Get your hot glue guns ready (kidding, I’ll bring at least three) for my next craft event in Kansas City. Paper Crafts + Boozy Drafts (the hoppy, malty version of Crafts + Cocktails) is coming back to Boulevard Brewing Company‘s Tours & Rec Center on Thursday, April 26. And if you couldn’t tell from my fucking amazing Bob Ross diorama (and, well, the headline), this time we’re making my favorite elementary school craft EV-AR: DIORAMAS!!! As always, I’ll mix up a boozy beer cocktail you can enjoy while creating a miniature world inside an up-cycled Boulevard beer box!
Now, obviously, your diorama doesn’t have to be as intricate and thought out as mine. But I still want to talk about mine for a minute. Humor me, please.
First, YES. I painted that tiny little canvas. And, no, I am not a painter and I definitely don’t consider myself artist. I can’t even draw a straight line. I honestly have no idea how it turned out so well, but I’m going to give credit where credit is probably due: All those hours I spent watching Bob Ross paint his happy trees on PBS.
Second, can you believe I free-hand sewed those tiny fucking clothes? I don’t sew but I make shit work. The top is the sides of a Spider-Man Pull-up, and the jeans are from one of those little iron-on patches you get in a pack in the household section at Target. Of course, the first pair of “jeans” I made were too skinny and wouldn’t even go on (story of my own damn life) but still. Are you impressed yet? BECAUSE YOU FUCKING SHOULD BE. I mean, I want you to be impressed, but I also don’t want my diorama skillz to intimidate you, because this shit took me days, and we’ll just have two hours on the 26th. But they’re going to be two fun-filled, booze-induced hours you do not want to miss.
Third, his hair is the inside of my dog’s bed. Mic drop.
ARE YOU EXCITED YET? BECAUSE I AM! Like I mentioned, Boulevard will supply the boxes, and I’ve already loaded up on craft supplies and figurines, but feel free to bring your own creepy dolls, dog bed hair, pull ups, etc.
Seriously, you guys. I cannot fucking wait for this night of magical miniature making. ARE YOU WITH ME?!
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You know that fucking miserable part of the winter when all the cozy holidays are over and it’s just cold and dark and wet and everything’s still dead and it seems like it will never end and all you want to do is wear some cute fucking open-toed flats? Well, we’re way past that because it’s FUCKING APRIL, but it snowed here in Kansas City on Easter and my phone tells me it’s going to snow again on Friday AND on Sunday and really I just can’t take it anymore.
My solution? Stay inside and drink while wearing my cute shoes — at least until it’s safe to go outside in them. My cocktail of choice is the Hazy Shade of Spring, a cold-weather twist on one of my warm-weather favorites, the Paloma. While the Paloma is made with tequila and grapefruit, this gets a hint of smokiness from mezcal. And there’s rosemary too — BECAUSE ROSEMARY JUST FUCKING SCREAMS “WINTER!”
The Hazy Shade of Spring
2 ounces mezcal
3 ounces grapefruit juice
3/4 ounce rosemary simple syrup (see below)
Sea salt (and some grapefruit) for garnish
Rosemary sprig for garnish
Moisten the rim of an old fashioned or stemless wine glass with a grapefruit wedge, then gently roll the rim of the glass on a plate of sea salt and set aside. Add the mezcal, grapefruit juice and rosemary simple syrup to a cocktail shaker or wide-mouth mason jar with a handful of ice, then shake the shit out of it and strain it into the salt-rimmed glass. Add a handful of ice or a large ice cube, garnish with a rosemary sprig and enjoy!
To make the rosemary simple syrup: Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and 4 to 6 fresh rosemary sprigs in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to low to simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it steep for 20 to 30 minutes. Strain and discard the rosemary, then set the syrup aside (or refrigerate it) to cool. This will make about 1 cup and the extra will keep in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to two weeks (I mean, look, it will probably keep longer but I’m covering my ass here, okay?).
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It’s rhubarb season, y’all! But you won’t find me baking a fucking pie. Nope. I put that shit in cocktails. Like my rhubarb whiskey sour. And my rhubarb daiquiri. Oh, and my fancy, boozy jello eggs. I even put it in the drink for my Easter egg decorating party at Boulevard earlier this week. Basically, when I see rhubarb at the grocery store, I Supermarket Sweeps that shit. Then I make a big-ass batch of rhubarb syrup and use it in everything. I’m also real fond of saying, “Hey, the mash that’s left over is a great jam or compote or whatever.” I even wrote about it for Food52. But I don’t eat toast or ice cream often enough so it sometimes goes to waste — which is a damn shame because it’s fucking good.
But when I love something, I often find a way to put it in a cocktail, hence this pretty pink rhubarb tonic.
To be honest, I’ve been trying to rip off the rhubarb tonic from the now-closed Nightwood in Chicago since I tried it in the summer of 2013. And while it’s been long enough for my tastebuds to forget the specifics, I remember it being one of my favorite drinks. Ever. It was bubbly and slightly sweet and a little bitter from the tonic. I think this is as close as I’ve ever come to recreating it, and as close as I’m going to get. In fact, I’m calling it a win and giving up after this.
While the drink recipe itself is super easy — just three ingredients — getting there is a little labor intensive. First, you want to make my rhubarb syrup. But don’t worry, you’ll have lots of uses for it (see above!). And SAVE THE MASH.
Rhubarb Syrup / Mash
5-6 cups rhubarb, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Add the rhubarb, sugar, and water to a medium-size pot over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and add the vinegar, cinnamon and cardamom. Stir, then let the mixture simmer for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour. The longer it simmers the more syrupy it will become.
Strain the syrup into a bottle or mason jar and let it cool to room temperature, then seal and refrigerate. Did I mention you should SAVE THE FUCKING MASH?! Put it in an air-tight container and refrigerate it.
At some point you’ll want to blend or puree this goodness, so you can do that before you refrigerate it, or after, or just a little as needed. Whatever floats your fucking boat.
Now, you’re ready to roll with the drink.
2 tablespoons rhubarb mash puree
2 ounces whiskey
Cold tonic water
Add the rhubarb mash puree and whiskey to a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice. Shake vigorously then strain into an old-fashioned or collins glass. Add a handful of crushed ice (or a large ice cube, or regular fucking ice), and top it off with tonic water. Enjoy!
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Oh, hi. Apparently March is almost over. Don’t know how the hell that happened (I mean, I haven’t even filed my 2016 taxes yet — WUT?!), but I haven’t seen the sun in a fucking week so your free printable April 2018 calendar is all about those April showers. And because printer technology not improved since 1999 and your printer probably sucks as much as mine does, it’s available in both color and black and white. As always, the calendar is free (you’ll get both versions with your “purchase”) and as you probably know by now, the only catch is that you need to “buy” the file from my store before you can download and print it. You don’t have to pay any money or give any credit card info or anything like that. Nope, you just have to plug your information into some little boxes. But I promise I won’t sell your email address, or stalk you, and if you create an account it makes it really easy to download it next time — as well as go back and re-download your previous purchases. Some people plug fake information into those boxes, and while it is slightly annoying, as long as you follow me on Instagram in return, I don’t really give a fuck. But if you do plug in firstname.lastname@example.org, you won’t get the email with your download links or my newsletter (you know — when I finally get my shit together enough to do it in, like, three years). So there.
And, really, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram. Honor system. Don’t be a dick.
Hey, remember last year, when I made fancy, boozy rhubarb jello eggs for Easter? And they were a huge pain in the ass to get out of the molds? And they kind of looked like penis heads? Well, I pretty much swore off doing that ever again, but because I’m a sucker (actually, mostly because I came up with the most amazing name ever) I bought a ton of molds I hated, and trashed my kitchen twice to make Roséggs — rosé jello eggs (with gin, and no actual Jell-O).
Like last year’s fancy-ass eggs, these Roséggs are fucking amazing. Like if frosé and jello shots had an egg baby. But because I can’t seem to make a jello egg that doesn’t look like some part of the human anatomy, the first round I made kind of look liked boobs. Or maybe just breast implants. That’s because this year, I decided to forgo the hard plastic egg-shaped Jell-O molds in favor of silicone candy molds, which create half eggs that are flat on bottom. I got big molds, and little molds, and even some egg-shaped molds with easter egg “design” on them. Unfortunately, I lined the molds with cooking spray, which gave the eggs a weird texture. And the big ones looked like big boobs with weird texture, and the little ones looked like little boobs with weird texture, and everything I tried to take out of then damn “designed” molds just fucking fell apart. So I tried again. For my second round, I poured the entire concoction into a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper, then cut the eggs out with a small egg-shaped cookie cutter. Getting the pan from the counter to the fridge without a spill was harrowing, but that was definitely the best route (even though I’d skip the parchment next time and just lightly grease the pan).
Sadly, I left them out too long during my boozy shoot before getting a good closeup so I don’t have a Glamour Shot, and the ones you see here are my rejects. Oops. Maybe I’ll make them one more time before Easter. Just for the ‘Gram. In the meantime, here I am holding a tray of Roséggs.
I hope I didn’t scare you off there. You should definitely make these Roséggs. How you mold (or cut) them is really player’s choice. You could use the old-fashioned hard molds and get about 18 eggs. Or use big or little silicone molds and get a bunch of boob eggs and put them in cute little wooden spoons like I did (because I always buy them and never have a use for them) or pour your rosé goo into a sheet pan and use a cookie cutter to get your egg shapes. Whatever you do, definitely keep them refrigerated until you’re ready to serve, because if that shit gets too warm, it will melt and you’ll be really fucking sad.
Roséggs – Boozy Rosé Jello Eggs
2 cups strawberry syrup
8 packets powdered gelatin
1 cup fresh-squeezed Meyer lemon juice, strained
¼ cup sugar
1½ cups gin
2 cups brut (or some kind of bubbly) rosé
Spray your egg molds or sheet pan with cooking spray (or lightly grease it since that spray shit leaves a weird texture) and set aside.
Warm the strawberry syrup in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Before it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and whisk in the gelatin, one packet at a time. Continue to whisk for about 2 to 3 minutes, dissolving as much gelatin as possible. Add the lemon juice, and whisk, then the sugar, and whisk for another minute or two, until the sugar is fully dissolved.
Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer (to catch the clumps of gelatin) into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the gin, then the rosé. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes so some of the bubbles subside. Then fill the prepared egg molds (or sheet pan) with the liquid mixture.
Refrigerate for 5 hours or overnight, and cross your fingers that shit comes out of whatever mold you use.
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