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Carmen Cooks: Your New Signature Cocktail

Carmen Cooks: Your New Signature Cocktail

A couple of weeks ago I got to share with you my favorite recipe from Samin Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat (link) and this week I want to share my take on several great summer cocktails. These recipes are super easy to follow and many of the fresh ingredients are ones you may have growing in your garden or can purchase locally. The mint at my home is growing in full force and I just adore my phenomenal lavender plant so of course I had to use these in my creations! I chose three delicious and refreshing drinks that are easily customizable. The original recipes are accessible through links below, but the following instructions are my take on these classics. Cheers!

Tangerine Moscow Mule

(adapted from Blood Orange Moscow Mule)

Tangerine Moscow Mule

Ingredients

1 meyer lemon cut into 8 wedges
1 mint leaf
2 oz vodka
2 oz tangerine juice
4 oz ginger beer (here is a link to my favorite)
Crushed ice

Instructions

In the cup, muddle together a lemon wedge and the mint leaf to release juice and the mint’s flavor. I find a wooden reamer does the trick! Add the vodka and tangerine juice to the lemon and mint. I love this little bird-shaped juicer. Pour in the ginger beer and stir. Fill the glass with ice and garnish with lemon, mint, or both! Enjoy!

Tangerine Moscow Mule Tangerine Moscow Mule

Tangerine Moscow Mule Tangerine Moscow Mule


Peach Lavender Sangria

(adapted from Lavender Sangria)

Peach Lavender Sangria

Ingredients

1 750mL bottle of Prosecco
½ cup Altes Fasslager (this is an Austrian fruit brandy)
½ cup triple sec
2 cups of Pellegrino
½ cup lavender simple syrup (you can make this by bringing to a simmer ½ cup sugar, ½ cup water, and 2 tsp dried or fresh lavender and then cooking for 1 minute. Then strain the lavender buds out and let cool)
Fresh sliced peaches

Instructions

Add sliced peaches to the bottom of a pitcher and top with prosecco, brandy, triple sec, lavender syrup, and Pellegrino. Stir and chill. Cheers!


Blackberry Mojito

(adapted from Blueberry Mojito)

Blackberry Mojito

Ingredients

1 cup fresh blackberries
4 oz clear rum
10 fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons sugar
Juice of 2 limes
6 oz Pellegrino
Splash of Blackberry Manischewitz
Ice

Instructions

In a food processor, puree the blackberries. Add mint and sugar to a weck jar. I always use a weck jar instead of a cocktail shaker! Muddle the mint and sugar and add the lime juice, rum, and blackberry puree and shake it up! Pour ice and club soda into glasses and then pour in the blackberry rum mixture. Add a splash of Blackberry Manischewitz and stir. Garnish with blackberries, mint, and lime. Salud!

Blackberry Mojito Blackberry Mojito

Photos Courtesy of Gunner Robinson Photography

 

This is one of my favorite gardening projects. This DIY herb garden is both beautiful and practical. It is an herb garden and patio table in one! And it is super easy to make!

Make your own herb garden and patio table in one with these super simple directions with Carmen Johnston Gardens

Make your own herb garden and patio table in one with these super simple directions with Carmen Johnston Gardens

Snip and clip fresh herbs.

Materials Needed:
Iron table top
Strawberry jar
2 bags of bark
2 bags of soil
Rosemary and Thyme
Bubblegum Petunia and Creeping Jenny

Make your own herb garden and patio table in one with these super simple directions with Carmen Johnston Gardens

Directions:
1. Make a layer of bark in the bottom of the strawberry jar. This will prevent you from having to use a ton of soil.
2. Choose soil with a time release fertilizer. Then use it to create another layer on top of the bark. Stop adding soil just 2″ inches below the top of the jar.
3. Remove about half of the root ball on all of your herbs and then begin planting on the outside of the jar.
4. Use only one 4″ plant per cup on the outside of the jar.
5. Add creeping jenny to the top of your strawberry jar. This plant fills a space out nicely so you will only need three.
6. Add your table top and a few chairs to complete the look.

 

I love this mix of decorative plants and herbs. Both work so well in the strawberry jar too! Also, I don’t think you can find a better table for your patio anywhere. Like I said before, this DIY herb garden is both beautiful and practical and that is what gardening is all about!

5 Plants for Beginners: Mint

Be sure to check out this delicious cocktail herb garden.

Quick, easy entertaining and garden solutions are being served up at an exciting event called Haven convening in Atlanta this weekend, a conference started by some of the top DIY Bloggers in the nation. As a Southern Living Gardening Lifestyle Editor, I’ll be sharing exciting ideas from the Southern Living Plant Collection including six DIY gardening and decorating projects from get your hands-dirty to ready-made solutions!

Carmen Johnston, Garden Lifestyle Expert, Carmen Johnston Gardens

This will be happening Friday and Saturday at 2 p.m. (EDT). For those of you not attending, you’ll want to check out the highlights of the great ideas we’ll be sharing via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and follow the hashtag #havenconf as well.

I’ll also be sharing some of the hottest trends for gardening in 2015 at the Southern Living potting shed as part of our exhibit for the event and we will be posting plenty of those pics too!

So here’s a little nugget to inspire you to join us on this weekend adventure. Give color a boost! Keep your blooms looking their best by pinching all dead foliage and blooms. Be sure to give them a drink -plants like us need a lot of water during the heat of the summer. And, are you done with your morning coffee? Give your plants a java jolt pouring the left over coffee into your plants.

Carmen Johnston Gardens

 

We are going to be crafting a floral centerpiece with ice, ice cream and florals. Intrigued? Join us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and be sure to hashtag #havenconf, #SLPC, #CarmenJohnstonGardens.