Let’s Celebrate

paloma grapefruit cocktail

The Back to School Teacher Emergency Kit Giveaway has ended. In honor of this amazing giveaway I am sharing one final summer cocktail recipe to celebrate.

Of the handful of cocktails I posted this summer, the cherry margarita is still my favorite, but this weekend’s cocktail, the Paloma, was refreshing. I am definitely drawn to drinks with tart, citrus flavors in them, so this grapefruit based drink caught my attention.

paloma grapefruit cocktails ingredients

The Ingredients

  • 1 shot tequila
  • 2 shots pink grapefruit juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
  • 1 T. simple syrup or Agave syrup (or to taste)
  • splash of club soda
  • 1 lime wedge
  • crushed ice

The Directions

  • In a glass, mix the tequila, grapefruit juice, and simple syrup. 
  • Add crushed ice.
  • Pour a splash of club soda on top.
  • Squeeze a wedge of lime on top and garnish with a slice of lime.
  • Ingredients list makes one large Paloma. Increase amounts as needed.

The Notes

  • To make simple syrup, Put equal parts water and sugar in a pot and heat on the stove until sugar is dissolved. Swirl the mixture a few times while heating. Remove from heat and let cool. If you only need a few cocktails, mix 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. If you are mixing cocktails for a large group, double or triple. Leftover simple syrup can be kept in a container with a lid in the refrigerator for a long time.

paloma grapefruit cocktail drinks

The Giveaway Details

  • Giveaway ended at 7 pm (EST) tonight, 8/4/13.
  • My two lucky winners will each receive one filled Back to School Teacher Emergency Kit! I will announce the winners this week in a separate post.

teacher emergency kit filled and gift tags

Porching

basil mojito finished

I learned a new word this week. We had friends rent a beach house nearby, and they invited us over to porch. This is what we do almost every weekend, and I am so glad I now have a name for it. Porching is when neighbors wander from house to house on a warm summer evening and sit on the front porch to socialize. Cocktails encouraged. We porched this week with Basil Mojitos. They are delicious.

basil mojito ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 T. simple syrup
  • 1 shot fresh lime juice
  • 1 shot white rum
  • 6-10 basil leaves
  • crushed ice
  • soda water
  • lime wedges

basil mojito muddling

Directions

  • Place the simple syrup, rum, lime juice, 2 lime wedges, and the basil in a tall sturdy glass and bash with a muddler or the back of a spoon until the basil leaves and lime wedges are mashed up.
  • Fill the glass with crushed ice.
  • Top with soda water.
  • Garnish with a fresh basil leaf and a lime wedge.
  • Ingredients list makes one large mojito. Increase amounts as needed.

Notes

  • To make simple syrup, Put equal parts water and sugar in a pot and heat on the stove until sugar is dissolved. Swirl the mixture a few times while heating. Remove from heat and let cool. If you only need a few cocktails, mix 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. If you are mixing cocktails for a large group, double or triple. Leftover simple syrup can be kept in a container with a lid in the refrigerator for a long time.
  • If you want to make a Strawberry Mojito, replace the lime wedges and the basil with strawberries and mint.
  • If you want to make a Cranberry Mojito, visit this post.

basil mojito

4th of July Festivities

So, here is the download from our 4th of July neighborhood party. We have a fab neighbor who has a degree in recreational something and is a professional when it comes to organizing group events. She agreed to again coordinate a 4th of July family bash for our street. We followed the same basic format as last year and here are a few highlights. In case you are new to TheRoomMom’s world, you can read about last year here.

bike parade

The Parade, The Games, and the Prizes

  • Each family decorates bikes, scooters, wagons… This is the kick off to the party. Any participants ride up and down the street a few times to the cheers and shouts of the bystanders.
  • Following the parade, we are teamed up and compete in a sack race, dizzy bat race, egg carry, and other classic relay races.
  • Prizes for the winners awarded after dinner. I made this year’s “medals” with Mardi Gras beads, jewelry clips, and silver posterboard with a printed message glued to the top. They are not as nice as the Dollar Store trophies from last year, but I was under a time crunch.
  • After the races ended, a few adults wrote in silly award names like “Best Competitor”, “Most Confident Egg Carrier”, or “Best Spinner”.

DIY party awards

The Food and Drinks

  • There was lots of grilled meat and tasty (but bad for you) party food. One person did contribute a fresh fruit salad, but we mostly ate things with melted cheese in them.

pizza dip

  • I baked a pizza dip, which is a party dip that works for any occasion, any age, and any time of year. Click for the 4th of July Recipes 2013.

summer cocktail

  • I also concocted a blue drink for the adults. Be careful because it does look like Gatorade. I wanted to make the cherry margaritas for the crowd, but it takes time to pit all of those cherries, so I tinkered with the recipe for this blue drink and created the Dizzy Eagle (name is not finalized– please send suggestions if you have them). Click for the 4th of July Recipes 2013.

cake walk

The Cake Walk

  • This is everyone’s favorite event. Each family donates a sweet treat or two. Kids stand on a numbered square. An adult plays music. When the music stops, the child stops on a square. Our organizer draws a number. The child standing on the matching number gets to pick a treat from the table.
  • You can let adults play too, but we have it worked out so all kids win one item.

oreo truffle finished

  • This year I boxed Oreo Truffles. I had trouble melting my white chocolate, so they did not look as professional as I would like. The taste, however, was not compromised. Click for the 4th of July Recipes 2013.

paper plate masks

The Craft

  • Jackie knows how to cut a large white paper plate into 3 masks from a former job as a camp director. She cut an oval (football shape) from the center of the paper plate. The resulting 3 pieces are the 3 mask shapes. Then, two eyes are cut in the center of each shape. You can also do the football shape in the top half of the plate and create 2 masks from one paper plate.

DIY paper plate masks ribbons

  • I took over after Jackie cut the masks. I found red bamboo skewer sticks in the 4th of July section at Hobby Lobby. Using a piece each of red, white, and blue curly ribbon, I tied them together around the end of a stick in a knot. I hot glued the stick at the point where the ribbon knot is to the back edge of each mask. Once the glue cooled, I curled the ribbon.

paper plate mask finished

  • We had a table at the party with Elmer’s glue, glitter, sparkly stars, and markers. Kids could walk up and decorate a mask.
  • We set a big disposable roasting pan on the table with the glitter jars inside. Kids set the mask in the pan to glitter. It made clean up very easy.
  • FYI– this would be a great craft for Halloween parties and school celebrations.

How do you celebrate the 4th of July? Jackie was exhausted, and this may have been the last time she will be organizing a neighborhood event of this scale. Do you have any suggestions I can bring to her for consideration?

4th of July Cocktail

cherry margarita

Since I will need a cocktail for our 4th of July block party, I wanted to focus on a cocktail that has a red, white, or blue theme for this weekend’s new drink. Last night I tested cherry margaritas. I mentioned last week that I like tart drinks better and this one is almost perfect. Even if it did not taste that great (which it does), the color is so vibrant that people assume it is going to be delicious.

Ingredients

  • cherries (you need 15-20 for one batch)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 c. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 c. (plus a splash) of tequila
  • 1/4 c. (plus a splash) of triple sec
  • lime wedges for garnish

blending cherry margaritas

Directions

  • Make a simple syrup by adding 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a pot on the stovetop at medium heat. Do not stir, but swirl sugar water occasionally while the pot is on the stove. Remove from heat once the sugar dissolves.
  • Pit ~15 cherries and put them in a blender. You can do more or less cherries depending on your taste. Add tequila, triple sec, 1/2 cup lime juice, and 1/2 cup cooled simple syrup to the blender.
  • Blend ~20 seconds until the cherries are ground up. It will look like a dull color, but as soon as you start blending, it turns this really bright pinky red color.
  • Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a pitcher. Press the mixture around the sieve with a spatula to get as much liquid through as possible.
  • Serve margarita over ice with a wedge of lime for garnish.
  • Makes ~4 servings

cherry margarita

In Other News

A dear friend of TheRoomMom e-mailed the picture below to me. She served the Watermelon Vodka Slushie in this totally awesome watermelon keg. She said she had a few leakage problems. She picked up two more foam circles a little larger than the lock nuts to try to prevent leaking next time. My friend is visiting in a few weeks, and I will get a full report, but the materials list is below if you want to use the picture and the list to give it a try.

Materials

  • Hose Bibb, quarter turn (that’s the tap)
  • Faucet Lock Nuts (those black circles)
  • Brass Pipe Nipple 1/2″ (the piece with threads on both ends)
  • Coupling 1/2″ (what looks like a hex nut)

watermelon keg

Summer Cocktail Series

watermelon vodka slushie

After I posted the Blackberry Vodka Lemonade last week, I decided to run a series this summer testing fruity cocktails. I am on summer vacation, and my productivity levels go in the toilet unless I have some goals. This seemed like a worthwhile project, and I already had the Pinterest board for drinks that look refreshing. Last night I tweaked a recipe for a watermelon cocktail. Overall, I like tart, citrus drinks better (like a margarita), but this cocktail was pretty good.

Watermelon Vodka Slushie

Ingredients

  • ~1 1/2 c. watermelon, cut into small chunks
  • ~1 1/2 c. vodka
  • ~ 2 c. cranberry juice
  • Sprite, 7up, or gingerale
  • crushed ice

watermelon vodka

Directions

  • Add watermelon chunks to vodka and let it steep for about an hour. After about an hour, blend the vodka and watermelon until it is a slushie consistency. I used an immersion blender, but you could use a regular blender.
  • Add equal parts cranberry to the vodka mixture. I had ~2 c. watermelon vodka and added 2 c. cranberry.
  • Fill glass with crushed ice. Pour watermelon vodka cranberry mixture over ice. Fill about 2/3 full.
  • Add a splash of Sprite, 7up, or gingerale on top.

watermelon vodka mixHere are options I am considering for next weekend. Anyone have any opinions?

  • Cherry Margarita
  • Raspberry Lemon Drop
  • something called a Paradise