Cheers Sippin Gypsy Team Gin! This post comes inspired by a recent visit to St. Augustine and some of the talented bartenders at one of my favorite local bars: Highball and Harvest. I enjoy a good sangria, but for the holidays, I wanted to play with rosemary and change up the spirits in my holiday cocktail. The result is a refreshing blend of Gin and red wine with notes of rosemary to make for a fun, fragrant holiday sip! Cheers and Happy Holidays!!!
1 oz. Gin (I love St. Augustine Gin)
2 oz. Red Wine
3/4 oz St. Germaine Elderflower
1/2 oz. Grande Marnier
1.5 oz. Rosemary Simple Syrup (recipe below)
1 oz. Pineapple Juice
1 oz. Orange Juice
1/2 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1/2 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
Shake in tin with ice until tin is cold to the touch and pour into your glass and garnish with a sprig of Rosemary...Cheers!!!
*This recipe also does well if made in large batches before a party
Rosemary Simple Syrup:
Bring to a rolling boil: 5 cups of water
Add: 2 cups Turbinado sugar, 25 sprigs of rosemary, the zest of 1 lemon and 3 pinches of salt
Boil for apx 15 minutes to reduce down.
*do a taste test:
if too bitter, add salt
if too tart, add sugar
if too sweet, add water
Let cool completely (apx 2-4 hours) and fine strain into a container and store in fridge.
*if you add a splash of vodka (about an oz.) this simple syrup will last in your fridge for about 1 month.
Cheers to my Sppin Gypsy Team Gin and Wine! This post comes to you while enjoying my own Sippin Gypsy Holiday Sangria inspired by my recent trip to St. Augustine and my visits to the St Augustine Distillery and San Sebastian Winery!
St. Augustine to me is the gem of Florida. A unique treasure of old meets new in a town that surrounds you in history and charm. The pace is relaxed and calm and the people radiate a pride in their city that shapes the presence of good ol' Southern hospitality. So many of the tourists have been coming back to this city to visit for decades, and there is a new wave of talent in artists that are willing to make quite the drive to the Ancient City to practice their craft until fate affords them the option to move closer. Although compact and easy to conquer within a short getaway, St Augustine is packed with delicious options for sippin' and tastin'!
1. Ice Plant Bar
In my opinion one of the best bars in Florida. This hip spot blends just the right balance of craft cocktails and a well edited menu in an environment that embraces the heritage of the building and current trends in a casual chic environment. The menu rotates seasonally and celebrates unique cocktails crafted by their own talented bar team. Located adjacent to the St. Augustine Distillery, Ice Plant Bar is a must do in your trip to St. Augustine.
2. The Floridian
Celebrating locally sourced season menu options, The Floridian packs bold flavors into a comfortable casual environment. Easily missed, this spot came recommended by a local who warned me that her pallet was picky but that the restaurant made everything fresh. Being a huge fan of local and farm to table concepts, this was a definite on my list to experience in St. Augustine, and I'm so glad I did. The cocktails were refreshing and well made and the food was well seasoned and packed with flavor. My only regret is that this was discovered on my last evening, and I only had time for one meal here. I will definitely be back to continue the experience.
3. Odd Birds
Tucked away and easily missed, Odd Birds was the one spot I went back to twice. Home of mySippin Gypsy Favorite Sips for their Aviation cocktail. Odd Birds offers a casual eclectic environment with amazing cocktails and a well edited selection of fine spirits and house made tinctures and syrups that make all the difference in flavors and well balanced libations. This was the spot for locals and specifically a hang out for other bartenders and beverage industry professionals.
4. Crucial Coffee
Yes it's a tiny wooden hut. Yes you can sit and sip in that charming outdoor garden. Yes it is worth the wait in line. Crucial Coffee is one of those spots you just have to experience. There are plenty of options ranging from high octane wake you up to refreshing and light to sip and stroll.
5. Prohibition Kitchen
What a swanky fun place. Prohibition Kitchen whisks you back into time with details and cocktails that transport you back to the end of prohibition. Live music each night adds to the ambiance. The bar is expansive and inviting, but I preferred a spot on the second level to easily see the musicians and be able to sit back and relax.
6. Cellar 6
I love finding cozy spots while wandering and exploring. Cellar 6 is down a charming ally away away from the bustle of the St. George St. This was one of the most romantic places. Dark but still inviting, Cellar 6 was the perfect place to unwind. The wine list was interactive on their tablet-menu and offered predominantly American labels. There is a full bar as well with options for some tempting martinis.
Cheers to my Sippin Gypsy Team Gin, this post comes to you while enjoying my Sippin Gypsy Holiday Sangria inspired by my recent visit to St. Augustine!
I love the holidays. Starting with harvest time and straight through the New Years celebrations. The food is rich and rekindles found memories of bundling up against the cold and savoring every flavorful bite, and the cocktails are bold and strong to warm you from the inside. I love the decorations and lights that adorn the buildings and trees that add to the twinkling ambiance of a starlit sky. St. Augustine combined all these for what was a magical getaway to issue in the Christmas Season. The Nights of Lights was something I had read and heard about for years, but to my own loss, never made the trip to enjoy. The whole town transforms to a twinkling wonderland. It was breathtaking to simply stroll and take it all in. We took our time, dipping in and out of local bars and restaurants to enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine, some live music then stroll some more and see more lights. This definitely put me in the holiday spirit. The eclectic shops in the historic district were the perfect antidote to shopping mall chaos. St. Augustine in December will now be a staple in my holiday regiment. Treat yourself to St. Augustine for the Nights of Lights. Make a getaway out of the experience. There are charming Bed and Breakfasts right in the heart of the twinkling town that I promise you will add to that holiday nostalgia. Happy Holidays Sippin Gypsies! Cheers!!
Cheers to my Sippin Gypsy Team Tequila! This post comes to you while enjoying my Bloody Maria, perfect for a cool winter evening!
I consider myself a southern girl. I love southern comfort food and have enjoyed amazing cuisine in some of the South's most celebrated culinary cities including Savannah Ga, New Orleans La, Atlanta Ga and all over Florida. But today I just tasted one of the best cheesy grits I have ever experienced at Canvas in Lake Nona, just on the outskirts of Orlando Fl. I ordered the Braised Pork Shank which sat on a bed of pimento cheese grits. The cheese combined with the burnt honey glaze from the shank made these grits unbelievable. The texture was just the right consistency of creamy and smooth and the flavor was addicting. If it wasn't so close to the kitchen closing, I would've ordered more to go! Thank you Canvas for The BEST I've Ever Had: Cheese Grits with your Braised Pork Shank Plate....they were amazing!!!
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Team Tequila! This post comes to you while enjoying my Jalapeno Margarita inspired by my one of my favorite sips at La Cava del Tequila in the Mexico Pavilion at EPCOT.
Where else on this blessed planet can one walk from Norway to Japan while sipping a margarita that they picked up in Mexico along the way?? EPCOT is the playground for adults at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando Fl. While the beloved characters have been sneaking their way into more and more of the interaction in Epcot, for the most part this park is very "non animated" and focuses on our beautiful world community and all that we share together on mother Earth... Every Autumn, EPCOT hosts an event that brings together food and beverages from around the world in creative little pavilions that represent each individual country. What better way to spend an afternoon and evening then getting together with your friends for sippin' around the world. As a pass holder it took me three visits to really enjoy a taste of everything from the menus I found most interesting. The more friends that join you on your international trek the better, then there's more to taste and share! I have learned to go to the Food and Wine Festival prepared. I need to know what I want to try and what I want to drink or I find myself too full to try something I was excited about. This year I focused on 10 specific countries of whose menus I was most interested, and the wine flights that the various countries offered. The Food and Wine Festival can even be fun for older children, my boys loved trying foods from around the world! Certainly the waffles from Belgium were a great success but so were the sushi rolls in Japan and the lefse in Norway! To my Sippin Gypsy family, please enjoy this unique Festival of food and beverage!! But go prepared for what you want to try and give yourself all day. Have lunch from three or four pavilions then return again in the evening for more dinner and desert options!!! The American Pavilion hosts various "Blasts from our Pasts" as I call them, that include Boys II Men and Wilsion Phillips for live music while you sip and taste. My friends and I planned our weekend trip to EPCOT based on their live music agenda just so we could hear some of our favorite bands!!!!! Touristy...yes... commercial...yes...but fun with friends and good food and drinks... yes yes and yes... !!! I can't wait for next year's lineup for food and wine at EPCOT'S Food and Wine Festival. Cheers Team Tequila (if there's anything left) and see you around the world!!!!
Cheers to my Sippin Gypsy Team Gin! This post comes to you while enjoying my Sipping Gypsy Gin and Lavender Lemonade featuring St. Augustine Gin!
St. Augustine is a delightful town celebrating a rich history of diverse culture and carefully blending new and innovative trends of the future with timeless anchors of its past. When I visit small towns that ooze history and charm, I have found myself selecting more quaint and landmark (historic) locations to spend the night versus the predictable, standard hotel. Below are three of my favorite options for St. Augustine that should indulge your overall memory of your special time in St. Augustine.
1)Casa Monica Hotel
Built originally in the late 1800s, The Casa Monica was always intended to indulge and pamper her guests. This stunning hotel is opulent and regal and makes you feel like Spanish Royalty. Now owned by one of my favorite boutique hoteliers, the Kessler Group, this hotels blends art, history and impeccable service to make your stay memorable. This resort would be best for a romantic getaway or a girls trip. There's a rumor around town regarding the haunting of rooms 411 and 511, but I assure you my stay was quiet and nothing chilling about the accommodations. I found the location easy to walk to everything from the St. Augustine Distillery and San Sebastian Winery to the Castillo de San Marcos and shops all the way down St. George St.
2) Carriage Way Bed and Breakfast
One of the most elegantly appointed Bed and Breakfasts in St. Augustine, the Carriage Way Bed and Breakfast is a true delight and epitomizes southern hospitality. The owners Julio and Michaele are a gracious hosts and have transformed the historic Victorian home to a true treasure in heart of historic St Augustine. The rooms are each themed in luxurious jewel tones, and tastefully celebrate a regal hue unique to that room. You will find it an added ease to have parking included with your stay and wake up to a warm breakfast. The location is quiet and allows you to step away from the bustling tourist areas of St. George St and the Castillo San Marcos to unwind. The Carriage Way Bed and Breakfast is my choice for a romantic getaway. If you're able to visit St. Augustine for the Nights of Lights or the holidays, Michaele does a wonderful and tasteful job decorating the outside and common area of the home which can make your stay all the more magical.
3) 44 Spanish Street Inn
Another true treasure in the heart of historic St. Augustine,44 Spanish Street Inn blends history and elegant modern touches to make your stay in The Ancient City memorable and special. Truly delightful hosts, Brian and Emory have done a wonderful job in blending chic details to classic southern charm. The courtyard is enchanting with sweeping lights that create a magical canopy above while you enjoy a glass of wine and unwind from your day. This location is my pick for a couples getaway or girls trip.
Cheers to my Sippin Gypsy Team Gin! This post comes to you while enjoying an Aviation inspired by my recent adventure to St. Augustine!!
This cocktail stopped me in mid conversation and made me loose my whole train of thought with the first sip!! I have developed a pallet for Gin in the past few years, but still find many of the cocktails made with Gin to be either way to sweet or way to tart. I love the herbaceous notes in Gin and the amazing bartender, Kelley, knew just what he was doing with this delicate but bold cocktail. Odd Birds Bar is selective and careful in the brands they carry which makes a noticeable difference in the elevated flavors of their cocktails, but Kelley really knew what he was doing behind the bar and created a memorable delight in his craft in producing an Aviation!
Lover of travel to charming places dusted with unique flavor. Join me as I explore the world sip by sip. Cheers!