Tag: cocktail

Any Port in the Snow Cocktail

Looking for a Christmas cocktail to keep you warm this Winter?  Try Any Port in the Snow…

Any Port in the Snow Cocktail | Motley Decor

As the name suggests, it’s heavy on port (wine that’s both more flavorful and has a higher alcohol content).  Slightly sweet, with a little kick at the end, tawny port makes a nice Winter libation.

Any Port in the Snow is also loaded with quintessential holidays flavors like cloves and orange–an irresistibly fragrant mix that always recalls the holidays for me.  A mild scotch delivers a larger kick on the tail  that warms from the inside out.

The flavor profile is not unlike mulled wine or even red sangria.  However, this is a cocktail that both soothes and packs a punch.  So, please be forewarned and enjoy responsibly.)

Perhaps, best of all, Any Port in the Snow couldn’t be easier to make, which makes it ideal for entertaining.  Here’s the recipe…


1 oz mild scotch (I used Pig’s Nose)

2 oz tawny port

handful of whole cloves

Orange peel


You can either infuse the port with a handful of cloves for 24 hours prior to serving or simply throw 3-5 cloves in each drink.  Then, mix the scotch and port, using a 1:2 ratio, stir gently, and add an orange peel as a fragrant garnish.

Ice is optional.  I prefer this warming drink at room temperature.

Happy Holidays!


Spiked & Spiced Apple Cider

What’s better than spiced apple cider on a chilly Autumn day?  Spiked apple cider on Thanksgiving!  Luckily, you don’t have to choose between the two.  This recipe combines the the tangy sweetness of apple cider with Fall-forward spices like cinnamon and cardamom with the family-holiday-coping properties of ale and vodka.  Just in time for those heated political debates that everyone is dreading this year after the  most contentious election in memory!  You’re welcome.

WARNING: this Spiked & Spiced Apple Cider cocktail/punch does NOT taste like alcohol.  However, it is deceivingly potent.  So, pace yourself and your guests–especially the teetotalers among them.  (Every family has one.)

Motley Decor's Spiked & Spiced Apple Cider Recipe

Here’s what you’ll need for the spiked cider:

32 oz mulled cider (see mulling recipe below)

2 12 oz cans amber ale

1 cup Absolute Pear (or other pear-flavored) vodka

the juice from 1 lemon

sprinkle of cinnamon

Just in Time for Thanksgiving: Spiked & Spiced Apple Cider Recipe

Mixing the punch…

Because this recipe contains beer, you’ll want to mix the cider in a large decanter with a stopper (rather than a punch bowl, for instance) to preserve the carbonation.  Aside from that one note, this recipe is extremely straight-forward.  You just  mix all of the ingredients and add cinnamon to taste.

If you prefer dryer drinks, add more beer to mellow out the sweetness of the cider.  If you feel like the vodka taste is too strong, an extra squeeze of lemon with balance it out.

Then, just set out the mixture  with some glasses for all to enjoy.

What to Drink This Thanksgiving | Spiked & Spiced Apple Cider Punch Recipe on Motley Decor

Mulling apple cider…

Ingredients: bottled apple cider, orange slices, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cardamom pods

Note: fresh ginger, anise, and cloves are also great for mulling (although I felt that they weren’t needed for this particular drink).  If you want to use them, just be careful with the cloves.  They can quickly become overpowering.   So, taste your cider often.

In a large pot on a stovetop–or even in a slow cooker–combine all of the ingredients and let them cook at a temperature just shy of boiling for about 20 minutes.  If you catch the cider boiling, just turn off the heat and let the liquid cool.

Once at room temperature, strain and funnel the cider back into the bottle and store it in the fridge overnight.  The next day, just give it a shake before concocting the punch recipe above.

All jokes aside, Thanksgiving is not just a glutinous holiday.  It’s an important one as it forces us to take inventory of all we are thankful for.  And, despite tensions in the country at the moment, we can’t loose sight of how lucky we truly are.  Whatever blessings you cherish most in this life, acknowledge them this Thanksgiving, express your thanks, help someone out if you can, and never loose hope.

Spiked & Spiced Apple Cider for Thanksgiving // MotleyDecor.com

A Twist on the Negroni

As a devoted fan of the citrusy, slightly bitter taste of Campari, I’m naturally a proponent of the Negroni cocktail as well.  One part Campari, one part gin (another spirit I’ve grown particularly fond of lately), and one part vermouth; the Negroni is fairly simple to make.  I had the pleasure of sipping a cedar infused version of this cocktail recently, which only augmented my admiration for the drink.  Then, as luck would have it, Negroni Week came along (sponsored both by  Campari and Imbibe Magazine to raise funds for charitable organizations).  At first, I was over the moon.  This enthusiasm quickly turned to mania in an effort to create my own twist on a Negroni that–I hoped–would be every bit as clever and delicious as that cedar-scented incarnation.     twist on a negroni 1

As I mentioned, I’ve been a big fan of gin lately and, to that end, I had already set about infusing gin with bay leaves and peppercorns.  It seemed I was fated to use this concoction in my Negroni.  I was pleased with the results of the infusion.  It took that herbaceous quality of the gin and enhanced with a certain earthiness and spice.

However, when I added the Campari and vermouth to my new and improved gin, the bay leaves got a little lost due to the strong flavors of the other players in the trio.  Instead, the mixture became medicinal and perhaps too intense.  I decided it needed some sweetness to balance the other forces.

motley negroni 5

After a great deal of contemplation and experimentation, I finally developed a plan, using these…


  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz bay leaf, peppercorn infused gin
  • 1 oz dry vermouth
  • 5 grapes, cut in half and charred with a culinary blow torch
  • Ice


Muddle 4 of the 5 grapes with the Campari, gin, and vermouth in a cocktail shaker.  Add ice and shake.  Drain into a short glass.  Slide the 2 charred grape halves onto a cocktail pick for garnish.  Enjoy!

negroni cocktail for negroni week 4

As noted earlier, my dilemma was how to add sweetness to this drink.  Some kind of citrus would have been the obvious answer to play off of the Campari’s notes.  Instead, I looked to grapes, the fruit from which vermouth is distilled.  To make it a little more interesting and marry with the more intense, savory flavors of the spirits, I decided to char the grapes, imparting a subtle taste of charcoal into the mix.

The end result had the balance I was hoping to achieve.  Citrus and sweetness are balanced by bitter herbs and a peppery, cinder finish.  It’s a little more complex than the classic Negroni.  Was it as good as the cedar Negroni?  That’s tough to say.  I guess I’ll have to revisit that one.

negroni on motley decor 3

Happy (end of) Negroni Week!  Cheers!

A Cocktail with a Certain Gin e Sais Quoi

My husband and I went nuts recently when our neighbors left a huge bag of kumquats on our doorstep.  For several nights, we punctuated our dinners by feverishly devouring the orange gems like they were popcorn.  However, we soon had to face reality…we would never be able to eat them all before they started to go bad.  Panicking, my mind immediately went to one place: cocktails!

Some of the kumquats were used to infuse vodka, which gave birth the Kumquat Fennel Vodka Soda.  The remaining fruit was distilled into kumquat simple syrup and underwent several rounds of imbibing experimentation.  Of all of the would-be kumquat cocktails, one recipe involving gin, the essence of rose petals, and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice rose to the top.  You might say it had a certain “gene gin e sais quoi”.  And so it was named.

Here’s the recipe…

A Cocktail with a Certain Gin e Sais Quoi on MotleyDecor.com | Gin, Kumquat & Rose Cocktail Recipe


2 oz gin

1 oz kumquat simple syrup (recipe below)

1 oz freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

2 spritzes rosewater

Rose petals for garnish


Combine gin, kumquat simple syrup, and grapefruit juice in a cocktail shaker with a couple of ice cubes and shake.  Drain (strain) into a champagne coupe.  Spritz twice with rosewater and garnish with a floating rose petal.  Enjoy with your pinky high in the air, because you’re classy like that.

Kumquat Simple Syrup Recipe:

Boil water, stirring in an equal volume of sugar.  Shut off heat and let cool for a couple of minutes once the sugar is completely dissolved.  Add a handful of chopped kumquats, stirring occasionally.  Let the mixture sit for several minutes, tasting it from time to time.  When the syrup has enough kumquat  flavor for your liking, strain the mixture and transfer it to a sealed container.  Store your kumquat simple syrup in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.  This may mean you will have to make a lot of kumquat cocktails in a two week period, but such is life.

A Cocktail with a Certain Gin e Sais Quoi on MotleyDecor.com | Gin, Kumquat & Rose Cocktail Recipe

Happy Friday!

Kumquat Fennel Sparkler Cocktail

Tired of the same old vodka soda?  This is a light, refreshing cocktail that’s perfect for summer.  Kumquats are citrusy with sweet skins that balance their tart interiors.  Fennel, on the other hand, acts as an herbaceous, almost anise-like compliment to the fruit.  Soda water adds the sparkle.  And, of course, there’s vodka…

Here’s how to make a Kumquat Fennel Sparkler…


2 oz kumquat infused vodka*

1 oz kumquat simple syrup**

1 handful chopped fennel bulb

Soda water


1 stalk  of fennel, trimmed for garnish

kumquat fennel sparkler 3


In an old fashioned glass, muddle the chopped fennel.  Add syrup, vodka and 2 or 3 ice cubes.  Fill to top of glass with soda water.  Stir with fennel stalk and serve.

* Kumquat infused vodka:

To make your own kumquat infused vodka, simply chop up a handful of kumquats and put them in vodka.  Let the two sit in the fridge together for at least 2 weeks.

** Kumquat Simple Syrup:

Creating your own kumquat-flavored simple syrup is easy.  Boil water and stir in an equal amount of sugar, dissolving it completely.  Remove from heat and add a handful of chopped kumquats, stirring occasionally until cool.  Once cool, strain and transfer to an airtight container, storing it in your regrigerator.  The simple syrup will be good for about 2 weeks.

Kumquat Fennel Vodka Soda

Orange Carrot Caraway Mimosas

This Easter, serve a unique Mimosa that tastes great and celebrates the Easter Bunny’s favorite vegetable, the carrot.  Orange and carrot juice combine to create an interesting and tangy nectar that’s elevated by the spicy addition of caraway.  And the little carrot garnishes look so cute!  Here’s how to make ’em…

Orange Carrot Caraway Mimosas, The Perfect Drink for Easter Brunch via Motley Decor


1/2 bottle orange juice

1/2 bottle carrot juice

1 bottle dry or brut sparkling white wine

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

6 small carrots with the tops in tact


The night before, combine the two juices in a carafe that fits in your fridge.  Using a mortar and pestle, grind the the caraway seeds into a fine dust.  Add them to the juice mixture, shaking or stirring thoroughly.  Cover and set in the fridge.  This will allow the flavors to really mix and intensify.  The next morning, rinse your carrots and trim away any brown or wilted parts of the tops.  With a vegetable peeler, remove the outer skin of the carrots, being careful not to take off the tops.  Place a skinned, trimmed carrot in each champagne flute.  Arrange them next to the chilled sparkling wine and carafe of spiced juice, advising your guests to mix the two 50-50.

Enjoy!  Happy  Easter!

The Perfect Drink for Easter: Orange Carrot Caraway Mimosas

P. S. If you like that art work, check out my DIY pop art tutorial and learn how to make your own.

Cumin Lime Celery Bloody Marys

Bloody Marys are one of the few libations that are socially acceptable to drink before noon.  So, when it comes to brunch–especially Easter brunch–they are an obvious choice.  They also lend themselves beautifully to variation upon variation.  Here’s a version to try this Easter: Cumin Lime Celery Bloody Marys.  And they’re easy to make.  Here’s how…


64 oz bottle of V8 Spicy Hot Vegetable Juice

Juice of 2 limes

2-3 limes, cut into wedges

2 stalks of celery, washed & chopped

4-6 celery tops for garnish

1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, ground

Vodka, chilled

Ice cubes



Open the bottle of V8 juice and pour a little out to make room.  Add the lime juice, chopped celery, and cumin.  Shake well and let rest in the fridge over night.  In the morning, transfer the juice to a pitcher and stir.  Select your glassware and cut the remaining celery stalks to be 2-3 inches taller than your glasses are deep.  Place the trimmed stalks in the glasses.  Place everything in the area that you’ve designated for your guests to mix their drinks.

I also highly recommend having some kind of Mexican beer available.  (I like Tecate or Dos Equis.)  Bloody beers (or micheladas) are a great lower-alcohol-alternative to Bloody Marys that are easy to drink.  I made this option available at my last brunch and–surprisingly–the beer was a more popular choice than the vodka.


If you’re hosting this Easter, don’t miss my tips for hosting a stress-free brunch.



Another Twist on a Moscow Mule

Another twist on a Moscow Mule

As promised in a previous post, I’m following up with a Mexican twist on the classic Moscow Mule cocktail.  I’m calling it the Mazatlán Mule.  As you may have guessed, this version calls for tequila in place of vodka, but that’s not the only substitution…


Gold tequila


Ginger beer


Fresh cilantro (instead of mint)



In a mortar and pestle, grind a pinch of cumin seeds to unleash their essence.  (If you really love cumin, you can toast the seeds first.  However, be forewarned: this greatly intensifies their smell…and it lingers.)  Fill a copper mug halfway with ice,  then add 2 shots of tequila and 1 shot of Cointreau.  Throw in a handful of cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and sprinkle with cumin.  Fill the rest of the way with ginger beer, stir and serve.

Lime, cilantro, and cumin act a zesty, spicy trinity.  Cilantro and cumin actually come from the same plant, so it’s little wonder that they work well together.  The lime brings out the subtlety of the cilantro and kicks the cumin into high gear.  The spiciness of the trio is well matched to the equally spicy ginger beer.  Tequila adds a kick and the Cointreau takes the edge off with its citrusy properties.  In other words, it’s delicious.  But don’t take my word for it.  Make Mazatlán Mules the next time you entertain.  Cheers!

Twist on a Moscow Mule

I’m a sucker for any ginger-flavored cocktail.  So, naturally, a Moscow Mule is high on my list of favorites.  The problem is: I almost never have vodka in the house.  (I know…I know…)  True to my roots, however (I’m half Puerto Rican), what I do keep stocked is rum!  This inventory issue, coupled with my love of ginger (and my cute new copper mugs with brass knuckles for handles), resulted in a happy accident–or twist, rather–on the classic cocktail.  I call it the Manatí  Mule.  Here’s how you make it…

Spiced rum (instead of vodka)
Ginger beer
Fresh Basil (instead of mint)

Fill a copper mug halfway with ice and add 2 ounces (instead of 1) of spiced rum.  Fill with ginger beer and add a squeeze of lime.  Garnish with another lime wedge and a sprig of fresh basil.  Enjoy!

On a side note, my other half is Mexican, which means that I also maintain an ample of supply of tequila.  So keep an eye out for a Mazatlan Mule recipe in a future post.  Cheers!


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