Tag Archives: trial & error

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)


the craft that started it all


i have done a lot of moving over the past four years since graduating from college (gasp! four years?!) — from college to sarasota, sarasota to tampa, tampa to nashville, nashville to dc, and now i’m on my third home in dc. putting it that way makes me sound like i’ve been a very busy girl! in all my apartments and houses, i’ve never felt quite as settled into a home as i do right now, here in cozy little apartment 802!

when we first moved in, i knew i wanted to do something a little more personal than just sending an email off to everyone that i know to inform them of my new locale, so the idea of an address change card was born. of course, i just thought i’d bounce off to paper source (my happy place) and buy a cute pre-made card boasting “our new home” or something in that vein. 

of course, if that happened, this would be a very boring story. they didn’t have anything like that, so the helpful saleswoman helped me pick out some fun paper, envelopes, and a stamp so that i could go home and make my very own address change cards. 

when i got home i was confronted with the problem of design. umm, now what? i had planned on just filling in my address on a few lines and a “love, k-lee and jesse” at the bottom. not the case anymore. after digging out my measly scrapbooking supplies from about 10 years ago under my bed i found my stencil set and some crayons, and set off on a little trial and error.

here’s the end result! 

creating this small project made me feel so accomplished and happy that a little lightbulb went off above my head– hmm! i like working with paper and making little cards and things! so here i am now; i’ve been talked into a heat embosser and all kinds of craft paraphernalia, have started a blog, and have pretty much lost the use of my dining room table due to a constant state of craft explosion.

what can i say? a hobby was born.

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!