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

Enjoy!

What is your favorite flavored vodka?

Pink Champagne Cupcakes

Pink champagne cupcakes are my favorite cupcakes both to make and to eat.  Not a big surprise given my love for champagne.  These champagne cupcakes are so pretty in pale pink, although they can be made in any color, and are perfect for a baby shower, bridal shower or really any reason.

pink champagne cupcakes

I’m a big fan of “doctoring” cake mixes and happily admit to it.  This pink champagne cupcake recipe is from the Betty Crocker Big Book of Cupcakes, which is full of cupcake inspiration.

A few tips:

1. Use a champagne you like to drink!  It doesn’t have to be an expensive bottle, but do not go super cheap and use something like Cook’s.  I use Domaine Chandon Brut, which is also my go-to champagne for mimosas.

2. Instead of using liquid red food coloring (per the recipe), use “no taste red” icing color made by Wilton.  The liquid red food coloring has a bitter taste.

3. Add any decorations on top right after icing the cupcakes because the decorations will not stick once the icing has crusted.

4. If you want to use a different frosting, go ahead and use your favorite recipe and just replace the liquid in the recipe with champagne.

Enjoy!

Easy White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Have you ever looked at the all ingredients on a bottle of salad dressing? Now that I have cleaned up my diet and am avoiding sugar I make fresh salad dressing every day. It really only takes a couple minutes and it tastes amazing.

White Balsamic Vinaigrette (serves 2)
2 tablespoons mild olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 to 1 clove crushed garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl

Super easy and tastes so fresh! I serve this over mixed baby greens with grape tomatoes, yellow or orange bell peppers, Persian cucumbers, goat cheese and pine nuts.

Salad

Or substitute regular balsamic for the white balsamic and serve over a salad with Gorgonzola and Bosc pears.

Restaurant Quality Guacamole

Add avocado to any food and it is called “California style”.  I may have grown up in southern California, but I never really liked avocados or guacamole…until I had the guacamole at a restaurant called Rosa Mexicano in Washington, DC.

I started making guacamole at home using Rosa Mexicano’s guacamole recipe and it is just as good as in the restaurant! I get annoyed when I see recipes that are supposed to be from a restaurant, but then do not turn out anything like the restaurant version.  To make it even more authentic, and how it is prepared in the restaurant, use a molcajete.

guacamole

Store bought chips do not do this guacamole justice.  Make homemade chips by cutting up corn tortillas into wedges, spray with cooking spray, sprinkle with a little salt and then bake until crispy.

This guacamole pairs perfectly with The Perfect Margarita.

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?

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