Gin Days Of Summer: Lemon Basil Collins


Lemon Basil Collins Gin Cocktail

The Lemon Basil Collins, it’s truly a magical creation.

But you have to understand, I love Basil. I mean, I love Basil more than most people. Like, wwaaayyyy more.

This cocktail is bright, crisp, and refreshing. Absolutely perfect for a hot summer afternoon in New Mexico.

Fresh organic Basil, garden grown in New Mexico.
I even grew the Basil in my yard.

Follow the flowchart:

At the bottom of an otherwise empty glass add:

1 slice lemon

1.5 teaspoons sugar

Several Basil leaves.

Muddle until the Basil leaves show signs of bruising, which will release the flavor from the leaves.

On top of the the muddled lemon, sugar, and basil, fill the glass with ice.

Add 1.5 oz shot of Gin.

Top with unsweetened lemon flavored seltzer water.


Garnish with a slice of lemon and a sprig of fresh basil.
Lemon Basil Gin Cocktail


Gin Days Of Summer: Orange Cream Collins


Orange Cream Collins Gin CocktailYou really can’t go wrong mixing Gin with most any type of citrus. Although the traditional Tom Collins is not a sweet drink (being only Gin, lemon juice, and club soda), thus far my drinks have all been pretty sweet. My series of Collins-ish cocktails was born out of an effort to make Xavier happy. He’s a fan of sweet and he told me he was on a mission for the “Perfect Tom Collins”.

I may not have mentioned it previously but in my younger days, I spent three years working as a bartender in Las Vegas, Nevada. I even attended a private bartending academy so I could be grossly overqualified for deflecting pervy old men, opening beers and pouring shots in my local neighborhood bar.

All that wasted mixology knowledge, sitting around collecting dust for the last twenty years, has finally found something to do.

I couldn’t say if I prefer the Cherry Limeade Collins to this Orange Cream Collins, as they’re both terrific, but here’s the recipe for the Orange Cream Collins.

In a glass of ice, mix the following in this order:

1.5 oz shot of Gin.

2 splashes of lime juice.

Top off with Orange Cream flavored seltzer water.

Stir. Don’t do anything else until you stir.

Garnish with a slice of orange and two maraschino cherries.

Pour in about a teaspoon of cherry juice from the jar (or Grenadine). The cherry juice will sink to the bottom creating a pretty layered effect.

Orange Cream Collins Gin Cocktail ingredients

P.S. It is not necessary to break the bank on these drinks. As you can see in the pictures, the cherries, lime juice, and seltzer water are all Wal-Mart house brand and are pretty inexpensive. The Gin came from Wal-Mart too and cost about $5.75 for a 750ml bottle. Obviously, there are higher quality Gins on the market but Caliber London Dry Gin is not bad for making mixed drinks where there are many other flavors at play.

Gin Days Of Summer: Cherry Limeade Collins


Cherry Limeade Collins Gin Cocktail Recipe

Who needs Sonic when you can make your own “adult” cherry limeade at home?

Here is my recipe for a Gin Cherry Limeade Collins.

In a glass of ice add the following in this order:

1.5 oz shot of Gin

2 or 3 splashes of lime juice.

Top off with Cherry Limeade flavored seltzer water.

Stir. Don’t add anything else until you stir.

Garnish with a slice of lime. Be sure to rub the lime all around the mouth of the glass, leaving behind as much pulp as possible.

Add two maraschino cherries.

Pour in about 2 teaspoons worth of cherry juice from the jar (could also use Grenadine). The cherry juice will settle to the bottom, creating a lovely layered effect.

These are unreasonably delicious and go down fast. Remember to pace yourself so as not to end up face down on the table.


Gin Cherry Limeade Cocktail Recipe


Gin Days Of Summer: Albuquerque Breaking Blue Collins


Albuquerque Breaking Blue Collins Gin Cocktail Recipe

Here in Los Lunas, New Mexico it’s hot. Like, 5th ring of hell hot. The last week of June it was over 100 degrees every day.

I love wine but when the summer is this hot, it’s time to cool things down so I’ve created a series of terrifically delicious Gin based cocktails based on the Tom Collins. Variations on a theme, if you will.

First up is the Albuquerque Breaking Blue Collins!

Here’s the recipe:

In a glass of ice, mix the following in this order.

1.5oz shot of gin

I don’t measure the other stuff, so flavor to taste.

On top of the gin add a splash (or 3) of lime juice.

Top off with Sparkling ICE Blue Raspberry – it comes in a skinny bottle and most grocery stores carry it with the flavored sparkling water. (see photo below)

Stir. Don’t add anything else until you stir!

Garnish with half a slice of lime – be sure to rub the lime all over the mouth of the glass, leaving behind as much pulp as possible.

Add two maraschino cherries.

Last step – pour in a small amount of cherry juice from the jar. Make sure that the drink has already been stirred because if you stir it after the cherry juice goes in, it defeats the purpose. The cherry juice will sink to the bottom, creating a lovely layered effect.

Fair warning: if you drink one, you will want another!
Albuquerque Breaking Blue Collins Gin Cocktail Recipe





Wine Review: 2015 Bin 55 Rich Red Blend, Dr. Henry John Lindeman’s

2016 Bin 55 rich Red Blend Lindeman's

60% Shiraz, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.5% alcohol.

On sale for $5.99 at Walgreens ($10 at Albertson’s), this is a very nice red blend from South Eastern Australia.

Bin 55 Rich Red Blend

As always, I’m a fan of the screw cap, especially when the contents are this good. Vanilla, dark fruit, smooth finish with a touch of smoke. A great deal at full price and an even better deal at half price! Pairs great with dry rub BBQ pork chops and steamed vegetables. Also acceptable curled up in a blanket on the couch with a bag of chips. No matter how you pair it, one thing is for certain, Lindeman’s Red Blend turns down the volume on the lingering stress memories from the day.

Stress less, wine more.




Wine Review: 2016 Cab-Zin, St. Clair Vineyard


After an underwhelming first sample from St. Clair Vinyard, I decided to give them a second chance. St. Clair is in New Mexico after all and I wanted to like their wines.

A Cab-Zin blend is pretty basic, how could they screw it up?

Well…..where there’s a will, there’s a way.

This Cab-Zin is medium-light bodied at best leading with bright notes of cherry that are too bright. Xavier said it tasted sour. Completely devoid of any of the deep dark, chocolatey goodness that one would expect from this type of blend. It doesn’t really even look dark in the glass but on the plus side it did get a little better after being open for about an hour and there was no extra charge for the headache I woke up with this morning.

You know you’ve chosen poorly when the conversation at the dinner table sounds like, “If you hate it, we still have that box of Franzia.” It’s like staying at a hotel and laminating that it’s not as nice as Motel 6.

If you’re looking for a good New Mexico wine this, my friends, is not it.


Gratuitous Puppy Photos: Meet Luna!

Luna being helpful

While I am working on my various websites this morning, Luna is on a mission to romp through the house, jump on top of the cat, chew the power cord to my computer and be puppy-helpful. She is ten weeks old now and we’ve had her for two weeks.


Xavier had been wanting a puppy since forever but puppies and 4th floor apartments in Maryland just don’t mix. Every Saturday morning we would go to Petco and play with the puppies that were up for adoption and every time we would have to leave them there. Now that we have a house with a yard, Xavier finally got his puppy!img_1430




Wine Review: 2016 Pinot Noir, Fisheye

Fisheye Pinot Noir


Of all the budget-priced wines in the $5 – $6 range, Fisheye from south eastern Australia is by far my favorite (and I’m cheap, so I’ve tried most of them). Every Fisheye wine that I have sampled is smooth and tasty and this 2016 Pinot Noir is no different.

It truly makes me happy to spend only $5 on a bottle of wine and not regret it in the morning.

This Pinot Noir is just a touch spicy with a hint of cinnamon over a smooth base of medium red fruit and a bit of oak. Check out the beautiful ruby red hue!

Fisheye Pinot Noir

Other pertinent facts: 13.5% alcohol, pairs well with pepper-jack cheese and Club crackers, no headache. Did I mention $5?



Wine Review: 2016 California Red Blend, Primal Roots

Primal Roots Red Blend

This turned out to be a good experiment.

On sale at Walgreens for about $8.99, Primal Roots California Red Blend is packed full of toasty oak, vanilla, and chocolaty goodness. Although not a “chocolate-flavored” wine, I thought the chocolate-ness was particularly pronounced. Xavier and I paired it garlic-rosemary burgers and steamed vegetables.

Primal Roots Red Blend is comprised of Syrah, Zinfandel, and Merlot and you can’t go wrong there.  While it seems that Primal Roots only makes this one blend (according to their one page website), this would be a perfectly good choice to bring to dinner party or to give as house warming gift, or a birthday present, or a Christmas present, or a Valentine’s Day gift, or for an anniversary, or….well, you get the point.

If you’re on your way to my house, best be stopping off at Walgreen’s on the way.

New Mexico Full Moon
Gratuitous image of this week’s Werewolf Full Moon over the Manzano Mountains.