Citrus-Brandy Cocktail

Citrus-Brandy Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser

Happy Friday, Friends! 

I feel like I’ve been living in a cave until the last few days. We’ve been potty training the twins, which has been going mostly well…not counting the flooded bathroom due to an unnamed toddler stuffing it with toilet paper, the baby who threw up on Day 2, and the time spent cleaning pee off a friend’s floor (including the carpet) last night. But other than that, it’s going great! (You can’t see the facepalm happening right now.)

In all seriousness, though, we've turned a corner despite a few missteps, and I am thankful for that. We had twins before having our third baby, so we’ve never had only one kid in diapers until now. I think that’s reason to celebrate!

I mixed this Citrus-Brandy Cocktail up a few weeks ago as I experimented with drink ideas. The first time I made it, I used blood oranges since they were in season, but you can use any kind of orange (just note the color will be different than these images). I also threw a few sprigs of tarragon in the cocktail shaker. I love the combination of fruit and herbs, but you can leave that out or try other options like thyme or rosemary.

It’s a drink that’s refreshing, rich, and slightly sweet with a bit of tart – and the perfect way to kick off the weekend.

So cheers to the Friday, cheers to potty training, and cheers to whatever milestones you have to celebrate, from the big ones like anniversaries and birthdays, to the small ones you never realized would feel so monumental.

Citrus-Brandy Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser
Citrus-Brandy Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser

Citrus-Brandy Cocktail
Yields 1 drink

1½ ounces brandy
¾ ounce Cointreau
1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice*
½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Fresh herbs, such as tarragon (optional)

Add the brandy, Cointreau, orange juice, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Add a few sprigs of torn herbs, such as tarragon, to the shaker if desired.

Shake vigorously for 15 seconds, and then strain into a cold cocktail glass. Serve and enjoy!

*Note: I used blood oranges for the drinks in these images to get the pink color, but you can use Cara Cara, or another favorite kind of orange!

Grapefruit, Elderflower + Tequila Cocktail [and Friday night mercies]

Grapefruit, Elderflower + Tequila Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser

I don't do well with little inconveniences. I know life includes hard seasons, but sometimes I forget it also includes a lot of annoying moments. I do not suffer these well. I too quickly lose my patience, I say unkind words, and my anxious mind races to the worst-case scenario in even the tamest problems. 

Monday morning started with ornery kiddos, and that usually means I'm more than a bit ornery myself. Then while I cracked eggs in a pan and poured cups of milk for the twins, I heard rushing water from the bathroom upstairs. Not normal rushing water, like the bathtub starting or the toilet flushing. No. I walked upstairs to find my husband soaking wet and water shooting across the bathroom as if it came out of a fire hose. 

I probably said something harsh (or at least looked like I was about to), and then I turned around, walked out of the room, and tried to pretend our bathroom wasn't flooding at 7am on a Monday morning. 

The chaos eventually subsided, my husband took the twins to Home Depot to buy a part to fix the shower, and I sat down to catch my breath. My impatience and weariness got the best of me that morning, and I needed a redo. I wanted to rewind those couple hours not to change the circumstances, but to change my attitude. 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
— Lamentations 3:22-23

I can't say my temper and my heart instantly turned calm and gracious (although the flowers my husband brought home helped). But I can tell you that once again, I was reminded His mercies are new every morning. I was reminded of that same truth later in the week as my kids' fighting wore me out, when the baby wouldn't nap, and after anxiety got the best of me.

It's Friday. And thankfully, His mercies are new on Friday nights as much as they are on Monday mornings. So I'm breathing a sigh of relief and soaking in His goodness. Oh, how often I fail to suffer the little things well.

But time and time again, He shows up faithful. 

Grapefruit, Elderflower + Tequila Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser
Grapefruit, Elderflower + Tequila Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser
Grapefruit, Elderflower + Tequila Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser

Grapefruit, Elderflower + Tequila Cocktail
Yields 1 drink

3 ounces grapefruit juice
1 ½ ounces elderflower liqueur
1 ½ ounces silver tequila
1 egg white or 1 ounce aquafaba* 
Pinch of cayenne pepper, optional

Add all ingredients except the cayenne to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds, then strain into a cold glass. Top with a pinch of cayenne pepper. Serve and enjoy! 

*When shaken up with a cocktail, egg whites add a creamy, frothy texture to a drink. Because you’re consuming raw eggs, make sure they’re high quality. If you prefer a vegan option, use aquafaba, which is the liquid left after soaking legumes. The next time you use a can of chickpeas, reserve the liquid from the can and shake up a cocktail! (Make sure there are no other added ingredients like salt or other seasonings.) For more about aquafaba, check out this article from Bon Appétit

(Dairy-Free) Creamy Turmeric + Bourbon Cocktail [featuring Heritage Distilling Co.]

(Dairy-Free) Creamy Turmeric + Bourbon Cocktail [featuring Heritage Distilling Co.]

My favorite way to create variety in mixed drinks is to make flavored simple syrups. Simple syrup is just water and sugar, and throwing in spices, herbs, fresh fruit, or juices adds a unique twist without having to buy additional liqueurs or other cocktail ingredients.

If you've been following this blog for a while, you may have noticed I do this quite a lot - like in my Ancho Chile Manhattan, Fig, Vanilla Bean + Gin Cocktail, or Ginger, Lime + Five-Spice Cocktail. You can get creative by digging through your pantry or refrigerator and seeing what flavor combinations you can come up with!  

This recipe uses the same trick. Ground turmeric stirred together with sugar and water create a rich, golden syrup that's amazing with bourbon. I used Heritage Distilling Co.'s Dual Barrel Old Fashioned Ready Bourbon, because it has a hint of orange that's perfect for this drink.

And this time of year, the cold winter weather makes me want something creamy and comforting, so I added full-fat coconut milk. (You could also try using some cream or half-and-half if you're not avoiding dairy, although I do think the flavor of the coconut milk works really well in this drink.)

Grab a friend, shake up a couple drinks, sip, and enjoy!

(Dairy-Free) Creamy Turmeric + Bourbon Cocktail [featuring Heritage Distilling Co.]
(Dairy-Free) Creamy Turmeric + Bourbon Cocktail [featuring Heritage Distilling Co.]
(Dairy-Free) Creamy Turmeric + Bourbon Cocktail [featuring Heritage Distilling Co.]
(Dairy-Free) Creamy Turmeric + Bourbon Cocktail [featuring Heritage Distilling Co.]

Creamy Turmeric + Bourbon Cocktail
Yields 1 cocktail

2 ounces bourbon (I recommend using Heritage Distilling’s Dual Barrel Bourbon)
2 ounces full fat coconut milk
1 ounce turmeric simple syrup (see recipe below)
Ground turmeric or cinnamon sticks (for serving)

Add the bourbon, coconut milk, and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for at least 15 seconds then strain into a chilled glass. Serve with an extra dash of turmeric or a cinnamon stick. Enjoy!

Turmeric Simple Syrup
Yields about 6 ounces

½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup water
½ teaspoon turmeric

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring often, until the sugar melts and the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Remove from heat and allow the syrup to cool. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a couple weeks. 

For this post, bourbon was provided by Heritage Distilling Co. All opinions are 100% my own.