Sunday, December 21, 2014

Homemade Irish Cream

Looking for a last minute DIY gift? This easy, quick, and affordable Irish Cream recipe works wonders in coffee, desserts, and as an evening nightcap. Mix up a batch for friends and family, neighbors, co-workers, or to keep to yourself! You won't regret it. Happy Holidays, Kansas City!

Irish Cream

1 2/3 cups good Irish Whiskey*
1 cup heavy cream
1 (14oz) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
2 T. Hershey's chocolate syrup
2 T. cold coffee
2 t. pure vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a blender and mix on high speed for 20 seconds.

Transfer the mixture to an airtight container (I used recycled starbucks glasses).

Store in the fridge for up to two months. Shake well before using.

*I used Jameson and it turned out lovely. The only thing I might change is perhaps adding another tablespoon of coffee. Creamy, flavorful, and indulgent. Perfect for the holidays.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Bakery Tea

Drink: Christmas Bakery Tea
Type: Tea
From: Anna Marie's Teas
Price: $6 / 2 oz.
Description: spicy

What an aptly named tea. This warming winter tea is full of baking spices and flavor. From Anna Marie's in Liberty, this flavored black tea has bits of orange, ginger, cinnamon, cocoa, coconut, coriander, rose petals, cloves, cardamom, and almonds. Together it lends itself to a subtly spice (flavor-wise, not heat-wise) tea perfect for snowy days and nights.

The drink: aromatic, sweet, full, unique.

This tea, along with all the other winter and Christmas tea classics offered at this quaint shop are perfect for sharing with family and friends after a large meal or while opening gifts. Be sure to visit the shop online or on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays to get your loose-leaf fix!

Hot Chocolate

Drink: Hot Chocolate
Type: Non-Alcoholic
From: Parkville Coffee
Price: $2.50
Description: Light

With the late Holiday hours, Parkville Coffee is one of the coziest places to visit these days. However, late at night, I certainly don't need caffeine, so I opted for trying the non-fat hot chocolate.

The drink: smooth, light, creamy, warming.

My favorite part is that it wasn't heavy at all, more like a cocoa than a true chocolate beverage. With the perfect amount of whipped cream, it's a lovely treat for children and adults.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ritz Cocktail

Drink: Ritz Cocktail
Type: Alcoholic
From: 801 Fish

This orange-forward cocktail comes from the local seafood restaurant in Leawood, 801 Fish. It's very light on the tongue and has no bite. Made with Courvoisier Cognac, Cointreau, Luxardo, Lemon Juice and Champagne, it's served with an orange peel in a martini glass.

The drink: citrusy, floral, smooth, light.

This lightly sweet cocktail is a great pair to the many options on the menu.

Festive Cocktails

Need some easy cocktails to impress family members and friends this holiday season? I served the Brandy Cider Champagne before Thanksgiving dinner as a festive fall cocktail, and the Hot Toddy after dinner and dessert while we watched The Plaza Lighting

Brandy Cider Champagne

Apple Cider
Powdered Cinnamon

Put a splash of brandy and about 3/4c. of cider to a shaker with ice. Shake. Fill champagne flutes 1/4 way, add Prosecco, dust with cinnamon, and garnish with an orange twist. 

Hot Toddy

Hot water

Boil water and steep with black tea (1 t. per 8 oz water), whole cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, allspice, and lemon peel. Meanwhile, add 1 oz. whiskey and 1-2 t. honey to mugs. Add hot water to mug, garnish each mug with lemon peel, star anise, and grated nutmeg. Serve immediately. 

J. Rieger & Co. Whiskey

Located in the East Bottoms, the renewed J. Rieger & Co. is flourishing. With a newly assembled still, and plenty of high quality sherry, Ryan Maybee and Andy Rieger's venture into whiskey has been something all of Kansas City benefits from. 

Once one of the midwest's most popular whiskeys, J. Rieger fell off the grid after Prohibition began, but not before the family built The Rieger Hotel, currently home of The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange and Manifesto

Tours (and tastings) are available, and I definitely recommend checking it out. The entire process is filled with historical intrigue and local love. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Last Word

Drink: The Last Word
Type: Alcoholic
From: 801 Fish
Description: Herbal

I ended up at 801 Fish in Leawood by chance, and was fortunate enough to sample some cocktails while dining on crab legs and oysters. This Chartreuse-forward drink is a wonderful compliment to the seafood options in this beautiful restaurant. 

The drink: clear, light, sweet, smooth. 

The lime adds a nice citrus touch to the floral, herbal-ness of the Green Chartreuse. The chartreuse is so well balanced and lovely - it's really highlighted in this cocktail with flavor and clarity. 

Swirl Wine Bar

Drink: Wine
Type: Alcoholic
From: Swirl Wine Bar & Shoppe
Price: $10 / flight
Description: Lovely

Thanks to a Groupon I was finally able to check out Parkville's Swirl Wine Bar, located in the Burlington Creek shops just off 45 Hwy. This chic, comfortable bar offers both wine and beer flights for just $10 along with great local flair. The variety was very nice, and I enjoyed each of the wines, including a Reisling, a Pinot Gris, Amigoni Cepage, and a Cabernet. The bar also offers some wonderful small bites and platters that are well developed and pair well with the wine options. With affordable pricing, a great space, and delicious wines, this Northland shop is unmissable!

Brown Sugar and Rosemary Latte

Drink: Brown Sugar and Rosemary Latte
Type: Coffee
From: Kaldi's
Description: Fragrant

Kaldi's Coffee is quickly becoming one of my favorites, especially with discovering the drive-through location in Briarcliff. The syrup compliments the espresso perfectly, is light, and well-balanced. I literally could not stop enjoying this latte. Every time I took a sip, it was delightful. With the house-made syrup, this latte has the perfect blend of dark sweetness and herbal lightness. 

The drink: warm, calming, soothing, perfect. 

This is the most perfect cold-weather beverage I can imagine. Shout out to Laura Clark for introducing me to this phenomenal drink! Forget your PSL and peppermint mochas, this blend of dark sugars and fragrant rosemary will keep you warm this winter season.