MxMo LXXXVI: Southern Hospitality



I can’t swear it for sure, but it must’ve been more than just alliteration that made the powers that be decide upon Monday for their mixology blog-challenge. Some weeks, for sure, Monday is in severe need of a cocktail!

This month’s Mixology Monday is hosted by Thiago of Bartending Notes and our theme is pineapple!

I’m quite fond of pineapple in its many forms. Even more so now that my regular fruit consumption is limited by FODMAPs and pineapple is one of the few left standing, along with citruses and most berries. Pineapple juice makes a fabulous mixer for many cocktails and works great in marinades. In slices, spears, chunks, or tidbits it makes its way into many of our menus; sometimes taking center stage like my pineapple salsa, other times as a nice, tangy component to something larger like Sweet & Sour Pork or Bourbon Chicken.

The other thing that comes to mind when I think of pineapple is it’s long-standing status as a symbol of hospitality. Pineapple lamps and newel posts can still be seen in many hotel lobbies regardless of any other tropical themes (or lack thereof) and I just think it’s nice to have that symbol somewhere in your home, too. (Note to self: find something pineapple-y for the Dollhouse entryway.)

Since we’re moving to Georgia, shortly, and looking forward to opening our new home to friends and family once the dust quite literally settles* something I took our future-home-state’s favorite fruit (peaches) and combined it with this month’s theme ingredient and this is what I came up with:


Southern Hospitality

4″ pineapple spear, plus additional for garnish
3/4 oz peach schnapps
1/2 oz vanilla rum
2 oz pineapple juice
1/4 oz grenadine

In the bottom of a mixing glass muddle a pineapple spear with the schnapps and rum. Top with ice and the pineapple juice and shake to introduce the components to one another. Strain into a fancy glass and garnish with another pineapple spear. Add the grenadine as a float, but don’t be surprised if it sinks. Allow the guest to stir it in with the pineapple spear if they so desire.

Now, while Florida may be part of The South (and we’re here in northern Florida which is more southern-feeling than many of the cities the farther south you travel in the state) it’s not really what you think of when you say The South or the infamous southern hospitality that states below the Mason-Dixon line are famous for. [I feel comfortable in saying that especially since I still consider Louisiana–the state of my birth–my heart’s home even if it has been a few decades since I listed it as a residence.] Georgia, on the other hand, has already shown us quite a bit of hospitality and we haven’t even moved in yet!

This cocktail could easily go tiki-style–I considered adding amaretto but it would have taken it too far in that direction. Keeping it simple with the schnapps and a bit of rum made more sense in the long run. The grenadine float (aka sink, thanks to relative densities being against my desires), on the other hand, is in homage to our new-to-us, soon-to-be very pink house. There’s a good chance a pitcher or punch bowl’s worth of this will be made for the eventual housewarming party, and in that case it will just be stirred in with everything else.


*Seriously, there was pink sanding dust from the guys working on the exterior all the way up the bannister and staircase when we went up there this weekend. Still is, for that matter, since we didn’t have a chance to wet-mop anything other than the kitchen walls!

AlcoHOLidays | Cow Appreciation Day | Sweet Bessie Brown



So plenty of folks out there complain about manufactured holidays, especially those by corporations, often in a serious case of sour grapes. Well, today’s holiday appears to be 100% corporate but listen up: I. Don’t. Care.

I don’t care that Chick-fil-A seems to a have thought up a cute, fun, customer appreciation idea that takes place on the second Friday of July: Cow Appreciation Day. (Please note: this is not a sponsored post. Neither I nor this post is affiliated with the Georgia-based company that is awarding free food to customers who arrive dressed not in their dignity but in cow costumes.) Frankly, it just sounds like a lot of fun, and that’s excellent marketing on their part.

Also, I really do appreciate cows!

I think cows are, most of the time, beautiful creatures with big, sleepy eyes and soft, soft skin. I am a Taurus, so the bull/cow thread runs astrologically deep, along with my fascination with the Egyptian goddess Hathor (a mother-goddess often represented by a cow). In their less-than-living state I very much like my steaks medium rare, same goes for a really good burger. I also appreciate their milk (especially when companies like Lactaid make it safe for me to drink without tummy upset), butter, cheeses, and–of course–ice cream!

Because when I first found Cow Appreciation Day on a list (totally separate from anything Chick-fil-A related) what I immediately thought of was the soda fountain classic: a Brown Cow. And until I had to cut out honey, I used to get a Soy-Kreme Brown Cow at my local toy store/soda fountain, Lofty Pursuits, made with Sprecher’s Root Beer.

And, you know, those cute, English-challenged cows predate lolcats by 11 years!

Sweet Bessie Brown

3/4 oz Vanilla Rum
1/4 oz Peach Schnapps
3 small scoops Vanilla Ice Cream
Root Beer

Stir together the rum and schnapps over ice to chill. Scoop ice cream into a footed glass and top with the spirits, then fill with root beer to the top of the glass, jiggling a spoon in the mixture to get the liquids starting to play nice.

Optional garnishes could include chocolate syrup, malt powder, or some freshly whipped cream.

The only thing you’ll be tipping is your head back to get the last of the creamy float out of the glass!

I know we’ve been a bit rum-heavy, lately, so I was all set to use vanilla vodka for this one but it betrayed me. I don’t know what kinda chip it had on its shoulders but it did not want to play nice with a single other ingredient. First time that’s ever happened!

Of course, for the underage and the non-drinkers, the classic goes down just as well.

Cheers! (And moo!)

Plenty of Rum to Go Around–Happy National Rum Day!


When I posted the recipe for last month’s Chocolate Cherry Frozen Cocktail I mentioned that I hadn’t tried Cruzan’s vanilla or black cherry rums and, well, the good folks at Cruzan couldn’t let that slide and generously sent me a bottle of the vanilla rum to try out.

Oh, man, am I glad they did!

And it just happened to be in time for National Rum Day, August 16!

Since beginning this blog I’ve been making a concentrated effort to taste more spirits neat–after all, if I’m going to use them as building blocks for the cocktails I design, I need to really understand the properties of each alone before combining them with others. This is not always a pleasant endeavor, as some spirits can have a very hard edge and can be bracing on their own.

That was not the case with the Cruzan Vanilla.

Ho-lee cats, folks, that’s some good rum!

I believe I described it as nirvana in a bottle at dinner with friends the next night (and then invited them all over to give it a try, themselves). No one disagreed, I might add.

First of all, it’s sweet. No big surprise, here, as rum is distilled from sugar cane, but the vanilla addition seems to add to the usual rum-sweet that you’d expect.

Second, it’s smooth. Hard edges? More like puffy clouds of silk–and we’re not talking the slubby dupioni, either!

Third, it mixes well. Almost too well, in fact.

Rum and Coke is an easy mixed drink to order and hard to get wrong, but many times (due to the plethora of hard-edged call-brands at the average ladies’ night) you can tell just how much the bartender liked you by how much bite the drink had. Every now and then I like to enjoy a throw-back drink like the R&C (not really a Cuba Libre since I don’t add the lime), and I thought a Vanilla Rum & Coke might be a nice place to start.

If you like Vanilla Coke, you will adore Cruzan Vanilla Rum and Coke. The combination of the two is sweet, sweet goodness, and this is where the danger comes in: you could go through quite a few of these in an evening and not realize how much you’ve imbibed until you go to stand up and miss the floor.

So, as always, drink responsibly.

After the R&C success, I decided to go with another basic rum drink: the Dark & Stormy. I’m renaming the combination of Ginger Beer and Cruzan Vanilla the White Storm–a light-colored drink that is both sweet and tangy, the vanilla and the ginger balancing each other out so nicely, it’s refreshing and perfect for a hot summer night hanging out with friends.

White Storm

2-2 .5oz Cruzan Vanilla Rum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
6 oz Ginger Beer (or as needed)

Fill a tall glass 3/4 full with ice and pour each ingredient over the ice, topping it off with the ginger beer (measurement was based on my glass, your glass may very). Stir leisurely until cool. Sip and enjoy.

Feel free to skip the lime juice if you’d prefer an even sweeter experience–the tart from the lime is interesting, true, but I could really take it or leave it.

Todd also suggested Cruzan Vanilla would be amazing in a Hurricane, something we’ll keep in mind for Mardi Gras, and I’m salivating over the thought of it in my Christmas-time Rum Balls this holiday.



FTC Disclaimer: I was provided a sample of the Cruzan Vanilla Rum for purposes of review. All opinions are entirely my own.

A Hot Way to Cool Down


Ahh, rum. It was my spirit of choice back when I hit the legal drinking age (no, really, I was a goody two shoes and didn’t drink until I was 21*), probably because I grew up watching Aunt Marie mix Pina Coladas at my grandmother’s wet bar and I just thought that was the life, right there.

(*Except for that Thanksgiving we were in Louisiana and the legal drinking age was still 18. And, when unsure of what to order, my companion said “Order an Amaretto Sour–it’s what I get when I’m driving.”)

Rum and coke, fruity rum libations, rum balls, rum cake… rum and I were friends.

Funny, though, when I look back at the cocktails I’ve created over the last couple of years, not many of them have been rum-based! What’s even more shocking is that I’ve been favoring vodka and gin over my beloved rum, and I used to think vodka was the supreme evil after one disastrous night about 10 years ago. (Truth be told, it wasn’t the vodka’s fault, that night can be chalked up entirely to questionable choices on my part, only alleviated by a guardian angel with the patience of a saint.)

Still, rum and I go way back, which is why this recipe that I was sent on behalf of Cruzan flavored rums sounded worth sharing with y’all, today.

Cruzan Chocolate Covered Cherry Frozen Cocktail CRUZAN® CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRY

2 parts Cruzan® Black Cherry Rum
1 part Cruzan® Vanilla Rum
1/2 part Chocolate Syrup
1 part Milk
Splash Grenadine

Combine all ingredients in a blender with 1/2 cup of ice and blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled glass drizzled with chocolate sauce. Top with whipped cream and garnish with a cherry.

I’m not usually big on frozen cocktails these days, but even I’m intrigued by this one. And while I haven’t tried Cruzan’s Black Cherry or Vanilla rums, I was certainly pleased with their Pineapple rum back when I was on a Caipirinha kick a couple summer’s ago!