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THE AUTUMNAL MIMOSA

Lauren Kelp | The Autumnal MimosaHey, hey, it’s Friday! And you know what that means – COCKTAILS! We think you worked extra hard this week, so we think you should treat yourself to the most delicious cocktail around (well, at least this week) – our Autumnal Mimosa! See the recipe from sweet Laurel below. – xoxo, LK


Good morning, all! November is finally here, and where I live (in a little desert oasis called Phoenix) that means the return of outdoor entertaining. The cooler temperatures recently inspired me to throw a little autumnal-themed brunch bash, which led me to a new revelation…apple cider mimosas! In all my experimenting with cocktails, I’ve never messed around with the original mimosa equation (Orange juice + Sparkling wine = BRUNCH TIME), and now I’m kicking myself for having missed out on so many delicious, seasonal sips!

This pairing of crisp apple cider with a perfectly chilled sparkling wine (try a nice, dry prosecco or champagne to balance the sweetness of cider) is an autumnal match made in heaven, and perfectly Instagram-worthy once topped with a slice of apple and a sprig of fresh rosemary.

Lauren Kelp | The Autumnal Mimosa

INGREDIENTS:

3 oz. dry prosecco or champagne

3 oz. apple cider

Apple slice (choose your favorite variety–I love tart & sweet Honeycrisps–and slice thinly)

Fresh rosemary sprig

Lauren Kelp | The Autumnal Mimosa

 INSTRUCTIONS:

1.Fill each glass halfway with apple cider.

2.Pop open your sparkling wine, top off each glass with an equal amount, leaving about an inch of room at the top.

3.Garnish each glass with a fresh slice of apple and rosemary sprig, then enjoy! Happy brunching!

Lauren Kelp | The Autumnal Mimosa


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PLUM SAKE GRANITA

Plum Sake Granita | Lauren KelpHello, FRI-YAY! Are y’all doing anything fun to celebrate the end of a good week? Anyone else feel like this week was particularly long? Either way, good week, bad week, we’ve got a delicious new cocktail concoction that is perfect for celebrating the weekend! It’s a frozen delight and it’s packed full of flavor. Don’t be leary, this is a serious crowdpleaser! See the skinny below – xoxo, LK


Who says the cocktail hour has to come at the start of the meal? There’s nothing like an after-dinner beverage to gather all your guests together one last time before the end of the night…it’s the perfect time to serve something smooth and velvety and spiked with just a little something. If that after-dinner crowdpleaser happens to be a luscious, fruity frozen dessert, even better! Mix up a batch of Plum Sake Granita the next time you want to end a meal in style, and you’ll have an instant classic on your hands. The best part? Unlike other frozen desserts like sorbets, you won’t even need an ice cream maker to put together this spoon-able cocktail!

I honestly can’t get enough of plums while they’re in season–there are so many varieties to try, but the rich golden sweetness of black plums always blows me away–and blending them with a dose of sake, or Japanese rice wine, is a winning combination. Since sake is lighter in alcohol than other liquors (percentage-wise, it’s more like a wine), it won’t drown out the lovely, delicate sweet tartness of the plums OR send you off to bed feeling overly boozy. Every scoop of this Plum Sake Granita is simply a smooth, satisfying end to your evening!

Plum Sake Granita | Lauren Kelp

INGREDIENTS:

– 3 black plums

– 1 1/2 cups water

– 3/4 cup sugar

– 1 cup sake

INSTRUCTIONS:

– Peel and slice three plums, removing the pit as you go.

– Place plums in a saucepan with water and sugar, bring to a boil then simmer on low for 5 minutes.

– Add sake to plums, let cool.

– Puree mixture in food processor or blender until smooth.

– Pour mixture in a lidded plastic container and freeze. After about an hour, scrape the whole mixture with a metal spoon until it softens into fluffy ice crystals, then re-freeze. Scrape until fluffy once more before serving, then enjoy!

Plum Sake Granita | Lauren Kelp


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WATERMELON BLOODY MARY

Watermelon Bloody Mary | Lauren Kelp

To be honest, I am not the biggest bloody mary fan. I know, I know, they are awesome & amazing, but they aren’t my first choice…until now! Thanks to Laurel’s delicious little twist, this cocktail might be worthy a try! – xoxo, LK


Bloody Mary lovers everywhere, forgive me…I have never been one of your tribe. It’s nearly impossible to figure out why–first of all, let me state that I LOVE brunch, and the Bloody Mary is a brunch superstar. I love tomatoes. I love spicy things. I’m even into the weirder, more esoteric ingredients you don’t see a lot outside of a good Bloody, like celery salt and Worcestershire sauce. But for crying out loud, put a tall glass of spicy-salty-tomato-vodka juice in front of me, and I’m like……meh. It’s a real problem, I’m working through it.

I started having daydreams about a beverage that would take the cool, sugary pink juice of a watermelon and add the zesty kick of fresh lime juice, just a hint of salt, and the surprise spiciness of a fresh pepper. Then it hit me…if you added a splash of vodka and a garnish to this, it would basically be a Bloody Mary. In the name of overcoming my Bloody-phobia, I mixed one up (for science!) and tried it. Then tried it again. Sweet, bright and smooth with no canned tomato flavor or limp celery in sight…I loved this pink beauty instantly! Sold. Cheers to my–and your–new favorite late summer brunch drink the Watermelon Bloody Mary!

Watermelon Bloody Mary | Lauren Kelp

INGREDIENTS:

– 2 cups watermelon cubes

– 1/4 cup sugar

– 2 tablespoons lime juice

– 1 jalapeño, stem removed (use a serrano instead if you’re feeling spicy)

– 3 oz. vodka

– pinch of salt

– Garnishes: grape tomato, jalapeño slice, fresh basil, whatever you like!

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Puree watermelon, sugar, lime juice and jalapeño in a blender or food processor, strain through mesh strainer and save the juice.

2. Add ice to cocktail shaker, top with watermelon juice, vodka and a pinch of salt.

3. Shake, pour into two Collins glasses.

4. Garnish with a skewer of tomato, jalapeño and basil.

Watermelon Bloody Mary | Lauren Kelp


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APRICOT WHISKEY SMASH

APRICOT WHISKEY SMASH - LAUREN KELPOh dear friends. It is indeed the weekend and celebrate we must! I’ve only recently jumped on this whiskey train, and I must admit I waited way too long. I can’t say I’m tough enough to order a Johnny Walker straight up, I can definitely get behind a good whiskey based cocktail.

The best thing about this particular concoction? It’s super simple! We here at LaurenKelp.com believe that eating, drinking, and entertaining is, above all else, supposed to be fun! You’ve heard us say it a million times – who cares if the sauce is runny or the chicken is  little burnt? Having friends and family there to laugh off the mishaps with is truly the best part!

So if you’re anything like me and prone to drop the ball every now and then (i.e. forget to thaw the meat in time or over-salt the brussel sprouts) be sure to have this yummy little cocktail up your sleeve! It’s easy, refreshing, and a mega crowd pleaser!

APRICOT WHISKEY SMASH - LAUREN KELP

INGREDIENTS:

-5 fresh mint leaves

-1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice

-1 apricot cut into wedges

-3/4 oz. simple syrup

-2 oz. Knob Creek Whiskey

-ice

-1 sprig fresh mint

APRICOT WHISKEY SMASH - LAUREN KELP

INSTRUCTIONS:

-In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint leaves, lemon juice, apricot wedges, and simple syrup.

-Add whiskey and ice to shaker.

-Shake vigorously for 30 seconds.

-Strain cocktail through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass (over ice if desired).

-Garnish with fresh mint sprig.

APRICOT WHISKEY SMASH - LAUREN KELP

APRICOT WHISKEY SMASH - LAUREN KELP


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PEACH BASIL GIN & TONIC

gtblog0004HAPPY FRIDAY! Woohoo! How should you celebrate the end to this hectic week? This delicious peach basil gin & tonic of course! I will never tire of a well made gin & tonic. There is something so crisp and delicious about it and this little twist takes this classic to an entirely new level. I mean PEACH and BASIL! Get out!! It’s like the best flavors of summer decided to get together and have a pool party…but the pool is gin…and it’s amazing.

Y’all, this is about to change your summer beverage game for the better. Don’t believe me? Try it and tell me I am wrong! If you don’t like it, pass it our way and we will happily help a sister out 😉

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INGREDIENTS:

- 1 fresh white peach (cut into quarters)
– Fresh basil
– 2 oz Gin (we used St. George Dry Rye and it works beautifully)
– 3 oz Tonic or seltzer

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INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Place a quartered ripe peach and a few large basil leaves in your shaker.

2. Add a splash of your favorite gin and muddle together.

3. Add 2oz of gin to the shaker and top with crushed ice. Cap and shake vigorously for 15 seconds to chill.

4. Fine strain (or cheese cloth) into a coupe glass and top with 3oz of tonic (or seltzer for a lower calorie treat).

5. Float a basil leaf to garnish and enjoy.

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WATERMELON CHAMPAGNE

WATERMELON CHAMPAGNE - Lauren KelpHAPPY FRIDAY! Constance here! For some reason I can’t seem to shake Jennifer Grey’s line from Dirty Dancing–it’s been in my head all week, and I haven’t watched that movie in years. The more I think about it though, what better way to crash a good summer party? ‘I carried a watermelon…’ Who wouldn’t be friends with the gal who brought the watermelon?

Cocktails + watermelon + friends + sunshine. What more do you need for a good summer? And summer is officially here, friends…..or at least it is for us desert dwellers. It hit 115 here this week, and literally the ONLY thing that sounds even somewhat appealing to me for dinner is, you guessed it, watermelon. In true LaurenKelp.com tradition, we’re throwing a little dinner shindig tonight, and I was in desperate need to find an easy, not super sweet, minimal effort cocktail for the masses. Mission accomplished with this watermelon champagne. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and scroll down to the ‘Instructions’ portion of the post…

Told you.

I hope you love it as much as we do! Happy weekend, friends!

WATERMELON CHAMPAGNE - Lauren KelpINGREDIENTS:

-2 oz. fresh watermelon juice

-3 oz. champagne

-fresh mint leaves to garnish

WATERMELON CHAMPAGNE - Lauren KelpINSTRUCTIONS:

-Pour 2 ounces of watermelon juice into chilled champagne flute or glass.

-Top with 3 ounces of fine champagne or brut.

-Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

WATERMELON CHAMPAGNE - Lauren Kelp


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WATERMELON MARGARITA

WATERMELON MARGARITA - Lauren Kelp

In our home, we’re firm believers in celebrating regularly. What do we celebrate on a regular basis? Tacos. With about 95% of the population. But hey, there’s a reason everyone’s doing it. If you haven’t jumped on this train yet, we highly suggest you do it…..and soon!

So, as you can tell, this post isn’t about the next best taco recipe, but about it the cocktail that was made for tacos. All hail the margarita! After a long term relationship with the jalapeno & cucumber version, my husband so kindly suggested that we mix things up a bit. And what better way to ring in summer than by adding a little watermelon to everything! This Watermelon Margarita is new favorite of ours & is so light and refreshing. PLUS! it pairs perfectly with grilled Mahi-Mahi tacos with pineapple salsa (recipe coming soon!).

WATERMELON MARGARITA - Lauren Kelp

INGREDIENTS:

-3/4 oz. fresh watermelon juice

-1/2 oz. fresh lime juice

-2 oz. tequila

-3/4 oz. Cointreau

-1/4 oz. agave nectar

-cocktail salt for rim if desired

-lime wheel to garnish

WATERMELON MARGARITA - Lauren Kelp

INSTRUCTIONS:

-Rim a cocktail glass or margarita glass with salt and place in the freezer to chill.

-Add the watermelon juice, lime juice, tequila, Cointreau, agave and ice to a shaker.

-Shake for about 30 seconds to chill.

-Strain into your margarita glass, float lime wheel to garnish and enjoy!

WATERMELON MARGARITA - Lauren Kelp


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THE BEST RED SANGRIA RECIPE

RED SANGRIA - Lauren Kelp

Sangria is an absolute summer staple. There is nothing quite like a cold glass full of ripe fruit to get you through those balmy July days and cooler August nights. Sangria meets everyone’s needs – the wine drinker loves it, the beer drinker enjoys it too, and for the gal that only drinks cocktails, she can’t say ‘no’ either. But with so many recipes and various iterations of this summer classic, how do you find the best one? Luckily, we’ve been hard at work here in the LK test kitchen, making batches to test-taste and perfect. Thanks to all this “hard work” we’ve found the best red sangria recipe there ever was. It’s the right amount of sweet, the perfect mélange of fruit, and it has been stamped with approval by many a summer party goer. Don’t trust us? Try for yourself. We promise – you’ll love it!

RED SANGRIA - Lauren Kelp

INGREDIENTS:

– 2 bottles of red Spanish table wine

– 1 cup of Brandy

– 1/2 cup of Triple Sec

– 1 cup of orange juice

– 1 cup of pomegranate juice

– 1/2 cup of Simple Syrup (see below)

– Orange slices

– Apple slices

– Blackberries

– Pomegranate seeds


RED SANGRIA - Lauren Kelp

DIRECTIONS:

1. SIMPLE SYRUP – Mix equal parts sugar and water in a sauce pan. Heat on medium high until sugar dissolves. Remove from burner and let the syrup cool

2. Grab a few oranges & apples (amount depends on how fruity you like your sangria and/or how many people you want to serve) and cut long-ways. Don’t think soccer practice wedges, think thinner slices.

3. Mix all ingredients together and let stand in a tightly sealed container or pitcher for at least 24 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

4. Grab your favorite glasses, drop in a few ice cubes, and voila! The best sangria there ever was!

RED SANGRIA - Lauren Kelp


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PRICKLY PEAR TEQUILA FLOATS

Prickly Pear Grapefruit Float

A delicious cocktail recipe is always the best way to kick off the weekend, but we just might be outdoing ourselves with these Prickly Pear Tequila Floats!

Perfect for warm summer afternoons, the sorbet has the added bonus of keeping your cocktail chilled. No simple syrups, no exotic ingredients you’ll have to hunt down at a specialty store, and ready to sip in under 5 minutes. TGIF!

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INGREDIENTS

– 1 bottle Prickly Pear Italian Soda from Central Market
– 1 pint grapefruit sorbet
– 1 1/2 tablespoons tequila

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INSTRUCTIONS

Optional Prep-Ahead: Scoop and freeze small balls of grapefruit sorbet on a cookie sheet in the freezer 1″ cookie scoop or melon baller.

1. Place a small scoop of grapefruit sorbet into the bottom of each chilled glass.

2. Add a splash of tequila, then top with Prickly Pear Italian Soda. Keep things virgin by ditching the tequila, or make into big batch cocktails by combining all the ingredients into a blender before serving.

3. Garnish with grapefruit slices or a pretty paper straw if you’re feeling extra festive.

4. Enjoy!


Photography: Kristen Kilpatrick | Styling & Design: Lindsey Brunk

Glassware: Crate & Barrel | Colorful Serving Platters: CB2

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LAVENDER PEACH BELLINI

Lavender Peach Bellini

Hello, lovelies! Lindsey here! We originally created this cocktail for Mother’s Day, but think it’s fabulous enough to re-purpose for any occasion! This delicious Lavender Peach Bellini is perfect for a quiet brunch at home or afternoon cocktail with Mom. As simple as it is beautiful, this quick recipe is great for a Mother’s Day or a bridal brunch!

Lavender Peach Bellini

INGREDIENTS

– 1 cup peach juice or 1 can peach puree

– 1 bottle Chanson Royale Brut Rosé

– 1 fresh sliced peach

– Fresh lavender sprigs for garnish

Lavender Peach Bellini

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Slice a fresh peach and place 2-3 slices in each glass. For a stronger cocktail, soak fruit in a peach liquor for an hour before serving.

2. In the bottom of each glass, add 2 tablespoons peach puree for a true bellini or 4 oz. peach juice for a lighter cocktail.

3. Fill the remainder of the glass with Chanson Royale Brut Rosé (isn’t the bottle gorg?!) and top off with a fresh lavender sprig.

4. Enjoy with Mom!

Lavender Peach Bellini


Recipe & Styling: Lindsey Brunk // Photos: Charla Storey Photographylindseybrunk