pie.

Featured Image: PX Here

Tags: autumn drink, cinnamon cocktails, seasonal drinks, spiced cocktail, Thirsty Thursday
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Enjoy The Last Of Summer With 7 Watermelon Drinks (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

If you’re clinging wildly to the last few dregs of summer before fall officially begins, I don’t blame you one bit.

As much as I welcome sweater weather and warm, spiced drinks, it can be tough to say goodbye to pool parties, barbecues, sleeping in and that unshakeable feeling of freedom that has been hardwired into us since we were kids — even if we haven’t been able to take a real vacation in years.

Fortunately, you still have a few excuses to avoid acknowledging the start of fall for a bit longer as summer officially winds down.

A bunch of summery produce is still available. For instance, watermelon season is just finishing up (depending on where you live!), so there’s a good chance you can still stock up on the ultimate summery fruit, and what better way to enjoy it than to blend it or juice it into a cocktail?

1. Basil Gimlet Fizz

Does it get more stunning than a clear cocktail with frozen watermelon chunks standing in for ice cubes and big basil leaves floating in this super refreshing, light classic drink? I think not! If you happen to get a dud of watermelon, this is a great use for it, and if you prefer mint, you can definitely use it instead of basil — it’s delicious either way.

2. Peppermelon

Black peppercorn honey syrup brings a certain spicy zing to this sweet watermelon, gin and lime cocktail. It is certainly unexpected, but once you try this one, you’ll fall in love.

3. Watermelon Squares in Campari​

Does this count as a cocktail? I’m saying yes. Count on Martha Stewart to come up with the fanciest possible way to serve up watermelon cubes — by dipping them into bittersweet, herbal Campari liqueur. Delicious!

4. Spicy Cachaca and Watermelon Cooler

If you happen to have some of the spicy, fruity Brazilian spirit that is cachaca, make sure you save a little to mix with watermelon and jalapenos (feel free to use another variety of fresh chili pepper if you prefer your drink flaming hot or on the mild side), because this drink is FIRE.

5. Melon-Mint Sangria

Sweet melon and cooling mint are sure to keep your temperature down as you spit this white wine sangria on one of those still-sweltering afternoons.

6. Watermelon Vodka Slush

Feel free to use regular vodka and add a bit of melon liqueur, as it certainly makes the whole deal absolutely delightful. If you’d like, you can also make this with other, creamier types of melon like cantaloupe, honeydew or a mix thereof.

7. Watermelon Bloody Marys

This savory cocktail has all the usual fixings you’d expect in a Bloody Mary, but the addition of fresh watermelon puree/juice brings a welcome pop of fresh sweetness for a subtle change-up.

Featured Image: Max Pixel

Tags: summer recipes, Thirsty Thursday, watermelon cocktail, watermelon drink, watermelon recipe
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7 Refreshing Apple Cocktails To Get You Ready For Fall (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

If you’re like me, this is you every year starting the first day of September:


From crisp air to soft scarves, pumpkin spice and Halloween, it’s all good in my book. But despite overeager food and beverage companies releasing Halloween candy and pumpkin EVERYTHING in August, the fact remains that it is still technically summer.

So what’s a cocktail-loving foodie to do during this in-between stage, as we tiptoe out of summer and prepare for the dive into autumn?

Transition into the new season with some apple goodness! Apple-flavored cocktails hang onto that last ray of light, summer fruity flavors while bringing in new chilly weather staples like cinnamon and other spices as well as richer desserty ingredients like caramel and cream.

1. Autumn Spiced Tonic

You’ll want to plan this one a couple days in advance, so you have enough time to infuse your vodka with apple, pear and cinnamon. If you’re short on time (I don’t blame you!), you can always just serve regular (or pear- or apple-flavored) vodka with a whole cinnamon stick and plop some juicy apple and pear slices right in as floating garnishes.

2. Tangy Cider Fizz

This drink is the perfect summer-fall hybrid, with rich apple cider, brown sugar and Carpano Antica (Italian vermouth) setting the fall aesthetics, while lemon and seltzer keep it bright and fresh.

3. Apple Elixir

Apple fans will love this triple threat, which boasts strong apple brandy, unfiltered sweet cider and tart hard cider. Lemon and spices bring it all home with a harmonious kick.

4. Orchard Boulevardier

Ever had a Boulevardier? It’s a lot like a Negroni with Campari and sweet vermouth, though it branches out with some whiskey instead of gin. But when you top the bittersweet medley off with hot cider (ice it if you’d rather), you get a delightfully comforting, entirely new taste.

5. Baileys Caramel Appletini

This creamy cocktail tastes just like those caramel-covered apple lollipops! If you can’t find caramel Irish cream, regular stuff is fine — just add a spoonful of caramel sauce or syrup to your shaker for the same effect.

6. Apple Crisp

With quick cardamom-infused bourbon (only 1 ½ hours rather than the usual several days for infused booze), honey syrup, apple brandy and lemon juice, this fizzy drink is light, fresh and autumnal to boot.

7. Apple and Gin Autumn Cocktail

With gin, apple cider, fresh thyme, spicy cinnamon and a bit of lemon and honey, this iced drink is as smooth and exciting as it gets!

Featured Image: Timothy Krause/Flickr

Tags: apple cocktails, apple drink, apple recipe, fall cocktail, Thirsty Thursday
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Stay Cool With These 7 Boozy Popsicles (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

Summer is great! You get sunny days, beach trips, tans and all sorts of fun outdoor activities.

But then you also have those days when the thermostat is about to max out, and it’s quite simply too hot for life.

Those days, when you feel like you’re about to melt, are the ones that are perfect for boozy popsicles — they’ll cool you right off.

There’s just something about the adult addition to the favorite childhood treat that brings things full circle when it comes to indulging — plus, booze cuts through any cloying sugary flavors and makes them a little more complex. You’ll love these tipsy pops!

1. Kim Crawford Wines Citrus Sangria Pop​

The fruity drinkability of sangria is always a win in my book. Just wait until you taste it as a popsicle!

25 ounces Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
1 cup sugar
4 cups fresh-squeezed orange juice
1 cup citrus vodka
1 orange, sliced
1/2 pineapple, diced
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 lemon, sliced

Fully dissolve sugar into orange juice. Add remaining ingredients and let rest at room temperature for 6 hours. Strain-out the fruit. Pour liquid into preferred popsicle vessel and freeze. Hold popsicles below zero degrees for best results. 

2. Peach Bourbon Lemonade Ice Pops

Peach lemonade is a delectable treat to enjoy on its own. Add some whiskey and freeze it, and you’ll be on another level!

2 cups lemonade
1 cup peach puree
2 ounces bourbon

Full instructions here.

3. Kim Crawford Winds Watermelon Basil Mojito Pops

How much does this one make you want to sit by a pool and sip on it while dipping your toes? A ton, probably. You’ll love this fresh, bright fruity spin on the classic cocktail.

25 ounces Kim Crawford Rose
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups fresh watermelon juice
1/3 cup vanilla vodka
1 splash fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 cup fresh cubed watermelon

Fully dissolve sugar into watermelon juice and ensure sugar is completely dissolved. Mix all remaining ingredients together and let rest at room temperature for 6 hours. Fill desired popsicle vessels and freeze. Hold popsicles below zero degrees for best results. 

4. Tropical Tequila Sunrise Ice Pops

How stunning is that gradual ombre-style effect? It’s so easy to make, too!

2 cups pineapple juice
1 pound fresh pineapple, peeled and pureed
3/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup grenadine

Full instructions here.

5. Bourbon Butterscotch Latte Poptails

Craving a rich, creamy dessert? These boozy, buttery coffee pops will no doubt do the trick.

16 ounces strong or extra bold coffee, room temperature
4 ounces heavy cream
4 ounces bourbon
2 ounces butterscotch sauce

Full instructions here.

6. Kim Crawford Red Wine Cocoa Pops

Want something sophisticated, chocolaty and date-friendly? I’ve got what you’re looking for right here with this rich, smooth, decadent delight.

25 ounces Kim Crawford Pinot Noir 
3 cups strawberry puree
3 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup framboise liqueur
1/2 cup chocolate liqueur
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar 
12 ounces fresh sliced strawberries

Heat cream, puree and sugar on stove, add cocoa powder and make sure sugar is completely dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and pour into desired popsicle vessel. Hold popsicles below zero degrees for best results.

7. Boozy Campari Citrus Pops

This bittersweet spritzer-friendly liqueur is somehow even better when frozen. Who knew that was possible?

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 cups grapefruit juice or orange juice (add a squeeze of lemon if using orange)
1/2 cup Campari

Full instructions here.

Featured Image: Jennifer Chait/Flickr

Tags: alcoholic dessert, Boozy Popsicles, spiked push pops, summer cocktails, Thirsty Thursday
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Try These 6 Spirits You Probably Haven’t Heard Of! (Photos)


By Cooking Panda

There’s more to life than just vodka, rum, gin, whiskey, scotch, tequila and mezcal.

No, seriously. There’s so much more.

There’s Ancho Reyes, Cynar and Zirbenz, for example.

If you love to try new things and feel like it’s time to mix up your Thirsty Thursday menu beyond just buying a different brand of vodka this time around, why not consider picking up a totally new spirit that you’ve never tried — and possibly never even heard of — before.

Check it out! Here are some lesser-known, but totally awesome, liquors and liqueurs that you should try to get your hands on, courtesy, of Eater and Delish:

1. Batavia-Arrack

This Indonesian liquor is made with fermented red rice and sugarcane (although similar spirits called “arrack” or “arak” can be found throughout Southeast Asia). And it’s popular in Sweden, too, thanks to the nation’s East India Company. If you love rum, you should absolutely try this bright, smoky spirit.

2. Cynar

This earthy, woody, bittersweet Italian liqueur is fabulous with some sweet, smoky Scotch for a sophisticated, strong drink.

3. Ancho Reyes

Looking for something versatile with a wildly spicy kick? Then you’ll love this Ancho Chile Liqueur, which has a thick heat to it that creates the dominant flavor in this cane liquor. Use this dark, earthy Mexican spirit as you would tequila, mezcal, whiskey or rum.

4. Zirbenz 

This Austrian liqueur comes from Arolla pine cones, which kind of sounds like sipping on Pine Sol, but this wintry drink actually has a lot more than that going for it: it’s spicy and smoky, and a bit more subtle than you’d expect. Pair it with tequila for true happiness.

5. Raki

Powerfully anise-flavored, it’s frighteningly easy to down this sweet Turkish spirit, which is best over ice and watered down … Or you can get wild and serve it in a pineapple sour, maybe?

6. China-China

Funny story, this digestive is actually French in origin. It is distilled with sweet and bitter orange peels, botanicals and spices. It’s great on ice or in a spritzer, and you can swap it out for other bitter liqueurs like vermouth or amaro.

Sources: Delish, Eater / Featured Image: Chris Pople/Flickr / Embedded Images: Alpenz, Delish, Eater

Tags: different spirits to use, new liquor to try, obscure spirits, Thirsty Thursday, unusual liqueur
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9 New Old-Fashioneds You Should Be Making (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

Feeling elegant? I don’t know about you, but I’m in the mood for a sleek, fun cocktail that’s not only easy to make but gives my guests the false impression that I’m super classy.

Enter the old-fashioned, a simple yet classic and perfectly delicious cocktail.

It’s strong, but you can make it as sweet as you like. If you’ve never tried one, you should definitely whip one up. Here’s how to make the classic recipe.

But of course, if you’ve had a few of these in your day, you might be looking to branch out. Here are some delicious ways to do that!

1. Blood Orange Old-Fashioned

It’s a small change, but a bit of this dark, sweet citrus will bring your old-fashioned to a totally new level. This is a great one for those who don’t like to deviate too much from the classics but want to try something new.

2. Spicy Old-Fashioned

A hot pepper paired with some bitters, sweet maple syrup and bold anejo tequila (or mezcal if you’re in the mood). If you can’t find a Fresno chile, you can use a serrano or jalapeno — or even a habanero if you’re feeling wild. 

3. Grilled Pineapple Old-Fashioned

Make sure your pineapple is plenty sweet. (Also, if you like your drinks on the sweeter side, muddle in a bit of brown sugar.) Want to highlight the smokier side of this charred cocktail? Rinse your glass with mezcal or peaty scotch like so.

4. Apple Cider Rum Old-Fashioned

If you miss the cozy, spiced flavors of autumn, you can’t do much better than this gingery, brown sugar-laden old-fashioned that has amazing apple cider ice cubes! Here’s how to make your own ginger liqueur.

5. Gin Old-Fashioned

Gin lovers, there’s a place for you at this table too! There are a bunch of different ways to make this cocktail — whether you like it classic or sweeter — but using Genever is surely the best bet!

6. Sour Cherry Old-Fashioned

A subtle way to mix things up: Swap out your usual bright red maraschino cherries for the sour variety and add strips of lemon zest for a tart yet sweet spin on your favorite.

7. Grilled-Peach Old-Fashioned

What does every old-fashioned secretly want? A big, juicy charred peach and some fresh herbs of course!

8. Chai Honey Old-Fashioned

Chai lovers will absolutely adore how spiced this infused bourbon is. Who would have thought it was so simple to make such a fancy drink?

9. Bacon Bourbon Old-Fashioned

Everybody knows that bacon makes everything better, and this bacon fat-infused bourbon is certainly no exception! And bacon + maple + orange is always a good idea, right?

Featured Image: Sam Howzit/Flickr

Tags: cocktails, drink recipe, Old Fashioned cocktail, old fashioned recipe, Thirsty Thursday
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7 Delicious Types Of Sangria You Should Make (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

Sangria, anyone?

The wine-based libation always strikes me as a rare treat — something you might indulge in at a fancy dinner or a classy cocktail party. Indeed, there’s a lot to love about the drink that somehow manages to be both elegant and fun at the same time, but there’s absolutely nothing exclusive about it.

Sangria is one of the easiest drinks to make. You need little more than wine and fruit, and it is both budget-friendly (the cheaper the wine, the better since you’ll be doctoring it up anyway) and darn near foolproof.

From the classic to the nearly wacky (but still delicious!), here are some great sangria recipes that will really impress your guests!

1. Three-Ingredient Sangria

Here’s your run-of-the-mill, standard sangria. And yet it’s so much more than that, as both new and experienced drinkers alike can attest to! Feel free to use the wine, soda and fruit formula and experiment with it as you please.

2. Mango Strawberry Sangria

Delicious and refreshing! This one is fabulous virgin, too. You can swap out the booze for something like sparkling apple cider, white grape juice or lemonade.

3. Mint and Citrus White Wine Sangria

There’s something just totally upscale yet fun about this pale, tangy version that almost tastes more like a gimlet or mojito. For an extra kick, add a splash of tequila, rum, citrus sparkling water, ginger ale or lemon-lime soda.

4. Sparkling Sangria

Brandy and triple sec make this cocktail strong but sneaky, so be careful! You can use any fruit you want, though I think this would be particularly stunning with a sliced blood orange.

5. Iced Tea Sangria

I absolutely love this one with a mild-flavored tea like a white or a fruit tea, though it’s also quite nice with a gentle green. Want to use red wine instead? Consider pairing it with a more robust tea, like spiced orange, plus a splash of brandy or triple sec wouldn’t hurt.

6. Rhubarb Sangria

This light, sparkling pink drink is stunning, and it’s so good with the classic strawberry-rhubarb pairing.

7. Peach Sangria Slushies

Need something supremely refreshing to cool you off? Consider freezing and blending your sangria like so. P.S. This recipe is great with frozen peaches, and you won’t need to blanch them like it says to in the instructions.

Featured Photo Credit: Public Domain Pictures

Tags: easy cocktail recipe, Sangria, sangria recipe, summer cocktails, Thirsty Thursday
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Take A Vacation With These 6 Hawaiian Cocktails (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

Did you know that I’m kind of psychic?

Let me show you.

Right about now, you want to be on a tropical, breezy Hawaiian island with dense black sand or soft green grass between your toes, breathing in the gentle fragrance of local flowers and sipping on something fruity and alcoholic.

How did I do?

Sadly, most of us can’t be on a tropical beach right now (shout out to those who are — I’m jealous of you), but at least we can all enjoy tropical cocktails.

1. Expert-Level Mai Tai

You’ve probably had a Mai Tai before. If you haven’t, you’ve likely at least heard of the delightfully strong drink that features citrus juice, lovely almond-flavored orgeat syrup and orange curacao liqueur, with dark rum floated on top. This drink may have been invented in California, but its quintessentially tropical flavors will immediately transport you to an island paradise.

2. Tropical Itch

With passion fruit, rum and orange liqueur, this drink tastes a lot like your standard tiki fare — but once you add a hefty dose of bourbon and a couple dashes of bitters, you’ll see that this cocktail has a lot more going on than meets the eye, and the darker flavors perfectly complement the fruity, floral tones to make them stand out.

3. Bahama Mama

Orange juice, pineapple juice, rum and grenadine kick this off like a Mai Tai, but things get a little more interesting when you add some vanilla and coffee flavors. It sounds a little unexpected, but they bring the most satisfying pop of complexity to what would otherwise be a super sweet drink.

4. Coconut Mojito

Fresh minty mojitos are always glorious and never go out of style, but if you want to put a decadent tiki twist on the classic Cuban drink, try adding a bit of coconut rum and cream of coconut, and swap out the regular sugar for the darker brown variety.

5. Lava Flow

Everyone knows the classic Pina Colada, and for good reason, but if you want to really elevate it another notch, consider blending it with strawberries and a banana (frozen, if you want a thicker milkshake texture). This is a great one to make virgin and serve to the kids and non-drinkers too!

6. Haupia Nightcap

If you’re looking for a tasty dessert cocktail that’s more creamy than fruity, this coffee, vanilla and rum drink will do it for you. The coconut milk keeps things tropical-tasting, while its velvety thickness mixes perfectly with the decidedly rich flavors.

Tags: cocktail recipes, Hawaiian cocktails, summer cocktails, Thirsty Thursday, tiki drinks
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8 Cocktails You Should Drink This Summer (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

It’s hot out there! 

You’re going to want to stay properly hydrated, so it’s important to make sure your drinks are ice cold, refreshing and boozy to boot!

Add some fruit, herbs and maybe a few floral flavors and you’re good to go — you’ll have the most deliciously summery, buzzed beverages that are sure to be a hit with guests.

1. Rose Sangria

The melon balls are a gorgeous, scrumptious addition to the classic drink. Rose makes it decidedly more summery, but you’re encouraged to use whatever cheap wine you have on hand — even better if it’s a reject that you had a taste of and didn’t care for. You’re adding soda, fruity flavors and more booze to it anyway.

2. Fresh Watermelon Mint Juleps

Mint juleps are nice, but they can be a bit strong when you’re trying to whet your whistle. Adding some juicy fresh watermelon gives you a little extra hydration, plus watermelon and mint are always fabulous together!

3. Spiked Cherry Mint Spritzer

There’s a secret ingredient that makes this sparkling lemonade cocktail absolutely wonderful, but you probably wouldn’t guess it: cherry (or any other berry) preserves! It’s lightly sweet and just so delicious!

4. Kombucha Mojitos

Sounds a little weird, but the fizzy earthiness of kombucha (preferably a plain or floral flavor) is just perfect for this cocktail. If you’re not feeling it, you’re more than welcome to use a dry cider for a similar effect.

5. Strawberry Chamomile Paloma

This one is delicious if you make it virgin, too! Palomas are usually made with tart, bittersweet grapefruit juice, but this recipe swaps it out for light, floral chamomile and bright, summery strawberries.

6. Peach and Fizzy Grapefruit Float

Besides the optional herbal garnish, all you need are three ingredients: grapefruit soda, peach ice cream and Campari. This is really versatile, and you can use just about any soda that’s not overly sweet — like ginger beer, apple soda, pear soda or even hard cider — just about any kind of ice cream — vanilla or any fruit flavor are particularly fabulous — and your booze of choice — sweet vermouth, bourbon or brandy would be nice. Follow your heart.

7. Gin-Spiked Earl Grey (Adult) Iced Tea

Botanical gin + malty, floral Earl Grey syrup are meant to be together. Top with ginger ale or a similar mild soda to brighten it up even more.

8. Lemon-Thyme Tequila Spritzer

This is about as light and refreshing as it gets! If you don’t have thyme available, you’re more than welcome to swap it out for a similar herb like rosemary, sage or basil, or you could even use lavender.

Featured Photo Credit: Pexels

Tags: cocktail recipe, refreshing cocktail recipe, summer cocktails, Summer drinks, Thirsty Thursday
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8 Cocktails To Make For The Fourth Of July (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

How’s your cocktail game?

Make sure it’s on point for any Fourth of July festivities. Whether you want a smooth, classic and sophisticated drink suited for a sunny afternoon, or you’re more in the mood for a red, white and blue sweet treat, I’ve got you covered!


1. Tipsy Arnold Palmer

Is there anything that this supremely refreshing classic drink can’t do? It doesn’t seem that way. If you like it a little sweeter, you’re more than welcome to mix in some honey, extra simple syrup and/or mint. For the full recipe (including how to make the iced tea from scratch), click here.

8 cups iced black tea, sweetened
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup Bulleit bourbon

2. Sandia Margarita

What goes better with a barbecue than cool, juicy hunks of watermelon? A watermelon margarita, that’s what! Pro-tip: Freeze the watermelon chunks so that they keep your drink extra cold. If you want, you can also blend this up with some ice (and mint, if you’d like) for a more decadent approach.

1 1/4 ounces DeLeon Platinum Tequila
3/4 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce agave
3 large chunks of watermelon

3. Red Sangria

Sangria is great, because you can throw together a bunch of stuff willy-nilly and it’ll still taste good, if you want to diverge from the recipe, so feel free to improvise based on what fruit is fresh and available. Let the sangria mix mingle for between a few hours and a day before you serve!

1 bottle of mid-range red wine
1/2 cup liquor (great with a mix of brandy and orange liqueur)
2 peaches, sliced
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1 lemon, sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
Sparkling water, to top upon serving

4. DeLeon Repoloma

If you’ve never had a Paloma, give this excellent version a try! You can make it as sweet as you want, but it’ll still have that tart, slightly bitter kick from the grapefruit that goes stupendously well with this slightly spicy, robust yet balanced tequila.

1 1/2 ounces DeLeon Reposado Tequila
1 ounce grapefruit juice
3/4 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Pinch of Kosher salt

5. Platinum Fresco

If you’re running around or swimming on a hot afternoon, or the temperatures climb past what is pleasant on Independence Day, make sure that you and your guests stay hydrated, especially if you’re drinking a lot of booze. That’s where this coconut water mixture comes in. It’s sort of like a lighter spin on a pina colada, so you know those flavors are going to work.

1 1/2 ounces DeLeon Tequila
1 1/2 ounces coconut water
1 1/2 ounces pineapple juice

6. Patriotic Passion Cocktail

I absolutely love the stunning, festive jicama stars (if you must, you can use green apple slices instead), although any shape will go smoothly with this perfectly balanced drink.

3 ounces vodka
1 ounce Blue Curacao
2 1/2 ounces unfiltered apple juice
1 1/2 ounces lime juice
1 ounce jicama stars (see recipe)
2 tablespoons raspberries 

7. Bomb Pop Jell-O Shots

The star molds look awesome and patriotic, but if that’s too much work, you can just make them straight in little clear plastic cups.

8. El Nino

Do you love tiki drinks? The ingredient list for them can be a little overwhelming, but with just four ingredients, including almond syrup and tropical, flavorful passion fruit juice, this recipe proves that it’s not as hard as you’d think to whip up a perfectly beachy concoction.

1 1/4 ounces DeLeon Reposado
3/4 ounce lime juice
3/4 ounce passion fruit juice
3/4 ounce orgeat

Featured Photo Credit: Pixabay

Tags: Fourth of July cocktails, patriotic cocktails, summer cocktail recipes, Thirsty Thursday, what to drink on July 4
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These 9 Frozen Cocktails Will Cool You Right Off (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

You look a little warm there, buddy.

It’s officially summer, and boy does the weather know it. It can be pretty miserable when you’re caught in a heat wave, but the nice thing about the blistering heat is that it comes with the wonderful opportunity to do whatever you can to cool off and stay comfortable, which usually means drinking a lot of cold things.

So naturally, when Thirsty Thursday hits, that means one thing: It’s time for cocktail slushies! Talk about a fun way to refresh yourself …

1. Peach and Rose Slushie

Got a big load of fresh peaches that you don’t know what to do with? I’m sure a party full of guests could help you polish these sweet, summery slushies off pretty quickly. P.S. Feel free to use frozen peaches, if you don’t have an excess of fresh ones around.

2. Cantaloupe, Mint and Campari Slushie

Between the bright orange cantaloupe, cool mint, bittersweet Campari and exciting fizz, you’ll feel like you’re lounging on the Italian riviera with this vacation in a glass.

3. Frozen Bloody Mary

Bloody Marys are the ultimate daytime cocktail, so it’s only natural that you’ll want to freeze them for brunch on a sunny day. But hold your horses! This is no ordinary Mary. This one, which features frozen tomatoes instead of ice, is made from scratch and really boasts a stupendous flavor. You’d be amazed at how a tiny bit more effort makes all the difference.

4. Pear Slushy Cocktail

The secret to this bourbon and bitters drink is the frozen, blended pear cider that brings this tasty drink to a whole new fizzy level. If you don’t have pear cider, you can swap it out for any similar flavor, like apple, or you can just use apple or pear soda.

5. Watermelon Limoncello Prosecco Slushies

Between the mint, limoncello and watermelon, this cocktail is about as cool and refreshing as it gets. If mint isn’t your thing, basil would work just as well.

6. Kicked-Up Coffee Granita with Baileys and Kahlua

Iced coffee is great, but it has one major downfall: As the cubes start to melt, the beverage quickly becomes watered down. But this slightly sweet, creamy and delightfully strong coffee drink doesn’t mess around with any of that nonsense, and it’ll stay bright and strong the whole time.

7. Pomegranate Lemon Slushie

Ok, this sweet and tart grown-up version of a Slurpee doesn’t include booze in the recipe, but it’s a pretty simple, seamless adjustment: Add in a couple of ounces of vodka (fruit flavored would be great!), tequila or rum and you’ll be in business.

8. Riesling Peach And Cherry Slushies

As amazing as this one would be with white cherries, you’re more than welcome to swap them out for raspberries or really any other complementary flavor. Feel free to mix it up!

9. Tea and Bourbon Slushies

Sweet tea fiends will fall in love with this stupendously simple frozen cocktail that features water, sugar, tea and bourbon. Yep, easy four-ingredient magic! It wouldn’t be a bad idea to garnish with fresh lemon or peach slices though, or even blend in a little juice if you’re feeling it.

Featured Photo Credit: Travis Isaacs/Flickr

Tags: boozy slushy, granita recipe, hot weather cocktail recipe, summer cocktails, Thirsty Thursday
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You’ll Want To Drink These 8 Gin Cocktails Right Now (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

Gin is a fabulous spirit, it really is. There’s just something about its easy, herbal flavor that makes it absolutely perfect to mix into cocktails around spring and summer. 

Its light, refreshing and botanical notes just blend so seamlessly with just about everything I want to drink right now, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s get mixing!

1. The Knickroni

Half Negroni, half Knickebein, this wild libation has campari, sweet vermouth and gin for that classic bittersweet cocktail, but it also has an egg yolk, meringue and orange bitters to bring it all home. Try this one if you love Negronis and want to make them even more extravagant!

2. Grapefruit Tarragon Gin and Tonic

Ever had grapefruit and tarragon together? The bright, bitter citrus perfectly cuts through the bittersweet licorice-like flavor, and the classic gin and tonic combo finish it off for a brilliantly colored, complex sipper.

3. Veranda Way

This unique drink includes tepache, a fermented, fizzy pineapple drink that hails from Mexico. There’s a recipe included for the stuff, but if you’re not keen on making it yourself, you can use a bit of dry hard cider instead.

4. Celery Tonic

Earthy, refreshing celery is a natural match for the herbal notes you find in gin. Plus, the green color makes this lemony drink just that much more exciting. Add a cucumber slice garnish if you want to bring out those fresh, cool notes.

5. Rhubarb Sour

Yeah, you know how simple, classic whiskey sours always manage to hit the spot? This gin version, featuring rhubarb syrup and an egg white (for an extra silkiness — trust, it’s delicious) will really do the trick for you, especially if you order whiskey sours on the regular and want to switch it up.

6. Cucumber Gin Lemonade

You probably knew that cucumber and gin are a match made in heaven, considering that some spirits, like Hendrick’s, are actually made with the savory fruit. So what happens when you add fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and club soda to the mix? Go find out for yourself — I highly recommend it!

7. Honey Sage Gin Fizz

A gin fizz is a great cocktail on its own, but when you throw in some honey sage infused syrup (if you must avoid sage, you can use rosemary or basil, but the sage is brilliant), it takes this drink to a whole new level. And things only get more exciting from there: add a smoked honey bacon rim because…well, why wouldn’t you?

8. Rhubarb and Rose Ramos Gin Fizz

An extra floral, tart pop makes this insanely fluffy yet rich New Orleans drink go down just that much smoother, as the nice bittersweet, refreshing addition modernizes the classic drink and adds a little contrast to the thick, creamy cocktail.

Featured Photo Credit: Farther Along/Flickr

Tags: cocktail recipe, gin cocktail, gin recipe, summer cocktails, Thirsty Thursday
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You’ll Want To Drink These 8 Gin Cocktails Right Now (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

Gin is a fabulous spirit, it really is. There’s just something about its easy, herbal flavor that makes it absolutely perfect to mix into cocktails around spring and summer. 

Its light, refreshing and botanical notes just blend so seamlessly with just about everything I want to drink right now, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s get mixing!

1. The Knickroni

Half Negroni, half Knickebein, this wild libation has campari, sweet vermouth and gin for that classic bittersweet cocktail, but it also has an egg yolk, meringue and orange bitters to bring it all home. Try this one if you love Negronis and want to make them even more extravagant!

2. Grapefruit Tarragon Gin and Tonic

Ever had grapefruit and tarragon together? The bright, bitter citrus perfectly cuts through the bittersweet licorice-like flavor, and the classic gin and tonic combo finish it off for a brilliantly colored, complex sipper.

3. Veranda Way

This unique drink includes tepache, a fermented, fizzy pineapple drink that hails from Mexico. There’s a recipe included for the stuff, but if you’re not keen on making it yourself, you can use a bit of dry hard cider instead.

4. Celery Tonic

Earthy, refreshing celery is a natural match for the herbal notes you find in gin. Plus, the green color makes this lemony drink just that much more exciting. Add a cucumber slice garnish if you want to bring out those fresh, cool notes.

5. Rhubarb Sour

Yeah, you know how simple, classic whiskey sours always manage to hit the spot? This gin version, featuring rhubarb syrup and an egg white (for an extra silkiness — trust, it’s delicious) will really do the trick for you, especially if you order whiskey sours on the regular and want to switch it up.

6. Cucumber Gin Lemonade

You probably knew that cucumber and gin are a match made in heaven, considering that some spirits, like Hendrick’s, are actually made with the savory fruit. So what happens when you add fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and club soda to the mix? Go find out for yourself — I highly recommend it!

7. Honey Sage Gin Fizz

A gin fizz is a great cocktail on its own, but when you throw in some honey sage-infused syrup (if you must avoid sage, you can use rosemary or basil, but the sage is brilliant), it takes this drink to a whole new level. And things only get more exciting from there: Add a smoked honey bacon rim because … well, why wouldn’t you?

8. Rhubarb and Rose Ramos Gin Fizz

An extra floral, tart pop makes this insanely fluffy yet rich New Orleans drink go down just that much smoother, as the nice bittersweet, refreshing addition modernizes the classic drink and adds a little contrast to the thick, creamy cocktail.

Featured Photo Credit: Farther Along/Flickr

Tags: gin, gin cocktails, gin recipes, summer cocktails, Thirsty Thursday
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8 Boozy Milkshakes For Your Inner Child And Outer Adult (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

There are a lot of dreadful things about growing up. Paying bills, working and taking care of yourself — and maybe even others — can be a real drag sometimes, but there’s one thing that we have now that we didn’t when we were kids: milkshakes with alcohol in them.

Boozy milkshakes are the perfect way to cool off, relax and unwind on a warm Thirsty Thursday, no matter what tedious, exhausting thing you probably spent the day doing.

Ultimately, you can dump liquor and/or liqueur into just about any milkshake you want. Personally, I recommend using whipped or similarly sweet vodka or a smooth, drinkable whiskey that’s on the sweeter side, like Irish whiskey. But if you really want to take it the extra mile, here are some of the best things you can do with a carton of ice cream and a bottle of booze:

1. Boozy Peaches and Cream Milkshake

It’s peach season in most places across the country! In case you are tired of the many delicious cobblers to be made throughout the summer, try this out, because who can turn down a milkshake crammed full of booze and fresh fruit? Not I!

2. Irish Coffee Milkshake With Whiskey Caramel

Bold coffee ice cream intensified with deep espresso powder, boozy caramel sauce and smooth Irish whiskey (or bourbon, or whatever you want to use) come together for a luxurious treat. Add some Irish cream liqueur if you want to make it even more decadent.

3. Boozy Banana Cream Pie Milkshake

This graham cracker and vodka milkshake is so thick and creamy that you won’t even be able to tell that it is *whispers* low calorie. GASP! The secret? The ice cream is cut with frozen bananas and a bit of Greek yogurt to mimic ice cream’s texture for a decadent treat that’s sort of diet friendly.

4. Kahlua Cookies and Cream Milkshake

Feel free to experiment with the cookies you are using — biscoff, Thin Mints, chocolate chip, circus animals … The sky is the limit! If you want to make it even creamier (and a little boozier), you can also swap out half of the milk for Irish cream liqueur.

5. Drunken Jelly Doughnut Milkshake

The strawberry jam and Grand Marnier (any similar orange liqueur is fine too) create a stupendously fruity, tangy freshness, while actual cake donuts get blended into this for an extra treat.

6. Spiked Fruity Pebbles Milkshake

This recipe includes an option to make your own ice cream out of Fruity Pebbles milk, but if you’re not in the mood for all that work, feel free to skip that step and grab either vanilla or milk-flavored ice cream and blend in the actual cereal (you’ll get a lovely crunchy texture!) with a bit of lime and/or lemon zest.

7. Boozy S’Mores Shake

Between the graham cracker crumbles, chocolate ganache and marshmallow fluff, this drink will have you feeling nice and toasty, as if you’re sitting around a campfire. If S’mores vodka is too hard to find, you can always use any other corresponding flavor, like vanilla, whipped cream, chocolate or just plain.

8. Lavender and White Chocolate Boozy Milkshakes

If you want something fresh and summery but decadent and rich to boot, this sophisticated lavender milkshake will do it for you. Feel free to make this as chocolatey as you want, and if white chocolate isn’t your thing, you can always sub it out for milk chocolate or dark chocolate.

Featured Photo Credit: JohnnyMrNinja/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons

Tags: adult milkshake recipe, alcoholic milkshakes, boozy milkshake, dessert cocktail, Thirsty Thursday
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8 Phenomenal Cocktails Perfect For June (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

May is gone, June is here and summer is fast approaching.

Aack! What do we drink? Don’t worry, friends, I’ve got it all sorted out for you. Whip up any of these lovely, refreshing cocktails to usher in the new season, whether you’re by yourself or throwing a huge party. 

These crowd-pleasers are always a big hit, so sit back, relax and enjoy!

1. Planter’s Punch

Why not kick off the summer months with a classic, intensely strong, rummy sweet/bitter drink?

2. Summerlin

Few things feel as summery as easy-to-mix rum. Combine that with fresh watermelon juice, lemon juice, simple syrup and an optional (but outstanding) cracked pepper garnish for a crisp libation. Want to get even more festive? Make it in a big batch and serve in a watermelon keg.

3. Ten Rickey

It’s easy to think of all summery drinks as being sweet and crammed full of fruit, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Refreshing cocktails can be simple too, like this classic fizzy sweet and sour gin number.

4. Cucumber Basil Gimlet 

If you’ve never had a gimlet before, you might think of it as an outdated old person drink. Try it and you’ll realize how wrong you were — the perfectly balanced sweet and sour cocktail is a refreshing delight. Add cucumber and gin and you’ll be completely amazed at the smooth green summer perfection that is this drink.

5. June Gloom

This slightly bitter yet bright drink is absolutely popping with citrus. The activated charcoal brings the “gloom” to this riff on a margarita, but you can absolutely leave it out if you’d prefer.

6. Maryum’s Grass Skirt

A number of unexpected flavor combos come together to bring an exciting complexity to this unusually interesting and deliciously beachy drink. You’ll be amazed at how smooth this mix of rum, rose hip, pineapple, mint, brandied cherries and a splash of rye whiskey is.

7. Fig and Walnut Julep

This ever-so-slightly earthy, deep and sweet drink has everything you want, all rolled into one. The ingredient list is a bit long but well worth it. Looking for something simpler? Here are 10 different ways you can riff on a mint julep.

8. Caribeno

With coconut water, soft white rum, lime juice and simple syrup to sweeten the deal, this hydrating cocktail will cool you off on even the hottest of days. Considering the nourishing aspect of coconut water, this might also be a good one to drink if you’re nursing a hangover and looking for some hair of the dog.

Featured Photo Credit: Pexels

Tags: June cocktails, light summery cocktails, Summer drinks, Thirsty Thursday, what to drink in June
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9 Excuses To Drink Your Cocktails Out Of Fruit (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

Want an easy way to impress your guests?

Let’s have a little fun. Forget avocado lattes (seriously, forget them, please!), it’s all about cocktails served inside actual fruit. Does it get any more enjoyable?

1. Tiger Shark Inside a Pineapple Goblet

Here’s an easy way to turn a pineapple into the most fun cup ever. You can absolutely fill this with whatever tropical drink you like — it would be great with a pina colada or Blue Hawaiian, for example — but if you want something strong, tasty and simple, I highly recommend this three-rum concoction.

2. Luau Coconut

Are coconuts technically fruit? It’s complicated, but WHO FREAKING CARES. This strong and super coconutty drink that gets just a dash of fruit to keep things tasty is about as luxurious as it gets.

3. Tropical Pineapple Coconut Sangria

This is the best way to celebrate National Wine Day on May 25! Serve it in a pineapple goblet (#1) or a coconut (#2) and enjoy!

4. Watermelon Keg​

You can also get a smaller melon and turn it into a fishbowl to share, if you’d prefer. Fill it up with spiked watermelon punch for a tropical, fruity coconut mix that is deceptively strong.

5. Cantaloupe Juice

This drink is sweet, refreshing and a little bit creamy, just like the real fruit. Delicious!

6. The Botanist

This savory springtime cocktail technically gets served inside of a vegetable, but I’m pretty sure you’ll forgive me when you realize how bright and refreshing it is.

7. Chocolate Covered Strawberry Shot Glasses

You can do so much better than your average run-of-the-mill Jell-O shots. Take this classy and classic dessert and turn it into a sophisticated version of the infamous party drink, and you’ll never look back.

8. Apple Cider Cups

If you long for fall or miss the coziness of winter, consider serving up some apple cider or mulled wine inside an actual apple garnished with some whole spices. This apple vessel is absolutely perfect with this Spiked Salted Caramel Apple Cider recipe.

9. Cucumber Gimlet Shots

An adorable and naughty way to get your daily dose of veggies!

Featured Photo Credit: Sarah_Ackerman/Flickr

Tags: coconut drink, drink in fruit, pineapple drink, Thirsty Thursday, tiki drink recipe
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