Entertaining, Holidays, Organization

Epicurious Drinks Basics

I was wasting time on youtube the other day – come on now, you know you waste time on there too! Seriously, you can loose hours on there.

Anyhoo, I came across this video from Epicurious that has some fabulous ideas on how to stock and set up a home bar for your next bash.


Until next time,


Entertaining, Holidays

Happy Cinco de Mayo

39049424 - cinco de mayo illustration with traditional mexican symbols.
Copyright: nadezdagrapes / 123RF Stock Photo

Happy birthday to my daughter Linnea!

Wait.  What?

Yes, my newly 14 year old daughter shares her birthday with the Cinco de Mayo celebration.  Which is kinda cool don’t you think?  I’m pretty sure she will enjoy it more as she gets older (21 and older).  It’s like a built-in party on your birthday!

Cinco de Mayo means the 5th of May.   The holiday commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory in 1862 over the french at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican war. And while it is celebrated in Mexico it isn’t a federal holiday.  Actually it’s a pretty minor affair for our neighbors to the south.  It is celebrated in Puebla with parades, speeches and re-enactments of the battle.

Within the United States Cinco de Mayo has taken on a much broader meaning.  This is the day we get to celebrate the Mexican culture and heritage.  The day is celebrated with parades, mariachi music, parties, fabulous Mexican cuisine, and of course cocktails!

Chicago has one of the larges Cinco de Mayo celebrations with events and an abundance of Mexican restaurants dishing out their yummy food.

You can have your own Cinco de Mayo celebration right in your own backyard.  Mix up some margaritas, make some tacos and enjoy the evening with good friends.

Christina on the It is a Keeper blog has some fabulous easy to make Cinco de Mayo recipes.  Oh and she has cocktail recipes too.  Be sure to check it out. Best Cinco de Mayo Recipes.

So go ahead and have a margarita today – it’s the least you can do to help celebrate Mexican heritage!

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Until next time,



20 Tips on How to Mix A Perfect Cocktail

Armanetti Liquors or Armanetti Beverage Marts as they are now known are one of Chicagoland’s leaders for providing fine wine and spirits.  I came across an old Mixology booklet from them at a local flea market a few months back.  I’m guessing it to be from the 50s or 60s as the phone number on the back contains a 2 letter extension before the numbers.

Of course there are tons of fabulous cocktail recipes, but there is also a section of Do’s and Don’ts of Proper Mixing.

I thought I would share them here!

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.


Cocktail Do's and Don'ts


  1. Do use a jigger (1 1/2 ounces) when measuring your liquor.  Don’t rely on your eye


2. Do Measure all ingredients exactly.  Don’t guess, you may spoil the drink.

3.  Don’t shake when you should stir and don’t stir when you should shake.  Each has it’s own meaning.


4.  When possible, do chill your cocktail glasses before serving.  Serving drinks ice cold will improve their taste. A perfect way to do this is find some freezable glasses like these:41bQub6h2mL

Or if you really want to chill all of your glasses and add some professionalism to your home bar you could get a glass chiller:


5.  You can frost your glasses by wetting them before putting them in the freezer.  Sugar frosted glasses should be rimmed with a slice of lemon and dipped in a saucer of fine sugar, then into the freezer.

6.  Don’t change your order of ingredients.  It should always be ice first, then whiskey, then mix.

7.  Slice or squeeze fruit just before using.  Fruit and juices go stale when left to stand, even when refrigerated.


8.  Fresh fruit juice always makes a drink better than canned juice.

9.  For small parties, you can make enough of your own juice by emptying your trays well in advance, into clear plastic bags.  The bags should then be placed in the freezer.

To add a little fun to your parties include a themed ice tray or find a spherical ice tray such as these I found on Amazon.

These Tiki Ice molds are perfect for parties with a beach or luau theme!

Or try these spherical ice trays to make round ice!


10.  Ice should be taste free and crystal clear.  Avoid using ice that has been exposed to foreign odors.  For larger parties it is best to obtain ice from and ice machine or ice company.

11. Don’t make the second drink with the same ice cubes.

12. Do strain your cocktails, unless otherwise indicated, but don’t use silver, use a wire strainer.


13. Don’t keep drinks in your cocktail shaker. The drink will taste flat if the ice is allowed to melt in it.

14. Don’t fill cocktail glasses more than three-quarters of the way.

15. Don’t let spirited drinks sit in metal containers for any length of time.

16. Don’t stir carbonated drinks vigorously or you will encourage them to go flat.

17. Do soak lemons in cold water to get more juice and for easier squeezing.

18. Don’t stir a drink containing a lot of ice too much. You might dilute it too much.

19. Do dissolve sugar in a little water before mixing it in the drink.

20. Do – enjoy the fruits of your labor!

How do you mix a perfect cocktail?  I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!

Until next time,



7 Must Haves for Your Bar Cart


For me, bar carts conjure up images of class and sophistication.  A time when cocktail parties and dinner parties were the major social events in a person’s social calendar.  When men wore suits and the ladies dressed in their finest cocktail dresses and pearls.

When we see images on television and movies from the 50’s and 60’s era there always seems to be a bar cart lurking in the corner just waiting for the spontaneous cocktail hour – always elegantly stocked and stylishly adding to the decor of the room.

During the 1970’s homes were being built with built-in bars with all the amenities. Wet bars anyone?  And thus the bar cart became lost in the new modern conveniences offered in the new homes.

However, in recent years the bar cart has made a resurgence!  Like most classic items, they fade away for a time, but always come back because they are just that great!  The bar cart allows you to always be ready to serve, ready to inspire, and ready to add just a bit of glamour to your home!

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read
my full disclosure policy.

514bfP7lCcL (1)

Stocking your bar cart is a matter of personal opinion,  as each person has their own preference depending upon their personal tastes.  But, a few essentials will make serving your guests with classic cocktails a breeze!

  1.   Cocktail Recipe Book – This is always to good to have on hand for spur of the moment cocktail requests.
With over 1,000 recipes this cocktail guide will provide with endless recipes in which to amaze your guests!

2.  Bartender tools set – this is essential when creating tantalizing concoctions!


3. Cocktail Napkins – There are some really cute cocktail napkins available.  Some you can even have personalized with your own home bar slogan or name.


4.  Mixers and spirits – You should have at least 3 base spirits so you can create a variety of cocktails.  You can create hundreds of recipes with Whiskey, Vodka, Tequila, Gin or Rum.  Choose your favorites! For those just beginning you can purchase one bottle of aromatic bitters to have on hand.

5. Cocktail Shaker – You’ll want to have a cocktail shaker to properly prepare those drinks that require shaking.  Depending on the style you choose for your bar cart you can tailor your cocktail shaker to that look.  For instance if you are going for a vintage look you may like to purchase something like the one below:


Or you can find something fabulous and contemporary like this one:


6. Cocktail Glasses – You’ll want to invest in some gorgeous glassware for you new bar cart.  As with your cocktail shaker, the direction you take will determine which type of glasses you want to include.  Vintage:


Or something more contemporary or modern:


Of course you can always marry vintage with modern and create your own unique look!

7.  Swizzle sticks, wine glass charms and other fun accessories – A few unique touches made with inexpensive accessories can go a long way to tying your look together.



Have fun and let me know what your favorite items you like to have for your bar cart.

Until next time,