I Made Mulled White Wine with the Cooking Gift Set Co. Brewing Kit and It’s a Game Changer

Wooooo y’all, I’m super pumped to be writing this post! A couple of weeks ago, Cooking Gift Set Co. hit me up and asked if I wanted to give their Mulled Wine Brewing Kit a whirl and I was like, “HELL YES!” You know I love infusing spirits and making syrups and to have a product with allllll my fave spices in a kit was music to my Home Bar Grrrrl ears!

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In addition to good looking and perfectly sized packaging (I mean, look at this amazing packaging!) the Cooking Gift Set Co. Mulled Wine Brewing Kit comes with detailed recipes! Oh how I love a very specific recipe!

The recipes include Festive Red, Spiced Cider, Gløgg, Glühwein, and Lush White…

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…LUSH WHITE. Hold up a sec! “Lush White? MULLED WHITE WINE?” Yes y’all, MULLED WHITE WINE. Game changer.

Their recommendation was to use a Dry Chardonnay or Viognier but I wanted to try it with Chenin Blanc cause lately I’ve been on a Chenin Blanc kick. Typically Chenin Blanc is big bodied for white wines, kind of fruity, dry, and really pleasant.

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I read the Lush White recipe which suggested the use of dried orange peel, cloves, star anise, and crystalized ginger. I toasted the spices for a minute or two on low heat…

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…put the spices in one of the satchels from the Mulled Wine Brewing Kit, added 1 bottle of Chenin Blanc, 1 cup of water, 1/4 cup sugar, and a couple of lemon peels.

Then let it simmer, not boil, for around 20 mins (as per the instructions). After that I turned the heat off, covered the pot and let it sit for around 30 mins. (The instructions said to let it sit for 5 minutes but y’all know I can’t let something sit for less than 30.)

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Voila, I had just made the delicious Lush White Mulled Wine. And I’m talking SUPER DELICIOUS. The spices are so so nice, the balance is excellent with star anise coming through first followed by an undercurrent of earthiness from the orange peel, cloves, and ginger.

So, now what? What to do with Mulled White Wine?

Gurrrrrrl, first of all, you should just pour some in a mug with a cinnamon stick and “wooooo” yourself to paradise! Then maybe put on your fave winter movie and chill out on the couch.

But wait, there’s more! You may be thinking, “I know what this Mulled White Wine needs. It needs some Brandy.” Congratulations, you’ve literally just made Fortified Wine. Wine + Sweetness + Herbes/Spices + Fortification (aka some kind of spirit) = Fortified Wine. America, get on that shit.

Lush White Fortified Wine

  • 6 parts Lush White Mulled Wine
  • 1-2 parts Brandy, Cognac, Calvados, Apple Brandy, or Pear Brandy

When serving, I’d encourage freshly grated Nutmeg as a garnish.

If for some reason you didn’t drink all of your Lush White Mulled Wine and part of the bottle made it to the fridge, you can use the wine as a cocktail ingredient.

There were a lot of possibilities when trying to come up with a Cocktail worthy of the Lush White but my first and best thought was, “Gurrrrl, put it with Aged Rhum Agricole and Creole Shrubb.” Done.

Nöel in the Antilles

  • 3 oz Lush White Mulled Wine
  • 3/4 oz Rhum JM VO Agricole (or the Aged Agricole of your choice)
  • 1 barspoon Hamilton Petite Shrubb (or the Creole Shrubb of your choice)
  • Garnish: Star Anise

Combine ingredients over ice and stirrrrrrrrrrrr. Strain into chilled coupe and garnish.


Holiday Cheers to y’all and if you want to order a Cooking Gift Set Co. Mulled Wine Brewing Kit, use the code HomeBarGirl and get 20% off if you order by Christmas Day! AMAZING RIGHT?

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Crying over the end of Summer with a Blackberry Buck

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Tis a sad sad time over here at Home Bar Girl, for my favorite season, the season of my birth, the season with ALL the fruit, the season of heat, ice-filled Cocktails, swimming, and funnnnnn, is nearly over. I’m crying some real end-of-summer tears y’all.

However, there is one thing about late-August that I hold near and dear to my heart…

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…Blackberries.

When I was a small gurrrrrl growing up in Novato, CA, we lived next to a park with a creek. I spent every day in that park and when the weather was warm enough, I spent a lot of time “creek walking” and swimming in its murky waters. There was one patch of the creek that had a ton of Blackberry bushes, so in late August we’d pick a bucket full o’ berries, take them back home, and Mamoo would put them in a fabulous Blackberry cobbler.

Fast forward to 2016 and I’m city gurrrrrl who dreams, nay pines for freshly picked fruit. I get my fix by going to the Grand Army Plaza Farmer’s Market every Saturday. The minute Blackberries showed up at the market, my heart lept with joy, and I bought some.

Nostalgia, IT’S REAL!

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So dark, so luscious, so tasty.

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So, we’re doing this drink smash style and I’d recommend layering your items in the same order as the above photo. That way, when you put your straw into the bottom of the glass, you get a nice hit of mint.

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I was thinking of making a Bramble, but lack the Crème de Mûre, so I went with a Buck instead:

  1. I decided to use Bimini Gin cause it has a bunch of nice citrus notes which would pair well with this selection of fruit and still retain enough juniper backbone to shine through. If you can get this Gin, do so immediately. It’s the perfect summer Gin and I’ve made a million Gin & Tonics, Collins, and Negronis with it.
  2. Fever-Tree Ginger Beer is real real good y’all. Nice amount of ginger but not too spicy which in the case of this Buck, is juuuust right.

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Blackberry Buck

  • 2 oz Bimini Gin
  • ~3 oz Fever Tree Ginger Beer
  • Handfull of Blackberries
  • 2 Lemon Wedges
  • 5-6 Mint Leaves
  • Garnish: Mint bouquet

Build in Collins glass: Muddle Blackberries, Lemon Wedges, and Mint together. Add Gin, ice and stir til things have combined nicely. Top with Ginger Beer and a Mint bouquet.

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End of summer Cheers to all y’all, may you sip a Blackberry Buck and fight back the tears!

The Terroir Martini

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I know we’ve talked about St. George Spirits but have we specifically talked about their Terroir Gin? This is the Gin that started it all. The Gin that got me hooked on Gin. The Gin that made me sob for 30 minutes in my Brooklyn apartment. You see, this Gin, THIS GIN, is from Marin, the Mt Tamalpias Gin. The botanicals in the Gin were selected on Mt Tam and when you open this bottle of Gin, you actually SMELL Marin County, California.

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Mt Tamalpias, Marin County. Photo via Summit Post. Don’t you just want to die? I do. Prettttttty.

For me, it was just too much. Just too TOO much. I’d spent over 10 years living somewhere that wasn’t Marin County, California and smelling those smells brought my entire childhood back to me. I saw myself walking in the hills, going to Stinson Beach, running cross country, hiking, riding bicycles, going to high school, the whole thing.

I smelled the Eucalyptus, Bay Laurel, Sage, Pine, Grasses, Sunshine, Ocean air. And I cried. I’ve never cried after opening a bottle of Napa Valley or Calistoga Wine before, but I started crying as soon as I smelled this Gin.

Therefore, I consider St George Terroir to be sacred and as a sacred spirit, I add little to it. Often I drink it neat or on the rocks. Sometimes I have it as a Fizz with Mint Simple Syrup and Lime juice. On even rarer occasions, I make it into this martini.

It is the greatest and most complex Gin that I’ve ever tasted and with absolute reverence I present to you:

The Terroir Martini

  • 2 1/2 oz St. George Terroir Gin
  • 1/2 oz Pear Eau de Vie (a dry Pear Eau de Vie is best)
  • 1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
  • Basil leaf garnish

In tin, combine Terroir Gin, Pear Eau de Vie and Dolin Dry over cracked ice and stir. Strain into chilled coupe, slap basil leaf between your hands and use as garnish.

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Homemade Honey Ginger Juice

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Y’all, my throat has been killing me lately and so has the rest of my body. I thought, “hmmm, Ginger juice? Ginger + Honey juice?” YEP. This Honey Ginger Juice goes well in both Dani’s-Patented-Get-Over-Being-Sick-Tea* and is super tasty in loads of Cocktails. Really, I know, we’re all here for The Cocktails**. Now, I don’t have a juicer, just a Blender, Food Processor and two Strainers so this recipe is going to be for those of you who have a Blender or Food Processor.

Also, we’re going to do this in milliliters because the metric system is better. 🙂

What you need:

  • 500 ml Water
  • 250 ml Honey
  • 1 medium-large sized ginger root (like the size of your hand, see photo below)

What to do:

  1. Peel Ginger and add it to 250 ml warm water. Blend in Blender or pulse in food Processor until you have very fine particles of ginger.
  2. Pour contents through two Strainers into a pot, add 250ml honey and remaining 250 ml water.
  3. Heat on low low low heat until honey is dissolved. Do not let water get anywhere near boiling. Just warm enough to dissolve honey.
  4. Double strain again into storage container.
  5. This is pretty strong, so add water to taste but keep in mind, you’re going to want to use the Honey Ginger Juice in small doses for cocktails.

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*Dani’s-Patented-Get-Over-Being-Sick-Tea: To one mug add a Ricola cough drop, 30 ml/1 oz Honey Ginger Juice, 15ml/ 0.5 oz Lemon Juice and stir until cough drop is dissolved.

**The Cocktails: The Honey Ginger Juice goes excellently in a Gold Rush, Gin Sour, Whiskey Smash, Gin Fizz, Dark & Stormy, as a substitute for Domain de Canton or really any drink which calls for Ginger.

Gin-Gin Crisp + Crispin Pear Cider

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So a month ago I bought some Crispin Hard Pear Cider. Being a fan of their Hard Apple Cider, I could not wait to taste this bottled goodness! But then, it sat in the back of the fridge whilst I made Raspberry Liqueur, a ton of drinks with Salers Aperitif, entered a Bourbon Manhattan competition and tried to find the best Negroni Bianco Variation. (P.S. I may have found it and will post my discovery soon!)

Well today, I could not take it any more! I had to open that bottle! And Ohhhhhh sweet Stars, this Pear Cider is so wonderful. Made from 100% Pear juice, the Crispin Pear is so dry and crisp and California and PEAR and muhhhhhhhhhhhh. I would literally drink this every day if it wouldn’t kill me. Best of the Best. Five Stars.

But, being the Home Bar Girl that I am, I immediately thought about how to use it in a cocktail. What came to me was: Gin, Ginger, Lemon, Pear. WHOOP! This drink is truly crisp and delicious while still being Autumnal! High Five! We did it!

Gin-Gin Crisp

  • 2 oz Smooth Gin (Plymouth Gin used here)
  • 1 oz Ginger Liqueur (Domaine de Canton used here)
  • 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
  • Crispin’s Pear Cider or other Pear Cider suitable cider will do
  • 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Lemon Peel

In tin, combine Gin, Ginger Liqueur and Lemon Juice over Ice and shake baby shake. Strain into Collins glass with ice, pour Pear Cider on top and add 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters. Express Lemon Peel and garnish.