Cranberry Champagne Cocktail – for a Happy Thanksgiving toast

This easy and delicious Cranberry Champagne Cocktail, was created by my husband, to pair with the Cranberry Tiramisu that was served for our Halloween Italian Cooking Class/Pop Up Supper Club in Support of the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry.

I was not planning to post this recipe because it is so simple. However, it turned out to be the favorite drink during the event. Many of my guests requested the recipe, so here it is.


  • Your favorite Champagne or sparkling wine – here we used almond flavored sparkling wine from Messina Hof
  • Cranberry Fruit Wine – the one we used is from Texas South Wind vineyard and winery

Mixing The Drink:

  • Add Cranberry Fruit Wine to a champagne flute until it is filled 1/3 of the way
  • Top it off with Champagne or your favorite bubbly wine.

Its so simple. Feel free to use Cava, Prosecco or any other sparkling wine you like. My friend, Anissa, took some great pics during the event. Here are two of my favorites featuring the Cranberry Tiramisu paired with the Cranberry Champagne Cocktail.

Everyone at the event had such a great time. Most guests ended up staying till midnight. Unfortunately, Roy Blanco, who has attended my previous events was not able to attend this time because of a last minute scheduling conflict. However, he was generous enough to still make a donation despite missing the cooking class and pop up supper club.

I saved dessert for him and invited him to visit with us the next day. Here is a photo of Roy enjoying his Cranberry Tiramisu and Cranberry Champagne Cocktail.

I first met Roy 9 years ago when he helped me establish an account at our local credit union. He has been very supportive of me, and has encouraged me to pursue my cooking project to support the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry. Roy has also served on the board of the food pantry for the last seven years.

On this day of Thanksgiving, I am very thankful for Roy’s support and encouragement. I am also thankful for the all the work Tresha Silva, the director of the food pantry, does on a daily basis. And Of Course, I am thankful to all who have attended my events, for their good will and contributions.

This time we were able to raise $1,175. All of the proceeds went to the Food Pantry’s Nibbles Backpack Program. This program provides weekend meals and snacks for children from low income families at Lost Pines Elementary, Red Rock Elementary, and Bastrop Intermediate schools. Especially during this time of crisis, the Nibbles Program provides food for children that may otherwise go hungry when school meals are not available. For every $10 donated, we feed a student for a whole weekend.

Again, my thanks to everyone who supported our community. Your help is greatly appreciated. 😀🙏

Hope you are having a great Thanksgiving. 💕

I have lots of photos, taken by guests at the last event. I will share them in a future post as soon as I get a chance.

Jack-O-Lantern Cocktail – HAPPY HALLOWEEN 😈

Happy Halloween. The fundraising event last night was so much fun. Everyone was having such a good time that it lasted till midnight. This is the surprise, “ghoulicious” Halloween cocktail my husband created for our Halloween Italian Cooking Class/Pop Up Supper Club in Support of the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry. I just love the cute garnish.


  • 2 ounces of Jack Daniels (or your favorite bourbon)
  • 1 ounce triple sec
  • a splash of Fee Brother’s Aztec chocolate bitters
  • 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • a dash of cinnamon powder
  • a dash of freshly grated nutmeg (use powder if you must but it won’t be as flavorful or fragrant)
  • ice cubes
  • peel of one orange (note: keep the peel in large pieces so you can make the cute garnish)
  • whole cloves (also for the garnish)

Making the garnish:

I had a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter and an oval punch in my garnish making kit. My husband used them, but you can use a paring knife to cut out a Jack-O-Lantern shape.

  • Peel the orange so you have large pieces
  • Cut out a pumpkin shape
  • Cut out the mouth shape
  • Insert two whole cloves to make the eyes

Add the Jack-O-Lantern garnish when the drink is complete.


  • Use a Rocks or Old Fashioned glass. Some people know this as a Low Ball glass.
  • Fill the glass three quarters with ice
  • Add the liquid ingredients
  • Add the cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Stir well
  • Add the cute garnish

Enjoy 😃

Chili Cherry Bourbon

Chili Cherry Bourbon is the unique cocktail that I promised I would post last week.


  • 1 3/4 ounces of your favorite bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce Heering Cherry Liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce Ancho Chile Reyes Liqueur
  • Fresh nutmeg to grind on top
  • Ice cubes


  • Use a Rocks glass or Old Fashioned glass. Some people know this as a Low Ball glass.
  • Fill the glass three quarters with ice
  • Add the liquid ingredients
  • Grate a dash of fresh nutmeg on top

My husband created this cocktail because he really enjoys bourbon drinks. He has a friend who really likes tequila, so he created a margarita by substituting tequila for the bourbon. Then he thought of his friend who really likes vodka, so he substituted vodka for the bourbon. The measurements are the same, but the preparation changes.

Chili Cherry Margarita

Tequila Variation


  • 1 3/4 ounces of 100% agave tequila
  • 1/2 ounce Heering Cherry Liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce Ancho Chile Reyes Liqueur
  • Fresh orange slice for garnish
  • Ice cubes


  • Choose a margarita glass
  • Grab a shaker and fill it half way with ice
  • Add liquid ingredients
  • Shake vigorously
  • Pour contents of shaker into margarita glass
  • Add orange slice as garnish

My husband recommends 100% agave tequila. You will find that the 100% agave will add a nice smoky flavor with the Ancho Chile Reyes liqueur.

Red Hot Russian

Vodka Variation


  • 1 3/4 ounces of your favorite vodka
  • 1/2 ounce Heering Cherry Liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce Ancho Chile Reyes Liqueur
  • Morello, Marachino or Amarena cherry
  • Ice cubes


  • Use a Small Rocks glass
  • Add liquid ingredients
  • Add ice
  • Stir
  • Add cherry garnish

My husband recommends potato vodka because it is the traditional ingredient for making vodka, and is known to add texture and flavor to a drink. But feel free to use your favorite vodka.

The Red Hot Russian is a play on the Red Russian which is half vodka and half cherry liqueur.

My husband has been having “virtual happy hours” with his friends during this pandemic and social distancing period. He enjoyed creating the drink variations to suit different tastes. I hope you enjoy them too. Cheers! 🍸

Last year I did two cooking class/pop up supper club events in support of The Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry. The events were very successful, so in September of 2020, we were planning to do a larger event at the Bastrop Convention & Exhibit Center, in honor of Hunger Action Month. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic all events were cancelled. Now that things are improving, we have decided to do a small event on October 30th. I am so excited to be able to contribute to my community again. The menu will be Italian with a Halloween flair. The menu and the event details will be posted two weeks from now, on October 3rd, 2020.

My husband will be serving the Chili Cherry Bourbon, and another surprise Halloween cocktail as part of the aperitivo that precedes the dinner.

Be on the lookout for the event menu and details !!!

Until then Ciao 🖐💕

Holiday Spiced Bourbon

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  In celebration, my hubby created the first of his holiday cocktails for the 2018 season.

INGREDIENTS:Holiday Spiced Bourbon Ingredients

  • 2 ounces of your favorite bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce Averna Amaro
  • 1/2 ounce Ancho Chili Reyes Liqueur
  • 3 dashes blood orange bitters
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of freshly grated nutmeg
  • A frozen Bourbon ball (or ice for the drink glass)


  • Mixing cup
  • Measuring cup (pony/jigger)
  • Bourbon glass (rocks glass)
  • ice for shaking the drink in the mixing cup


  • put ice in the mixing cup
  • put liquid ingredients in mixing cup
  • shake vigorously
  • place a frozen Bourbon ball in your rocks glass (or use ice if you don’t have a Bourbon ball)
  • pour liquid ingredients into rocks glass, while retaining the ice in the mixing cup.

Holiday Spiced Bourbon Poured

Add a dash of cinnamon and grate a dash of fresh nutmeg.Holiday Spiced Bourbon Feature

This holiday drink is the first in a series for the season.  CHEERS!!!

Texan Raspberry 75

This is the cocktail that I pair with my Fig Fillo Bites.

INGREDIENTS:  per drink

  • 1 oz Moody June Gin
  • 1 oz Texas South Wind Red Raspberry Fruit Wine
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Slice of lemon for garnish
  • 1 glazed fig ice cube per drink (see below on how to make cube)
  • Enough Korbel Brut to top off drink


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  • The first photo shows the glazed figs with their glazing liquid (see “Glazing The Figs” in my Fig Fillo Bites recipe)  The glazed figs can be stored in a glass container in the frig.  They will keep for 3 months.
  • Place a silicone ice cube tray on top of a cookie sheet
  • Place one glazed fig in each section of the ice cube tray
  • Using a tea spoon, fill each cubed section to the top with the glazing liquid.
  • Freeze overnight.  Use the cubes you need.  Store the rest in a plastic freezer bag for future use.


  • Fill a drink shaker half way with ice
  • Add gin and raspberry wine
  • Add juice from lemon
  • Shake well
  • Put 1 fig ice cube in the glassTexan Raspberry 75 Cube
  • Add mix from shaker to glassTexan Raspberry 75 Korbel
  • Top off with champagne
  • Add a slice of lemon to the rim for garnishTexan Raspberry 75 Feature

As the glazed fig ice cube melts, the drink gets more flavorful.  At the end of the drink you are left with a delicious macerated fig to eat.  CHEERS!!!  Let me know your feedback by leaving a comment.  I love to hear from you.

Dirty Lychee Martini

Last week I found fresh Lychees at the Indian grocery store.  I love Lychees.  My grandfather use to buy them for me during the summer season when I would visit him in India.  I eat Lychees fresh, but I was inspired to have my husband use them in a refreshing cocktail.  He came up with this Dirty Lychee Martini.

Ingredients:  Per Drink

Dirty Lychee Martini Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 ounces of vodka
  • 1/2 ounce of elderflower liqueur
  • 2 fresh lychees (use canned lychees if you don’t have fresh ones)


  • Peel two lychees and place them in a glass container with a spout
  • Add 2 1/2 ounces of vodka
  • Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight to create a lychee infused vodka.
  • Remove lychees from vodka.  Juice one lychee into a shaker filled with ice.  Set aside the other lychee for garnish.
  • Add the elderflower liqueur and the lychee infused vodka to the shaker
  • Chill martini glass
  • Shake ingredients in shaker
  • Add lychee garnish to chilled martini glass
  • Pour drink mixture over lychee garnish in martini glass

Last week we went to Fort Worth, Texas.  We ate at this incredible restaurant located in downtown called GRACE.  They served a lime and coconut sorbet spiked with lychee, as a palate cleanser.  I am totally stealing the idea for this sorbet because it makes a great paring for our Dirty Lychee Martini.  Below is a photo of the sorbet.

Dirty Lychee Martini Pairing

I also posted a review on Yelp for GRACE.

Taj Pani

Taj means crown and Pani means water.  The name for this cocktail was inspired by the Indian soft drink, Limca.  Limca is a lemon-lime soft drink which is not too sweet.  It has a bitter note like a grapefruit.

Ingredients: per drink

  • Limca-to taste
  • Beefeater Gin-1 ounce
  • Juice from a lime-1 squeeze
  • Red chili pepper for garnish
  • Ice in a shaker cup-1/4 full

Mixing the drink:

Taj Pani

  • Place a red chili in a martini glass
  • Pour the gin into the ice-filled shaker
  • Add the lime juice and shake
  • Pour into the martini glass over the red chili pepper
  • Add Limca to taste for your level of sweetness.

Recipe note:  You can find Limca in an Indian grocery store.  If you can’t find Limca use Squirt or your favorite lemon-lime soda.

Pear Martini


Christmas Cocktails

The above photo shows the ingredients for 3 drinks.  The pear martini ingredients are to the right of the photo:

  • Absolut Pear Vodka–2 parts
  • Elderflower Liqueur–1 part
  • Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic–to taste
  • Candied Pear Slice–1 per drink
  • Agave Nectar and additional Elderflower Liqueur for candying the pears

Method for candying the pear slices:

  • Quarter a pear lengthwise and remove the core.
  • Thinly slice each piece of pear lengthwise.
  • Place pear slices in a sauce pan along with enough Elderflower Liqueur to just cover the pears.
  • Add enough Agave nectar for your level of sweetness–I added 1 teaspoon.
  • Simmer on low heat until the pears become translucent.
  • Store the candied pear slices with their liquid in a glass container.  Place container in fridge until use.  The pears will store well for at least six months.

Preparing the drink:

  • Place candied pear slice in a coupe or traditional martini glass.
  • Fill the martini shaker with ice half-way.
  • Add Vodka and Liqueur to shaker.  Shake vigorously.
  • Pour over the pear slice and add tonic water.

I first had a pear martini at Bartlett’s in Austin, Texas.  I was inspired to make my own version.  They are both delicious.  I really enjoy eating the pear slice when the drink is finished.

My husband served this for Christmas and called it “Partridge In A Pear Tree.”