All posts in Drink Recipes

The 89'er Blue and Gold

A Salute to USNA ’89 Women

July 2, 1985, I stood in the humid Annapolis afternoon and raised my hand with 1374 others, of which 135 of us were women, and took the oath as a Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy. It’s not a fact many know, or that I share often outside of those uncomfortable and awkward getting to know you bingo games featuring personal trivia. (Which I always win because no one EVER associates US Naval Academy with me.)

I’m not embarrassed of my time at the Academy. I am proud. But when I left after a year and a half, and watched so many friends tough out their college years there and then serve honorably in the Navy or Marine Corp, my eighteen month stint seemed trivial. Plus, I had moved physically beyond the corridors of Bancroft Hall, the Academy’s massive dormitory which houses all 5,000 or so Midshipmen. And with the physical move, I also needed to embrace psychologically my life choices, thus forever identifying myself a Virginia Wahoo.

But, recently I have thought often about those eighteen months, which were without a doubt the most difficult of my life. This weekend, the women of the class of 1989 are gathering to celebrate our forthcoming significant birthdays — you do the math. Although I’m not attending the reunion, I have been included in all of the communications and feel welcomed to this event.

At the Naval Academy, once a Middie, always a part of the family. That is only one life-long lesson I learned at the Academy. I correctly decided that the Navy was not the best career path for me, but I experienced friendships and teamwork there which I’ve never seen replicated in the civilian world.  The sense of mission. The unwavering commitment to pull together as a unit. The ability to multi-task to the 89th degree. How to be crazy and zany and laugh because it is the only way you’ll get through the day. How to keep going when you don’t think you can. Finding out the answer when you don’t have a clue. Allowing yourself to be pulled along by a shipmate (for me that meant on any run), and then doing the same for him or her when you were the stronger. And the pervasive, unbelievable trust.

To all the women of the USNA class of 1989, I salute you!  GO NAVY!!

In your honor, here is a recipe for an ’89er Blue and Gold, a  concoction reminiscent of Navy grog (usually rum with some lime and maybe pineapple juice), but good enough for an 89’er Woman:

2 ounces Sailor Jerry rum

1 ounce pineapple juice

2 dashes grapefruit bitter

1/4 lime

1/2 ounce blue curacao

Mix rum, pineapple juice, bitters and juice of lime in shaker. Add ice and shake. Strain into cocktail glass. Using a funnel set into bottom of glass, add blue curacao. Enjoy the blue and gold, but stir gently to get the color of the sea before enjoying.

Before And After Moscow Mule Mugs

How To Brighten Your Copper Mule Mugs

Summer is still here which means simple and refreshing drinks headline cocktail hour. One of the most versatile summer coolers is any variation of the “Buck.” Most people are familiar with the vodka version, a Moscow Mule.

And this is exactly where I was last week. Experiencing the Northwest’s unusually hot summer, I longed for a refreshing break from unpacking after an arduous move. Box cutter in hand, I slashed through cardboard to locate the booze and my Moscow Mule mugs. But they looked so dingy. And depressing. So, instead of unpacking my office, I scurried down the block to the grocery store and picked up some ginger beer, limes and lemons.

My procrastination had a purpose. I halved a lemon, then dipped it liberally in margarita salt (because I didn’t have my box of Kosher salt handy — it was hiding in some other random moving carton). The salted lemon magically transformed into a copper polisher. There’s some chemistry involved, and maybe if I cared, I’d research it, but I don’t. I prefer to think of it as magic.

With very little effort, I spiffed up my mugs and with even less effort I crafted my favorite version of the Buck, the Burro which is made with tequila, ginger beer and lime. For idea and recipes, check out my blog from last summer.

Cheers! Keep the drinks flowing and the serving vessels sparkling this summer.


Keeping It Simple for Summer: Insanely Easy Cocktails

The kids wave buh-bye to school. The mercury rises in the thermometer. Everything about this picture says “happy hour.” But no one wants to spend an hour getting a drink ready for happy hour. You’ve got to keep it simple for summer. Many of the drinks in my Three Ingredient Cocktail book will get you exactly where you need to be, but don’t be afraid to experiment, too.  Tonight, I used up the pineapple tequila taking up valuable bar space.  I mixed in a little triple sec and some lime juice for a pineapple marg. But the best part of the equation was that I turned said cocktail into an adult sno-cone. Refreshing and therapeutic.

Here’s why:

Making your own crushed ice for adult sno-cones is super easy. If you have a Lewis bag (just got one a few weeks ago), then you use that because the canvas keeps the melting ice from leaking all over your freshly wiped kitchen counter. But, if you are like me and you like to save your pennies for a new bottle of bourbon instead of blowing it on the latest gadget, then just use any clean kitchen town. Place a scoop of ice in between layers of the towel, or in the Lewis bag, and then hammer away with whatever. I use a rubber mallet from the garage shop area, but imagine that a can of creamed corn would work just as well. Fill your glass with the crushed ice, mounding up sno-cone style, then add you drink of choice.

Here are a couple of easy summer drink recipes shared by Thirsty Jane fans:

Hop, Skip and Go Naked

3 (12 fluid ounce) cans or bottles beer

3 (6 ounce) cans frozen lemonade concentrate

1 cup and 2 tablespoons vodka (aren’t those last 2 tablespoons of vodka just a precious addition?)

Mix all together and serve cold. Makes 12 Servings

Amy’s Libation

1 1/2 ounces Absolute Mandarin

Splash of Diet cranberry with lime juice

4 ounces Fresca

Build in a tall glass with a lot of ice.

Lawn Lounger

2 ounces Captain Morgan Parrot Bay Key Lime Rum

4 ounces Crystal Light Fruit Punch

Build in a tall glass with a lot of ice. (I had this once but used Bacardi 151. Mistake. Big mistake. Very big mistake.)

So, go out and make a drink, but keep it simple and when in doubt, just add crushed ice and dip your toes in a blow up baby pool.



It’s Cookie Cocktail Time — Simple Cocktails for Your Sweet Tooth

It’s cookie cocktail time. About this time of year, you might find yourself wondering how many boxes of cookies did you order from those cute little girls in vests and beanies? What are you going to do with all of those sweet delights? Or maybe you didn’t get any ordered and are craving something minty and chocolatey. Each of these recipes is simple to make, using a minimal number of ingredients which are also easy to find at most liquor stores. If you don’t have cookies to rim your glasses, never fear, just channel Thirsty Jane and make the drink anyway! The neighborhood lushes taste tested each of the drinks against the real deal cookie and gave their enthusiastic guzzle-worthy stamps of approval.


Chocolate Mint

The chocolate minty delight that cookie hoarders stock pile in their freezers every year grows up in this perfect cocktail version. And, it’s easy!
1 oz. white rum
1 oz. creme de menthe
1 oz. creme de cocoa
1/2 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream

Rim glass, using simple syrup, with crushed chocolate-mint cookies.  Combine ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake and strain into cocktail glass.

Triple-C Threat

Coconut. Chocolate. Caramel. ‘Nuf said.
1 oz. coconut rum
1 oz. caramel vodka
1 oz. creme de cocoa
1 oz. Caramel Bailey’s

Rim glass, using chocolate syrup, with unsweetened coconut. Combine ingredients in shaker with ice.  Shake and strain into cocktail glass.

Nutter Lover

A friend challenged me to make a peanut butter cookie cocktail. After getting over the initial “eeeuuuuwww,” I went to work. The peanut butter simple syrup is easy and adds the perfect amount of nuttiness to the drink. You could add some half-and-half if you like creamier drinks, but I like this straight up simple cocktail.
2 oz. vanilla vodka
1 oz. Frangelico (Hazelnut) liqueur
1/2 oz. peanut butter simple syrup

Rim glass, using peanut butter simple syrup, with crushed peanut butter cookies. Combine ingredients in shaker with ice.  Shake and strain into cocktail glass.

Peanut Butter Simple Syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 Tbls. smooth peanut butter

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in peanut butter.  Let cool.

From left, clockwise, Golden Glove, KC Royal Ice Water, Royal Passion

Simple Cocktails for KC Royals’ Opening Day

Opening Day at the K is only a day away, so get your shakers out for simple cocktails to celebrate the Kansas City Royals. Each of the drinks is easy to make and will keep you chilled through the hot summer season when the games get heated. Who needs a beer when you can have a Golden Glove? I’ve been a life-long fan and am looking forward to seeing the team win this weekend while I’m at the ball park with my family. “Let’s go Royals, let’s go!”

Golden Glove

This classic drink is essentially a daiquiri with the addition of Cointreau. It is included in the Royals’ cocktail club in honor of the THREE 2013 Golden Glove winners from our team: Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez and Eric Hosmer.

2 ounces white rum

1 ounce Cointreau

1 ounce lime juice

1/2 ounce simple syrup

Shake with ice and pour into a cocktail glass. Drink after any spectacular double play!

KC Royal Ice Water

This drink is a variation of the Kansas City Ice Water, which is actually a drink and not just tap water from the Mighty Mo.

1 ounce gin

1 ounce vodka

1/2 ounce wild berry simple syrup

1/2 ounce lemon juice

3 ounces club soda

Mix together in a highball glass filled with ice. Creat one of these in about ten seconds if we’re heading into extra innings.  Sip with caution.

Royal Passion

2 ounces Crown Royal

1/2 ounce passion fruit syrup

1 ounce lemon juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. A perfect toast for any die-hard fan like myself.


Two Turtle Cups

On the second day of Christmas (just a few days late because that’s how she rolls), Thirsty Jane gives to you Two Turtle Cups. The Twelve Days of Drinking challenge me with plenty of bird-inspired cocktails, to I dropped the dove and focused on the turtle part of the gift because I like, no, I love, turtle candies. In fact, here’s a recipe from my Aunt Rita for Turtle Candy. Yes, that is her recipe box and yes, the entire box consists solely of candy recipes, most of which are typed on 3 x 5 index cards. We didn’t call her the “Crazy Scotswoman” for nothing. In fact, Aunt Rita was the woman who tried to teach me shorthand one summer on vacation when I’d read all of my books, as well as my mother’s and Rita’s Harlequin romances, and it was too cold even for me to swim in some cheap motel’s pool in North Dakota. Never blessed with her own children, Aunt Rita often puzzled the cousins when it came to play time, but the woman could make candy!

Aunt Rita’s Turtle Candy

IMG_2483 12 ounces milk chocolate chips

2 tbl. solid vegetable shortening

1/2 lb. soft caramel candy

2 tbl. whipping cream

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Melt chocolate chips with shortening in a double boiler. In another pan, melt caramels with cream. Arrange spoonfuls of pecans on greased cookie sheet. Spoon melted caramel over each pile of nuts. Let stand until firm. Spoon melted chocolate over the caramel. Cool in “refrig” until firm.

Using the chocolate/nut/caramel theme, I visited the bar one early Sunday morning to invent a suitable sippable substitute. Vodka, and especially anything chocolate, caramel or vanilla flavored seemed too pedestrian and didn’t carry enough heft for me for a pre-church experiment. So, I opted for some Irish whiskey, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur). Add in a little caramel and chocolate sauces swirled in the glass, and you’ve got the second day of Christmas nailed, for you and a loved one.

Thirsty Jane’s Turtle Cup Cocktail

1 1/2 ounces Irish whiskey

1 ounce Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur

1/2 ounce hazelnut liqueur

Caramel sauce

Chocolate sauce

Swirl caramel and chocolate sauces in a double old-fashioned glass. Combine other ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake.  Pour into glasses.


A Patridge in a Peartini

December 25th, Christmas Day, is in the rear view mirror. But if your situation resembles mine, family still lingers around the house, making cocktailing extremely high on the priority list. Just behind (or in front of?) cleaning out the fridge and pantry with my mom’s help.  Tomorrow, we hit the bar. Seriously. And yes, she is for hire.

Today we begin our salute to the Twelve Days of Christmas, Thirsty Jane style. Instead of a Partridge in a Pear Tree from your true love, you get a Peartini from Thirsty Jane.  Enjoy and check out tomorrow’s blog for Two Turtle Cups and a little history, and controversy, surrounding the Twelves Days of Christmas.


1/4 ripe pear, peeled, cored and chopped

2 ounces vodka

1/2 ounce pear brandy

1 dash lemon bitter

Muddle pear in a cocktail shaker. Add remaining ingredients and ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass. (I strained through a fine mesh sieve to get a clear drink). Garnish with a pear slice.


When A Mixologist Goes On The Wagon

Copyright 2013 Lisarae Photo Design

Copyright 2013 Lisarae Photo Design

I love to cook and I like my cocktails. This, along with the fact, that as a writer I have a fairly sedentary life, adds up to the assortment of “fat pants” in my closet. I exercise on a regular basis, to be sure, but no being blessed with skinny genes, I’ve always had to watch my diet. For the most part, I eat a very healthy diet and limit my alcohol consumption. Even so, every six months I like to take a step back and cleanse the system for a week. This week, I’m focusing on eating every two hours and only consuming those items which come in their original packaging. In other words, no processed foods.  Fruits, veggies, nuts, lean meats. All of this is so yummy and when you eat the good stuff, also filling.


I miss my gin, though. And whiskey.  And wine.  Beer, too.

Double sigh.

Because “mocktails” are often loaded with sugary juices, I keep it simple.  This week, I’m enjoying my wide variety of bitters as well as my home-made shrubs, all of which brighten up club soda and make me feel like I’m imbibing with the rest of the crowd. If you want to take your wagon-riding experience up a notch, you’ll love the first chapter in my upcoming book, 12 Happy Hours, which should be arriving from the bindery any day now!  Just think, non-alcoholic Sangria can be at your next happy hour.


The Original Endless Summer with a Killer Bee Attack

I love summer. But, there comes a point when temps in the 80’s and 90’s get old even for a tropical weather loving fool like myself. With what appears to be two more days of summer, I look forward to my Final Friday Happy Hour with one of the best summer beach drinks I’ve ever had — an attempt at the Killer Bee which is the famous trademark rum punch at Sunshine’s Bar in Nevis. A few years ago, my guy and I joined some friends for a vacation in Nevis. As the other Jane of the trip (nicknamed “Bad Jane” for the week) said, the Killer Bee made her like rum.

The problem is that Sunshine and his bartenders guard the secret recipe with their lives. A friend recently sent me a link to Rum Shop Ryan’s Caribbean Escape Blog in which a recipe for something as close as possible to the Killer Bee appeared. I was ecstatic and have been contemplating when making this for Happy Hour would be best. I conveyed my excited to a fellow cocktail guru, who scoffed, “Nothing is secret.” You can imagine my deflation.

He promptly directed me to David Embury’s The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks where after the recipe for the Bee’s Knees is a note that you get a Honey Bee by using Jamaican rum. Hmmm….Not exactly a recipe for the Killer Bee, but I got the point. Cocktails are created often by taking a recipe and then changing an ingredient here and there or adjusting a ratio. So, a Bee’s Knees is gin, lemon juice and honey, and a Honey Bee is rum, lemon juice and honey, and a Killer Bee is rum, orange and passion fruit juices, and honey, with a smidge of pepper and nutmeg and a splash of club soda.

Cheers to the end of summer! Any day now.  Really.

And, next time you say you can’t create a drink, just find a recipe you like and do a little tweaking.  You might be surprised to find how original you can be!



Gin And Tonic Sampling At Rimann’s Prairie Village Sept. 12th

While I cannot fill the shoes of my good friend and cocktail historian, Joel Crown, due to an emergency, I’m going to try. Stop by tonight, September 12th, at Rimann’s Prairie Village from 5-8 p.m. to sample gin and tonics made the old-old-fashioned way, learn some esoteric pieces of history, sample some excellent beers, and enter into drawings for fabulous prizes.

Yes, I did just take that photos. And hell yeah, I’m drinking that G&T! It’s 5 o’clock in London.