Cheers Sippin Gypsy Travelers! This post comes to you while enjoying a Sippin Gypsy Chocolate and Mint Non Martini Protein Shake.
This post was written by my friend Adam Durnham who specializes in Mental Health and has some really great insights to the benefits of travel and your mental well being and balance. As a wife, mother and career woman, I know I was able to relate to many of his points and suggestions. Too often we get pulled into the stresses of life and we forget to take time to do things that enable us to 'reset' and rejuvenate ourselves. Enjoy!
The Mental Health Benefits of Travel
When you first think of traveling, what comes to your mind? Do you think of the ultimate family vacation? Do you think of a solo trip across the country? Maybe you think of going to that popular Caribbean destination you just saw on your internet search. You might think about meeting people from other cultures and exploring the world.
Traveling is one of the most fun things you can do. It is also a great way to create unforgettable memories as well. However, it is more than just having fun. Traveling can improve your overall well being. Whether you just got out of a dual diagnosis rehab or have an overly stressful job, Traveling can help to improve your mental health in the following ways.
Many people experience stress in their life. Some people have more stress than others. Those who are working 60 hours a week, taking care of someone else, or perhaps in recovery from some mental state may be overly stressed. If you have a lot of stress in your life, you should know that traveling can be one way to reduce that stress. Traveling gives you the break you need from the daily struggles that are causing you stress. It gives you the chance to relax, rest, and recharge, so you can lower your stress levels. A study done in 2013 shows that traveling reduced the stress level of 89% of people. That was only with one or two days of traveling as well.
One of the main reasons someone may have a decline in their mental health is because they don’t know who they are anymore. They can’t connect to their true feelings or experience happiness from things they used to be passionate about. If this is the case for you, it may be time to reinvent yourself. Traveling can help you with this. You might want to explore a foreign country or just travel the United States. By doing this, you are expanding your mind, experiencing new cultures, and taking on challenges. You can learn more about yourself, so you can invent the “new you”.
Feeling More Satisfaction and Happiness
Traveling can help you to feel more satisfaction in your life as well. Many people with mental health issues aren’t satisfied with the life they are living. They are tired of their job, exhausted from their responsibilities, and constantly feeling overwhelmed. When you are traveling, you can let all those things go for awhile. You can feel satisfaction through your explorations. This satisfaction can allow more happiness to flow into your life as well. Traveling allows you to feel more fulfilled. One study done by Cornell University shows that even thinking about an upcoming trip can bring you happiness.
Improved Mental Resilience
Traveling can improve your mental resilience as well. When you head off to a new place, you can feel both intimidated and excited. You might feel scared but thrilled. The trip can help you strengthen both your emotional and mental resilience. There might be some obstacles you need to overcome when traveling. For example, you may need to learn a new language or deal with a situation when your car breaks down across the country. Overcoming these obstacles allows you to become more emotionally stable and strong. You learn to give up control and have patience.
Expressing Your Creative Side
When you travel, you also get to express your creative side. Adam Galinksy, a Columbia Business School Professor , states that going to a foreign place and getting into their environment, raises your cognitive flexibility. Traveling gets you thinking outside of your normal perspective. It enhances your creative side. The more you engage in the culture of the place you are traveling to, the more you can expand your creativity.
Going on a trip can help to improve your productivity. One of the main reasons someone may need to go on a trip is because they need a break from the daily struggles. They may need a break from work, caring for a loved one, or to refresh their own body and mind. When someone gets in this run down state, they aren’t going to be very productive. However, taking a trip can help to reduce these overwhelming sensations and improve productivity.
Traveling can help to improve behaviors as well. For instance, people who are depressed typically go into isolation. They avoid interacting with people or doing things they once enjoyed. This worsens the depressive state. If you suffer from depression, going on a trip can increase your interactions with others. It can get you moving which also helps to reduce depression as well.
Connecting to Nature
According to some studies, natural surroundings are often the best for promoting a better mental health state. Traveling can provide you with many natural experiences and connections. You might visit a mountain, go camping in the woods, or visit a natural spring. By doing this, you are connecting yourself to the world, to nature. You are connecting with something bigger than yourself. This often helps to improve mental health symptoms.
Trying New Things
One way to improve your mental health state is by trying new things. It is normal for people to avoid things because they feel uncomfortable doing them. However, trying new things also helps you learn who you are and what you enjoy. It allows you to take part in opportunities and enjoy new experiences. By doing this, you can create more happiness in your life. You can feel better mentally and emotionally.
If you need to improve your mental health state, traveling could be one way for you to do that. There are so many places you could explore in this world. There are so many different experiences you could have. Traveling could help improve your mental health state in so many ways. It could help you feel more happiness, satisfaction, enjoyment, and contentment in your life as well.
Find that new travel opportunity today!
Adam Durnham is a freelance blogger that specializes in mental health, addiction, and recovery. Whenever he is not traveling, Adam lives in Detroit, Michigan with his travel buddy Beignet.
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Team Bourbon! This creamy cocktail comes inspired not only by my new found appreciation of bourbon after an amazing experience in Louisville Kentucky, but also my love of tropical gardens. I wanted to find a way to bring Louisville on vacation to my home in Florida. This cocktail relies on the bold warm flavors of bourbon and surrounds it in a light botanical veil. Green Chartreuse is a severely under utilized spirit that adds an herbal complexity to a cocktail's flavor profile.
I've had no 'formal training' as a bartender, but I know spirits and flavors and I know what I like. This is a great cocktail to play with your own pallet and customize the drink to have sweeter notes by increasing the pineapple juice and lessening the Green Chartreuse, or make the drink more 'boozy' or herbaceous by decreasing the amount of pineapple juice and increasing the Green Chartreuse. The art of cocktail crafting is more of a personal creation as opposed to a rigid recipe that must be followed. Play and have fun!
2 oz. Bourbon
1/4 oz. Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz. Coconut milk
1/2 oz. Pineapple Juice
1/4 oz. Lemon Juice
2 drops Orange Bitters
Combine all ingredients into a tin shaker with ice and shake vigorously until the tin is very cold to the touch. Fine strain into your glass and garnish with edible flowers and coconut crisps.
I'm excited to hear from my fellow Sippin Gypsies!! Tell me what you think of this wintery tropical cocktail and please let me know what variations you try!
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Travelers! This post comes to you from my friend Kayla of Our Start with some great tips for helping you prepare for flying with kids. As a mom and lover of travel, I really appreciated her suggestions, and have used several myself when traveling with my boys! Enjoy!
How to Survive an International Flight with Kids
Travel has so many benefits. Traveling exposes people to new cultures and new ways of seeing the world. Kids benefit from travel just as much if not more than adults. While traveling is fun and exciting, getting there requires a lot of steps. Flying is efficient and quick. At the same time, international flights with kids pose certain challenges. An international flight may take hours or even days to complete if there's a long layover. Parents need to think about ways they can help their kids relax and even enjoy long international flights with their children. There are many ways to help kids cope with the stress of leaving home and heading to another country. Careful, detailed advanced preparation along with an understanding of each child's precise needs is the best way to have a happy family trip from the very first moment it begins.
Ready and Rested
All kids need sleep. In fact, they need more sleep than adults. Teens also tend to have a clock that makes them stay up later at night and makes it harder for them to get up in the morning. Several days before the flight, push kids to get to bed earlier. Having enough sleep is one of the best ways for kids to feel at their best before boarding, during the flight and afterwards. Sleep also enables kids to communicate better with parents and reduces their feelings of being out of sorts.
While luggage restrictions make it hard to bring what children want when they're traveling by plane, it's possible to be thoughtful and work with such restrictions to help kids items they want with them as they travel internationally. Kids can participate in the act of packing. Let them do the investigating before boarding. Many airlines have a detailed list of what is allowed and what is not. Let the child do much of the packing of their own bags so they'll like what they have with them as they travel.
Interest Kids in the Route
International travel by air is incredibly exciting. During the course of the route, travelers can cross many bodies of water and many different countries. Kids should take the time to learn about where they're going. Kids can explore the exact route they're going to take in great detail. For example, if they are flying over parts of Europe, before the trip is the time to study the cultures of places like France and The Netherlands. Parents can encourage kids to study the history, culture and languages of each place and then point it out as they travel.
Flights between borders can take a lot of time. Now is the time to encourage kids to find clothing that lets them sit comfortably and move about freely. Little kids should have clothing that a parent can take off with ease if it gets dirty. Layers such as a jacket and a short sleeved shirt allow the child to respond to changes in temperatures as they leave and the flight continues. Older kids should be encouraged to look for fabrics like cotton that breathe and allow them to remove any stains fast.
Parents should remember that even international flights may not always much to eat or may offer food that kids find unpalatable. Provide kids with a small treat budget of their own. Spending time in an airport before the plane leaves typically means spending time in an area with lots of eating choices. Many airports have dozens of food choices from simple snacks to complete meals. Give kids the option of spending a small sum of money on food they like to eat.
Take Turns Parenting
In the course of leaving for a trip, boarding a plane and staying in the air, parent may be with their kids for hours at a time. Parents should set aside a designed time for each parent to supervise their kids and pay attention to their needs. The other parent can be the person who handles other details at this time such as interacting with airline officials, checking in baggage and staying on top of all necessary arrangements at their intended destination. One parent will make sure each child is adjusting to the plane ride and be there to answer any questions the child might have. This allows each parent some adult time during the flight and time to deal with their own personal needs.
Corresponding With Friends
Today's kids are more in touch with their friends than ever before. Many have updated social media accounts they use to share their experiences with the world. An international trip offers a way for kids to talk about their lives with their friends. Encourage kids to keep a flight journal they can share with friends. Let them share their excitement with their peer group. Many kids also have friends who live overseas. Kids should be reminded of the possibility of finally meeting with a friend for the first time. A long flight is easier to endure when they know someone's waiting for them at the other end.
Kayla Clough is the email specialist here at OurStart. Kayla is a recent graduate of Eastern University in PA where she majored in Marketing and Human Resources. Kayla loves all things fashion, her golden retriever Max, and coffee. When she is not working, you can find her binge watching Sex in the City and baking her latest find on Pinterest.
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Travelers! This post comes to you while enjoying my Sippin Gypsy Sorbet Sparklers! For this post my sparkler has gin and raspberry sorbet with fresh mint from my garden, while my sidekicks (my sons) are enjoying the nonalcoholic version of this tasty refresher.
This summer we piled in our Jeep and traversed the country from South to North by way of Atlanta GA, then onto Louisville KY and finally to Chicago IL for a family get together before trekking back home. My boys are turning 12 and 13, and this was their first ‘Road Trip’ vacation. We all had so much fun! To make the drive easier we purposely broke up the drive with overnight stays no more than a 6 hour distance from one city to the next, with time to stop for lunch/dinner after 2-3 hours in. This worked beautifully!
Atlanta was the first stop and a city I love dearly. This would end up being my forth time really enjoying the city. The boys loved the Aquarium and the chance to see all the different habitats and ecosystems influenced by oceans, lakes and rivers. The boys also really enjoyed finding some of the street art sprinkled around the city. They loved that people are allowed to paint pictures and murals on the outside of buildings! I loved watching their appreciation for all types of art and how it inspired them.
For more suggestions of what to do in Atlanta: Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Playin': Atlanta
For dinner we spent time at Ponce City Market trying a little bit of almost everything there. We all agreed that HOPS Chicken was one of the best fried chicken we had ever had. We stocked up on desert between my favorite, Batter and the new Five Daughters Bakery…we had enough sugar pumping through us to certainly keep us awake for another drive, but we wanted to enjoy the city, and Centennial Olympic Park is beautiful at night. Atlanta was only a one-night stay for us on the way up North. It is an easy drive from where we live and decided to give ourselves more time in cities that were a bit further away.
For more suggestions of where to eat and drink in Atlanta: Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Sippin': Atlanta
For suggestions of where to stay in Atlanta: 6 Cool Hotels in Atlanta and Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Restin': Atlanta
We woke up and started into the mountains of Northern Georgia and into Tennessee. I always find the mountains so majestic and humbling. We took turns picking songs on Spotify and sung our hearts out together as we wove through the countryside. Lunch was in Nashville. What a fun city! I am looking forward to spending a few days in this city soon. There were so many restaurant options. We ended up atThe Row which has seen several famous artists over the years.
Louisville Kentucky was our next stop for two nights on the way up, then again for a night on the way back home. One of my top priorities was to visit the Angels Envy Distillery, one my husband’s favorites bourbons. I have just begun to develop my pallet for bourbon, so this was an incredible way to truly understand the art and history of this dark spirit. Our tour guide Julie was fantastic. She not only has a passion for the Angel’s Envy brand, but also for the art of bourbon.
For more suggestions of what to do in Louisville: Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Playin': Louisville
The food in Louisville was incredible. I took my time and did a lot of research before our road trip. I had read that Louisville had some new farm to table restaurants and some really impressive bars. I couldn’t stop eating. Everything was so delicious. A few memorable favorites were Butchertown Grocery and Naïve, both with fresh local foods and delicious well crafted cocktails.
For more suggestions of where to eat and drink in Louisville: Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Sippin': Louisville
In a town packed with distilleries, it really raises the bar (no pun intended at all) for bar programs. Bartenders need to know their history of bourbon and respect the deep dedication to this spirit. Kevin and I used a booklet that also serves as a ‘passport’ to visit the bars and distilleries in Louisville proper, also known as The Urban Bourbon Trail. This guided us to some of the most amazing spots with passionate bartenders and mixologists and artistic and classic cockatils including Proof on Main and the Lobby Bar at the Brown Hotel and of course the Angel's Envy Distillery!
We spent one of the afternoons walking around historic Louisville, and the beautiful Victorian mansions. I picked up a book by local author, David Domine and we used his book to find out more about the haunted homes we walked past. We also really enjoyed The Big Four Bridge. What a great place to walk off dinner or pack a picnic and enjoy the river! Louisville definitely needed more than three nights. There was so much more we wanted to eat and explore. Kevin and I committed to coming back and bringing our bourbon loving friends along for a couples getaway.
The drive to Chicago from Louisville was so easy. The boys especially enjoyed the miles of windmills. We lost count, but it was hauntingly beautiful to drive through.
Then came the bridge into Chicago. What an experience. The boys hadn’t seen a city so big yet. It gave me chills to hear their excitement of the skyscrapers. This was Kevin and my second visit to Chicago. We opted to stay right in the River North neighborhood. We were close to everything.
Exploring Millennium Park was one of my boys favorite things to do in Chicago. We also spent a wonderful afternoon in the Art Institute. My cousin studied there, and has a passion for art, so having him as a tour guide was perfect. We also truly enjoyed the Architecture Tour from the boat. It was fun to ride through the city and sail past the concrete giants that adorn the city’s skyline.
For more suggestions of what to do in Chicago: Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Playin': Chicago
The cocktail and cuisine scene in Chicago is amazing. We had so much amazing food and beautiful cocktails it really was hard to pick favorites. I loved the view of the river and skyline from Raised Bar. The boys really loved the food from Green Street Smoked Meats. Kevin and I enjoyed the sultry ambiance of Bavette’s where we ventured down a candle lit staircase into a speakeasy style hidden bar with incredible cocktails.. We concluded we needed a lot more time in Chicago. We felt we could’ve spent a week there and still not experienced everything on our lists.
For more suggestions of where to eat and drink in Chicago: Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Sippin': Chicago
In the end, we loved our road trip. Time in the car was spent enjoying music or playing travel games. The boys had prepared for each city by doing a bit of their own research about the history of each city and at least one attraction they were interested in visiting. This kept their interest in each city as they were constantly on the look out for something they researched. The kids were also great at trying new flavors in each city. Kevin and I decided we will do another family road trip with the boys.
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Gypsy Travelers! This post comes to you while enjoying my Sippin Gypsy Jalapeno Margarita, one of my favorite cocktails from EPCOT at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando FL while reading a post from my friend Albion of AlbionGould after her recent trip to Disneyland Paris!
If you're a Disney parks fan, you can't leave Disneyland Paris off your list. Not only do you get some new Disney magic, it's located right next to one of the most beautiful cities in the world. This post will tell you all the details of what you need to know before you visit Disneyland Paris.
We've always flown into Charles de Gaulle Airport. There are multiple ways to get to Disneyland from the airport. Both of our preferred methods depart from Terminal Two. The high speed train option will get you to the Disneyland stop in a matter of minutes--quite literally. The Disney station is Marne-la-Vallée/ Chessy Station. However, we don't take it when our kids are with us because it can be rather chaotic, especially if there's luggage involved. Our most used option is the Magical Shuttle. You can pre-book your tickets online or buy them from the desk. It obviously takes longer than the train, but we've found it to be much easier with the kids. The shuttle stops at all of the Disneyland hotels, a small hub in town with hotels, and at Disneyland itself. The final stop is right next to the train station where you would have ended up had you chosen the train.
Where to Stay:
Like the other Disney parks, Disneyland Paris offers multiple on-site properties. The main hotel (and most expensive) is located right on top of the front gates. All of the hotels have different theming and are comparable to their hotels in the States. There's a large selection of off-site properties that are just a three minute train ride away to choose from as well. We have four kids, so for both pricing reasons and to be able to all be in the same room, our hotel of choice is Residhome Val d'Europe. The hotel is located fifty feet from the train entrance and it's just one stop away from the parks, which is actually much quicker than some of the official Disney hotels.
Getting into Disneyland:
Disneyland Paris is most similar in layout to Disneyland (Anaheim). There's a courtyard where you can choose to go into Disneyland, Walt Disney Studios, or Disney Village. The entrance to Disneyland is quite different from the American versions. The main queue is below the hotel, but I have a secret for you! Go to the right of the building (you'll go under a walkway).
The left luggage office will be in front of you but just off to the left is another entrance. It's never as busy as the main entrance and there's no signage to tell first time visitors that it's there.
When to Visit:
Just as with other Disney parks, there are good and bad times to visit Disneyland Paris due to crowd size, but the schedule you need to watch out for isn't what you'd think. When you're planning your visit, make sure it doesn't coincide with a school break in the U.K. In England, you can't take your kids out of school without getting a fine, which means that they travel only over their breaks. While other breaks will make a difference too, the U.K. is the the one that brings the biggest crowd. If your visit needs to be at the same time, be prepared for quite long lines and some difficulty in restaurant seating.
Disneyland Paris features many of the big name rides that we know and love from the American parks--Space Mountain, Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, and more. They all have a bit of a twist on them, though. Space Mountain, for example, has more of a Jules Verne type theming. Pirates starts with the burning of the town and ends with the cave. There are also Paris specific rides, like Alice's Curious Labyrinth and Crush's Coaster.
I will be honest--I feel let down by the Disneyland Paris food. I love Disney food and was expecting a level above the American parks since Paris has such a great reputation. While the food in the parks is ok, it's really just ok. There are very few themed food options, all of the carts are basically the same, and the food just generally seems to be overpriced and rather blah. Disney Village has restaurant options and I would recommend those over the food actually in the parks.
Do I Need to Know French?
The short answer is no. We didn't encounter any cast members who didn't speak English. However, it is helpful (and polite!) to know how to say please and thank you at the very least. Also, at most rides the cast members will ask questions in French first, so if they're looking for a party of two to jump ahead, you can swoop on that if you can understand the question.
How Long Do I Need?
Disneyland Paris is on the small size (smaller than Anaheim). I would say that you don't need any more than two days to do both the parks and feel satisfied. Because of the proximity to Paris, I would highly recommend taking at least one day trip into the city while you're there.
I hope that this has given you a general overview of what you can expect from Disneyland Paris and that you're planning your own visit!
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Team Gin! This post comes to you while enjoying my Sippin Gypsy End of Summer Party Cocktail. My friend Rahat from India is sharing some of the best places to visit during one of the most vibrant and beautiful celebrations, Holi! Enjoy!!
Firstly I thank you for giving me an opportunity for writing a guest post for your site. So let's start the post by sharing my brief introduction. My name is Rahat Arora I am from India. As per my passion and interest I am a passionate traveler, love to explore new places and their cuisine and culture. I am a frequent traveler exploring different destinations in India for last 3 years. I have yet to visit destinations out of India...however, my list of travelling to abroad is getting bigger bigger and I am going to visit them soon and I share my travel experience through my blog www.traveltrivago.com
To know more about my travel experience follow my social media links:
Sharing a guest post on places to visit in India on the eve of Holi. Before sharing about the places let me give you breif introduction about Holi festival. Holi is one of the most fun loving festivals celebrated in India with lots of positive vibes. Holi festival is celebrated in the month of March and normally a festival celebrarted by all communities but Holi festival is very important for Hindu community. Holi is known as spring festival and also known as the festival of colors where people apply colors on each other faces.
During Holi festival whole India looks vibrant to enjoy the vibes of this festival but there are still certain places in India where you must visit to enjoy this festival.
Here are the few must visit places in India on the eve of Holi
1. Mathura & Vrindavan:
If you are planning to explore India during Holi festival then Mathura & Vribdavan is the most vibrant places in India to enjoy the festival. Mathura & Vrindavan is in Uttar Pradesh state of India and is very easily accessible by the means of railways and road from New Delhi the capital of India. I suggest you to visit a week before the eve of Holi because here the Holi is celebrated 1 week earlier different events.
To know about reasons to visit Mathura & Vrindavan 1 week reasons click the below link
Another popular town near Vrindavan which is approximately 40 kms. Tobreach Barsaane from Vrindavan buses andTaxi's are easily available from Vrindavan. Barsaane is famous for Lath Mar Holi where you must visit if you are visitibg to Mathura & Vribdavan. Barsana was the home of Radha where Krishna went to tease her and her friends. Taking offence at this, the women of Barsana chased him away. The main celebrations at Barsana, take place at the Ladliji temple, dedicated to Sri Radha Rani. The two day celebrations of Lath mar Holi is a unique experience. In the first day men from Krishna’s village, Nandgaon travel to Barsana to tease the women there. The women chase men and hitting them with sticks, hence the name Lathmar Holi. Men are allowed to protect themselves with shields. The second day women from Barsana go to Nandgaon to play Holi with men of Nandgaon. To view this unique event Barsaane is must visit on the eve of Holi.
3. Anandpur Sahib:
Holi festival also celebrated by Sikh community in unique waycas they celebrate Holi (called as Hola Mohalla) at Anandpur Sahib, Punjab. To reach here from New Delhi railways and air are easily available. If you travel to Anandpur Sahib by train from New Delhi then you can catch these trains Uhl Janshatabdi (12057), Himachal Exp (14553) and Ned Uhl Sf Exp (22457) etc. The minimum time a train takes to reach Anandpur Sahib from New Delhi is 6h 15m.
To reach here by air their is no direct connectivity of flight between New Delhi and Anandpur Sahib. You can take IndiGo from New Delhi to Chandigarh then take taxi from Chandigarh to Anandpur Sahib to enjoy Hola Mohalla is an annual air celebrated a day after the Hindu festival of Holi. It was first organized by Sikh Guru Gobind Singh to celebrate Holi. Apparently, the name Hola is the masculine name of the feminine Holi. While the vibrant Holi festival boasts of sprinkling colors, Hola Mohalla takes the form of demonstrating martial skills in simulated battles.
4. Jaipur & Udaipur:
Holi is one of the major festivals celebrated in Rajasthan. The holi festival celebrated for two days. The first day of Holika Dahan is observed at the City Palace in Udaipur, among the most popular Tourist Places in Rajasthan. The customs of lighting the Holika Dahan is traditionally performed by the current custodian of the Mewar dynasty. The following morning, the celebrations of Holi are all out on the streets of Udaipur & Jaipur. An elephant festival kicks off the celebrations in Jaipur. Every year the Holi festival begins with a massive parade including elaborately decorated elephants, camels, horses, and folk dancing through the streets. The owners of these animals take significant pride in how they dress up the elephants or camels, and it is often a friendly competition amongst neighbors to see who can create the most lavishly decorated animal. There are also elephant polo, elephant races and tug-of-war between elephants.
Another popular place in Rajasthan. To reach here first you need to reach Ajmer city and from their Pushakr is only 11 kms away. Pushkar is one of the holiest places in India according to Hindu community. In Pushkar people gather and apply colors on their faces and just enjoy the vibes of this popular festival.
One of the things I love about Summer into Fall is the perfect not too hot, not too cool evenings, and amazing nights out in the back yard with friends enjoying the last few nights of late sunsets and the beginning of Autumn and all those nostalgic flavors.
I was challenged with a group party to want to offer my guests craft cocktails but struggled with everyone liking a different spirit and my not wanting to be trapped behind the bar for the whole night. After a little playing around with flavors and recipes and some tips from some of the amazing bartenders I admire here in my Orlando area, we came up with this fun party idea:
A batch recipe that would be a base for a cocktail to partner with almost any popular liquor. After a few weeks of playing with combinations, my favorite flavor combo was the refreshing Ginger Carrot!! Not too sweet, but perfect for sippin' and a great compliment to Tequila, Gin, Vodka or Whiskey!
For my party, I prepared the reduction and found cute single serve bottles where I had the reduction and a little crushed ice. I set the individual bottles with ice, squeeze of lemon juice and Ginger Carrot reduction in the freezer for three hours before the event to chill even more. As guests arrived, they were able top off with the spirit of their choice, shake slightly and enjoy directly from the small bottles! I was a wild success!
Equal parts Ginger Carrot Reduction to liquor
(my small party bottles held 3 oz. reduction and guests topped it off with an additional 2.5-3oz. of the liquor of their choice)
Juice of half a lemon
Short rosemary sprig
Ginger Carrot Reduction Recipe:
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add the following:
2 lbs of finely shredded of fresh carrots
½ cup turbinado sugar
½ lb of broken ginger pieces *if you want a stronger ginger flavor, use ½ lb of ginger but finely diced instead of large broken chunks
Zest of a large orange
3 pinches of salt
Juice of 1 lemon
Let boil together for 1 minute, stirring with a wooden spoon…. then remove from heat and cover.
Once cooled, strain through cheese cloth and refrigerate.
*Reduction will last in fridge for up to one week. To add a longer shelf life add 1/4oz. of a high proof grain alcohol (such as Everclear) to the reduction before bottling for storage.
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Team Bourbon! This post comes to you while enjoying my Sippin Gypsy Summer Sour inspired by all the delicious cocktails I tried while visiting bourbon country: Lousiville Kentucky!
Louisville Kentucky is one of those perfectly sized cities. The downtown area is the spot for locals and tourists alike with a wonderful variety of things to do and places for incredible cocktails and cuisine! Staying downtown made it convenient to walk to almost everything, but driving and navigating the city really was also very very easy, and parking was never too challenging (keep in mind I was not there during the Kentucky Derby). While there are several options for well known brand hotels that would be well situated amidst all the action, I love lodging at historic locations to enhance my experience and really saturate myself into the city.
1. The Brown Hotel
Built in the 1920s, The Brown Hotel was designed to impress. Elegant details and a large ball room, the Brown Hotel was the place to be seen. The Brown Hotel stood through some tough times including prohibition and the Great Depression as well as a horrible flood in the 1930s. The Hotel closed briefly in the 1970s just after the passing of Mr. Brown. But the glory of this beautiful hotel would not lay quiet for long. The hotel was sold and remodeled several more times with the most recent acquisition by the 1859 Historic Hotels group. Her lobby is opulent yet inviting and the staff makes everyone feel like a VIP. Part of the fun, in my opinion, of visiting a historic hotel, is the ghost stories that accompany each location. There are rumors that the ghost of Mr. Brown still walks the halls of his hotel and mysterious happenings from the 15th floor, While I wasn't graced with a visit of Mr. Brown please let me know if your visit grants you a glimpse of him!
2. The Seelbach Hotel
This hotel was built with intention of bringing the grandeur of Europe's best hotels to Louisville. Originally built on the outskirts of downtown, The Seelbach is now perfectly situated to give you convenient access to most of the great spots in downtown Louisville. Although this impressive hotel has exchanged ownership several times, each owner and investor thankfully celebrated the opulence and exquisite details of the original owners, two brothers, Louis and Otto Seelbach from Germany. Opening it's doors just in time for the 1905 Kentucky Derby The Seelbach Hotel has remained a name of quality and decadence. This hotel also celebrates it's own resident ghost, The Lady in Blue. While I didn't catch a glimpse of her, several other guests have boasted catching the scent of her perfume or even a brief sighting before she disappears.
3.21c Museum Hotel
In a word: fun. This hotel doubles as an art gallery and makes you rethink what a hotel can offer in contribution to your experiences when traveling. Not only does the hotel offer intriguing and through provoking art displays through the gallery, the adjacent restaurant and bar,Proof on Main is one of the must do spots in Louisville. The rooms are spacious with clean modern lines and unique artwork. No ghost stories really accompany this unique hotel, just a great location and a fun way to rest while experiencing Louisville Kentucky
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Team Whiskey! This post comes to you while enjoying my Sippin Gypsy Mint Julep inspired by my recent road trip through Bourbon Country an Louisville Kentucky!
I was prepared for by visit to Louisville Kentucky. I had been studying the history of Whiskey, specifically Bourbons through Kentucky and Tennessee. Having grown up in the Midwest myself I was excited to see the beautiful stone buildings of the city and surrounding neighborhoods and picturesque country side and bountiful farmland. I expected impressive bars with a stunning variety of the golden hued spirit native to this city. I poured over travel sites and visitor suggestions for where to go for great cocktails and cuisine in the city. What I was NOT prepared for was the cornucopia of truly incredible and creative food offerings. One definitely needs at least four or five days to truly experience Louisville and the surrounding towns. Between the distilleries to visit, neighborhoods to explore and all the restaurants and bars...this city will fill you up. Some of the places I sought out to visit were also part of the Urban Bourbon Trail which a carefully selected group of bars that offer between 50-150 Bourbons and have a well trained staff that can assist in the education of this beautiful spirit. Here are just a few of my favorite spots in Louisville Kentucky!
1. Lobby Bar at the Brown Hotel
The Brown Hotel is a historic landmark in Louisville. Guests indulging here will find opulent details and a warm and inviting staff. The Lobby Bar is available to everyone, not just guests of the hotel, and is one of the locations of the Urban Bourbon Trail. The bar itself is small, but worth getting in front of one of the knowledgeable bartenders here. If you can stay for a while in the evenings, you may be treated to live piano music and can certainly order food as well. The lounge area is absolutely beautiful. This spot would be a great location for a special occasion.
2. Hell Or High Water
I'm a sucker for Speakeasy style bars. But this location was one of the best. There is no sign indicating the bar, just a small room of eclectic art that you can see through the window and glass door and a hostess calming waiting inside. You either need a reservation or to know the password for her to open the wall of art and guide you down a staircase to the basement of the building and into a beautiful bar and lounge. The cocktails are well crafted and live music plays over in the 'library' part of the lounge. Plush opulent seating booths make it the perfect setting for either a romantic date or a fun girls night out.
3. Butchertown Grocery
As far as cuisine in Louisville Kentucky, Butchertown Grocery amazed me. Everything I ordered was impressive in technique and flavor. The cocktails were well crafted and beautiful and the food was incredible. Everything was absolutely delicious, but I had to award the Oyster Mushroom Gnocchi to my "BEST I'VE EVER HAD!" The place was packed, so I took time to wander the neighborhood and enjoy the architecture of the Shotgun Houses along Washington St. before dinner. The restaurant is rustic chic and the lounge upstairs, Lola, is the perfect spot of a romantic nightcap, swanky and moody. Butchertown Grocery definitely needs to be on your 'to do' list for Louisville.
I think if I were to live in Louisville...I would live in the Butchertown neighborhood. Naive was another great spot for great cuisine and cocktails in this charming part of Louisville. This is the type of restaurant that I would love to see replicated in every city around the world. Their commitment to local and sustainable and quality in delivery and presentation amazed me. Everything was so flavorful and creative. My only regret is that I didn't have a bigger stomach to try more! Naive is another 'must do' in Louisville.
5. Proof on Main
This bar had me intrigued from the moment I read about it. Bold and eclectic... From the art that adorns the wall to the creative cocktails and impressive bourbon selection, Proof on Main will forever stay in my memory. This bar is adjacent to the 21c Hotel Louisville with it's own impressive art gallery and fun approach to a hotel's contribution to your travel experience. Don't be too quick to grab a seat at the bar right away...order your drink and stroll through the bar and hotel art gallery. Proof on Main is an experience from sip to sight.
Louisville continued to delight with yet another posh spot for delicious food and well crafted cocktails at Rye. Nestled along a trendy up and coming location along Market St., Rye was another great find that left my mouth happy and belly way too full. This would be a great spot for a casual but nice dinner and definitely a must do for cocktails.
7. The Lounge in The Angel's Envy Distillery
When visiting Bourbon Country, one must tour at least one distillery or storehouse. One of my personal favorite bourbons is Angel's Envy, so it was a give in to visit their downtown distillery and learn more about the brand and the family. I love to support small, local and family owned businesses. It was inspiring hearing about the vision Lincoln Henderson and his son Wes have put into action with the Angel's Envy brand. After your tour of the Angels Envy Distillery, you can relax in the lounge and enjoy creative seasonal cocktails in a rustic but swanky bar. Consider trying the Cocktail Craft Tour where not only do you tour the distillery, but you also learn how to make a cocktail!
8. Art Eatables
I found heaven. It's in a charming little shop in downtown Louisville. There are rows and rows of the smoothest chocolates artfully infused with bourbon. Not only was the shop itself a true gem, with vintage details, but the staff is amazing and proud of their delicious creations and their town. They respectfully pay homage to the great bourbon labels and creatively display the spirit of honor beside each tasty option. This is where you should stock up on gifts and souvenirs!
Harvest was the first farm to table restaurant I uncovered when planning my trip to Louisville. When I arrived into town, everyone had such great things to say about this spot, I was so looking forward to trying Harvest. So delicious. I have really come to appreciate business that commit to supporting local farmers and offering an ever changing menu that offers fresh in season produce. It was truly an added bonus that the cocktails were also delicious and of course respected the local spirit and labels.
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Team Bourbon! This post comes to you while enjoying my Sippin Gypsy Summer Sour, a nod to a Whiskey Sour inspired by road trip this summer and my time in Louisville Kentucky.
Louisville was an absolute delight. The drive through Kentucky was breathtaking with the majesty of the Appalachian Mountains and the beautiful lush farm land, Downtown Louisville was easy to navigate and offered an easy balance of things to do. I highly recommend staying within the city limits. From here you will have a plethora of options within walking distance as well as distilleries and caves and trails just a short drive from the city center. Like most of the Midwest in the United States, Spring is enchanting with flowers blooming and mild temperatures. Fall is crisp and magical with rich hues of gold, red and orange as far as the eye can see. Summer was a great time to visit also with longer days to get out an explore more at a relaxed and easy pace. I would bet Winter would be truly delightful in Louisville. So many beautiful buildings made of stone and brick would be blanketed by snow and accented with twinkling lights. Any season in Louisville is the season for Bourbon. I had always assumed Bourbon was a Fall and Winter spirit, but my mind was changed in this trip. I had more refreshing and delicious cocktails this Summer. I'm hooked... Bourbon is one of my new favorite spirits and Louisville is absolutely one of my new favorite cities. Here are a few of my Quick Tips for what to do while visiting Derby City.
1. Visit a Distillery
One really can't come through Kentucky and not do at least one distillery tour. There are several distilleries directly in Downtown Louisville, and several more in the surrounding towns. I had the privilege of touring Angel's Envy during my time in Louisville. The Angel's Envy brand is family owned and run, with three generations contributing to the success of the product. It was truly insightful to see what an exact science the distilling process is. My guide was Julie, a passionate whiskey lover and an amazing advocate for the craft of her industry. I was taught how to truly taste whiskey and how to acclimate ones pallet to this bold spirit. After the tour I lingered at the Angel's Envy Lounge, a bar just for guests that have completed the tour. This was another incredible experience. The cocktail program was fabulous, with drinks that rotate seasonally and celebrate bourbon.
2. Explore Downtown Louisville by way of the Urban Bourbon Trail
Several swanky spots throughout Downtown Louisville offer anywhere from 50 to over 150 bourbons along with a bar staff that is well trained and passionate about bourbon and the spirit's history. Your participation in the Urban Bourbon Trail experience begins with obtaining your passport at either the visitors center or any of the distilleries and bars that participate. As you visit each location, you get a stamp to fill your bourbon passport. Not only does this make for a fun trek through some of the best spots for a cocktail in Louisville, it also offers fun prizes based on how many stamps you obtain. I chose not to redeem my passport for anything...the experience was truly my prize. I met some amazing locals and learned a lot more about the bourbon houses and found some great places for memorable cocktails and cuisine.
3. Stroll through Historic Louisville
Louisville was once one of the richest cities in the United States. Its location along the Ohio river and central location in the country made it an ideal city to base a business. Many millionaires and business tycoons built mansions all near each other. These impressive structures from the mid to late 1800s have been lovingly restored and preserved. Some have a dark past. Local Louisville author David Domine has cataloged his research in the hauntings of Louisville in several books. I enjoyed reading "Ghosts of Old Louisville" before my visit here, and as I strolled the beautiful homes along 2nd and 3rd Streets and around Central Park, I referenced his book for a recap of the spiritual encounters at select addresses. You can also tour the Conrad-Caldwell House Museum for a glimpse into the past in this facinating neighborhood.
4. Louisville Slugger Museum
If you are a sports fan, specifically baseball, you will certainly make this pilgrimage to the museum and factory that produces the famed baseball bat: The Louisville Slugger. If you are not a baseball fan, you can still visit the museum and factory that produces the famed weapon that Carrie Underwood procures in her girl power anthem "Before He Cheats". Either way, baseball is an American classic, and the Louisville Slugger has been apart of the journey for centuries.
5. Enjoy the Waterfront and Big Four Bridge
Louisville has built up a beautiful walking park along the river and it culminates at the Big Four Bridge, an old bridge build for trains but converted to the biggest pedestrian bridge that spans the full width of the Ohio River and allows you to walk from Kentucky to Indiana and back again. Pack a picnic and enjoy a relaxing lunch and stroll across the bridge. Or visit at night for a beautiful light display accross the bridge with Downtown Louisville as a backdrop.
5. The Kentucky Derby
There are times when you travel to a new location in the off season so you can enjoy a slower pace and not be bombarded with the pomp and circumstance of what often becomes a marketing frenzie with over stimulated tourists that flock to a destination all at one particular date often diminishing your cultural experience. Other times you honor what has put a city on the event calendar map. Louisville is known for the Kentucky Derby hosted at Churchill Downs. Ladies dress to impress with stunning hats and facinators... people place bets on the prized horse and everyone sips Mint Juleps and other bourbon cocktails. The Kentucky Derby is hosted every spring, and in the Midwest United States, this means beautiful blossoms, lush green lawns and a vigor in the air of a city ready to crawl out of the snowy slumber and enjoy the warm sunshine. While my most recent visit to Louisville did not include a visit to the Derby and Churchill Downs, after hearing the passion and pride of locals, I will be planning my future visit to Kentucky to incorporate visiting Louisville the weekend of the Derby.
6. Stroll through Butchertown
Charming Shotgun style architecture, street art, Copper and Kings Distillery and some of the best cuisine I enjoyed in Louisville were all within the Butchertown neighborhood. Make a day of this delightful corner of Louisville and stay for dinner at Butchertown Grocery or Naive and have a drink at Odeon.
Lover of travel to charming places dusted with unique flavor. Join me as I explore the world sip by sip. Cheers!