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The view from the Paws Up Bar
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     My family loves "glamping" aka glamorous camping and The Resort at Paws Up in Greenough, Montana is the ultimate destination.  
       You know my M.O. anywhere I go is to hit the bar, try all their specialty drinks, then come home and try to recreate my favorites.  And sometimes an even better thing happens...you chat up the bartender, get friendly and the next thing you know they will share some secrets and some complimentary tastes of liquor not on the menu.  After telling Paws Up's bartender extraordinaire, Allen, how much I'm enjoying making my own flavor infusions with vodkas...he pulled out a jar with a masking tape tag labeled "44 Rum."  It's an amazing taste and the recipe came to him from some friends who learned to make it from a little dive bar they visited on a vacation in Mexico!?  
      It will take you 44 days to make your own...but I promise it will be worth the effort and the wait.
                     
                      Cheers!  XOXO  Martha

Pantry Must Haves:

1 bottle Cruzan White Rum
1 whole orange
44 coffee beans
1/2 cup raw sugar

Allen told us his friends just poke holes in the sides of a whole orange when they make this, but the container he makes his in (or mine for that matter) doesn't have a wide enough mouth to make that work, so he just quarters the orange.  Add all the ingredients in an air tight jar and let it "marinate" for 44 days.  Give the jar a swirl or a shake every day or two.  Strain out the orange and beans and put in a clean airtight container for storage.  
Serve this smooth tasty rum over ice or have fun using it to make a new cocktail of your own creation!
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The sheet metal mountain behind the bar at Paws Up
 
 
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A "Shandy" is a kind of beer cocktail. Usually beer mixed with lemonade, or a citrus soda.  Proportions and flavors differ and some folks even prefer a "snakebite" which is a shandy made with beer and apple cider.  I've wanted to make a St. Germain shandy  ever since I was handed a little recipe card at one of our foodie event adventures.  The St. Germain recipe's proportions were heavy on the beer and far lighter on the St. Germain, elderflower liqueur, and lemon juice...so just FYI this recipe has been Martha-fied and is made the way I like it!  Hope this inspires you to concoct some shandies of your own this summer!   Cheers!  XO  Martha

St. Germain Shandy
4 parts beer
2 parts St. Germain
1 part lemon juice (I used one whole lemon per drink)
Pour the ingredients into 
a glass half full of ice.  
Stir gently garnish with a lemon 
wedge and enjoy! 
Adjust proportions to taste!
 
 
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A Beergarita? Yup, you heard right and probably guessed that this is a margarita made with beer.  It's another great drink from our fans (and sometimes drinking buddies) in Kentucky (A shout out of thanks to Susan in Lexington!)  It sounds weird beer and tequila and lime...but boy does it work. I even have a friend who refuses to drink any other kind of margarita after having one of these.  Give it a whirl and you'll see what the bubbly salty beer does to make this drink a little bit red-neck but a total keeper. Cheers! XO Martha

Pantry Must Haves:
1 can minute maid lime frozen limeade
1 can 100% agave tequila
2 bottles of Stella Artois Beer
Mix the ingredients together, using the empty minute maid can to measure the tequila.  You can put it in the blender and mix it with ice or serve over ice.  Either way enjoy it cold with a wedge of lime.
 
 
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It's July in NJ and watermelons are everywhere for cheap and tasting their best.  So I'm kicking off a week of eating and experimenting with watermelon with an adult beverage.  I had a delicious watermelon drink when I was in South Beach Miami back in March. It was clear with little slivers of pink watermelon.  It was quite pretty and delicious, but I've had no luck making it with the ingredients they listed on their drink menu.  I'm suspecting they used watermelon flavoring or watermelon vodka.  So, I moved on and made up my own version of a watermelon cooler using watermelon juice that I made by puréeing fresh watermelon and straining through a sieve.  To make the most out of a big watermelon I use an ice cream scoop to scrape up the flesh I missed when cutting pretty triangles for the kids to eat.  It was enough for me to make 2 cups of juice!  Cheers! XO  Martha

Pantry Must Haves:
3 Parts Watermelon Juice
1 Part Vodka
1/2 Part Triple Sec
big squeeze of fresh lime
watermelon slice for a garnish
     In a shaker filled with ice add all the ingredients and shake vigorously.  Strain into a glass filled with fresh ice and garnish with a wedge of fresh watermelon. The recipe would also work using 1 1/2 parts citrus vodka and omitting the triple sec.
 
 
Sometimes after a long week, you're down in the dumps, dragging along and you feel like you could use a transfusion.  Good thing we have one handy!  With just three simple ingredients, this beverage is tasty, pretty and goes down way too easily.  Some of my pals who are South Orange Elks get the credit for introducing this drink into my diet.  Drink up, relax and feel better!   
Cheers! XO  Martha
Transfusion:
2-3 oz. vodka
2-3 oz grape juice
ginger ale
ice & grapes for garnish
Fill a tall glass with ice and add 
vodka, and grape juice and top with 
ginger ale.  Stir and serve with 
some grapes on a stirrer to garnish.  
Sip & Enjoy!
 
 
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One of the best things about going on vacation is visiting some of my favorite restaurants and getting new drink ideas and recipes.  This Coco-jito is from the Blue Point Grill in Duck, NC.  They don't go handing out their recipes (last year they introduced me to the Southern Boy...one of my favorites) so I go home and figure out the proportions.  This drink took a few trys...but I'm all about 
taking one for the team and sampling large quantities of rum for the sake 
of education.  And I think I finally 
got it right!  


Cheers!  XO  Martha

Coco-jito
2 parts Cruzan Rum
1 part triple sec
1 part Coco Lopez
8-10 mint leaves
1/2 lime
soda to top (2-3 parts worth)
Make sure you stir the Coco Lopez/cream of coconut when you open the can, it tends to separate when sitting on a shelf.  Muddle ripped up mint leaves with the lime juice in the bottom of a shaker.  Add Coco Lopez, Rum and triple sec, and ice.  Shake vigorously and pour into a tall glass.  Top with soda (I used sprite) and use a straw to mix gently.  Garnish with a sprig on mint and a lime wedge.
 
 
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It turns out the Communal Pantry has some great fans hailing from the great state of Kentucky.  Luckily I have a connection with a lady from Lexington who has broadened my bourbon drinking as well as introduced me to some down home concoctions... like the ever popular "Double Wide."  Don't worry this drink isn't reserved just for double wide trailer abiding folks, however it may be hard for 

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you to make if you're not located in Eastern Kentucky, since the main ingredient is Ale 8 one soft drink.  The first batch of Ale 8 one (also called 'a late one')was blended back in 1926 and is a unique blend of ginger and fruit.  But it seems like the distribution of this fine soda is rather limited, so be sure to pick some up if you're in the area!  I took a picture of my double wide in a nice tall glass and was yelled at since the red solo cup is the preferred vehicle for consumption!  Thanks for the bottles of Ale 8 one...and sharing the recipe, Susan!   Cheers!  XO  Martha

Pantry Must Haves:

Ale 8 one
Makers Mark 
(or another kind of bourbon will do)
A lime wedge
If you can't figure out how to mix some soda and bourbon together and add a lime wedge, you should not be allowed to drink a double wide let alone live in one.  I prefer mine with a 2 parts soda to 1 part bourbon proportion.  I also like to squeeze my lime wedge into the mix.  Bottoms up!  
 
 
This drink is a spin off of St Germain's delightful St Rita (Tequila, St Germain and lime).  We added in pear as it just happened to be floating around in the fridge and the combo worked surprisingly well. Just the thing for sipping on the porch while you watch tonight's steamy lightening storm!

1 part St Germain Liqueur
2 parts Tequila
3 parts pear nectar
half a lime, squeezed

Combine all ingredients with ice in a shaker and strain.  Serve over ice.

Nikki xx


 
 
This recipe was inspired by two things: the abundance of mint in my garden and the gorgeous vintage cocktail (highball) glasses I scored in an antique store on our recent girl's weekend in Vermont.  With the veritable forest of fresh mint and basil, there was really only one drink I could make (okay, the basil bit was an experiment but you get the picture!)...

While searching online for a simple syrup recipe (I always forget the ratio of sugar to water - I like mine not too sweet so I use a 2 parts water to 1 part sugar) I came across some hilarious tips from Bartender, Mixologist and Blogger, Jeffrey Morgenthaler.  Below are some of his 'rules' for the perfect mojito...

The Dos and and Don'ts of Mojitos

Do use crushed ice in your mojitos. Crushed ice will melt faster, which is a good thing in a drink with such strong flavors. The extra surface area of crushed ice also means a colder drink.

Do not use a pre-made mojito mix out of a bottle. This is one drink you want to do right.

Do not over-muddle the mint, or muddle the lime with the ice cubes. These are strictly amateur moves.

Do try Bacardi rum in your mojitos. For many of us, it is the closest thing we can get to real Cuban rum.

Do not use dark or gold rum in your mojitos. They can muddy the flavor tremendously.

Do use bottled mineral water in place of seltzer water. Remember, garbage in, garbage out.

Do not order a mojito when there is a line at the bar. Your bartender is probably not going to put a lot of love into it. In fact, you might get just the opposite.

Do not have ten mojitos tonight. At around 150 calories each, that’s like 1500 calories, there, fatty.

Do not order a mojito at a dance club, sports bar, drink stand, airport bar, OTB saloon, chain restaurant or fraternity house. You’re just going to end up being disappointed.

Do order a mojito on a warm summer evening.

Do not order a mojito when the weather is below 70°F. This is almost as bad as ordering a Bloody Mary after the sun has gone down.

Do slowly sip a mojito and enjoy the way the flavors meld over time.

Do not slurp down a mojito in less time than it took your bartender to make it. You’re probably already on the back burner for ordering it in the first place, and it’s going to be a while before you’re allowed another.

With all that in mind, here is my recipe, (which may have Jeffrey in tears as he seems a bit of a purist!) but I thought was delicious!

Lemon Basil Mojito 

Handful fresh mint/spearmint leaves
1 sprig of basil leaves
1 part simple syrup
2 parts Cuban rum 
1 part lemon juice
3 parts sparkling mineral water

Muddle basil and mint in the bottom of a tall glass along with simple syrup. Don't overmix!

Add rum, lemon juice and sparkling water and top with crushed ice.

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The Mint Forest

Nikki xx

 
 
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As you know, I love a good cosmopolitan.  But when you're fresh out of cranberry juice, you sometimes have to improvise.  Last night I used Pom Wonderful's Pomegranate Blueberry juice to whip up this fruity martini.  You can use fresh lime juice if you prefer a tart drink or Rose's sweetened lime juice for a smoother sweeter beverage.
Cheers!  XO  Martha

You'll need:
2 parts pomegranate blueberry juice
1 part vodka
1 part triple sec
1/2 part lime juice or 

sweetened lime juice
Garnish with a wedge of lime

Put all the liquids in a big shaker with ice and shake vigorously.  

Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a wedge of lime!

Enjoy!