How to end summer

You’ve got an abundance of basil in your garden. Your farmer’s market still has cucumbers. You’re not quite ready to say goodbye to summer produce. You’re not quite ready to say goodbye to summer itself. And you want a cocktail.

We give you the cucumber basil gimlet.

This refreshing summer beverage was adapted from a recipe found over at What’s Gaby Cooking (but originally inspired by a Miss Mojito post from a few years back). Gaby probably had some time to think about, and plan for, her preparation of this cocktail. Ms. S&C’s preparation was a little last minute, and she didn’t have the patience for simple-syrup-making and pureed-cucumber-straining. So, her adaptation went something like this. (With more time, she would recommend the simple syrup making and cucumber puree straining.)

Ingredients:

  • Cucumber
  • Basil — large handful
  • Agave nectar
  • Lime — one half per cocktail
  • Gin

Directions (for one cocktail):

Peel cucumber, slice and puree until finely chopped. Fill glass with spoonful of pureed cucumber, 7 or so basil leaves, a squirt of agave nectar, juice of half a lime, and then muddle. Fill glass with ice, add an once and a half of gin and stir well (or preferably, transfer to a cocktail shaker to mix). Garnish with a cucumber wheel and sprig of fresh basil.

As a bonus: maybe you’ve got some extra tomatoes. Maybe that arugula became the bumper crop you never expected. Pick up some pre-made naan, whip up some arugula pesto, and top with whatever is around (maybe some parmigiano-reggiano,  maybe some goat cheese, and maybe fresh basil). And perfetto! Summer ingredients at their best.

posted by Ms. S&C

Fall favorites: dresses

What else is on the fall favorites list you wonder? Dresses! Flattering, comfortable, and versatile dresses. Garnet Hill’s Winnah Dress is a great example. It can be worn day or night. Made from jersey cotton, it is comfortable. And that twisted wrap-around-the-waist thingy make it is super flattering.

Garnet Hill also has a number of vintage looks that have caught Ms. S&C’s eye. The burnt orange floral dress is one of them. Or, the full skirt in the same print. Both can be dressed up with heels or dressed down with riding boots (like these already in Ms. S&C’s closet).

J.Crew is a spot where old school meets new school. This corduroy dress is an updated version of a classic. And we love updated versions of classics over here at S&C.

Ms. S&C wants to know: don’t be shy — what are some of your fall favorites?

posted by Ms. S&C

The fall wish list begins

Prepare to be inundated with Ms. S&C’s fall wish list items. We’ll start with these suede sandstorm boots from Madewell. Can’t you imagine them with cropped skinny jeans, or bootcut denim, or corduroys, or colorful tights? They’ve been referred to as “wardrobe workhouses,” and that’s right. I want to wear them with everything.

Also on the list are these perfect penny loafers. (Can you tell that someone’s Madewell catalog arrived yesterday?) Ms. S&C has been crying for the resurgence of penny loafers for years now. Picture them with tweed, camel-colored wool skirts, plaid, and argyle socks. The wannabe British schoolgirl in me squeals with delight. (But do these oxfords need the competition?)

Ms. S&C wants to know: she’s started sharing her fall fashion favorites — what are yours?

posted by Ms. S&C

Last Sips of Summer

Come late August, it’s all too common to hear the complaint, “I can’t wait for fall. I’m so ready for summer to end.” Now, this typically comes from folks who are tired of sundresses and swimsuits, and who are a tad too obsessed with their boot collections and ready to get back into a pair of jeans. And honestly, I’m one of those girls, generally speaking. My fall wardrobe has more options, more depth, more oomph.

But that does NOT mean that I will ever utter the words, “I’m just ready for summer to be done with already.” Nun-uh, no way. I want to eke the most out of every last drop of summer goodness, from the too-hot-to-handle days to the late afternoon storms.

What does this mean for Miss Mojito? Well, wearing my wrap-up espadrilles one last time, for one. And, perhaps most importantly, it means indulging in summer-friendly cocktails with as much frequency as possible over these few last precious days.

A friend whipped up this oh-so-tempting jug-full of Pimm’s Cup last weekend for a lovely picnic, and while the quintessential English cocktail is nothing new to readers of this blog, it was far too pretty a picture to pass up posting. And I love the idea of using a stem of fresh mint to stir your cocktail!

I’m a bit late in the game on the Pina Colada train thanks to a life-long predilection to disliking coconut. But as the flavor has grown on me, this Pina Colada Mojito sounds more and more attractive. The ingredient list is a bit involved, so I’ll have to report back and let you know if the shopping list is worth the effort.

The last item on my list sounds perfect for long summer evening of porch-sittin’: Spiked Cherry Tea. This particular version relies on black cherry rum and prepared ice tea – but I can’t help but wonder if a mix of black cherry juice and Firefly tea-flavored vodka might not hit the spot.

Here’s to summer – enjoy it while you can!

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Lake favorites

Okay, okay, Ms. S&C promises this will be the last of the lake-related blog posts, Twitter posts, and Facebook posts. But, she couldn’t wrap up this year’s lake trip without sharing more of her favorites.

Drink favorites
Bloody Mary’s, Grapefruit Crushes, Pimm’s, Champagne cocktails, red wine, beer, beer, and more beer: there are lots of drink options at the lake. (You saw this picture from last year, right?) Thankfully, Ms. S&C is not charge of them all. Last year, a friend (we’ll call her Mrs. Smith) introduced us to Banks Rum and the Five Island Watermelon Punch. This year, Mrs. Smith, prepared for us a traditional Bajan Rum Punch. We didn’t keep score, but it was likely this year’s winning cocktail.

When Ms. S&C inquired about the recipe, Mrs. Smith shared the traditional (and delightful) saying to help one remember: 

One of Sour
Two of Sweet
Three of Strong

And Four of Weak

It translates into this:

  • 1 cup lime juice
  • 2 cups simple syrup
  • 3 cups white rum, preferably Banks Five Island White Rum
  • 2 cups of ice and 2 cups of cold water

Directions:

Stir all ingredients together in a large pitcher. To serve: fill a highball glass with three or four additional ice cubes. Garnish with a splash of Angostura bitters and a dash of grated nutmeg.

I want to think it is the perfect balance of sweet and sour that makes this a winning cocktail, but I really think it is the bitters and fresh grated nutmeg.

Favorite moments
Like the numerous drink selections, a lot of games are played at the lake: bocce, horseshoes, Scrabble, Mexican train dominoes, Left-Center-Right. But, it was during a competitive guys-against-girls game of Celebrity where a Coach Taylor impression (from Mr. Smith, coincidentally) will go down as my favorite charade moment of all time. With one turn of a hat, breaths were taken away. #fullhearts

Ms. S&C would consider almost any yoga session by the water a perfect moment, but her favorite yoga moment came on a rainy day — with first day jitters behind her — when she led an extensive indoor session that turned into a truly blessed experience. #namastebitches

Playlist favorites
Where there are booze and games, there is music. We marked this occasion with a collaborative playlist, in which everyone submits two song requests. Below you’ll find the complete list of songs, with notations for those currently in heavy rotation in the S&C house.

  1. Mercy — Duffy
  2. When Did Your Heart Go Missing? — Rooney
  3. Birthday — Kings of Leon
  4. Little Lion Man — Mumford & Sons
  5. Loving Cup — The Rolling Stones
  6. Jingling Baby — LL Cool J
  7. Price Tag (feat. B.o.B) — Jessie J
  8. Can I Kick It? — A Tribe Called Quest
  9. Walk On The Wild Side — Lou Reed
  10. Toob Amplifier — The Presidents of the United States of America
  11. Rolling in the Deep — ADELE
  12. Give Me Everything (feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer) — Pitbull
  13. Otis (feat. Otis Redding) — JAY Z & Kanye West
  14. My Mistakes — Eleanor Friedberger
  15. Holdin On to Black Metal — My Morning Jacket
  16. Hold You Back — JC Brooks & The Uptown Sounds
  17. Metal Firecracker — Lucinda Williams
  18. Get Me Bodied — Beyoncé
  19. Look At Me Now (feat. Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes) — Chris Brown
  20. Am I the Only One — Dierks Bentley
  21. Cheers (Drink to That) — Rihanna
  22. S&M — Rihanna
  23. Baby Got Back — Sir Mix-A-Lot
  24. So Lucky (Eurovision 2011 – Moldova) — Zdob Si Zdub
  25. Your Touch — The Black Keys
  26. Evacuate the Dancefloor (Radio Edit) — Cascada
  27. Everybody Gets to Go to the Moon (Live) — The Three Degrees
  28. True Loves — Hooray For Earth
  29. That Way (feat. Jeremih & Rick Ross) — Wale
  30. On My Level (feat. Too $hort) — Wiz Khalifa
  31. I Gotta Get Drunk — Redbird
  32. Rehab — Amy Winehouse

Until next year!

posted by Ms. S&C

At the lake

When you’re with Ms. S&C and her perfectly awesome friends during the annual lake trip, you get things like:

Incredible water view + cute kids (plus morning yoga on that dock)

Happy dogs

Good food (two words: shrimp boil)

Drinks on the go (that’s a portable grapefruit crush you’re looking at)

Fireworks! (and, um, please notice the amusingly appropriate tee)

Ms. S&C hopes to post a longer recap, to share an excellent rum punch recipe, an excellent lake playlist, and many other excellent activities that make up her favorite.weekend.ever.

posted by Ms. S&C

Mango Madness

Miss Mojito finally had the chance to test out a recipe for Mango Margaritas. They’re so refreshing, sunny and dare I say easy that I had to report back on the results. Make the most of your summer and whip up a batch this weekend!

Now, the mango is a notoriously difficult fruit to cut. But that’s the beauty of this recipe – you don’t have to dice the mango into neat, even cubes (although here’s a helpful tutorial for when that’s your goal). It’s perfectly acceptable to butcher the fruit as you see fit, since you’ll be pureeing the whole lot in a blender or food processor later.

Mango Margaritas
Serves five.

  • 2 very ripe mangos
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 10 oz. tequilo blanco
  • 4 oz. triple sec
  • 8 oz. grapefruit soda (I used the Izzie brand)

Remove as much flesh as possible from the two mangos.

If you’re using a blender: Puree all the ingredients in the blender until you reach a smooth consistency.

If you’re using a food processor: Puree the mango and lime juice together until smooth. Poor into a pitcher and add the tequila, triple sec and soda. Stir well.

Serve over ice in chilled glasses.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

S&C turns three

This little blog has been around for three years. (If you’re reading this, we’re honored that you are still around!)

In celebration of our blog birthday, here’s a list of our most popular posts over the past three years:

  • Cake and punch
    This was the one where we shared the pomegranate champagne punch and Sister Mojito’s most awesome rainbow birthday cake. (We also love this blog post because it got us a mention in Washington Post’s daily “Express.”)
  • Song of the summer
    This post was early on, but the recipe for watermelon lemonade is timeless, and especially good during these hot summer months.
  • S&C reader mail: cream-colored pumps for Spring
    A reader mail post from 2009, but I’m still rocking a pair of neutral-colored slingbacks from J.Crew.
  • Light as a feather
    One of those “aspirational posts.” We still don’t own feather-embellished pumps, but we would.
  • S&C spotted: Keds comeback
    This was one of the more “trendier” posts, and a lot of people read it. We should probably take note.

Additionally, some of Ms. S&C’s favorite posts include:

  • Miss Mojito and her tips! Her suggestions about healthier cocktails and keeping it simple with staples are e-x-c-e-l-l-e-n-t. (But, I also love the simplicity of this one.)
  • Bourbon: wanting it, preferring it as my go-to spirit of choice. It is a phase I can’t shake, and I plan to make this bourbon mojito again soon.
  • Music: I love that I’ve found a way to incorporate my favorite tunes in a blog about shoes and cocktails.

Cheers to another great year! Thanks again for reading!

posted by Ms. S&C

Three things: campari, anklets, new indie-rock

Ms. S&C would like to thank the ladies over at DIY Del Ray for the recent blogging inspiration. (I hope to channel their home renovation and decorating inspiration as well. But, I’m a little held back by the do-it-yourself concept, as I’m in a do-it-for-me place at the moment.) However, seeing their regular sharing of cool ideas and things they like reminds me: I like to share things too!

So, here are three things that Ms. S&C really likes right now:

(1) Campari

Back when I started this blog (July 2008!), the bitterness of Campari was like nothing I had ever tasted. Now, my refined — or slightly numbed — palate craves the herbal sensation. My cocktail-writing idol (and now my New York Times Op-Ed writing idol), Frank Bruni, shared his experience with the Negroni Sbagliato awhile back. After trying it out myself, I can attest to it being a pretty damn good, fizzy and refreshing, “summertime negroni.” The Campari Cup (a love child of the Pimm’s Cup) is also good use of this aperitif.

(2) Anklets

I’ve noticed an anklet on one of my yoga instructors (yes, there is more than one yoga instructor in my life — and yes, I have crushes on all of them). Then, I came across this anklet on Garance Dore’s blog. My recent captivation of anklets also reminds me of the scene in “Love in the Afternoon,” when the spunky Audrey Hepburn wears an anklet to make the womanizing Gary Cooper jealous (of course it works). All this leads me to say: I want an anklet for the summer sandal wearing! Help me find a cool one. Please!

(3) New Music

I’ve been in a music rut lately. I haven’t been excited by much of anything (anything *new* that is — but, I do have a new-found love for Fleetwood Mac). Just as I’m lamenting this rut, the new Bon Iver album comes along. I am so in love — and it has been put on such heavy rotation — that I had to purchase the first album, “For Emma, Forever Ago,” too. Both albums  are great to listen to, but the new album is particularly dreamy. Fave songs include: “Towers” and “Perth.”

Naturally, when it rains, it pours. I’ve also been recently introduced to Eleanor Friedberger’s (of Fiery Furnaces fame) debut album, and I’m pretty giddy about: “My Mistakes,” “Heaven,” and “I Won’t Fall Apart on You Tonight.” Indie-pop at its best. I swear.

Lastly, The Feelies’ “Here Before” — their first album in twenty years — is certainly worth a listen. Or ten.

The three things blog post gives Ms. S&C an opportunity to share a combination of shoe and cocktail-related finds, along with something else. That something else usually includes music or yoga.

posted by Ms. S&C

This calls for a Bloody Mary, or a Mojito

A Hallmark moment? You tell me.

On a recent trip to Durham, Ms. S&C picked up these gems at a great independent bookstore, The Regulator. (You can also find these and more fantastic greeting cards online at Seltzer.) I don’t know who the lucky recipients will be, but it makes me happy to know I have them.

I can think of a hundred reasons when this card could be appropriate:

And, perhaps the new S&C mantra?

These are just a few of many great finds in Durham. Shopping and dining experiences to come. (I hope, but you’ve seen how much I’ve blogged lately.)

posted by Ms. S&C