Tag Archives: flavored ice cubes

Warms my heart

There’s nothing that could warm Ms. S&C’s heart more than to receive these texts and emails over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Text from DD: “…I have cinnamon infused simple syrup chilling in the fridge for the cinn. apple punch you suggested. Can’t wait to try it :)”

Text from Brother S&C: “We made your spiced autumn punch!”

Ms. S&C is particularly pleased that these two took her up on her Thanksgiving drink recommendations. Now, she wants to know how they turned out, and who you served them to?  

Email from KS: “Frozen ice cubes with mint and cranberries. Aren’t they pretty? Wish we could share a cocktail… Two weeks… xoxo.”

KS, PLEASE tell me what you used these flavored ice cubes for? They are so pretty and make me so happy.

Text from KG: “That’s an empty martini glass that previously contained THE best cosmo I’ve ever had…at Farmers and Fishers.”

KG, Ms. S&C tried one (or several) of those very same cosmos at that Style in the City party she hosted at the beginning of the summer. And yes, it was the best one she’s ever had.

Family, friends, readers: keep the messages coming, okay? Ms. S&C wants to know what you are eating, drinking and wearing!

posted by Ms. S&C

Too much of a good thing

Isn’t too much of a good thing what New Year’s Eve is all about?  When Ms. S&C likes something, she kinda gets all consumed by it.  Take Duffy’s Rockferry album for instance.  Once she got it for her b-day, it was in heavy rotation on her Ipod for weeks.  Everyday on the metro, she would listen to the whole album beginning to end (she’s usually a shuffle kind-of a girl).  Now that the Duffy newness has worn off, she’s moved on to T.I’s Whatever You Like.  Damn, that song is catchy.  And, let me tell you — it made the metro ride to work today at least bearable.  The first day back after the holidays is the pits.  Absolute. Pits.

Ms. S&C’s obsession fascination with punch has lasted a lot longer (yes, it made the 2008 Year in Review list).  When given the opportunity to make a holiday cocktail for LKO’s New Year’s Eve party, she could not resist.  Taking cues from the autumn spiced punch and LC’s champagne punch, we came up with this delicious Shoes & Cocktails exclusive — a sparkling cherry punch! This drink’s bright, festive color make it a perfect holiday cocktail.  It was a splendid way to start off the night!


After recently trying a Ritz Cocktail with maraschino liqueur, I knew I wanted to use cherry liquor in something, so I replaced the apricot brandy from the champagne punch.  And, I feel like if you are going to go through the trouble of making simple syrup yourself, you might as well infuse it with something.  I made this simple syrup with cranberries mainly because I had a leftover bag of them in the freezer, but also because I wanted something with the deep red color (I thought more cherries in the syrup may be an overload on cherry flavor).  The frozen cherries were a delicious little surprise at the bottom of the cup, and they helped keep the punch cold.

Sparkling Cherry Punch


  • 4 bottles of champagne
  • 2 bottles of white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 8 oz. cranberry infused simple syrup (see ingredients and directions below)
  • 8 oz. cherry brandy
  • 1 bag of frozen pitted cherries

Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl.  Stir.  Easy schmeasy!

Simple Syrup Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bag frozen cranberries

Simple Syrup Directions:
It is recommended that you make the simple syrup a day in advance to maximize the cranberry flavor.  Combine water, sugar, and cranberries in a saucepan.  Bring to boil, reduce heat.  Cover and simmer 10 minutes.  Cover and chill for 12-24 hours.  Strain bits of cranberry from the syrup.

S&C wants to know: What fun, festive drinks did you have to ring in the new year?  Share your NYE drinks below!

Feeling inspired

The Drink: Sangria blanca

There were several inspirations for this cocktail. Friends Jason and Amy recently introduced us to frozen grapes – a delightful and refreshing snack for the dogs days of summer. I knew immediately after trying those frozen nuggets that I would put them in a Sangria. Not only did I love the sweetness, I loved that they could be used as flavored ice cubes for a cocktail.

Then, my high school friend, Emily, emailed asking for a drink recommendation to serve adults at her one year old’s birthday barbeque. She said she would like to serve wine, or maybe champagne. Bingo.

I’ve been playing with variations of white wine sprizters all summer long, but surprisingly, I’ve never made Sangria. Sangria, a popular “wine punch” from Spain and Portugal, offers a lot of versatility. You can adjust for your own taste and use a variety of fruit, depending on what’s in season. Knowing that my farmers markets has the most incredible peaches and nectarines right now, they were given in this cocktail.

The Ingredients/Recipe:

This version of Sangria blanca is a Shoes & Cocktails exclusive!

(Recipe is for two bottles of wine)

  • Prepare night before – frozen grapes (freeze 2 large handfuls of seedless, white grapes)
  • Prepare at least 3 hours in advance (can be up to 24 hours in advance) – slice 2 peaches and/or nectarines in wedges
  • Slice 1 lemon in whole slices, then quarter
  • Place peaches and lemons in pitcher or carafe, add 2 bottles of white wine (preferably a Spanish white or another dry white wine)
  • Refrigerate for several hours, to allow time for the fruit flavors to blend with wine
  • Add frozen grapes to carafe, and stir
  • Add raspberries, and any remaining grapes, to individual glasses
  • Pour white wine and top with seltzer water (note: it can be very tricky to pour and get an adequate mixture of fruit in each glass; recommend that you pour the wine first and then spoon in fruit mixture)

The Occasion:

Attention supper club friends! I am totally making this sangria for the next dinner party. Let’s hold it soon, while peaches are in their prime.

Whether you are planning your one year old’s birthday party, supper club, or you need to use the left-overs from your trip to the farmers market, look no further than Sangria blanca. This cocktail is light, refreshing, and quite a show-stopper. Which is why I plan on pairing it with these striking paisley print pumps.

The Shoes: My Paisley Peep-toe Pumps

I’ve had these Nine West pumps for almost three years, and I continue to get compliments. Strangers literally stop me on the street. The peep-toe pump is a tried and true design. And though I haven’t highlighted them yet, Nine West, continues to be my go-to brand for everyday shoes. They are affordable, decently well-made, and there’s always a good selection. The hint of raspberry goes perfectly with the Sangria, no?

posted by Ms. S&C

Song of the summer

The Drink: Watermelon Lemonade

No self-respecting cocktail enthusiast can go through the summer season without using watermelon in a delicious beverage. The bright color and watery texture are ideal components for drinks. Martinis, margaritas, sangria – you can’t go wrong with this ingredient!




The Ingredients/Recipe:

This version of Watermelon Lemonade is a Shoes & Cocktails exclusive! And, it is actually quite good minus the booze, if you want to go that route.

(Recipe makes 3-4 drinks)

  • Cut ½ of a small watermelon into large chunks (do yourself a favor and get a seedless melon)
  • Puree in a blender, then strain into a pitcher (you should have enough liquid for a 3 to 1 alcohol ratio)
  • Add juice of two lemons
  • Add 3 or 4 shots vodka, preferably Absolut Citron
  • Mix well, then pour over ice
  • Garnish with fresh basil

Modifications: I generally prefer things tart rather than sweet. If this recipe is too tart for your liking, I recommend adding more watermelon, or 1 to 2 ounces of triple sec, Cointreau, or some other form of simple syrup. You can also garnish with mint, and/or lemon or watermelon wedges. I prefer basil because it is growing outside my backdoor, and nothing beats that smell in the summer!

Bonus tip: Here’s another perfect opportunity for using flavored ice cubes. Pour watermelon puree into your ice tray and freeze.

The Occasion:

Summer is a very important time for one’s social agenda. Picnics, backyard barbeques, trips to the lake, the beach – there are endless opportunities for enjoying cocktails with friends. I say, download these summer hits to your IPod, fire up the grill, slip on any number of yellow shoes because they will perfectly accessorize the watermelon cocktail in your hand.

The Shoes: Yellow Shoes

Yellow shoes are this season’s hot item for your warm weather wardrobe. Practically every brand has its own version; there are so many choices and so many styles. I personally like my friend LC’s shown below because (a) the quilting texture is unique, (b) they are wedges (and we all know the benefits of wearing wedges for those summer outdoor activities), and (c) check out the super-cool clear wedge heel. Great find!


posted by Ms. S&C

The beach bum

The Drink: Sea Breeze

Erase any preconceived notions you have about fruity cocktails. Fruity drinks are not just for girls, or those with undeveloped palates, and they are definitely not just for drinking out of cheap plastic cups at the beach.

The Sea Breeze, like its sister cocktails the Bay Breeze and Cape Cod, is an often overlooked drink. You’re thinking vodka, juice – been there, done that, like when I was sixteen. Well, I say you should give this super refreshing and deliciously tart cocktail another chance. The mixture of fresh citrus and happy color make it a perfect companion on a summer day, beach or no beach. And, the balance of fruit juice to vodka means that you won’t wipe you out after you’ve had just one. So, don’t feel bad about two. Okay, three.

The Occasion:

Whether you are seaside, poolside, lakeside, or yardside, pull out your white linen skirt, grab your straw hat, and infuse some color by slipping on a pair of super cute sandals like the ones below.

The Shoes: Sandals

Nothing says summer footware like sandals. And, there’s so much variety: T-straps, ankle-straps, gladiators, or slides. I picked up these pretty little things in black over at Endless.com. Now, I’m so regretting I didn’t get them in green. The patent-like sheen on the straps and the cork-like insole means a little comfort, but a lot of fancy.

The Ingredients/Recipe:

We all know that the fresher the ingredients, the better the taste. Consider buying fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, or juice them yourself.

  • Fill cocktail glass with ice
  • Mix 2 parts vodka, 3 parts cranberry juice, 2 parts grapefruit juice, and squeeze half a lime (my addition for extra tartness)
  • Garnish with a lime wedge or grapefruit slice

Here’s a bonus tip: add color and fun into your drink by using flavored ice cubes. The ones below are made with lemon and lime zest. All you do is zest citrus fruit (orange works too), add to your ice tray, add water and freeze.

Shoes & Cocktails wants to know: what’s your summer favorite? Shoes or cocktails. Make a comment below.

posted by Ms. S&C