a balanced plate with room for dessert


Fresh Whisky Sours

There are two liquors I love – gin and whisky. Gin has been a favorite since my college years. I could almost always be found with a cup of gin and something in my hand. That lead to my nickname Ginni Li, a twist off my maiden name of Jenni Li. My love for whisky didn’t start until I had a whisky sour in Mexico on our honeymoon. One sour led to two… to three… Basically it was a drink an hour for the entire duration of our week-long honeymoon.

This particular version of the  drink changed my view on whisky sours. Never again will a bar-made whisky sour of Kessler and sour mix taste good. I’m kind of upset that I made these because it’s ruined all other whisky sours to me. Nothing will ever match up to the deliciousness of this drink. Ever.

freshy whisky sour |

Fresh Whisky Sours
 from Ina Garten 

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup whiskey
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
ice cubes
maraschino cherries

  1. Combine sugar with 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and chill.
  2. Combine whiskey, lemon juice, lime juice, and 2/3 cup of the sugar syrup in a cocktail shaker. Place 3 – 4 cubes of ice into shaker and shake for 15 seconds. Pour into glasses. Garnish with maraschino cherries and serve cold.


Mike’s Spicy Bloody Maria (Meal in a Glass)

Mike and I woke up at 5 on Saturday to volunteer for Bubolz Nature Preserve’s annual Maple Syrup Saturday fundraising event. This was our second year volunteering for it and it was a blast. We made pancakes to feed 250+ people. Needless to say, I don’t want to see another pancake for a very long time!

Afterwards, we were not only tired, but kind of hungry. We were also too lazy to cook. So, we grabbed our favorite quick and easy meal – a Bloody Maria. For those of you who are unfamiliar with a Bloody Maria, it’s a Bloody Mary made with a far superior alcohol – tequila. This recipe is courtesy of my wonderful husband. He apologizes for the not-so-precise measurement. Bloody Maria mixing is more of an art than a science!

On Sunday, I went for a nice, easy 10 mile run. Mike not only drove me 10 miles away and dropped me off so I wouldn’t have to run in circles around our house, but he also fixed me up the best post-run recovery drink, too. You guessed it, a Bloody Maria. Yum! If you’re someone who doesn’t like tequila, make this with vodka for a good ol’ Bloody Mary. If you go this route, I’d like to suggest my personal vodka of choice – Referent Horseradish Vodka. Absolutely delish!

Mike’s Spicy Bloody Maria
serves 1

2 shots tequila (we used Jose Cuervo)
dash of celery salt
2 – 3 shakes A1 Steak Sauce (~ 1 teaspoon)
2 – 3 shakes Worcestershire sauce (~1 teaspoon)
splash of pickle juice (~1 fluid ounce)
Tabasco, to taste (4 – 5 shakes for me!)
6 fluid ounces tomato juice
6 fluid ounces spicy Bloody Mary mix

For the garnish:
Stick of celery
Pickle spear
String cheese
Pickled mushrooms
Summer sausage slice

  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until combined.
  2. Pour into a pint glass and garnish with celery, pickle, cheese, mushrooms, and sausage.
  3. Drink, eat, and repeat.


Marga-Daiquiri-Screw-Aloda-On the Beach

What?! Yeah, you read it right. Marga-daiquiri-screw-aloda-on the beach. What is this you ask? Well, if you’re a country fan you may have heard Jerrod Niemann’s “One More Drinkin’ Song”. If you’re not a country fan then 1) shame on you and 2) you can find the video here. In the song, he sings “… my favorite drink, a marga-daiquiri-screw-aloda-on the beach”. Check it out at around the 1 minute mark. Excited, I decided to troll the internet and see if a recipe existed already. No such luck. It’s okay though, because being able to experiment to find the perfect recipe was really, really fun.

Anyway, this drink was so good. So dangerous, but so good. I mean, you can’t really go wrong with a drink that combines a margarita, daiquiri, screwdriver, pina colada and sex on the beach! Give it a try with a couple friends and have everyone bring a bottle so you aren’t shelling out $90 on everything. Oops. I’m writing the recipe with the specific brands I purchased. It would probably be fine if you subbed them with another brand, but I know this version is delish!

Marga-Daiquiri-Screw-Aloda-On the Beach
serves 2

1 shot Pucker Citrus Squeeze (or other citrus flavored vodka)
1 shot DeKuyper Peachtree (or other peach schnapps)
1 shot Jose Cuervo (or other tequila)
1 shot Malibu
1 shot Pinnacle Tropical Punch (or other tropical punch flavored vodka)
2 tablespoons frozen cranberry juice concentrate
2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
2 tablespoons frozen pineapple juice concentrate
4 cups ice
1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into two tall glasses and serve immediately.

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Strawberry Smoothie

For the first time in my life, I made a smoothie without any ice or frozen fruit. Why? We didn’t have any. I did however, have some very ripe strawberries that I needed to use up. I threw this together and it was light and refreshing, even though it wasn’t ice-cold. Feel free to use frozen fruit or toss in some ice to up the chill factor.

Strawberry Smoothie
serves 2 

1 large ripe banana, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and halved
3/4 cup skim milk
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt

  1. Place all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately.


Cherry Limeade, All Grown Up

Mike turned the big 2-3 at the end of June and I was itching to throw a party. It would be our first party at our house and I couldn’t think of a better time to have it. I had a whole menu planned out, complete with 4 desserts, but I couldn’t decide on what to serve for drinks. I scoured dozens of drink recipes and finally settled on a Cherry Limeade.

Yum. Yum. Yum!!!!

We served this sans alcohol. Then, the champagne for the mimosas found its way into the drinks. What a wonderful “accident”. This drink was perfect for the hot, sunny day – it was light, refreshing, and so easy to make. We ran out of batch #1 halfway through the party and it took me just minutes to whip up another jug of it.

Cherry Limeade
serves 15 

2 12 fluid ounce cans frozen limeade concentrate
2 2 liter bottles lemon-lime soda
10 ounce jar of maraschino cherries
2 limes
Champagne, optional

  1. Pour both cans of limeade into beverage container. Stir in the juice from the jar of cherries. Mix well. Cut one lime in half and squeeze juice into beverage container and add in soda. Stir to combine. Slice remaining lime and garnish drinks with lime slices and cherries.
  2. If desired, mix champagne in with cherry limeade for an even bubblier refreshing adult beverage. We found the ratio of 3 parts limeade to 1 part champagne to be best. Enjoy!

I made some lime ice cubes to garnish the drink as well. You can use the cherries to garnish the individual drinks, or do like I did – emptied the whole dang jar into the dispenser.