Search Results for cocktail recipe



we arrived in rome and dragged our bags through the cobblestone alleys to meet our host at the  we rented in via dei banchi nuovi (you can rent it ). it was quite the change of scenery from stockholm, where i had just been! i love how cheap the flights are through europe. just $80 and we were somewhere completely different.

follow the map that and i made for some of our favorite rome activities…

there was a bottle of wine waiting for us there and we just took in the crazy views from our terrace. our host was so nice and wrote out a big list of places to eat and drink and pointed out some of his favorite places to go in the area.  and i arrived first and waited for  before we hit the town. the place was just a short walk away from , which was full of great bars, gelato, restaurants and people watching. such a charming little spot.


a really good meal by our place was . meatballs on mashed potatoes, cheese ravioli, tiramisu. a cozy little spot with friendly waiters, a bunch of locals, and a ridiculous wine selection.

we made a few meals in our apartment. mostly just meals in between larger meals (we ate far too much on this trip!) one of my favorite parts about renting an apartment is going to the grocery store and filling the fridge with snacks and drinks and having the option to cook. after traveling more than a week, sometimes it’s nice to not have to think about what restaurant is next and just stay home.





let me start by saying i am no “event” expert. i have been sort of thrown into it because we are constantly planning events, or events for designlovefest. i have learned a LOT along the way (because it is not easy!) and i thought i’d share a little bit with you. i think having events is really important because we spend so much time on the internet as bloggers…we need to connect face to face and have a little fun. i’m working on putting together more DIY events and even little contributor brunches hopefully soon. let’s get started on the 10 tips…

1. the venue. this one is very top priority for me when i am planning an event. i can’t visualize the scene if i have no idea what kind of space i am using. so i start here usually. think about your party…do you picture it outside, children frolicking in the grass while the adults sip on fruity drinks? or is it more of a dance party in a loft space? what are your needs? for instance, with , we need the space to have a lot of light for photos and energy…but we also need the space to easily get dark (curtains, shades) for when we are projecting the computer screen on the wall. this means we usually are on the lookout for photo studios that can transform for our needs. think about who you know! do you have a friend with a killer backyard? is there a park you could use? do you have a friend with a loft space? use your resources! we have used stores before (it’s good promotion for them too!) i have had a lot of luck reaching out on and as well…don’t be afraid to ask!

and one more note when you first start planning…if you can’t afford custom invitations in the mail, try ! if you have a huge event and need to manage the RSVPs, we use . it’s free!

2. the vibe. now you need to think about the vibe of the event after you have chosen your venue. if i was having an event in austin texas (natural materials, food trucks etc), it is probably going to look a lot different than if i was holding the event in miami (lots of white, beach vibe). you need to set the tone of the party with all the decor (we will get to that soon). also, think about the music that will be playing! (i always use spotify at blogshop) but i can’t stress enough the importance of a DJ or at least a good playlist. we use this because it’s portable and sounds pretty awesome too!

3. the decor. man oh man is this vital. i usually call in for backup on this one…let someone help you that LOVES doing this and has lots of ideas to bring to the table. one major lesson i have learned is to be HYPER specific (if you are picky like me). without putting them in a creative box, you need to give them a direction. do you hate lime green? well you gotta tell them that. do you love a certain color scheme?…show it to them! after teaching more than 50 we have recently come up with a PDF that outlines colors, themes, shapes and ideas as a good jumping off point for them. the more detailed you are, the less slip-ups in the final hour.

4. the florals. they add SO much to an event, believe me. they don’t have to be crazy expensive…you can do simple arrangements on the tables. make your guests feel special. florals at the entrance, in the bathrooms (always a nice touch!) and at their tables. if you want to make a of your favorite arrangements, it sure can’t hurt! and think of florals as a place setting or a party favor…flowers are only going to make your event shine. speaking of bathrooms, i have always liked when people stock their bathroom with necessities…mints, hair spray etc. people appreciate those touches.

5. the entertainment (aka the food & drinks!) my favorite kind of parties have pass around trays with finger foods. sometimes the best appetizers are very simple, fresh ingredients that don’t take a ton of prep. think about your glassware…can you find some that fit the theme? can you DIY some plastic cups to make them cuter? if you are serving water, put it in a pitcher with cucumbers or fresh fruit. everything is a photo opp (and as you know, people love taking pictures of cocktails and food) don’t skimp on the garnishes, straws and napkins. (i love those little for appetizers.)

people stay longer at an event if there are options…whether that’s switching up the music, or having the appetizers change to desserts, or bringing out champagne to spice up the dance moves. a party should really flow. as a host you should keep an eye out for people’s needs. do they seem bored? put on a missy elliott song or something. does everyone look like they are standing around and staring? create a seating area where people can gather and talk to each other. it’s really all about monitoring the crowd!

6. the setup. you don’t need the stress on your big day. start setting up way early. you WILL run into snags and you need time to fix them. for we setup two hours early no matter what. sometimes we are done in twenty minutes and sometimes we are racing against the clock (we would setup earlier if it wasn’t 5am and we had to teach all day!) you want to have time to look at everything all setup, make changes and take photos of the space before it gets filled with chaos. prep as much as you can before the day of!

7. the arrangement. like i said earlier, it is important to create areas for people to mingle easier. if it’s a picnic outside, having blankets with oversized pillows and snacks will encourage people to gather. i like to think of it like setting up “stations” for people to rotate. i’ve been to parties where there is games on the table…but a candle and a flower arrangement goes a long way. and as you can see, it’s always fun to bring items from IN your home, outside. just because it’s a pool party doesn’t mean it has to be pool chairs. some of my most successful events have been when you can make people feel comfortable and chatty from the start…they meet people…they stay longer and enjoy themselves. look for vintage rentals and keep your theme in mind.

8. photos! people are definitely going to take them (especially if you are around a bunch of bloggers.) that’s the hope, right? set up vignettes for people to snap photos of. create a on so people can get involved and look through other from the party. have a photo backdrop that encourages people to jump in and take photos. a photo booth is fun pretty much every time. this means you have to think about props too! and having a photographer document the event is always a special bonus.


9. the outfit. you know i had to bring this up. as a hostess you want to feel comfortable and confident. the last thing you want is to be worrying at the last second that you have nothing to wear or hating your hair for the evening. treat yourself and book yourself a drybar appointment and go out and get a new dress. i am not sure about you, but i always feel better in something new, even if i have to borrow it from a friend!

10. the content. as a blogger, it’s funny…you start to think of your life experiences in blog posts. sure, not everything needs to be shared. but it’s great when you put so much effort into something and you are able to share it with your readers and score some original content while you are at it. with a lot of the events we have been doing we incorporate recipes, DIYs and contests that go hand in hand with the event. for instance, this splendid event…we are making lots of striped props, and floral hair accessories. it’s important for me to be able to tie some of those things back to the blog in an instructional or purely entertaining way! if you spend a ton of time making appetizers from scratch and you’re feeling proud of them, by all means take a few photos of them and share the recipe! then people can look through your party pics and take something away from the post too.

this is obviously a very intense topic…full of information! this is only scratching the surface. hopefully you found some helpful tips and can get involved in the comments with some of your favorite event planning secrets. i always love to hear from ya. -bri

(see all of our event photos and the venues we have used here. want more blog outta your car advice posts? go here! photos by , , , , and )


FOOD / 30

a while back, we attended a really lovely dinner party over at tasting room. they had amazing cocktails, great company, some of the best appetizers i’ve ever had, and they had to seal the deal.

we have used numerous times for our catering needs (here and here). they really know how to entertain, so i was excited about this little get together.

AND the folks at heirloom wanted to share with you this appetizer recipe from the event!

Harissa Lamb Tartar Crostini with Bacon Aioli
Makes 24 Tray Passed Appetizers

Tartar Mix
• 1/2 lb prime lamb tenderloin, chopped fine
• 1 shallot, minced
• 10 leaves fresh basil, chopped
• 1 lemon, juiced and zest
• 1/4 cup chives, chopped
• 2oz (4 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
• 2-3 teaspoons smoked harissa (siracha ok to substitute)
• fresh cracked black pepper and sea salt to taste

 Combine all ingredients reserving the lemon until it is time to serve.

Bacon Aioli
• 1 cup prepared mayonaise
• 3-4 sliced smoked bacon, cooked crispy and chopped (save rendered fat & chill)
• 1 garlic clove chopped fine
• salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients including rendered bacon fat (once it is chilled) in a bowl and reserve.

Rye Toast
• 6 slices thin rye bread
• salt & pepper to taste
• olive oil to drizzle
• 1 small bunch parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trim away crust and with small ring cutters cut bread into 4-6 small rounds (cut into squares if you don’t have cutters). Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper on toast cut-outs. Toast until fully crispy on lined baking sheet in oven and reserve until time to serve.

To Compose
Arrange toast cut-outs on a platter, spread a small spoonful of bacon aioli on the toast. Now mix the lemon into the lamb tartar as well as a bit more olive oil to coat the chopped lamb tenderloin. Check for seasoning and place a small spoonful of the lamb onto the toast. Garnish with chopped parsley.

nights like these are my favorite.

photos by:
recipe & event:


MAKE IT / 25

this year has been filled with travel. mexico, paris, new york, london, san francisco, germany, and soon to be australia next month! one of my favorite things to do when i travel is to unwind and have a cocktail in a new place.

remember this “ron burgundy” drink in london or in new york? there was in toronto, the wine baby bottles in paris and the spicy drinks at in austin.

gotta love  at the parker and those in dallas. when i am not traveling, one of my go-to places to walk and have happy hour is the

so i thought it would be fun to design a set of coasters that say “cheers!” in all of the languages that i’ve heard this year when i raised my glass. you can download the designs below and make these coasters for an upcoming happy hour in your house!

:: click to download these designlovefest coasters and

what you’ll need:

• coasters (we got ours at )
• tacky glue
• matte finish mod podge
• foam brushes
• felt sheets
• scissors

• download the coaster design above

the steps:

• print the downloaded designs & cut them out.

• “paint” on a generous but even amount of mod podge onto coaster and place cut circles on top of that. press firmly, flatten with fingers to get rid of bubbles. run tip of finger along the sides to get excess glue off.  place under heavy book as it dries to keep from bubbling.

• after they are dry, “paint” a coat of mod podge on top of the printed design and let dry completely. add 1 – 2 more coats.

• glue on felt to the bottom of the coaster using tacky glue if you’d like!

if you want to put those coasters to good use, you’d best make this recipe.

The Very Mary Merry Berry

• 4 oz vodka
• 5 sprigs of fresh rosemary
• 2 cups sugar
• 3 1/2 cups filtered water
• 1 (12oz) bag of fresh cranberries
• 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
• 4 teaspoons rose’s sweetened lime juice
• tonic water

now let’s make some syrups!

rosemary syrup
• in a saucepan bring 2 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar to a slow boil.  reduce heat, add add 4 sprigs of rosemary (we’re saving the 5th sprig for garnishes) and simmer for ten minutes.

• let cool, strain out rosemary sprigs and transfer mixture to a clean glass container

cranberry ginger syrup
• not too different from the above. in a saucepan bring 1 1/2 cups of water, ginger and 1 cup of sugar to a slow boil.  reduce heat, add bag of cranberries and stir. they will start to “pop” in about five minutes. that’s when it’s done. let cool, and pour through a fine mesh strainer into a glass container.

invite 4 friends to belly up to the bar. fill each of their glasses with a couple ice cubes, 1 oz of vodka, 1 oz of rosemary syrup, 1 oz of cranberry ginger syrup . . . stir and then top off with tonic and a splash of rose’s lime juice. throw in a couple cranberries and a bit of that rosemary sprig for garnish. (they’ll be impressed) 

cheers, salud, prost & santè!

photos: top photo by , rest of the photos by recipe by: jen gotch, see more recipes here!
more DIY projects here
sponsor: these holiday printables are brought to you by .
make other easy printable projects at


FOOD / 27

this week i was met with a very difficult decision to make…GIN or WHISKEY? well, i made it easy on myself and chose both!

for this particular recipe i recommend gathering a few friends around a table of snacks and maybe a game of uno and sip til your heart’s content.

ps. although crumble would imply there is some sort of sweet crispy cake topping, there is no such thing. the crumble is what will happen to you if you drink too many of these. so, good luck!

what you’ll need:
• 4 oz creme de violette
• 1 liter of lemon soda (or make your own with fresh squeezed lemon juice and club soda!)
• 4 oz honey syrup
• lemon wedges
• maraschino cherries (and a couple spoonfuls of the syrup, too)
• a bunch of ice
• gin AND whiskey

what to do:
• first you need to make the aforementioned honey syrup.
• heat 1 cup honey and 1 cup water in a pan, stirring until it simmers then remove from heat. once cooled you can pour it into a cute jam jar or glass bottle and store in the fridge.

get set:
• place four ice filled low ball glasses on the table
• add a lemon wedge to each as well as some cocktail picked cherries
• fill each glass half way with lemon soda

then you shake:
• in a cocktail shaker add a handful of ice, the creme de violette, honey syrup and a couple tablespoons of maraschino syrup
• and shake, and shake, and shake, and shake!
• disperse this beautiful purple concoction equally into the four glasses.

now, the hard part:
• force your guests to pick sides – gin or whiskey
• pour, stir, cheers…enjoy

i chose whiskey cause i like the kick, but gin is still a totally respectable choice. heck, if you are looking for something even lighter, just forgo the G or W. it’s still super duper delicious.

{ column + photos by , design by designlovefest – want more recipes? go here! }

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