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Rosemary Sweet and Salty Dog Cocktail

January 21, 2018

This mixed drink gives a fun, earthy twist to the traditional salty dog cocktail. A simple syrup is infused with rosemary from the herb garden and combined with freshly squeezed red grapefruit juice and vodka. It’s served in a glass with a rim of fine ground sea salt. 

Rosemary Sweet and Salty Dog Cocktail Recipe |

It has come to my attention this week that there are quite a few people out there who do not like grapefruit. 

I suspect that much like those who do not like kale, they cannot be trusted. 

Just kidding. 

To be honest, I’m not quite sure when I turned the corner on the stuff. For years, it was a grandma and grandpa breakfast accompaniment.  Served alongside poached eggs and whole grain toast. 

For the record, I refuse to think that my love for the fruit correlates with getting older. Proof is in in the fact that I’ve loved grapefruit for at least 10 years now. 

I think it’s because I was introduced to red grapefruit. 

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Apple Cider Rum Punch

November 16, 2017
Apple Cider Rum Punch Cocktail Recipe |

It would be a shame to reserve rum punch only for the summer months and warm days at the beach. At least that’s what I think, anyway. 

Although, it doesn’t feel like the right time of year to have the refreshing fruity flavor that usually comes along with the drink. 

So I felt like I needed to come up with something that says fall, but with rum. 

I started with apple cider. 

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Roasted Grape and Rosemary Cocktail

August 6, 2017
Roasted Grape and Rosemary Cocktail Recipe |

I’ve always considered grapes to be a fall food. Maybe it’s their deep purple color, or that I was always used to concord grapes growing up. Those are a fall fruit, but table grapes are harvested in the summer here. As in right about now. 

That’s one of the cool things that one gets to witness here in the Valley. Harvest of just about everything is an incredible operation to observe. 

So I bought a few crisp, sweet red and purple grapes, which are really purple and almost black. Beautiful. 

They are, of course, good fresh, but they are also excellent roasted. A half hour in the oven and they become even sweeter with caramelized notes. So if you can stand heating up the oven in the summer, roasted grapes are the way to go. 

They go well in desserts, on pizzas, and in cocktails…

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Pineapple Sage Bourbon Lemonade

August 4, 2017
Pineapple Sage Bourbon Lemonade Recipe |

Pineapple sage was a new addition to the herb garden this year. What an amazing plant. First of all, the leaves taste like pineapple. And it smells like it, too. Mine hasn’t flowered yet, but it will also bloom with beautiful reddish pink flowers that attract humming birds. 

It’s taken off well in the garden. Some of the older leaves are burning in the sun, but I was pleased to find some new, pretty growth in the inner part of the plant. It seems to be sticking around. 

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Tomato Purple Basil Vodka Cooler

August 2, 2017
Tomato Purple Basil Vodka Cooler Cocktail Recipe |

I had a purple basil plant back in our Kentucky garden. I love the deep purple color it adds to a landscape that is otherwise all green. When I found one here earlier this spring, I decided to give it a go. 

After our first hot spell, I thought it had bit the dust. The strong sun here tends to turn the leaves a brownish gray, not the purple I was hoping for. But a couple weeks ago, it started coming back a bit. I’ve upped the watering and it now has new purple leaves peeking out. 

Next year I think I’ll try it in more shade, but for now, I have enough purple basil for garnishes and cocktails.

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Garden Cocktail Week

August 1, 2017
Garden Cocktail Week on

I’m still working on cracking the code for successfully growing food here in the Central Valley. Blueberries and citrus are going well and I can pull off some kale through winter. 

Peppers last year were a no go, and I’ve murdered a few tomato plants as well. As I continue to attend workshops and talk with others, I’m slowly gaining more knowledge. I do see a few tomatoes and maybe an eggplant in the near future. 

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Fennel Vodka Pink Grapefruit Martini

February 11, 2017
Fennel Vodka Pink Grapefruit Martini Recipe | Fake Food Free

A couple months ago, I bought a bulb of fennel from the farmers market. It had the most gorgeous long stem, overflowing with feathery fronds. 

This kind of fennel is harder and harder to come by. Not a chance at our local super markets. They like to chop off the beautiful tops to make the bulbs all tidy when stacked.

It always makes me feel like I’m getting ripped off when I have to purchase fennel like that. I do as much with the fronds as I do with the bulb. So whenever I spot it at the farmers market, I grab it.

Well, this time around I had loads of greenery left over after a project. I started to think about how its licorice-like flavors would pair with the Costco-size bottle of vodka sitting on the counter (don’t judge). I’d had fennel infused cocktails before, but it was as a flavor accent, in the syrup or as a garnish, versus the main attraction.

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Rum Tea Cocktail

September 23, 2016

I’m celebrating Friday and the start of fall with a rum tea cocktail! It’s made with Dark Aged Rum that I received from Cruzan®

Rum Tea Cocktail | Fake Food Free | Made with Cruzan® Dark Aged Rum sent to me for review

If you asked me to pick my favorite spirit, it would be tough to choose between bourbon and rum. One reminds me of our days living in Kentucky. The other gets me thinking about our many trips to the Caribbean. 

Despite summer’s end, rum has won out lately for the taste buds. Maybe its because we have a Caribbean trip coming up in a couple months or maybe I’m just thankful that the temps here are now more beach-like and less I’m-frying-in-the-sun-like.

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Pixie Rum Punch

April 12, 2016
Pixie Rum Punch Recipe | Fake Food Free

If you’d told me a few years ago that soon I’d be a regular visitor to the L.A. area, I would have thought you were crazy. I never could have envisioned myself driving around those interstates at all, let alone 3 times in the past 3 months. 

These short road trips have been for both business and recreation. I’m getting to know the area better each time and one sign that always catches my attention is the exit for Ojai. 

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Cara Cara Orange Old Fashioned Cocktail

February 14, 2016

Cara Cara Orange Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe | Fake Food Free

 When winter rolls around and citrus season becomes evident across most of the state, I’m reintroduced to my fondness for Cara Cara oranges. 

I’ve lost count of the foods I’ve discovered since moving to California. Most have quickly moved to the top of my favorites list, and these oranges are no exception. Considering the positive feedback I get when mentioning them, it seems they have made their way across the country. But I had no idea they existed until 3 years ago. 

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