Amaro Spritz Punch

Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca
Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca

Hello holiday people!

For my final post of the Holiday Blognanza with Olaiya from Milly's Kitchen, I've made you this delicious punch that will charm the pants off you and your guests. That could be a good or bad thing depending who your guests are, so invite cool and attractive people to come drink with you just to be safe. Olaiya has a recipe for toasted buckwheat granola with tahini and dark chocolate up on her blog for you to indulge in and feel good about it. This punch is perfect for pre-dinner drinks, alongside food or after food. It's versatile because it's light and contains amari that help you digest. Amari are lovely to sip on before or after a meal, particularly with some ice and a citrus peel. The fresh and bubbly flavour of this punch is reminiscent of orange crush but a very adult version being less sweet and added notes of bitterness. It even tastes amazing flat if you don't drink it all in one night. Pour it into a sealable bottle or mason jar and keep in the fridge for tomorrow's Christmas movie or a night cap. I brought a leftover bottle of this flat punch to a friend's place last night and it was a huge hit. Such a hit that as I write this, my mind is foggy from the evening's holiday cheer and lack of sleep so forgive my briefness. It was totally worth it. Now go whip up a batch of this delicious stuff (it only takes a couple minutes) and you'll be feeling extra warm and cheery in no time. 

Here are the previous holiday posts from this month if you need some food and gift ideas!

Pine Shortbread Cookies

Hazelnut Amaretti With Orange + Vanilla

Stilton Pear Cheese Ball With Pistachios + Pink Peppercorns

Small Is Beautiful: Holiday Gift Guide

Potato Cheddar + Onion Focaccia

Alison Roman's Slow Roasted Pork With Garlic, Citrus + Cilantro

 

Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca
Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca
Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca

Holiday Party Tips (section four)

 

Setting The Tone

Setting the tone of a gathering is so important. For a visceral experience, I consider what people's the senses will encounter when arriving. What will they experience in terms of their sense of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. 

Sight

How do I make everyone look as attractive as possible? Lighting! And booze. But mostly lighting. Overhead lights can be unflattering so unless it's your only option, side lighting with lamps and candles are a better option. If overhead lighting must be used then offset with candles and lamps or dim down if possible. Twinkly lights, a himalayan salt lamp and candles are my favourite light accents. 

Smell

Lots of delicious food aromas wafting through your home before people arrive may be all you need. I turn on my essential oil diffuser while I get ready because it's relaxes me as I ease into the evening. For a bright and uplifting scent try lemon or orange oil (you can add a little peppermint if you like which goes with both nicely). For something earthy and relaxing, lavender, rosemary and conifer work well. If you're stuffed up from winter colds or want a clean smell, half eucalyptus and half lavender is my favourite. 

Hearing

Music is key at a gathering and one of the biggest tone setters. Construct your own playlist or pick on out on Spotify or 8tracks. A classic jazz soul playlist is perfect for a winter gathering. This In The Kitchen playlist goes well with cooking, preparing and for when guests arrive. I have a few playlists with different vibes saved on my computer for when the energy changes. Maybe it evolves into a dance party (the best kind of party).  The volume level is important as well. If the music is too quiet it can feel awkward but if it's too loud, people can't hear or focus on conversations. 

TV. Yes or no?

Unless the gathering is centred around a tv show, movie or sports games I would avoid turning on the tv. I find this is a quick party killer and people end up zoned out on the screen. 

Bathroom Etiquette

I love when people have a candle already lit in the bathroom. It makes it feel cozy and like they care about every room in their home. I keep a stick a palo santo and a lighter in a small glass above the toilet for people to light. Ensure there is ample soap, toilet paper, and a clean hand towel.

When guests arrive

 Greet them with enthusiasm and a hug (this is part of the touch sense and hugs are important, okay?). If you are enthusiastic to see someone, they will feel the same. Often we mirror other people's feelings, so be the feeling-guru and have everyone else mirror your excited and cheerful vibe. Show them where they can put their coats so they don't take up room in the common area. Offer a drink by telling them exactly what the options are. Offering homemade punch to start is always a welcomed sight. 

Be aware of the vibe

Once everyone has arrived, the tone of the gathering will be set. It may need some help by initiating conversations between people and topping up drinks (which always gets the conversation flowing). If it's feeling too sleepy, consider turning up the lights a little or changing the playlist to something more upbeat. Now just let it be and enjoy! I find the more I focus on enjoying myself, the more others enjoy themselves. Happiness is contagious, guys.

 

Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca
Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca
Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca
Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca
Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca
Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca

Recipe Notes:

bay leaf gin

Pour one cup of gin into a mason jar. Take 15 fresh bay leaves and rip in half. Place into jar of gin and seal. Leave for at least six hours. I left mine overnight. Remove bay leaves or strain if needed. 

Ice

Make extra ice ahead of time or buy a bag at the store. If you have a punch bowl, there are some pretty awesome ice rings you can make the day before like this one

Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca
Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca
Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca

Wishing you a happy holidays with lots of lovely food, family, friends and punch!

Meg

xx


AMARO SPRITZ PUNCH

the magic

inspiration:                     Aperol Spritz

the feels:                         fresh, light, slightly sweet + bitter    

eat with:                          cocktail snacks, antipasto, cheese ball

might like if you're into:      apertivos, digestivos, dance parties,                                                   fancy parties, san pellegrino aranciata,                                             negronis, aperol spritz, amaro, campari                                             + soda

the science

makes 12 cups (one large bowl or jug of punch) || time: 5 minutes

ingredients:

  • 1 cup aperol
  • 1 cup amaro montenegro
  • 1 cup gin (for bay infused gin, read the recipe notes above)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 4 cups cava (prosecco, champagne or sparkling wine)
  • 4 cups sparkling water
  • ice for serving
  • 2 oranges, sliced into wheels (optional)
  • handful of fresh bay leaves (optional)

method:

  1. Add aperol, amaro montenegro, gin, and orange juice to a jug or punch bowl. Just before serving, add cava and sparkling water. Stir to mix. Top with sliced oranges and bay leaves if desired. Add lots of ice to punch (the more the better because it will melt slower with more and keep the punch cold for longer. Or you can add ice to each glass as you serve it. 

Pour leftovers into a sealable bottle or jar and keep in the fridge for up to five days. It's delicious flat or you can brighten it back up with a splash of sparkling water or sparkling wine. 

BLUEBERRY LEMON MINT SODA

Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca

In support of summer weather I bring you this cooling drink so you can settle into the deep heat. Let if flow over you; welcome it because it won't stay forever and you'll be craving it soon. Sip cold drinks, point fans at your barely clothed body and avoid turning on your oven. This is how I live in hot summer months. 

Pros of Hot Weather

  • No need for a sauna, you live in one
  • A multitude of cold drinks all day long
  • Swimming feels exceptional and necessary
  • Being lazy and not feeling bad about it 
  • Patio drinks
  • Rose wine (or frose)
  • Hair on head grows faster

Cons of Hot Weather

  • Hair on body grows faster
  • Bugs everywhere
  • Hot garbage smell (in the city)
  • Hot manure smell (in the country)
  • Under boob sweat
  • Back sweat pooling in butt crack
  • Chub rub– the struggle is real my fellow thick thigh ladies (and men).
  • It's so hot your drink sweats and slips out of your hand and spills all over your new summer dress. But at least you're cooled off so maybe it's a pro?

I've been obsessed with blueberries lately (see my blueberry tarragon gravlax). They are a classic Canadian summer food and I feel the need to devour them in pies, smoothies, jams, muffins or all on their own. They awaken memories of wandering through forests, swimming in lakes and the sound of cicadas on hot days. 

Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca
yellow water lily + my bff Alex

yellow water lily + my bff Alex

I just returned from a camping trip with two of my favourite people and we had the most amazing time. We canoed down a river filled with lilies and lily pads, saw blue herons up close, bought doughnut and watermelon floaties and swam in the waves of Lake Huron, made delicious camp food, played cards, sipped on these wine-ciders (half cider + half pinot noir = the perfect cooler), listened to baby wolves howling at night and relaxed into our naturey surroundings. It reminded me how peaceful and calming my mind can be and how connected I feel in the outdoors. It reminded me I live in an outrageously beautiful country with a rich history of people who lived off this land and respected it to the highest degree. It reminded me of the beauty all over the world and how much I still want to see and experience. As much as I tend to dislike winters in Canada (which feel never ending), the summers are so gorgeous that it might make up for it. No Canadian has ever uttered the words “Winters go by so fast!". If they do they're lying and are probably trying to get you to visit when it's cold and dark and all they'll want to do is cuddle and eat bread. Don't. Do. It.

But do come in the summer. It is breathtaking. 

white water lily

white water lily

Lake Huron at Pinery Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Lake Huron at Pinery Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca
Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca
Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca

Let's talk simple syrup for a hot minute. I want to show you how to make your own easily and with more exciting things than white sugar. This recipe calls for a honey simple syrup. Don't worry, it takes no time and you'll have a new skill to impress people with. 

Standard simple syrup recipes are a 1:1 ratio of sugar/sweetener to water. If you prefer a thinner less sweet syrup, add a bit more water than sugar. If you prefer a thicker sweeter syrup, add more sugar than water. “Rich syrup" is a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water. Usually simple syrup is made by adding water and sugar/sweetener of choice to a small pot and heating to just before a boil until fully dissolved. But there is no need to turn on the stove on a hot day. Below I have included the lazy person's way which is how I usually make drink syrups of all kinds. 

Make simple syrups out of any of the following for subtle but different flavours:

  • Demerara or turbinado syrup– for a deeper more caramel-like flavour. Good for tropical drinks/ rum drinks.
  • Honey syrup– you can use any type of honey you like. Good for iced black/green tea, drinks with jasmine, gin, lemon, or bourbon. 
  • Agave syrup– the lighter in colour the agave is, the more it will taste like classic simple syrup. The darker in colour the more rich the flavour will be, closer to honey. Good for margaritas (lighter agave), tequila or mezcal cocktails, drinks with lime or watermelon.
  • Coconut sugar or brown sugar syrup– for a deeper, more molasses-like flavour. Good for winter cocktails, old fashioneds, bourbon based cocktails. 
  • Maple syrup– use real maple syrup always. Good for old fashioneds, bourbon based cocktails, ciders, mulled wine, dark or light rum, any warm winter flavours like allspice, cinnamon or clove. 

One Minute Honey Simple Syrup Recipe

  • Boil water in your kettle. Add equal parts of honey and boiled water to a container with a tight sealable lid. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds or until completely dissolved. Keep in fridge for up to one month. Make as much or as little as you like. 
Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca

BLUEBERRY LEMON MINT SODA

the magic

inspiration:                         hot summer days in Canada

the feels:                             sweet, tart, fresh, effervescent

eat with:                              barbecued fish, blueberry tarragon                                                    gravlax, a splash of gin, watermelon                                                  feta salad

might like if you're into:      Foraging, fruit galettes, pine forests,                                                canoeing, The Great Lakes, the sound of                                            cicadas, daddy long legs, wading in                                                  rivers

 

the science

ingredients:

                                                                                                                                                                                       blueberry preserves

  • 1 cup blueberries (frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 4 - 6 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 lemon zested

blueberry lemon soda (one serving)

  • 1.5 ounces (3 tablespoons) blueberry preserves
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce honey simple syrup (see above for easy one minute recipe)
  • 4 mint leaves
  • sparkling water
  • mint sprig or lemon wheel for garnish

method:

                                                                                                                                                                                          blueberry preserves 

  1. Add blueberries, sugar, lemon zest and 4 tablespoons of water to small pot. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer blueberries for 10 to 15 minutes. Add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of water if thick. The final consistency should be more like blueberry syrup, not thick like jam. Let cool, pour into mason jar  and seal. Keep in fridge for up to one week or in the freezer for up to two months. 

blueberry lemon soda

  1. In a cocktail shaker (or mason jar), add blueberry preserves, lemon juice, honey simple syrup, and mint leaves. Fill shaker or jar 3/4 full with ice, seal and shake for 10 seconds. Fill short rocks glass with ice, open cocktail shaker and strain (with cocktail strainer or hand held strainer) over rocks glass. Top with sparkling water, stir gently and garnish with mint sprig or sliced lemon wheel. If using a bigger/taller glass or making two, double the ratios in the recipe. 

 

STUFF + THINGS

Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Banana Bread from Half Baked Harvest || Stuff + Things || creamandhoney.ca

M A K E || This chocolate chip almond butter banana bread by Half Baked Harvest. It rivals all the best banana breads of my life. 

R E A D || The Disease of Being Busy. It will do you good. Take a moment for some introspection. How is your heart doing at this very moment? Tell me you remember you are still a human being, not just a human doing.

D R I N K || This Pineapple Kombucha Light + Stormy! My feeling is that the kombucha balances the rum in this cocktail making it a neutral not-unhealthy-drink. Right? RIGHT?!

W A S H || Your face in honey. For real guys, I use raw honey to wash my face. Honey is antibacterial (helps prevent blemishes) and a natural preservative so it's great for skin (and less wrinkles). You can use it for individual pimples as well by dabbing a bit on individual blemishes. Raw honey is best since it hasn't been processed and often comes a little thicker providing a gentle exfoliation. You only need a little so it lasts a long time and ends up costing less than I was paying for natural face cleansers that still had added ingredients I was unsure about. You can add a couple drops of essential oils to your face honey (lavender or rose work well) for an added scent and relaxation bonus. 

E A T || Imanishi in Little Portugal. This place is down the street from my apartment and I are their last night for the first time and it. was. amazing. The concept is Tokyo homestyle cooking so the food is comforting but refined. The cocktails are unique, the atmosphere chill and lovely (less party atmosphere than other izakayas),  and the food. Ohhh the foooood. It's full of umami and you leave feeling joyously full but not weighed down.                                                                                                             Ate: agedashi eggplant, gai lan in ground sesame dressing + katsuo-bushi flakes, octopus + fresh celery in almond oil, garlic, + ginger, red snapper carpaccio with yuzu citrus dressing, waygu beef in onion broth with rice and finally the taro root ice cream with toasted soba.                                                                                                 Drinks to try: An array of Sake, Umehana cocktail [tequila, plum wine, jasmine tea, orange bitters], Japanese beers, + Chu-Hi's. Chu-Hi's are easy drinking cocktails made from shochu, a Japanese spirit similar to vodka but about half the percentage in alcohol. The Aloe-Hi is usually my first pick, made with aloe juice and little bits of aloe jelly. 

Hoping your hearts are calm and cravings are satiated,

Meg xx