Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a holiday celebrated in parts of Mexico annually on November 1 and 2 to honored loved ones that have passed. (Catholics celebrate a similar holiday, All Soul’s/Saint’s Day.) Celebrants prepare altars (ofrendas) and decorate them with flowers, candles, sugar skulls, and more along with pictures of the deceased and offerings to them (food, drink, candies, etc.)
In true Susie Drinks fashion, I have some cocktail recipes using some authentic elements to celebrate the Day of the Dead. The Margarita Muerto uses marigold-infused tequila because marigolds are the traditional flowers used on ofrendas–they believe that the bright color and scent guide the souls to the altar. The Modelo Ofrenda Picante uses mezcal as it’s often offered to spirits.
Rim glass by dipping it in lime and then dried marigold petals, then set aside in the freezer to chill. To prepare the margarita, combine the marigold-infused Sauza tequila and other liquid ingredients in a shaker and shake until well chilled. Double strain into chilled glass.
Rim shot glasses by dipping them in lime and then Tajin. Combine ingredients in a shaker and shake with ice until chilled. Serve with a lime wedge.
MODELO OFRENDA PICANTE (Recipe by Andrés Chopite of Parra, Austin)
Negra Modelo Negra™
3/4oz Montelobos Mezcal
3/4oz fresh lime juice
1/2oz agave syrup
3 bar spoons Worcestershire sauce
3 dashes habanero bitters
4 slices habanero peppers
Tajín® Clásico Seasoning
Red chili slices
Rim a Collins glass with Tajín using lime juice. Add all ingredients to a shaker, excluding Modelo Negra, Tajín rim, red chili slices and lime wheel. Shake and strain into the prepared glass. Top with Modelo Negra.
***Sauza Tequila and Bread Winners provided SDD with product for this write-up.***
Planning to attend Dîner en Blanc? If you didn’t attend last year, I can imagine the whole concept is incredibly exciting and romantic … with that nagging feeling of terror. “Did they really say we have to bring in a TABLE and CHAIRS?” Yes, you bring your entire party in our your back … and leave with it, for that matter.
You MUST take yourself and a guest, a square table (28-32″ wide), chairs, and a white tablecloth. (Keep in mind that not showing or breaking the rules could get you banned the following year. Tough.)
You MAY take food, drink, tableware, table decor, flowers, a garbage bag, etc.
You CANNOT take anything that’s not white (woof) or alcohol (major womp).
Apothic Wine is this and last year’s wine sponsor, so if you were preemptive and ordered your wine beforehand for pickup at check-in … bravo you. If not, sucks to suck because it’s not a BYO event bc of the grumpy old TABC. But fear not, DEB attendees, I have some options for you.
Option #1: Don’t forget your opaque “water” bottles. (It’s important to stay hydrated, right?) 🍷👉🏼🍼
Option #2: Get your friends together before for a few drinks. Last year we noshed on charcuterie and some snacks while throwing back a few before heading to the bus pickup. Establish a solid booze situation and food base so you’ll have less to carry. (And make sure to avoid anything that would be a problem for people wearing white. Duh.)
Here are the drinks that I’ll be making at my DEB Présoireé this year:
1.5 oz Patrón Silver
1 oz Elderflower liqueur
0.5 oz Local lemon juice
0.5 oz Simple syrup
2 oz Sparkling wine (I’ll be using Moët, the official champagne of DEB!)
Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker except the sparkling wine. Shake vigorously and strain into a champagne flute. Top off the cocktail with some sparkling wine and finish with a lemon twist while making sure to twist the lemon over the cocktail to release the oils.
Recipe and image courtesy of Patrón International
AGAINST THE GRAIN MARTINI (gluten-free martini)
3 parts Stoli® Gluten Free
Splash of Dry Vermouth
Garnish with an olive or cocktail onion
Shake or stir ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish.
LAST YEAR’S WINNING RECIPE:
THE INDIAN SUMMER
3 parts Hendricks Gin
1 part lemon juice
1 part St. Germain
Muddle grapes with other ingredients, then shake with ice until well chilled. Double strain into a chilled coupe.
With summer winding down and the impending arrival of cooler months (that can’t seem to come soon enough), pants are a very real thing in my future. Since I want to fit into them when the time comes, I’ve started going to spin class, eating one less cookie, and walking Tully an extra time each day … but I thought I’d call in the big guns. Meet Melissa Rountree, a friend that, when we met, I was immediately jealous of her because she was incredibly fit. Well, turns out, when you sweat your butt off in your workouts and eat right, you can be fit. (Who knew?)
I asked Melissa to take some time out of her busy day as a mom, realtor, fitness instructor, and business owner to show me some of her go-to moves to help me kickstart my workouts. In return, I introduced her to a healthy (and delicious) cocktail.
KOMBUCHA MOSCOW MULE
6oz Salty Dog Kosmic Kombucha (or whichever you choose)
Combine all ingredients over ice, squeeze in a wedge of citrus, and stir. (Yeah … this one is that easy.)
So why kombucha instead of ginger beer? Kombucha* has beneficial elements like probiotics, antioxidants, and amino acids that are meant to be good for your digestion and liver function (WOOOHOOO). We chose Kosmic Kombucha’s Salty Dog with citrus (Vitamin C), ginger (inflammation), sea salt, and agave (deliciousness).
And why Bellion Vodka? It’s the world’s “first functional vodka” thanks to some magical element called “NTX Technology”. While it’s super mysterious because the FDA hasn’t approved their claims, they say that the technology protects your liver. I’ll take it.
Now for the less delicious, but very important part … the workout. Melissa walked me through a few exercises that she uses in her fitness classes–maximum results for minimal effort.
Side Lunges are a great way to stretch your inner thighs while gaining strength in your glutes and quad muscles. Start in a standing position and take a wide step out to the left and then back to standing. Do 10 times on each leg.
Kneeling Seat is a way to stretch and open up your hips while defining your seat muscles. Start on your hands and knees. Raise your right knee up to hip height and back down to kneeling. Use your arms to support your balance. Do 10 times on each side.
Push-ups: Lead with your chest and keep breathing. Do them slowly to increase the challenge in your upper back and arms.
Crunches: Keep them small. Large range crunches can be hard on your back. Raise your upper body high enough to feel your abs and then make small movements from there.
How long have you been a fitness instructor? Off and On since college so most of my life.
Is there anything you do daily that changes your whole day? I have to break a sweat everyday to relax my mind. I also love stretching because of the flexibility it gives me.
Tell us about your line of activewear, and where can we find it? It’s a limited edition brand. Currently it’s available at The Bar Method as well as online at level3active.com.
What makes your activewear stand out? All of our prints are in small quantities so you’re always going to stand out in the gym instead of wearing the same thing everyone else is wearing. Plus they’re all designed to work out or wear in your daily life.
What’s your favorite healthy meal? I am a huge fan of quinoa salads with tomatoes and cucumbers.
*Kombucha is a fermented tea made with yeast and bacteria that grows on top of the tea throughout the fermentation process. “After a short period, fermentation yields raw kombucha, a lightly effervescent tea with unmistakable notes of vinegar.” – Kosmic Kombucha
So here’s the deal: I love the spice of ginger beer in my cocktails, but I’m so over Moscow Mules. So what’s a girl to do? I went on a mission to find other ways to work the magic juice into cocktails without going full-tilt basic. Also, if you know me well, you know that I enjoy a stout drink.
Luckily, Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer is a thing. Crabbie’s is a boozy version (4.8%) of the basic favorite out of Edinburgh, Scotland and is available in original, orange, and Scottish raspberry. They’ve been making this boozy, gingery goodness since 1801, so they must know what they’re doing. Crabbie’s steeps natural fermented ginger for up to 6 weeks before blending it with 4 secret ingredients, giving it a deep, spicy flavor. Check it out in bars around Dallas or whip (slash shake) one of these up at home to celebrate Crabbie’s Week August 21-27.
THE GINGER SOUR
2oz Grand Marnier
1oz lemon juice
One egg white
Crabbie’s Ginger Beer
Dash of orange bitters
Shake together Grand Marnier, lemon juice, and egg white for ten seconds. Add ice to the shaker and shake vigorously for another thirty seconds. Pour Crabbie’s into a collins glass to fill halfway, then strain the shaken mixture over it. (Egg white may rise above the rim of the glass depending on your shaking abilities … but don’t be sad if it doesn’t.) Add a dash of orange bitters on the top of the egg white head and garnish with an orange peel.
GETTIN’ FIGGY WITH IT
1oz fig butter
Crabbie’s Scottish Raspberry Ginger Beer
Add bourbon and fig butter to a shaker and shake vigorously to combine. Pour over ice, then top with Crabbie’s Scottish Raspberry Ginger Beer. Garnish with a half a fig.
Look out for Crabbie’s around Dallas … and make sure to celebrate Crabbie’s Week next week!
While it’s hot outside, it’s really tough to still look cool … and even harder to keep your cool when entertaining. Luckily, my friend Jaclyn Mittman is giving me some outdoor entertaining pointers for my summer parties. Her biggest advice: texture.
We got together for a quick tablescape lesson and some tequila cocktails … because, summer. Scroll to see what we got into.
What inspired your tablescape?
Rustic summer. I love the look of the distressed wood with modern, elegant pieces like gold flatware and matte black dinnerware. The white peonies and eucalyptus offered even more texture and elevated the entire table without having to add a lot of color. I tend to stick with neutrals so this tablescape reflected my design style perfectly.
Where can we get this setup … like STAT? Target has the best, affordable pieces for entertaining! And the best part is it’s so reasonably priced that you can have multiple sets/motifs.
What is your best advice for entertaining?
Texture! Add texture to the table by adding in layers with a table runner, napkins, or florals and plants. Also alcohol. Alcohol is a must when entertaining.
Music can also completely set the tone and mood for any party. When entertaining, I stick with Spotify for their pre-made playlists based on mood or the type of party you’re throwing. I know I can let it play and not have to worry about it the rest of the time. Also, a great Bluetooth speaker is the way to go. I love the JBL Xtreme Splashproof Wireless Speaker for parties. (NOTE FROM SUSIE: feel free to use my boozy playlist!)
Do you have any special tips or tricks for summer entertaining?
Make sure you’re wearing something breezy, because the host is always running around. Also, make sure you’re providing guests with water, shade, and (if possible) fans! (And did I mention alcohol?)
Since it’s warm outside, we obviously needed something to cool us off. Enter: tequila cocktails. We went for something that was light but potent–TheResting Garden Margarita. Plenty of tequila and some fresh juice keeps this recipe light and drinkable and the grilled mango garnish makes it gorgeous to boot.
The Resting Garden Margarita 1 3/4 oz Roca Patrón Silver 1/2 oz Patrón Citronge Mango
1 oz fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz agave syrup
6 sage leaves (plus more for garnish)
Pinch of salt
Grilled mango slices
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice to chill. “Double strain” the drink by pouring it through a fine mesh strainer into an ice-filled old fashioned glass. Garnish with sage leaves and a grilled mango slice.
We went with Roca Patrón Silver as this recipe doesn’t have much going on … so you can taste the quality of the tequila. (Because good liquor shouldn’t be covered up, y’all.) If you haven’t tried Roca Patrón Silver, it has notes of black pepper, a citrus nose, and a smooth taste.
What made you start your blog, JaclynMittman.com? I originally started my blog as a place to share my beauty findings and to be able to review makeup products I used regularly. As it turns out … people wanted to read it. It has turned into beauty, fashion, lifestyle, and more!
What is your go-to sunscreen this summer?
I swear by Aesop’s Avail Body Lotion with Sunscreen. It doesn’t feel heavy like most sunscreens and it easily absorbs and doesn’t leave a white cast on your skin. It also smells incredible!
Kind of loving your outfit … it’s perfect for summer. Where can we get it? Top – Choies Black Off Shoulder Half Sleeve Blouse in black, $11.90 Shorts – Madewell San Diego Cover-Up Shorts in strokedash, $39.50 $29.99 Heels – Steve Madden Christey Heel in black suede, $109.95
I like to entertain … like … a lot. The worst part, though, is being forced to be tied to the bar so you can make everyone drinks or to keep it tidy when the one messy friend inevitably spills all the things. (Dammit, Linda.) Say “adios” to playing babysitter to the bar and batch out a cocktail (or three) for your Cinco de Mayo fiesta.
For Cinco de Mayo, the easiest thing to batch out is, of course, margaritas. And (hold on to your sombrero), the US imported 12.3 million cases (yes, M-M-M-M-M-million) of tequila in 2014 … and Texas is apparently one of the top 10 tequila consuming states in the US. So yeah, a drink with tequila is a slam dunk.
This Cinco de Mayo, I’ll be visiting family in Pennsylvania to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday. Luckily, on her last visit to Dallas, my mom and I introduced her to margaritas … and she loved them. Needless to say, once I land in the Keystone State, I’ll be swinging by a liquor store to pick up the makings of this remixed margarita just for her.
So, why Sauza? It’s made with 100% blue agave in Jalisco, Mexico the same way it has been made since 1873. The agave is put into production within 48 hours which gives the tequila a crisp flavor.
Perfect Pear Margarita (serves 8)
2 cups Sauza® Signature Blue Silver Tequila
1/2 cup lemon Juice
1/2 cup lime juice
1 cup simple syrup
1 cup pear syrup
Mix all ingredients in an ice-filled pitcher. Serve in margarita glasses garnished with a rosemary sprig and lime wheel. (Ignore the color … because it’s delicious!)
1 cup pear purée
1⁄4 cup Sugar in the Raw
1⁄2 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 pinch grated nutmeg
In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves fully. Reduce to low and simmer for 10 minutes. (The syrup will thicken-up slightly.) Strain and store in an airtight container in a refrigerator for up to two weeks.
I was given the chance to participate in this campaign and was sent items from Sauza to promote.
I guess I’ve pigeonholed myself. I suppose that I deserve it for making (writing about) drinking my hobby. At this point, I’m no longer surprised when I’m asked to make a drink for a party as my contribution. I was honored to do so for a longtime family friend’s baby shower recently.
The color scheme being blues and yellow, a matching drink was requested. I did my best with a Blueberry Mojito made with Cruzan Rum … because I refuse to try my hand at a cocktail using Blue Curaçao. (Thought I’ll say that some local bartenders are starting to use it more … and not doing it badly.) While I thought the drink (which was the only alcoholic beverage served) would be plenty for the afternoon party, it was gone in 45 minutes!
1 cup fresh, washed blueberries (plus more for garnish)
4oz Cruzan Rum
8-10 fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons mint simple syrup 2 limes
6oz club soda
To create blueberry puree, blend blueberries until smooth. Add rum, mint syrup, lime juice, blueberry puree, and ice in a cocktail shaker and shake until combined. Pour over ice and top with club soda. (Optional: Garnish with blueberries, mint leaves, and a lime wedge or curl.)
TIPS: To batch out this cocktail, I combined the ingredients in a drink dispenser and allowed guests to garnish it themselves. To keep the mint crisp, keep the stems in ice water. Puree and syrup can be prepared in advance.
Conquistador – created by Milagro Brand Ambassador Jaime Salas
Chill coupe glass with ice and water and set aside. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until well chilled and diluted. Discard chilling ice from the coupe. Strain ingredients into chilled coupe. Using a vegetable peeler, remove a long piece of orange peel. Express the oil over the cocktail, rub the peel around the rim of the glass, and place atop the cocktail
Ancho Old Fashioned – created by Milagro Brand Ambassador Jaime Salas
Combine all ingredients in a mixing beaker. Add regular ice and stir for 30 seconds. Strain into a double old fashioned glass over large hand cut ice block. Using a vegetable peeler, remove long orange and lemon peels. Express each over the top of the cocktail and rub them together around the rim of the glass. Roll peels together into a rosette and place atop the cocktail.