{Recipe} Black Currant Tea Vodka Cordial

Black Currant Tea Vodka

If you are looking for an easy, last-minute gift or something interesting to bring to a holiday party, have I got the recipe for you! A while back I tried a fig tea vodka my friend brewed. It was delicious and I put the idea on my long to-try list. Last month I gave it a shot, and the results were fantastic.

First, let me give you the recipe.

Black Currant Tea Vodka Cordial

12 oz. of vodka
1 silk sachet of Harney & Sons Black Currant tea
1 oz. (or more to taste) simple syrup

Pour the vodka in a mason jar and add the sachet. Cover and allow to steep for 8-10 hours. Remove sachet and dispose. Add simple syrup to your desired sweetness. Store in a cool, dry place (I prefer the freezer).

Black Currant Tea Vodka

First, a note on the vodka…

While you don’t have to use your Stoli or Grey Goose for this recipe, I would not recommend anything too harsh. Sobieski is my go-to vodka. First, because it’s Polish, and second because I think it’s good quality for a reasonable price.

Second, notes on the tea…

I think it’s really important to use a high-quality tea when making this flavored vodka. You will definitely notice a difference between a cordial made with good ingredients vs. one made with cheap ingredients. That being said, Harney is one of my favorites and I don’t think their prices are crazy. Are they a little pricer than some of the grocery store brands? Yes, but trust me — it’s so worth it. And you don’t have to mail-order them anymore. I’ve seen the sachets at Target and Stop & Shop. That brings us to why I prefer using the tea sachet. I find that the sachet allows you to brew more than just a single cup, so it’s perfect for a “pint-ish” of vodka. I’ve also used the sachet with 8 oz. of vodka and it worked fine, too. I’ve never tried this with loose tea, though I’m sure you could do it. You’ll just have to strain everything out.

Feel free to experiment with other flavors of tea, too. I’ve also made tea infused vodka using Hot Cinnamon Spice and that was really yummy.

Na Zdrowie!

{Book Review} The American Lighthouse Cookbook: The Best Recipes and Stories from America’s Shorelines

lighthouse cookbook review

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved lighthouses. Growing up in Massachusetts, and spending plenty of time on the coasts of Maine and New Hampshire, I guess that’s no surprise. So when I was asked to review a cookbook that focused on recipes from some of the country’s beautiful landmark lighthouses, I eagerly accepted the opportunity.

The American Lighthouse Cookbook: The Best Recipes and Stories from America’s Shorelines, by Becky Sue Epstein and Ed Jackson is just as much a history book as a cookbook. Divided into eight regions (the Northeast Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast Atlantic, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Gulf Coast, Hawaii and California, Pacific Northwest and Alaska, and the Great Lakes), this book gives you a taste of various regional cuisines along with facts and stories about each lighthouse. As you might imagine, the recipes focus on seafood dishes, but there is actually a wonderful variety of recipes.

lighthouse cookbook review

I decided to test out a recipe for Cranberry Nut Bread from the Bass River Lighthouse in West Dennis, Mass. (that’s on Cape Cod for those who aren’t familiar with the area). Cranberries are synonymous with Massachusetts, so I knew this was going to be good. And I was right. The recipe formed a perfectly shaped, slightly dense quick bread that was just amazing warm from the oven.

lighthouse cookbook review

I was given permission to share this recipe with my readers, and I know you’re going to love it. If nothing else, be sure to bookmark it and give it a try next fall when everyone is craving the sweet-tart taste of cranberries.

lighthouse cookbook review

Cranberry Nut Bread
from The American Lighthouse Cookbook: The Best Recipes and Stories from America’s Shorelines

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 c. AP flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. milk
1 c. walnuts, toasted
1/2 c. dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a standard-sized loaf pan. In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar. Mix in the butter. In a separate bowl, blend together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Alternately add the flour mixture to the milk and egg mixture. Fold in the walnuts and cranberries. Power the batter into the greased loaf pan and bake for 50-60 min. Bread is done when a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

Another thing I like about the book is that it’s not just a grouping of random recipes. Each lighthouse has recipes that together form a complete meal. If you want to find a unique menu for dinner with friends, chances are there’s something in The American Lighthouse Cookbook that will sound delicious and take all the thinking out of planning your meal. It’s a really unique way of setting up a cookbook, and I see myself referring to this one quite a bit when the weather warms up and I’m feeling more like fish and vegetable recipes.

The introduction of the book states that it “couples food with the romance of the seacoast, adding a dash of history and wrapping it in the very current ‘eat local’ movement.” I am definitely looking forward to taking that to heart because it features a delicious breakfast from the Saugerties Lightouse — less than half an hour away from here. Ah yes… Saugerties Lightouse pancakes, New York cherries with granola and yogurt, oven-roasted bacon, scrambled eggs, and fried potatoes with cheddar cheese and scallions. Sounds like a perfect Sunday brunch if you ask me!

I received a free copy of The American Lighthouse Cookbook: The Best Recipes and Stories from America’s Shorelines. The opinions expressed in this blog post are mine and mine alone. I received no further compensation for writing a review of the book.

Super Simple Teacher (and Bus Driver!) Gifts

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The end of the school year is upon us! Yes, I realize that much of the country has been out of school for quite a while, but here in the Northeast, many schools still start in September and go until the end of June. I wanted to put together a few thank-you gifts for the teachers and our bus driver, but since (as usual) I don’t plan until the last minute, I came up with a few very simple tokens of appreciation.

According to Jake, his teacher really loves chocolate, so I packaged some super-indulgent chocolate-drizzled chocolate biscotti into a Ball jar and tied it all up with a tag that reads, “Thanks for making me one smart cookie.”

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Noah’s teacher loves her coffee. In fact, she sings songs about coffee to her class! Even though we’ve already chipped in to the class gift (she’s retiring this year), I wanted Noah to give her a little something to show our appreciation. So I packaged up a bag of coffee and a biscotti for her. The tag reads (the completely unoriginal, but that’s okay) “Thanks a latté for being a great teacher!”
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And last, but certainly not least, I wanted to thank our kids’ bus driver who is just the best! Again, I didn’t want to go crazy — just to thank him for getting Jake & Noah from here to there. He’s getting a big back of Reese’s Pieces and the tag reads, “We are thrilled to pieces that you are our bus driver. Thanks for keeping us safe!”

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I am sure my husband will groan when he reads my puns, but hey — that’s just the kind of gal I am :-) Anyway… I’m going to have the boys also write notes to their teachers to round out the gifts. Just a couple more days to go!