Lemonade is a taste of summer...and could only be improved with a few extra spirits.  My cousin went to Lynchburg College in Virginia and I always think of her when I drink them.  However, Lynchburg lemonade draws it's name from Lynchburg, Tennessee the home of Jack Daniel's distillery.  It's really more of a whiskey spritzer than a lemonade...but I like it just the same.  Note that I make my version with Jack Daniel's "Tennessee Honey."  It's honey liqueur blended with Jack Daniel's Whiskey.  I use it and skip the need to add syrup or sugar for a sweet to cut the lemon's sourness.  They are easy to make in big batches, just wait to add the soda and ice as you pour individual servings.  
Cheers! XO  Martha

Lynchburg Lemonade
1 part Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey
1 part Triple Sec
1 part fresh lemon juice
3 parts sprite or lemon lime soda
lots of ice

Mix liquors and lemon juice together.  If making one drink, shake up in a mixer with ice.  Strain into a glass filled with ice, top with soda and stir gently to blend.  Enjoy!

Spring has sprung!
  The warmer days are getting me in the mood for one of my favorite cocktails, we call it "Liquid Trouble"...but it's basically an Arnold Palmer with sweet tea infused vodka.  Simple and simply delicious.  But I always like to mix things up a bit and I recently saw a pretty picture of a blueberry iced tea...and it made me want to experiment.  It took a few tries to get the berry flavor to come through and I'm pretty happy with the results.  My only complaint was how warm and sunny it was outside today...it made it impossible for me to snap a picture before the glass fogged up with condensation!
Cheers!  XO  Martha

Blueberry Sweet Tea
3.5 parts lemonade
3.5 parts iced tea
2 parts Firefly or another Sweet Tea Vodka
1 part Creme de Cassis (a blackcurrant liqueur)
20 blueberries
Muddle half the blueberries in the bottom of a shaker.  Fill with ice and add all the liquids.  Shake vigorously and strain into a glass filled with ice and the remaining blueberries.  Garnish with a sprig of mint.
The Communal Pantry went to a Girl's Night Out event in Summit, NJ and ended up with a great new cocktail recipe!  This fabulous combination comes from Glass Works of Summit and their manager and surprise mixologist, Susan Cirelli.  Proportions aren't exact, so follow your tastebuds and experiment 
until you get the flavor you like.

Glass Work's Punch:
Vodka (Try 1/2 a bottle)
Cranberry Juice (try a whole bottle)
Chambord (Raspberry Liqueur)
 (Try a cup or so...)
Seltzer (Try a whole bottle)
A bag of frozen raspberries
juice from one lemon
one lemon sliced

Combine the ingredients....tasting as 
you go.  Add more or less of each 
as you see fit!

Cheers!  XO  Martha...and Susan from Glass Works!

I'm not sure where this drink got it's name, but it was one of 4 classic tequila cocktail recipes that Elayne Duke head mixologist for Digeo wine and spirits shared with our tequila class at the Astor Center and I knew she'd never steer us wrong!  This may be the best cocktail for my husband: it's got tequila, plus his favorite mixer, ginger beer, plus fresh lime juice and a topper of Creme de Cassis (black currant liqueur) that makes it a little fruity and pink (my manly-man husband loves a pink drink...go figure).  It's easy to make and a great option for imbibing on Cinco de Mayo....or 
any day of the week!
Cheers!  XO  Martha

El Diablo

1.5 oz Don Julio Reposado (Tequila)
1/2 oz Fresh lime juice
Ginger Beer
Top with 1/2 Creme de Cassis

Combine tequila and lime juice into a cocktail glass, shake with ice and strain into a highball filled with fresh ice.  
Fill glass with ginger beer and top 
with Creme de Cassis and 
garnish with a wedge of lime.
I was back at the Astor Center last week, attending a class on Tequila.  Sangrita was our "welcome" cocktail.  (You've got to love a class that starts with someone handing you a cocktail.)  From what I remember (after all I did drink a lot of tequila...all for the sake of research, of course) Sangrita started as a kind of chaser or quencher that you would drink to accompany a glass of homemade (often badly made) fiery tequila.  Originally made with pomegranate and chili peppers it's evolved in the last 100 years and is now best known made with a tomato and orange juice base.  It's meant to be sipped alternately with a nice glass of tequila blanco.  We were served 2 oz. of Platino (pictured on the left) with 2 oz of fresh sangrita (pictured on the right).  If you add a third glass of straight lime juice the drink is called a "Mexican Flag" since it represents the three major colors in the flag, red, white and green.  This sangrita recipe is easy...and a great way to impress your friends on Cinco de Mayo!       Cheers! XO  Martha

2 oz. Platino or tequila blanco
Served with 2 oz. of fresh sangria mix

Sangrita Recipe:
3/4 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon of hot sauce
Combine all the ingredients in a pitcher, shill in the fridge before serving.

La Paloma is another winning drink from my tequila class at the Astor Center.  It's light and refreshing and I understand why it's the most popular drink in Guadalajara, Mexico.  I'm pretty sure it could make a hot humid day anywhere on the planet better.  The drink is simple to make, though finding a good grapefruit soda like the Mexican Jarritos brand or Squirt 

can be a challenge.  If you can't locate grapefruit soda (even 
Fresca will work in a pinch) you 
can use fresh grapefruit juice and top with some lemon-lime soda 
like we did in our class.

Cheers! XO  Martha

Mr Martha gives it a thumbs up!
La Paloma
2 oz. Don Julio Blanco 
(or another blanco or reposado tequila)
1 oz. simple syrup
.5 oz. lime juice
1.5 oz fresh pink grapefruit juice
3 dashes grapefruit bitters
Top with soda
Combine all the ingredients (except the soda) in a cocktail glass, shake with ice, strain into a highball rimmed with salt and filled with fresh ice.  Fill top with soda, garnish with a lime wedge.


Last week at this time I was in NYC at a class on Tequila at the Astor Center.  I loved every second and every libation I tried (over 7). We were schooled by Elayne Duke on how to make a Tommy Margarita, simple and "delicioso" and my husband is now obsessed with it.  Many people call this a skinny margarita...but no matter what you call it, it's a great drink.  Be sure to use a good 100% agave tequila.  We used Don Julio Blanco...and it was pretty darn good.

Cheers! XO  Martha


Tommy Margarita

2 oz. Tequila
1 oz. lime juice
1 oz. agave nectar

Pour ingredients in a shaker, add enough ice to chill and shake vigorously.  Strain into a rocks glass and add a lime wedge.

    First off this is a white wine sangria, it's not necessary to make it with white peaches...any kind will do.  Secondly, I'm not really a white wine fan, but that doesn't seem to matter to me when it comes to sangria and this recipe is my personal white sangria favorite.  
      The folks at our first Communal Pantry "Mama Bakes" food swap finished off the whole pitcher of this very drinkable peachy concoction in half an hour...a good sign.  Even better, Mr. H sampled this sangria and gave it high marks.  He's not a big fan of fruity drinks but he had two glasses of this beverage and said he'd make and serve it at his house.

      Cheers! XO Martha

Tips: I like to make sangria at least one day ahead of time, so the flavors can meld.  For this recipe I wait to put half the frozen peaches in until right before I serve.  They add flavor and can eliminate the need for ice cubes.  Note that everyone will want a spoon to eat the peaches when all the booze are slurped up!  My best sangria trick (for any kind of sangria) is adding 1/2 cup of extra ginger ale right before serving to give it a little fizz.
1 bottle white wine (any kind, I used a cheap bottle of sauvignon blanc)
I can of ginger ale 
3/4 cup peach schnapps
1/4 cup sugar
16 oz. bag of frozen sliced peaches

Combine all the ingredients, reserving 1/2 of the bag of peaches right before serving. Let it "rest" in the fridge overnight. 

This sangria is so pretty, I suggest serving it in a clear pitcher or punch bowl.

The Lob
It's spring in NJ, and that means tennis season.  Our tennis club is finished rolling the courts for play and this week the NJ Women's Tennis League matches began. You never know what to expect when you take the courts.  Sometimes you play a team of older ladies and think, "Surely we will beat them."  But don't let the gray hair fool you, it's not quite, "The older the wiser"...more like "The older the better at lobbing".  Some days the blue hairs really sneak up on you...and so will this cocktail.  It tastes fruity and innocent but is filled with liquor!  You need one of these after being beaten by the lob...plus it's the same color as a tennis ball.  I actually think it makes a better shot than a martini...but it all depends on how badly your match went!

The Lob

1 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Midori (Melon) Liqueur
1/2 oz. banana liqueur
2 oz. pineapple juice

Pour everything into a shaker filled with ice.  Shake vigorously and strain in to a martini glass. I think this would look cute garnished with a ball of honeydew melon (but I didn't have any handy).

Cheers! XO  Martha
C Monster Punch
"Juicing" has opened up a whole new world of drink mixer possibilities for me.  That was not really the intention of my 3 day juice "cleanse"...but lucky for me, I never put limits on my sources of inspiration!  For the most part I've been making up my own combinations of juices and have tried blending a lot of my own juice "meals", but Odwalla brand's C Monster, Strawberry C...is one of my favorite pre-made drinks.  And after a few days on a liquid diet, you start thinking about adding some alcohol to liven things up.  That's how my "punch" came about...AND you can tell everyone it's on your diet, too!  The mint and bubbles from the seltzer really liven and lighten this drink up...although you can leave 
them out if you want it to be 
more like a martini.
Cheers!  XO  Martha

You'll need:
Odwalla's C Monster, Strawberry C
Banana Liqueur 
Seltzer (plain or some fruity flavor)
Fresh Mint Leaves
Strawberry for garnish

Combine 3 parts C Monster with 1 part 

vodka and one part banana liqueur add 
a handful of thinly sliced or diced 
mint leaves and stir.  
In a glass half filled with ice pour 
the mixture and fill the glass 2/3 
of the way.  
Add seltzer, filling the glass and stir gently.  Use a strawberry with a mint leaf top as a garnish.