Vanilla White Russian

vanilla white russian cocktail

The White Russian cocktail is one of my “go-to” after dinner drinks, especially in the fall and winter.  I enjoy trying new cocktail recipes and attempting to create my own new cocktails so lately I have been experimenting with flavored vodkas.

I bought a number of mini bottles of various flavored vodkas to try out so I would not be stuck with full bottles of liquor that I did not like (a lesson I should have learned years ago…).  I found that substituting vanilla vodka for the regular vodka in a White Russian gives the drink a nice smooth taste.  The vanilla taste is not obvious, but instead gives the drink a little extra depth of flavor.

I tried to come up with a creative name for this drink, but decided to keep it simple and call it a Vanilla White Russian.  I used whole milk instead of cream to keep the calories down, however anything from skim milk all the way up to half and half can be used in this recipe.

Vanilla White Russian
Fill glass with ice
Add 2 ounces Kahlua
Add 1 ounce vanilla vodka
Fill glass with cream or milk
Include a stir stick or straw


What is your favorite flavored vodka?

Best Champagne by Price

Best champagne by price

Champagne is by far my favorite alcoholic beverage and I do not need a special occasion to drink it…other than it being Friday or Saturday night.  I also use my “good” champagne flutes on a regular basis as well because life is short, use the good stuff.

Most people do not drink champagne on a regular basis like I do, but many people do drink champagne for New Year’s Eve.  The champagne aisle can be intimidating and it can be a bit of a crap shoot since you cannot taste it, so here are a few reliable bottles to choose from for your New Year’s Eve celebration.

I should note ahead of time that I like my champagne dry, not sweet.  I believe that people who think they like sweet champagne just have not had a good bottle of dry champagne yet.

Over $100: Dom Perignon
If not for the price, this would be my go to champagne always and I cannot imagine anyone not liking it.  It does hold a special place in my heart though because on my first date with my husband, he went to the restaurant early and had a bottle of Dom put on ice to chill for us to have on our arrival.

$35 to $40: Piper Heidsieck Brut
This champagne tastes a lot more expensive than it actually is and will surely impress.  It is a little toastier and creamier than the others, but should still please most people.

$25 to $30: Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs
Although not technically champagne because it is from California, this sparkling wine is a great choice for people who want a little more fruit flavor…which is different from “sweet”.

Under $20: Chandon Brut Classic
This less expensive bottle is usually what I choose for a second bottle (drink the expensive bottle first!) or to mix for mimosas.  It is still very nice on its own for the price.  Price varies a bit on this one and I have paid anywhere from $13 to $18.

$40 to $45 Pink Champagne: Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rose
Pink does not mean sweet.  I love the color of pink champagne, especially for holidays, and this is my “go to” when I want pink bubbles.

Why nothing between the $40ish bottles and the over $100 bottle?  I really think the Piper Heidsieck is a great bottle of champagne and I do not see the need to spend more than that unless you want the ultra high end.

I hope you enjoy whichever bottle you choose.  Happy New Year!

White Chocolate Mint Martini

Last weekend my husband said he wanted a “festive cocktail” so off to the local ABC store I went for inspiration.  While perusing the cordials aisle, a bottle of Godiva white chocolate liqueur stood out to me.  White chocolate martinis immediately came to mind.

Godiva white chocolate liqueur

The first round I made with just the Godiva white chocolate liqueur and vodka.  My husband does not normally like anything white chocolate because he says it is not real chocolate, so I was not sure how he would react to it.  I went ahead and made the drinks without asking him if he wanted to try it because I knew if I just handed it to him, he would drink it.

white chocolate mint martini

It was really good, however the vodka was a bit sharp so he suggested I add a splash of peppermint schnapps.  I am not a fan of anything peppermint, especially schnapps, so we compromised on adding a splash of clear crème de menthe instead.  I like to joke about crème de menthe since my mom used to drink it with 7-up years ago and it reminds me of older ladies in Vegas ordering grasshoppers.  I didn’t use the green crème de menthe though because that would make it too girly for him.  This slight amount of mint made all the difference!  It was smooth and strong…just how I like my drinks.

White Chocolate Mint Martini
2 parts Godiva white chocolate liqueur
1 part vodka (I use Grey Goose)
Splash of clear crème de menthe (use the green version if you want a green drink)
Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass

What is your favorite festive cocktail?

5 Best Cocktails in the Caribbean

5 Best Caribbean Cocktails

A vacation is not a vacation without cocktails.  The Caribbean is one of my favorite spots to visit over the last few years so I have been sampling the signature cocktails of the islands.

Here are my top five favorite cocktails in the Caribbean.

Bushwacker1. Bushwacker
The bushwacker sounds more potent than it really is.  It is popular in the Virgin Islands and I think of it as a grown up milk shake with a kick that I enjoy having for dessert.  Vodka, rum, Bailey’s, Kahlua, Frangelico and coconut cream all blended with ice and topped with freshly grated nutmeg make this drink my overall favorite!  Every bar makes it differently, however my vote for the best goes to Pirates Bight on Norman Island.

Mango daiquiri2. Mango Daiquiri
Mangoes are a creamy fruit that blend well and are my favorite flavor for a daiquiri (or margarita or smoothie).  I made these all summer using frozen mango chunks from Trader Joe’s, but most bars use Goya mango nectar which is easily found in most grocery stores so this can be easily whipped up at home.  The daiquiri was named after a beach in Cuba, but can be found all over the Caribbean and is usually served quite strong because rum is cheaper than the mango nectar down in the islands.

rum punch3. Plantation Punch
Plantation punch is my husband’s favorite and he tries it everywhere we go to find the best.  This drink made from rum, fruit juices and possibly a dash of bitters varies from bar to bar and island to island, but my husband claims the best is on Petit St. Vincent, the fabulous private island in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.


4. Painkiller
The Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands created this concoction that brings people from all over the world to swim into gorgeous White Bay and pay for drinks with soggy dollars since there is not a dock on this beach.  This cocktail made from orange juice, pineapple juice, dark rum and coconut cream will cure any pains you may have.

5. Jamaican Smile
While on a trip to Jamaica with a girlfriend, we saw a number of people at the resort with a pink blended drink.  It was too light to be a strawberry daiquiri so I inquired at the bar about “the pink drink”.  I thought the bartender said it was a “Jamaica Me Smile” so that is what my friend and I called it during most of the trip until another bartender giggled at us and told us it is called a “Jamaican Smile”.  Either way, this blended cocktail that is somewhere between a strawberry daiquiri and a pina colada with a banana thrown in for fun always made us smile.

What are your favorite tropical cocktails?

Indian Summer Cocktails

Just as fashions change with the seasons so do the cocktails I drink. Normally this time of year I start drinking red wine and White Russians but this weather calls for Indian summer cocktails.

Indian summer cocktails

Here are some Indian summer cocktails to enjoy.

1. A lemon and bourbon cocktail

2. A cocktail that tastes like chilled apple cider mixed with pumpkin pie spices

3. Strawberries and cream cocktail

4. Anything with ginger beer, try a moscow mule

5. The perfect margarita

What are your favorite Indian summer cocktails?

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