Refreshing Summer Cocktail & Salad Recipe

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This summer has been quite the heatwave throughout NYC! As much as I love outdoor summer dining in the city and rooftop cocktail bars there’s a fresh summer cocktail I’ve been mixing up on these hot sweaty days! There’s a number of favorite spots I have throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn for the perfect refreshing cocktail that’s Instagram worthy, but there’s nothing quite like enjoying a fresh drink and great view from the comfort of your own home!

Since we moved into Brooklyn late last summer we couldn’t wait to have friends over and fire up the grill. This is by far one of the advantages we found from making the move from Manhattan. There’s more space and we can enjoy the roof decks without the overcrowding and a hefty bar tab. When we had lived in Buffalo we always were grilling and having summer gatherings especially in the short summer months. This was something on the top of our list in our new location and I’m so glad we made the decision because I’ve been taking full advantage of our amenities.

I stocked up our bar cart for summer with some refreshing gin, infused vodka, and rosé all the way. If you haven’t tried Malfy Gin it is a must! It’s made from the Amalfi coast region of Italy and it’s super refreshing. The Limone version is made from fresh Amalfi lemons and reminds me of limoncello! We just picked up the grapefruit bottle. Ladies, this color of bottle was made for displaying on a bar cart!

I’ve been grabbing fresh mint, basil, and fruits from the local farmer’s market to garnish our drinks and salads. My favorite thus far has been a Watermelon Mint Cocktail and my Watermelon and Mint Raspberry Balsamic Salad. I’m sharing all of the ingredients and the recipes below so you can try these simple options. They’re easy to pull together last minute and leave a lasting impression for summer hosting! If you any of them out remember to tag me in your insta so I can share it along in my stories!


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Refreshing Watermelon Mint Summer Cocktail

Ingredients:

-Smirnoff Watermelon Mint Vodka (zero sugar!)

-Fresh seedless watermelon chopped into chunks

-Handful of fresh mint leaves

-simple syrup

-Watermelon sparkling beverage (trader Joe’s) / Simply watermelon Juice/ Watermelon Seltzer

(whichever mixer beverage you prefer bubbly or flat)

-Ice

-Cocktail Shaker/muddling tool

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Directions:

  1. Muddle the mint together with the simple syrup in the cocktail shaker.

2. Add a handful of ice and top with desired amount of Smirnoff Watermelon Mint Vodka.

3. Shake the cocktail together then pour into desired glass and top with your choice of mixer (sparkling watermelon juice ) and add extra ice.

4. To finish, garnish your cocktail with fresh mint and watermelon.

5. Sip, repeat, enjoy!


Watermelon & Mint Raspberry Balsamic Salad


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This is easiest one of my most favorite salads for summer and it’s simple to toss together with the watermelon I already needed anyway for the watermelon mint cocktail! There’s definitely a few different versions out there of this tasty first course but I love the touch of the Raspberry White Balsamic for a light dressing that adds the perfect amount of bitter, yet sweet flavor.


Ingredients:

  1. Half of a watermelon cut into cubes/chunks.

  2. Cup of fresh fragrant mint leaves finely cut.

  3. 1/2 cup of low fat feta cheese chunks.

  4. 3/4 cup freshly washed organic blueberries.

  5. Raspberry balsamic. I love D’Avolio brand.


    Directions:

    1. Cut the watermelon into smaller chunks and place into large bowl/serving dish.

    2. Add 3/4 cup. of blueberries to watermelon.

    3. Sprinkle in mint leaves.

    4. Add 1/2 cup of feta cheese chunks.

    5. Drizzle Raspberry Balsamic on top!

      Serve immediately and enjoy!

      I would love to hear if you try any of these recipes or if you have any other summer favorite recipes you’d love to share with me!













Heart Cutout Cookie Recipe

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One of my favorite recipes from my family is my Mom’s tried and true cut out cookies. They’re more of an almond shortbread cookie than sugar cookie, and basically melt in your mouth. So good and sweet! Before reading any further, this is definitely not one of my healthy recipe shares, but it is one that will dance on anyone’s heart or tastebuds. I frost them with my mom’s wedding cake frosting!

These cutouts make for a sweet treat for your Gal-entine’s Day gathering (or Valentines Day dessert with your other half). The recipe makes a ton, so I always end up giving a bunch to friends & family for Valentine’s Day. I’ve also linked all of my baking essentials and table top details below. By far my favorite kitchen tool is our Kitchenaid electric mixer. It was a gift from my mama from our wedding registry and it is so easy to use and efficient! We even have all of the pasta making, veggie slicing, and food processor attachments to use so it doesn’t have to be just for baking! We have the azure blue which adds the perfect pop to our white kitchen.

Dough

4 1/2 c. flour

2/3 c. confectioner’s sugar

1/3 c. light brown sugar

1 tsp. almond extract

2 cups butter, softened

Directions

1. Mix together sugars, butter, and almond extract with electric mixer for two minutes until mixed.

2. Gradually add in flour & mix. Save the 1/2 cup of flour to roll out dough & for cookie cutter. 

3. Once dough is mixed & softened roll into 2 large balls.

4. Sprinkle counter, rolling pin with flour, and cookie cutter with extra flour.

5. Roll out dough to 1/2” thick then press cut out into dough.

6. Place cookies on parchment paper 1/2” apart & bake 10-12 minutes at 300 F.

7. Let fully cool before frosting. Yields 24 cookies. 


Frosting

1/2 bag confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp Crisco (if no crisco add more milk)

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract

Directions

1. Add milk & vanilla extract to the confectionary sugar . Continue mixing until smooth & creamy like yogurt.

2. Section into bowls if adding food coloring and frost!

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My Baking Essentials

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