Cider Rum Punch

It's Friday and I found a tasty way to help knock the chill out of the air.

Who doesn't love apple cider? Especially this time of year. With the warming spices and crisp apples, it's the perfect accompaniment to all the comfort foods of the season.

Served hot or cold or even non-alcoholic, this is a crowd pleaser. And the fact that you can make it in batches, freeing you up to enjoy your gatherings, really makes it a worthy addition to your cocktail recipe arsenal.

Credit where credit is due. I found this particular recipe on this lovely blog.


Cider Rum Punch


8 ounces dark rum

3 ounces lemon juice

4 ounces thyme simple syrup

12 ounces apple cider

4 ounces water

4 ounces club soda

8 dashed of Angostura Bitters

sprigs of thyme, garnish

apple wheels, garnish


To make thyme simple syrup, combine 2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cups of water and 6 thyme sprigs in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring up to a boil and reduce to simmer, until the sugar has fully dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and place the syrup in the fridge to cool.

Place all the ingredients in a large picture or carafe with ice and stir.

Fill your glasses with crushed ice and fill. Place a sprig of thyme inside and put an apple wheel on the rim.

Serves 6.

Pimm's Celery Cup

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the original Pimm's Cup recipe. It's a tasty gin-based potion, a summertime classic and the official drink of Wimbledon.

I was simply looking to push the thirst-quenching envelope a bit, and perhaps make better use of that bottle of Pimm's No. 1 that seems to languish in my liquor cabinet.

Few ingredients say refreshing quite like a cold, crunchy stalk of celery so I layered it in the classic recipe, invited a few people over and voilà  - half the bottle is gone!

Pimm's Celery Cup

  • 2 oz. Pimm's No. 1
  • 1/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz. celery simple syrup
  • Ginger ale
  • 5-7 Celery stalks for muddling and garnish
  • Ice cubes

Cut celery into 2 inch pieces and muddle with lemon juice and simple syrup, strain and pour over ice adding Pimms, ginger ale and garnish.

Celery simple syrup

Simmer 3 stalks of celery with 1 cup water and 1 cup of sugar for 20 minutes. Let cool completely and strain.

Jalapeño Margarita

When the temperatures start to rise, I start to warm up to margaritas. They are the perfect icy cold complement to BBQ, summer salads and of course, Mexican food.


Normally I prefer the classic version - straight up, no funny business. You know, no frozen versions, no orange juice, no strawberry-mango-peach combinations, and never sweet and sour mix or Rose's lime juice - EVER!

I make an exception here with the addition of jalapeño simple syrup. It's just the right amount of flavor and spice without veering into funny business.

The secret to great margaritas is the ratio of ingredients. Start out with quality spirits, keep it 2 parts tequila, 1 part triple sec and 1 part lime & sweetener and you will not go wrong. The sweetener can be another simple syrup or agave nectar.

Jalapeño Margarita

  • 2 oz tequila - I prefer blanco but if you like reposado - go for it!
  • 1 oz triple sec orange liqueur - Cointreau icks it up a notch
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz jalapeño simple syrup*
  • sliced jalapeño


Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice, shake and strain into a rocks or stem glass with salted rim and garnish with a slice of jalapeño.

alapeño simple syrup:

Combine one cup of sugar, one cup of water and 1 large jalapeño pepper sliced lengthwise with seeds in. Bring to a boil, then simmer 20 minutes. Strain and allow to cool completely before continuing.


Kumquat Campari Martini

I was thrilled when my friend and fellow blogger, Heather, invited me to do a guest post for Poppy Haus. I love her sensibility, and of course her great ideas for DIY projects. But the thing I love the most is she does it all with 2 very active little boys underfoot. I can relate to that challenge, as I have 2 little wild things of my own.

While it's true there are days when total chaos ensues and our quest for order derailed, we press on in our determination to live, entertain and decorate with a bit of style.

And when it comes to stylish entertaining nothing says - "I've got it all together" faster (and easier) than offering your guests a carefully crafted signature cocktail. I kick off every party this way and I've compiled dozens of recipes here at gather365.

Heather requested a recipe with seasonal ingredients, so I whipped up a kumquat Campari martini. All citrus marries well with most cocktail recipes, but I especially like this quirky, inside out, sweet and sour variety - the peel is sweet while the fruit is sour. Plus they make for a very festive garnish and no cocktail is properly dressed without that.

Although it would be fun, you don't need to become a mixologist to make great cocktails. Simply adopt a few game-changer techniques like infusing spirits and mixing custom simple syrups, consider the compatibility with your menu and experiment a little. If you really want to pursue the mixology thing though let this be your bible.

If martinis aren't your thing, or you need to make a big batch rather than individual drinks - which I highly recommend for large gatherings, try this recipe

Kumquat Campari Martini


  • 2 oz kumquat infused vodka*
  • 1/4 oz  Campari
  • 1/2 oz kumquat, cardamom simple syrup**
  • 1/4 oz fresh lemon juice


Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice, shake vigorously, strain into a stem glass, and garnish with a slice of kumquat.


Infused vodka: Combine 1/2 pint of kumquats, sliced in half, with 12 oz of vodka and store in sealed glass container for at least 24 hours - 72 hours is best. Adjust the amount of fruit and spirit for number of cocktails - this will make approximately 8 drinks.

Custom simple syrup: Combine 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water plus a hand full of sliced kumquats and 3 dried cardamom pods* in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Cool completely before continuing.