Category Archives: food & drink

cocktail copycat: the ginger margarita


a few weeks ago i had dinner at the bar at potenza. they have delicious appetizers and filling pastas, but my favorite from my last visit was their ginger margarita. genius right? i love tequila, i love ginger, and lime just ties them together so perfectly.

one of the key ingredients in my ginger margarita is ginger syrup. you can buy this of course, but it’s also pretty easy to make. i loosely followed a recipe from joy the baker (love her!). by loosely followed i mean “oops, 6 cups of water? i only put in 2. hmm…” and things of that nature. (and this all before i even had my first ginger margarita! recipes aren’t my strong suit.) you can also use your ginger syrup to make the world’s yummiest ginger ale (just add lime juice and club soda and enjoy the heck out of it) and plenty of other yummy cocktails. 

so first let’s make this ginger syrup.

first you have to get some ginger. it took me forever to find the ginger in the grocery store. who knew it was kept with the lettuce and zucchini and things?  all along i was looking for it by the garlic, silly me.

i washed it off and then gave it a nice rough chop. most recipes say to use a blender or a food processor, but my blender can barely puree a banana, so a rough chop it is. you want to end up with about 2 cups of chopped ginger. 

throw your ginger, 2 cups of granulated sugar, and SIX cups of water (not two) into a big pot and bring to a boil. once it has a nice little rolling boil, reduce it to a simmer for a long long long time.

the recipe i used said 1-1.5 hours would be enough to reduce the 6 cups of water to 2 cups of silky syrup, but i’ll be darned if i simmered that delicious smelling elixir for 3 hours and it reduced by maybe a cup. (i see a lot of ginger syrup in my future).

after you’ve given up hope on reducing your ginger syrup, give it a nice strain and then let it cool. 

once your ginger syrup has cooled, you’re finally ready to make the long awaited ginger margarita. let the fun begin!

for the ginger margarita you will need tequila, domaine de canton ginger liqueur, orange curacao (or triple sec or cointreau, i just didn’t have either of those), ginger syrup, and limes. 

first, give the limes a good squeezing.

in a shaker, throw in a couple ice cubes (we use the tovolo king ice cube tray to make these enormous cubes which are perfect for not watering down your cocktail)

pour in your tequila

add your fancy homemade ginger syrup

plus orange curacao 

and the fancy-bottled domaine de canton

top off with lime juice and shake shake shake!

{{disclaimer: in my haste to enjoy my ginger margarita (i typically don’t wait 3.5 hours for a libation), i forgot to take a picture of me straining and pouring the ginger margarita into a glass. new blogger faux pas!}}

strain over ice and taste the delightfully tingly ginger margarita.

if you want to get really wild (and who doesn’t?) you can add some strawberries (i used about four medium sized strawberries) macerated with sugar into the mix and shake it (with an extra 1/2 oz of domaine de canton) and you’ll have a sweeter, pinker version. lovely! enjoy.

ginger margarita

1.5 oz tequila

2 oz ginger syrup

1/2 oz orange curacao

1/2 oz domaine de canton

1 oz lime

Pour all ingredients over ice into a shaker. Shake like crazy, strain over ice, and enjoy.

(for a strawberry ginger margarita, shake with macerated strawberries and increase domaine de canton to 1 oz)


wish list: coffee


hi, my name is k-lee, and i’m a coffee addict. actually, that’s not even true. i’m an espresso addict. which is probably worse, considering it’s more concentrated caffeine and i need about 3 shots to get my day started.

anyway, it’s an addiction that i am happily at terms with. i love waking up in the morning thinking about the delicious latte i’m about to sip. i love sipping an iced latte in the summertime reading my favorite blogs from the couch. i love reading a book or catching up with an old friend while drinking a latte at starbucks (i know, i know, but it’s on every corner in dc and the best coffee shops are not conveniently located to my caffeine addiction- also, have you ever had their pumpkin spice latte? divine.) i really love coffee ice cream (coffee coffee buzz buzz buzz from ben & jerry’s is the ultimate.) quite simply, lattes are my daily indulgence and i am very content with that.

recently i’ve been working on making a little workspace nook in my apartment. above my desk i have a corkboard with a big chunk of white space next to it where i was hoping to hang up a couple prints. since i like to work at my desk in the morning, i’m usually kept company by a big ol’ iced latte. i think that a coffee print (or two!) would be the perfect visual accessory for this blank space.

here are a couple prints that i really like.

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this print is by textured ink, an etsy shop. they have a bunch of really fun prints (kitchen related and otherwise) but i personally love this print because i use that type of espresso maker in my home and the colors are perfect for my space as well.

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kellie over at le zoe musings has created some lovely coffee prints for her etsy shop. this one is my favorite but she has lots of cute ones perfect for your kitchen or office. i can’t wait to hang this one up!

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pure perfection by madebygirl. lots of covet-worthy things over there including prints, jewelry, and clutches, but this is my favorite print. i’ve had this image pinned for six months now and can’t wait to hang it.

keeping with the coffee theme, i’ve also included a couple other coffee inspired pieces that have caught my eye. 

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i believe this mug is by marks & spencer but i can’t find it on their website. perhaps it’s a seasonal thing? it is, after all, only august (sigh).

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sweet anthropologie mug, you’re adorable. you never can have too many coffee mugs in my opinion.

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last but not least, i stumbled upon this cute coffee cup ring on pinterest and thought it would be a fun way to show  allegiance to a favorite morning stimulant. definitely a sweet little accessory.

do you have a favorite art print that hangs in your home? are you partial to espresso or can you get by on regular coffee? french press? whether it’s coffee, a latte, or something else, i hope you have many reasons to wake up and smile.


cocktail copycat


i have a confession to make. i love cocktails. ok, so i also love beer and wine, but cocktails are where my true love lies. that might make me sound like more of a serious drinker than i’d like you to suspect, but my “day job” is in a restaurant, it’s kind of expected, right? since moving in together my boyfriend and i have created a pretty awesome bar cabinet (complete with hijacked glassware) and we love recreating our favorite recipes from work. 

last weekend we were at a really cool event hosted by our friend (who happens to be a Flying Dog Brewery beer rep) and 8407 kitchenbar in silver spring where they were featuring some beer cocktails (ears perking up…) they had made a few really delicious drinks by reducing some of flying dog’s beers into syrups that they then used in creative cocktails. my favorite was called the atlantic shandy, using flying dog’s underdog atlantic lager. a shandy is typically a light beer mixed with lemonade or sprite or something to make it more refreshing. at 8407 they one-upped the typical shandy by adding gin and a homemade rosemary lemon simple syrup (hello, you had me at rosemary… ok, you had me at gin.) it was the most drinkable, refreshing, light beer cocktail i’d ever had! whether or not it was the only beer cocktail i’d ever had is besides the point.  i spent the next morning googling how to make rosemary lemon simple syrup (seemingly simple- pun intended- even to my anti-culinary brain) and yesterday i took the plunge and decided to give it a go.

usually i let jesse handle the mixology in our apartment, but this was my project. i started off making the lemon rosemary syrup which was as simple as i thought it would be. i used a recipe i found and pinned from here.

 1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 lemon (zested, cut in half, and seeds removed)

1 handful of rosemary (i plucked the leaves off of about 2 long stems)

once you’ve dissolved the sugar, bring it to a boil. remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes. rosemary is my favorite herb of all time, so i would probably boil it with lemons on a regular basis just to keep our apartment smelling fresh, but in this case we get to add it to a cocktail- bonus! after it’s steeped, squeeze the lemons (careful, they’re probably still toasty), and then strain it and cool it for awhile (or until you’re so excited about your cocktail you just can’t help yourself. been there. no worries).

since we didn’t actually have a recipe to follow (i’m a sucker for following recipes, i consult them about 100 times throughout making anything, even easy mac) it was a bit of trial and error. we mostly use hendricks gin in our apartment because the bottle is pretty and it tastes yummy with notes of cucumbers and herbs. jesse and i each made our cocktails a bit differently (trial and error!) but we’ve decided that this is probably the most accurate recipe. it didn’t taste exactly like the one we had at 8407 but i think that’s because we used a different gin, and my syrup is very strong on the rosemary flavor (where it was barely noticeable in their shandy) but it will nevertheless be a go-to drink for me because it is incredibly refreshing!

1-1.5 oz hendricks gin (i used 1.5 oz, jesse used 1oz – to each his own!)

½ oz rosemary lemon syrup

1 oz lemon

flying dog underdog atlantic lager

add the first three ingredients into a glass with ice and stir. add 2 lemon wheels for a garnish, and top with flying dog underdog atlantic lager.

then take a seat, a sip, and enjoy! 

why birch and lace?


welcome to my messy little corner of the blogosphere! 

i decided [yesterday] to start a blog because i was getting knee deep in a craft explosion and thought– wouldn’t that be kind of cool and interesting to start a blog to document my trials and tribulations, successes and woes, glitter messes and glue mishaps as a beginner crafter? plus, i love to write and have kept a journal off and on over the years, so it just seems natural to air my dirty laundry over the internet… i mean share my stories!

of course, i won’t be sticking to just crafts. i’m hoping that this blog will evolve to encompass all sorts of fun little things that delight and inspire me- hence the tagline “curator of lovely.”

in talking with one of my dearest friends a few months ago about my career path (which is less a “path” and more of a starting line that i have yet to cross) i remember saying “i just want to do something that involves pretty things.” well folks, here you have it- a foray into blogging. i hope to write about all manner of things– from things i’m coveting at anthropologie, fun outfits i’m daring to pull off, why i just can’t seem to keep a plant alive, home decor projects at apartment #802, and the craft projects i’m trying out.

but wait a second– the name of this post is “why birch and lace?” ahh yes my dear fans (aka my mom and boyfriend)- the title of this blog. one afternoon as i was daydreaming about my dream job, i came up with the little phrase “birch and lace.” i know it’s not a phrase but actually just a pairing of words, but in my mind it took shape as a symbol of everything i love- elegance, natural beauty, dewy morning light, wispy sheer dresses- you get the idea. birch trees are my (and my boyfriend’s) favorite trees, and lace is by far my favorite fabric- i literally cannot get enough. the phrase has stayed with me over the past few months and when i decided that i wanted to start keeping a blog, it seemed to be the natural fit. 

so with that said, please pardon me as i take over our dining room table in a fit of crafty goodness.

i hope you’ll keep me company along the way!