Vanilla Pear Cocktail Recipe

The past couple of weeks I’ve been hard at work thinking up and researching fall and winter cocktail recipes. Summer cocktails come so easily to me, but I find cocktails in the cooler months need to be a bit more complex. Maybe I’m just overthinking it, maybe not.

I’ve made it my goal to start exploring flavour profiles outside of my typical repertoire. I’m going to do this through the addition bitters and more unique spices. I just bought my first bitters bottle, a citrus one, which I used in this recipe. The inspiration for this recipe came from one of my favourite cocktail books, Dillons Craft Cocktails, I just updated the recipe based on what I had available.

When I think of fall flavours, one of the first things that comes to mind is pear. This time of year, pears are so juicy and flavourful! Pears also pair (no pun intended) well with so many flavours, so they’re a perfect cocktail option. I got a great deal on a bag of organic Bartlett pears from Spud.ca. I even got my vodka delivered too– Spud can deliver liquor through my online grocery order as well. So convenient!

In this recipe I juice my pears. If you don’t have a juicer, you could blend the pears and then strain them through a cheesecloth or fine-mesh sieve.

Vanilla Pear Cocktail Recipe

Yields 1 drink

You’ll Need:

  • 1.5 oz vodka (I used Strathcona Spirits)
  • 3 oz fresh pear juice (I used Bartlett pears)
  • 0.25 oz vanilla bean syrup (I used Torani)
  • 0.25 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 3 dashes of citrus bitters (I used Hella Bitters)
  • Ice
  • Pear slice, to garnish

Directions

Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake to chill. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with pear slice and serve.

Cheers! If you recreate this, or any of my other cocktails be sure to tag me on Instagram @alexandtribe.

*I was gifted a credit by Spud.ca to create a recipe using liquor purchased through their site. All thought and opinions are still my own.

Bee’s Knees Cocktail Recipe

Doesn’t this photo just give you all the winter feels? As I type this, big, fluffy snowflakes are falling outside and I may, or may not be listening to Christmas music with the fireplace on.

Today I’m coming at you with a classic cocktail done two ways, the Bee’s Knees. This cocktail is an oldie but a goodie from back in the prohibition era. It was actually invented by the first head bartender at the Ritz in Paris in 1921, when its Cafe Parisian opened its doors.

In the name of research, Holly from Chandeliers and Champagne and I tested (and taste tested) this cocktail two ways–as a gin fizz with a frothy top and over ice. I feel like serving it frothy is a fancier way to serve it, while over ice is easy and convenient.

Looking at the calendar, I can see that today is also National Gin Day, so talk about the perfect excuse to whip up a cocktail. If you’re looking for some more great gin-based cocktails some of my favourites are the Elderflower French 75, Earl Grey’s Royal Gin Fizz, Redheaded French Blonde and a Very Cherry Gin & Tonic.

Bee’s Knees Cocktail Recipe Two Ways

Yields 1 drink

You’ll Need:

  • 1.5 oz gin (we used Bombay Sapphire)
  • 1.5 oz Agalima Sweet & Sour Mix
  • 0.5 oz honey
  • Half an egg white (for frothy version only)
  • Ice
  • Lemon wheel to garnish

Directions

For frothy version:

Combine gin, Agalima mix, honey and egg white into a cocktail shaker and shake hard, without ice to emulsify the egg. Add ice, shake again to chill and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with lemon wheel and serve.

For on the rocks version:

Combine gin, Agalima mix, honey and ice into a cocktail shaker and shake hard strain into a cocktail glass filled with ice. Garnish with lemon wheel and serve.

Note: If your don’t have Agalima Sweet & Sour Mix on hand, you can certainly use fresh-squeezed lemon juice.

Cheers! If you recreate this, or any of my other cocktails be sure to tag me on Instagram @alexandtribe.

Coconut Chia Seed Granola Recipe

While technically speaking it’s still summer, September always feels like fall to me. It also serves as reset. Back to routine, back to meal planning & prepping and back to eating healthy (you don’t want to know how much ice cream we ate this summer).

I’ve always found the easiest way to make healthy eating choices is to have convenient, easy options available. Meal prepping some things like muffins, overnight oats and granola makes it so much easier when the kids tell me they’re hungry at 6:30 am.

Homemade granola is so easy to make, and there’s so many ways to customize it. For me it’s great, because I’m allergic to almonds, and most pre-packaged granola has almonds in it. Most of the time I just use whatever ingredients I have on hand like dried fruit, nuts and seeds. You can also control the type and how much sweetener you use. I like using honey most of the time.

Once it’s made you can just munch on it on its own, with milk or our favourite way—on top of organic vanilla yogurt with fresh berries.

All of the ingredients I used to make this granola were found using local grocery delivery service Spud.ca. They make it easy to find locally-sourced, organic, healthy ingredients to feed my family…and deliver it to my door! If you’re wanting to try Spud for yourself (do it, it’s the best lol) use the code CREDM-SOCALE for $20 off your first order.

Coconut Chia Seed Granola Recipe

Yields: Jar of Granola

You’ll Need:

  • 3 cups of old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup coconut strips
  • 2 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cacao nibs
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, chia seeds, coconut flakes & strips and pinch of salt.
  3. Place the coconut oil and honey in small bowl and melt together in the microwave, then stir to combine and sand add vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until the dry ingredients are well coated. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread into a single layer.
  5. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and pile the granola into a heap on one half of the pan and compress. This will make nice, big clusters. Allow to cool completely and then break into chunks.
  6. Store in an air tight container at room temperature.

Hope you enjoy this recipe! As I said it’s easy to adapt based on what you have or like. Add in almonds or cashews, use maple syrup instead of honey. Make it your own!

Happy {almost} fall!

Alex

Cucamelon Gin & Tonic

A good Gin & Tonic is the epitome of a summer drink in my opinion. It’s funny, I love them, but have no real desire to drink them other than on a hot summer day. They’re just so refreshing!

A Gin & Tonic is such an easy drink to make, but the key is using quality ingredients. Buying a good quality gin and a good quality tonic makes such a big difference in your cocktail. I can’t stand cheap tonic, it’s way too sweet. My favourite tonics are by Fever Tree–especially the Elderflower and Aromatic ones.

A second way to really amp up a classic G&T is through your garnishes. It’s such a fun, easy way to make a good drink a great drink.

For today’s G&T my girlfriend Holly and I used mint, strawberries and cucamelon’s! If you haven’t heard of a cucamelon before, don’t worry, you’re not alone. They are probably the cutest garnish I’ve ever used though.

A cucamelon looks like a teeny tiny watermelon (so cute) but tastes like a cucumber with a hint of lime. Cucamelons may be small, but they’re quite the superfood, packed full of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and fiber, and are also low in calories. Holly and I were lucky enough to be gifted a bunch of them from our friend Catherine, who grew them in her garden. Here’s how to enjoy them in a G&T.

Cucamelon Gin and Tonic Recipe

Yields 1 cocktail

You’ll Need:

  • 1.5 ounces gin (we used Epitaph Gin)
  • Fever-Tree Elderflower Tonic Water, to top
  • Lime round
  • Half a strawberry, sliced
  • 3 cucamelons, to garnish
  • Mint sprig, to garnish
  • Cubed Ice

Directions: In a cocktail glass filled with cubed ice, combine gin, lime round and sliced strawberry. Top off with tonic water and lightly stir. Garnish with mint sprig and cucamelons skewered on a cocktail.

Hope you enjoy! Cheers!

Five things I love about my Endy Mattress and Pillows

Well, it’s been 100 nights since we got our new Endy mattress and I’m still so happy with our decision.

It’s been 100 nights of comfortable sleeps, less back pain, family movie nights, Sunday morning coffee-in-beds, and nighttime takeovers by my four-year-old. Yup, Coco is a big Endy fan too, thinking we’ll just have to get him his own when we upsize his bed!

If you’re considering buying an Endy for yourself, here’s five reasons why switching to Endy has been so great:

1. The pillow is so comfortable and totally adjustable—you can remove as much or as little foam from its core as you need. It even comes with a storage bag for your excess foam pieces, so you can store them in case you need to add some back in the future.

2. The mattress is firm enough that my body gets the support it needs (hello less lower back pain) but still soft enough to contour to my body.

3. Your mattress is covered by a 100 Night Trial. If you’re not satisfied, you can return it! You literally have nothing to lose by trying them out. And trust me—you won’t be returning it 😉.

4. Endy mattresses dramatically reduce motion transfer—I’m such a light sleeper, so this was huge for me. Between my husband tossing and turning and my four-year-old crashing in our bed most nights, I need all the help I can get getting a restful sleep.

5. My mattress was shipped right to my door, and incredibly fast, which made mattress shopping so much easier!

So, are you sold yet?! Honestly though, I love our new mattress. It’s been a great upgrade and I’m sure we’ll love it for years to come. If you want to learn more, just click here to head to their website. If you have any specific questions just leave me a comment and I’d be happy to help!

Rhubarb Gin Sour Recipe

Rhubarb is one of my favourite garden treats in the summer. I just love the tart, sour taste of it and how well it works in baking.

This year, I was determined to find a fun, new use for it, besides my go-to strawberry rhubarb crumble so I decided to make a rhubarb simple syrup to incorporate into a cocktail! If you don’t drink, this syrup would also taste great in an Italian Soda or on top of ice cream!

This cocktail is fresh, fruity and tart. It reminds me of something you’d order in a restaurant off a fancy cocktail list, however, it’s quite simple. Hope you enjoy!

Rhubarb Gin Sour Recipe

Yields 1 drink

You’ll Need:

  • 2 tbsp of rhubarb simple syrup (see recipe below)
  • 1.5 oz gin (I used Black Fox Farm Haskap Gin)
  • 1 oz of fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • Egg white
  • Ice

Directions

Add your gin, lemon juice, rhubarb syrup and egg white into a cocktail shaker and shake twice, hard, without ice to emulsify the egg. Add ice, shake again and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish and serve.

Rhubarb Simple Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chopped rhubarb
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar

Directions:

Boil equal parts sugar and water in a medium sauce pan until the sugar fully dissolves. Remove from heat and steep with the rhubarb for 20 minutes.

Allow it to cool, the strain out the rhubarb pieces. The simple syrup can be stored in your fridge for up to three weeks.

Cheers! If you recreate this, or any of my other cocktails be sure to tag me on Instagram @alexandtribe.

Classic Aperol Spritz Recipe

I’ve had a love for all things Italian for a long as I can remember. It’s my favourite country to visit. The history, architecture, beaches, city life, food and drinks; it just can’t be beat.

Enjoying an Aperol Spritz in Rome

There’s no drink, in my opinion, that has as strong a claim to being “Italy’s drink” as an Aperol Spritz. The cocktail is built around Aperol—a semi-sweet, slightly bitter aperitif from northern Italy.

The herby orange-red liqueur was invented by the Barbieri brothers in Padova, Italy in 1919 and was originally designed as a health and diet drink. The recipe, as those for bitters and liqueurs tend to be, is secret, but includes bitter and sweet oranges, rhubarb and gentian.

When the Austrians controlled the Veneto after the Napoleonic wars, they took the local Italian wine and added a splash, or in German, a “spritz,” of water. Over time the water was replaced with sparkling water and the still wine was turned into wine fortified with a liqueur. It wasn’t too long before the liqueur of choice became what we today call Aperol. It gained popularity all over Italy during 1920s to 1930s and it was marketed as a drink for women and people with an active lifestyle.

There are many kinds of Spritzes, but the Aperol Spritz is probably the most popular cocktail in Italy. Along with the more bitter-tasting Campari, Aperol is also one of the most successful Italian liquors overseas.

The spritz has become synonymous with the Italian tradition of the Aperitivo, a drinking occasion associated with the transition between work and play at the end of the business day.

The Campari Group purchased Aperol in 2003 and embarked on a huge advertising and marketing campaign that positioned the Aperol Spritz as a drink for the creatives, the fashionable and the successful. Today it is one of the most popular drinks around the world.

Today my girlfriend Holly and I have put together a recipe for a classic Aperol Spritz for you. It’s the perfect drink to enjoy these dog days of summer with.

Classic Aperol Spritz Recipe

Yields 1 drink You’ll Need:

  • 3 parts Prosseco (we used La Marca)
  • 2 parts Aperol
  • 1 part soda water  
  • Ice
  • Orange slice, to garnish

DirectionsMix all ingredients in a wine glass with ice and gently stir. Garnish with an orange slice.

If you’d like it ‘Venetian-style,’ add a green olive as an additional garnish.

Hope you enjoy this little taste of Italy. If you recreate this cocktail for yourself, be sure to tag us on Instagram @alexandtribe and @chandeliers.and.champagne.

Cheers!

Classic Piña Colada Recipe

I’ve always found it amusing that there’s a day for just about everything. Today happens to be National Piña Colada Day, and coincidentally enough it’s a beautiful, warm day in Edmonton, perfect for this delicious blended summer drink!

Curious about the origins of the Piña Colada, I did a bit of research and found out it was invented by a bartender in Puerto Rico. This pineapple coconut drink was so beloved that in 1978 it was named Puerto Rico’s national drink. Its name means “strained pineapple” in Spanish, referring to the freshly pressed and strained pineapple used in the drink’s preparation.

The best Piña Colada I’ve ever had was at a little roadside stand in Cuba on my way to Havana. It was incredible–made with fresh fruit and served frosty cold. Perfect for a hot beach day.

So let’s all celebrate summer and honour the great Piña Colada with this delicious recipe.

Piña Colada Recipe

Yields 1 drink

You’ll Need:

  • 1.5 cups of ice
  • 1/2 cup of frozen pineapple
  • 2 ounces of pineapple juice
  • 2 ounces of premium coconut milk
  • 1.5 ounces of white rum
  • Umbrella, maraschino cherry and pineapple wedge to garnish

Directions

Add all of your ingredients except for garnishes into your blender and blend until your drink is smooth. If you prefer a sweeter drink, feel free to add in one to two teaspoons of sugar as well.

Pour into a hurricane glass (or bonus points, a coconut shell) and add garnishes.

Cheers friends, hope you have an awesome weekend!

Watermelon Basil Martini

There’s few things more reminiscent of summer than fresh, juicy watermelon. It’s the perfect treat on a hot day.

I had a giant watermelon at home needing to be used and figured I’d try my hand at adding an adult twist to this childhood favourite. Did you know that watermelon’s are 92% water and full of vitamins? You’re basically have a health drink with this cocktail 😉.

My recent spud.ca order includes a beautiful new bottle of vodka from Confluence Distilling, out of Calgary, Alberta. The vodka is made from local, glacially-fed water and Albertan grains and has a smooth finish to it. And we all know how much I love supporting local.

I’m so pumped that I can order local beer, wine and spirits online with my Spud grocery order. Makes it so easy and convenient to discover new, local companies.

If you’re looking for a way to use up some leftover watermelon, then look no further than this delicious martini I’ve crafted for you.

Watermelon Basil Martini

Yields 1 drink

You’ll Need:

  • 1.5 ounces vodka
  • 0.5 ounces St. Germain
  • Aprox. 2 cups of watermelon
  • 2 basil leaves
  • Splash of fresh-squeezed lime
  • Basil and watermelon, to garnish
  • Ice

Directions

Cut up your watermelon and put it in either a juicer or high-powered blender, along with your basil leaves. After you blend it, run it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any remaining chunks.

Combine vodka, St. Germain liqueur, lime juice and watermelon juice in a cocktail tin with a couple pieces of ice. Shake and pour into a martini glass and garnish with a cube of watermelon and a basil leaf.

Cheers, enjoy this taste of summer!

Lilac and Lychee Gin Rickey

Lilacs are one of my favourite spring flowers. They have the most incredible scent and make such a beautiful, full bouquet. I’m lucky my mom has two trees in her yard that I get to raid as much as I want!

Unknown to a lot of people is the fact that lilac blossoms are actually edible. The petals can be used to make a lilac sugar for baking, or a sprinkle of flowers for garnish, or my favourite–in a simple syrup for cocktails. It adds a light, floral note to your drinks as well as a hint of beautiful colour.

Today’s cocktail is a delicious Lilac and Lychee Gin Rickey. It’s light, fruity and a perfect summer patio sipper. You’re going to love it! If you can’t get your hands on lilacs for this simple syrup, lavender would work well too.

Lilac and Lychee Gin Rickey

Yields 1 drink

You’ll Need:

  • 1 ounce gin
  • 0.5 ounces lychee liqueur (we used Soho)
  • 1.5 ounces cranberry juice
  • 0.25 ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • Dash of lilac-infused simple syrup (recipe below)
  • Soda water, to top
  • Fresh lilac petals, to garnish
  • Ice

Directions

Combine gin, lychee liqueur, cranberry juice, lime juice and lilac-infused simple syrup in a cocktail tin. Stir and pour into a cocktail glass filled with ice. For a layered look, top slowly with soda water. Garnish with lilac petals, ogle at its beauty, then stir gently and enjoy!  

Lilac-infused Simple Syrup

You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup lilac blossoms
  • 4 blueberries (for colour)

Instructions:

Remove stems and leaves from lilac blossoms, otherwise they can make your syrup bitter. Gently rinse blossoms in a fine mesh strainer and put aside.

Add water and sugar in a small pot, whisking together until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil then add lilac blossoms and blueberries. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove all the lilac petals. Allow syrup to cool to room temperature then store in a jar or bottle. Syrup will keep in the fridge for up to three weeks.

Hope you enjoy this delicious summer cocktail, be sure to follow along on Instagram (@alexandtribe, @chandeliers.and.champagne) to see what else we come up with and tag us in you pics if you recreate any of our cocktails.

Cheers!