cocktails http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7547/all en-US How to Host a Great New Year's Eve Party for Cheap http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-a-great-new-years-eve-party-for-cheap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-host-a-great-new-years-eve-party-for-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends-house-party-Dollarphotoclub_73976093.jpg" alt="friends house party" title="friends house party" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hands down, New Year's Eve is my favorite holiday &mdash; and I've thrown some parties, y'all. Some of them have been major blowouts while others have been small gatherings. Personally, I prefer the intimate shindigs &mdash; and so does my wallet. If that's your goal this year &mdash; and it should be &mdash; this post is for you. Out with the old, in with the new, as they say. And here are several ways to shave a few bucks off the bill while you're at it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/class-without-tons-of-cash-frugal-cocktail-party-ideas?ref=seealso">Class Without Tons of Cash: Frugal Cocktail Party Ideas</a>)</p> <h2>Limit the Guest List to a Friendly Few</h2> <p>Sure, it's fun to invite all your friends and their friends and their friends' friends to your New Year's Eve party, but it requires a massive budget; that's a lot of mouths to feed, after all. In reality, every name on your guest list is a dollar sign, and the tighter you keep it, the less you'll have to spend. So instead of inviting the whole neighborhood and the next town over to your soiree, extend an invitation only to those few friends with whom you enjoy spending time and who are totally okay with a run-of-the-mill, at-least-we're-together end-of-the-year celebration. You'll have a better time entertaining seven people instead of running around trying to please 70.</p> <h2>Repurpose Your Christmas Decorations</h2> <p>You don't have to run out to the party store for New Year's Eve decorations if you already have Christmas swag. You can keep your holiday house like it is &mdash; less hassle; still festive &mdash; but if you want to give it a different look, get creative and repurpose your existing decorations. Instead of tons of color, concentrate on a simplified palate &mdash; think white, silver and gold &mdash; and decorate accordingly. Store the Santas for this fete and focus more on the seasonal aspect of the celebration and you're good to go.</p> <h2>Shop for Snacks in the Seasonal Section</h2> <p>The day after Christmas everything holiday related goes on sale &mdash; and that includes any food items in festive packaging. In the first few days after December 25th, you can expect at least 40% to 50% off, but if you wait until a day or two before New Year's Eve, you can probably score a greater discount. Normally I'd tell you that if you want the pick of the litter, it's ideal to scoop up the deals early (like right away), but that only applies to decorations and other Christmas paraphernalia. Festively packaged food items, on the other hand, tend to stick around until the very end of the post-holiday purge. Time your trip just right and you can feed your friends an incredible array of snacks for anywhere from 50% to 90% off the regular retail price. If that's not winning, I don't what is.</p> <h2>Cut Back on the Booze Selections</h2> <p>You and your friends will probably want to drink on New Year's Eve, and it's easy to bust your budget on buying enough alcohol to satiate their thirst. The first thing you need to keep in mind is that you don't have to provide enough booze to get everyone blitzed out of their mind; you're not throwing a party at the Playboy Mansion. Secondly, what you serve is up to you &mdash; not them &mdash; so whatever you provide is at your discretion.</p> <p>I've found that a great middle ground is to offer beer and wine (domestic light beer and cheap bottles of wine are fine; I prefer Miller Lite and Barefoot, respectively), but if you want to offer liquor, I recommend creating a signature drink that reduces the number of bottles you'll have to buy while at the same time giving your party a personal touch. You also can give your guests the option of bringing their own booze. I always let my guests know what I'll have on hand and leave it up to them to bring a beverage of their choice if what I'm serving isn't exactly their favorite. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-tasty-two-ingredient-cocktails?ref=seealso">20 Tasty Two Ingredient Cocktails</a>)</p> <h2>Skip the Full Meal and Serve Apps Instead</h2> <p>It's not cheap to feed a crowd these days, which is why you should forget about slaving over a hot stove to make a full-blown feast for your New Year's Eve guests. In addition to the deeply discounted snacks you scored, a selection of hot appetizers will suffice &mdash; and you can still totally pull off quantity <em>and</em> quality in this regard. Shop the warehouse clubs for party-size platters and frozen snacks that you can pop in the oven. Pizza also is a filling-but-affordable crowd pleaser. You can really save some dough by picking up premade crusts, sauce and cheese &mdash; you can make about six pizzas for under $20 if you shop smartly &mdash; that'll put smiles on everybody's faces.</p> <h2>Hack Your Way to Delicious Desserts</h2> <p>Every New Year's Eve party needs some sweet stuff, but you can go over budget very quickly if you're not careful. To throw a party for under $100, you need to avoid premade, store-bought desserts all together. That means alternatively you'll need to put on an apron and get in the kitchen, and even if that's not your strong suit you can churn out a few crowd-pleasers. Jell-O &mdash; both the gelatin and pudding &mdash; is cheap in the box, and you can use either one of those treats as<a href="http://www.jello.com/recipes/"> a base for all kinds desserts</a>. If you want to get a little fancier (still without spending much), try this&nbsp;<a href="http://www.kingshawaiian.com/recipes/kings-hawaiian-cream-puffs/">recipe for easy-breezy cream puffs</a>.</p> <h2>Turn on the TV and Break Out the Board Games</h2> <p>Usually I'd tell you to turn off the TV when hosting a party, but New Year's Eve is an exception to that rule. Whether you're a traditionalist who likes to ring in January 1st with New Year's Rockin' Eve or a glutton for punishment with Anderson and Kathy, you'll find hours of festive entertainment that that'll not only provide a bit of background noise but also start a few conversations. Bring out some of your favorite board games too (you don't want guests occupied solely by the TV) for a few rounds of friendly competition. All this fun is for free.</p> <h2>Ask Your Guests to Bring a Bottle of Bubbly</h2> <p>In addition to limiting the booze selection you're offering, you may want to consider asking your guests to bring a bottle of bubbly. Most attendees will bring a host gift anyway, but by asking specifically for champagne you'll have more room in your budget for food, and it'll ensure that there's plenty of variety when it's time to clink glasses. Salud!</p> <p><em>Do you have more ideas on how to host a New Year's Eve party for cheap? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-a-great-new-years-eve-party-for-cheap">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-of-the-most-costly-new-years-eve-parties-ever">8 of the Most Costly New Year&#039;s Eve Parties Ever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-non-depressing-ways-to-spend-nye">5 Frugal, Non-Depressing Ways to Spend NYE</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/throwing-awesome-parties-on-a-budget">Throwing Awesome Parties on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-cheap-party-games-you-didnt-know-about">5 Fun, Cheap Party Games You Didn&#039;t Know About</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-charming">How to be charming</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment cocktails hosting New Year's New Year's Eve parties Sat, 27 Dec 2014 10:00:15 +0000 Mikey Rox 1273736 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Tasty Two-Ingredient Cocktails http://www.wisebread.com/20-tasty-two-ingredient-cocktails <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-tasty-two-ingredient-cocktails" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2772870188_4d647c7163_z.jpg" alt="cocktails" title="cocktails" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love a good cocktail, but I don't always like trotting out (or, moreover, buying) ten different bottles of stuff just to make one drink. With that in mind, I've compiled a list of cocktails that all require just two ingredients (not counting garnishes or things you likely have around, like salt).</p> <p>Whether you're trying to keep things simple at a party or just want to have ingredients around for something easy and delicious, these two-ingredient cocktails all require minimal investment and taste great. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cocktail-time-great-budget-liquors">Great Budget Liquors</a>)</p> <h2>1. Dark and Stormy</h2> <p>The key to a great <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/drink/views/Dark-and-Stormy-235964">Dark and Stormy</a> is getting ginger beer, not ginger ale. Spicier than the ale, ginger beer gives this drink a great kick. Just don't sniff it unless you want to give your sinuses a rude awakening.</p> <h2>2. Paloma</h2> <p>There are a few variations of this <a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2007/07/cocktails-the-paloma.html">super-summery tequila drink</a>, but at its most basic, it's simply tequila and grapefruit soda on ice with a lime garnish. You can add a dash of salt too, if you like.</p> <h2>3. Martini</h2> <p>Whether it's with gin or vodka, all you need to add is vermouth. If you want to move past two ingredients, you can always make your <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/dirty-martini/">martini dirty</a>, adding the delicious brine from the olive jar.</p> <h2>4. The Peat Racer</h2> <p>Before you start griping that the IPA ruins the scotch or the scotch ruins the IPA, give this beer-based mixed drink a try &mdash; or try one of the others from this Wall Street Journal article about <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904332804576538901540667040.html">two-ingredient beer cocktails</a>.</p> <h2>5. Greyhound</h2> <p>The <a href="http://cocktails.about.com/od/atozcocktailrecipes/r/gryhnd_cktl.htm">Greyhound</a> is a grapefruit-and-vodka cocktail. When you add a salt rim, it becomes a Salty Dog.</p> <h2>6. Mimosa</h2> <p>A brunch classic &mdash; half orange juice, half sparkling wine.</p> <h2>7. Bellini</h2> <p>Similar to the Mimosa, the <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/bellini-recipe/index.html">Bellini</a> combines sparkling wine with peach puree.</p> <h2>8. Gin and Tonic</h2> <p>The name says it all. But if you're planning to down these to stave off malaria, <a href="http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1342/will-the-quinine-in-tonic-water-prevent-malaria">you're sadly out of luck</a>.</p> <h2>9. Camparosa</h2> <p>Intoxicologist has several <a href="http://intoxicologist.net/2011/05/entertaining-with-two-ingredient-cocktails/">two-ingredient cocktails</a>, but I'm especially intrigued by the Camparosa, a combination of 2 oz. bitter Italian Campari and 3 oz. grapefruit juice, served over ice with an orange slice garnish.&nbsp;Pucker up!</p> <h2>10.&nbsp;Shandy</h2> <p>There are a lot of variations on the <a href="http://beer.about.com/od/drinksmadewithbeer/r/shandy.htm">shandy</a>, but the basic version is mixing one part beer with one part of another beverage. Popular mixers include lemonade, limeade, ginger ale, and sprite.</p> <h2>11. Rum and Coke</h2> <p>A classic. For something different, try it with spiced rum.</p> <h2>12. Calimocho</h2> <p>Here's a less-expected cola combination &mdash; this&nbsp;Spanish drink is comprised of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/02/fashion/02shake.html">half cola and half red wine</a>. Every article about this drink makes the writer sound like a parent trying to get his kid to eat asparagus &mdash; &quot;Yes, it sounds gross. Please just try it.&quot;</p> <h2>13. Rusty Nail</h2> <p>What's more Scottish than scotch? A drink that <a href="http://cocktails.about.com/od/r/r/rsty_nl_cktl.htm">combines scotch with the Scottish liqueur Drambuie</a>.</p> <h2>14. Applejack and Cider</h2> <p>When I was still living on the East Coast, this was one of my favorite ways to welcome fall &mdash; a shot of applejack (an apple brandy) served over ice with apple cider.</p> <h2>15. Screwdriver</h2> <p>A shot of vodka with orange juice.</p> <h2>16. Cubicle Libre</h2> <p>This one is from our very own Philip Brewer &mdash; the cocktail he used to end his work-week with, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/less-or-cheaper">combining bourbon and Mountain Dew</a>.</p> <h2>17. Black Russian</h2> <p>Like <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/03/dining/03lebo.html?pagewanted=all">The Dude's favorite drink</a>, the White Russian, but without the cream, the Black Russian combines vodka and Kahlua.</p> <h2>18. French&nbsp;Farmer</h2> <p>One of the most delightful meal-starting cocktails I can remember having was the French&nbsp;Farmer at <a href="http://barbuzzo.com/barbuzzo/#">Barbuzzo</a> in Philadelphia, which combines sparkling wine and floral St. Germain elderflower liqueur. The company behind the liqueur isn't quite as flowery in their description; they simply call it <a href="http://www.stgermain.fr/cocktails.php?p=1&amp;r=StGermainChampagne">St. Germain and Champagne</a>.</p> <h2>19. B&amp;B</h2> <p>One of those classic cocktails that always makes me think of guys with snifters and cigars. The ingredients? <a href="http://cocktails.about.com/od/atozcocktailrecipes/r/bnb_cktl.htm">Brandy and Benedictine</a>.</p> <h2>20. Gimlet</h2> <p>Like martinis, gimlets can be made with vodka or gin. Here's the recipe from my cookbook, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/little-old-lady-recipes-classic-frugal-cooking">Little Old Lady Recipes</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Gin</li> <li>Half as much Rose's lime juice as gin</li> <li>Lime wedges</li> </ul> <p>Mix gin and lime juice in a shaker with ice.&nbsp;Shake till the outside gets frosty. Pour into cocktail glasses and garnish each with a lime wedge.</p> <p><em>Did I miss your favorite two-ingredient cocktail? Share it in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-tasty-two-ingredient-cocktails">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/win-your-next-potluck-with-one-of-these-23-cheap-easy-potluck-dishes">Win Your Next Potluck With One of These 23 Cheap, Easy Potluck Dishes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-cheap-beers-to-keep-your-holiday-season-hoppin">13 Cheap Beers to Keep Your Holiday Season Hoppin’</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-dinner-party-for-6-feed-em-for-under-20">A Dinner Party for 6: Feed &#039;Em for Under $20</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/for-delicious-cocktails-infuse-alcohol">For Delicious Cocktails, Infuse Alcohol</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cocktail-time-great-budget-liquors">Cocktail Time: Great Budget Liquors</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink affordable entertaining cocktails simple recipes Wed, 11 Jul 2012 10:36:12 +0000 Meg Favreau 938926 at http://www.wisebread.com Cocktail Time: Great Budget Liquors http://www.wisebread.com/cocktail-time-great-budget-liquors <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cocktail-time-great-budget-liquors" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/outdoor_cocktails2.jpg" alt="Girls drinking cocktails" title="Girls drinking cocktails" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One question that comes up again and again when talking about frugality is whether it's better to go with a cheap option or splurge on something well made. It's not an easy question to answer &mdash; it really depends on your values and preferences.</p> <p>For me, when it comes to spirits, it depends on the situation. If I'm drinking a margarita at a restaurant I haven't been to before, I'll get the well tequila, because there's always the chance they'd drown a nice tequila in over-sweet margarita mix. But when it comes to the whiskey in my Manhattan, I'm definitely getting a mid-range bourbon I like &mdash; if I'm having a drink, I want to be able to enjoy it.</p> <p>With that in mind, here are some suggestions for budget liquors that'll add oomph to your bar without emptying your wallet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/class-without-tons-of-cash-frugal-cocktail-party-ideas">Frugal Cocktail Party Ideas</a>)</p> <h2>Vodka</h2> <p>Svedka, despite their kind-of-disturbing ads with the sexy robot lady, puts out a good vodka that's about $12 a bottle. And honestly, if you're planning to mix vodka in a cocktail, you really don't need to go too pricey anyway; part of the reason that vodka is so popular is that its taste is easily hidden. Oh, and if you're thinking of buying one of those flavored vodkas, consider getting a much fresher taste by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/for-delicious-cocktails-infuse-alcohol">infusing your own vodka</a> instead.</p> <h2>Rum</h2> <p>A relatively affordable spirit, rum is often included in drinks with a tropical flair, but can be pretty awesome on its own. <a href="http://www.esquire.com/features/drinking/best-cheap-liquor-0209">Esquire</a> recommends Brugal's Anejo rum for sipping, and I'd second that &mdash; it currently has a place in my small bar collection. Kraken Rum, meanwhile, comes in an oh-so-hip bottle, and for $15-$20, it provides a nice, dark, spiced rum.</p> <h2>Tequila</h2> <p>The weird thing about tequila is that companies are allowed to make &quot;mixtos&quot; &mdash; tequila mixes that are at least 51% agave spirits blended with other stuff &mdash; and sell them simply as &quot;tequila.&quot; That's part of the reason why Cuervo gives you such a headache and why, even if you had &quot;a bad night with tequila in college,&quot; you should consider drinking the 100% agave stuff. 1800 is one of the most inexpensive 100% agave brands, hovering around $20-$25 a bottle.</p> <h2>Gin</h2> <p>Colleen Graham, the <a href="http://cocktails.about.com/od/spiritreviews/tp/best_cheap_gin.htm">About.com Guide to&nbsp;Cocktails</a>, lists Gordon's London Dry Gin as her favorite under $10, citing &quot;its strong juniper base and the essence of a variety of other herbs that mix well with almost anything.&quot;</p> <h2>Whiskey</h2> <p>For <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/less-or-cheaper">bourbon</a>, Bulliet is one of my favorites, and you can often find it for $20 when it's on sale. There are cheaper, still acceptable bourbons, though &mdash; I've heard from people who love Jim Beam's White Label and Black Label bourbons.</p> <p>Scotch, meanwhile, can be tricky business &mdash; this smokey, complex liquor can fetch hundreds of dollars a bottle. But the 12 Year Chivas Regal runs between $25 and $35, and provides a decent scotch for the price.</p> <h2>Brandy</h2> <p>I'll be honest &mdash; I usually buy cheap-cheap brandy, because the primary thing I use it for is making sangria. Like scotch, good brandy tends to be pricey, but Korbel's American brandy is affordable and decent, if you're looking for a reasonable point between the bottom and very top shelves.</p> <h2>Orange Liqueurs</h2> <p>I'm also including a note on orange liqueurs because they're used so often in cocktails. Triple sec is probably the most ubiquitous one. It's usually dirt cheap, and it tastes like it. I didn't really realize how cheap it tastes, though, until I had the opportunity to smell a bottle of Cointreau, a nicer orange liqueur, and a bottle of triple sec at the same time &mdash; the triple sec smelled like melted candy. Cointreau isn't cheap, but it is generally less expensive than the other popular orange liqueur, Grand Marnier. If you're mixing a cocktail where the orange flavor doesn't come across strongly, you're fine using triple sec, but otherwise you might want to consider Cointreau.</p> <p><em>Did I miss your favorite budget liquor? Share it in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cocktail-time-great-budget-liquors">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/for-delicious-cocktails-infuse-alcohol">For Delicious Cocktails, Infuse Alcohol</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-moonshine">How to Make Moonshine</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-great-uses-for-beer">21 great uses for beer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-tasty-two-ingredient-cocktails">20 Tasty Two-Ingredient Cocktails</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-cheap-beers-to-keep-your-holiday-season-hoppin">13 Cheap Beers to Keep Your Holiday Season Hoppin’</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink alcohol cheap drinks cocktails Mon, 19 Sep 2011 10:36:21 +0000 Meg Favreau 709326 at http://www.wisebread.com For Delicious Cocktails, Infuse Alcohol http://www.wisebread.com/for-delicious-cocktails-infuse-alcohol <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-delicious-cocktails-infuse-alcohol" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3965322470_eacedcc474_z.jpg" alt="infused alcohol" title="infused alcohol" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've been to a liquor store recently, you might've noticed the increasing variety of flavored liquors. Sure, there are the classics like lemon vodka and coconut rum. But I've also seen coffee-flavored tequila, cherry-flavored whiskey, and one disturbing bottle of a murky liquid that promised to deliver the flavors of red wine and chocolate in a single beverage. (I'm not sure if that last one was supposed to be sold as a legitimate drink or a gag gift.)</p> <p>Some of these flavored liquors can taste pretty good, while others deliver the sort of fake fruit tastes normally reserved for children's cough syrup. The best (and often cheapest) way to make sure the flavored spirit you're sipping is something delicious, though, is to infuse your own alcohol. Homemade infusions often taste better than store-bought flavored liquors and can make low-to-mid-range spirits taste high-class (or at least higher-class). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/living-large-with-lower-calorie-cocktails" title="Living Large with Lower Calorie Cocktails">Living Large with Lower Calorie Cocktails</a>)</p> <h2>How to Infuse Alcohol</h2> <p>The process is very simple. You choose your favorite spirit, ideally something relatively neutral like vodka, gin, or rum (darker spirits can be infused, but because they're more flavorful on their own, they're harder to pair with an infusion). Then you choose what you'd like to flavor your spirit with &mdash; anything from lime peel (pith removed) for a tonic-ready gin to hot peppers, bay leaves, and black peppercorns for a vodka that begs for bloody mary mix. Combine the liquor and flavorings, seal in a container (its original bottle, a new bottle, or a large jar are all good), and let the mixture sit. The infusion process can take anywhere from three days to several weeks depending on how strong you'd like your infusion to be (you can always take a little taste to see if you're satisfied with its strength).</p> <p>Once you're happy with your spirit's flavor, strain it through a cheesecloth-lined sieve, store it in a clean bottle, and enjoy! Infused alcohol also makes a great homemade gift.</p> <p>If you need some ideas on what flavors to use, we've posted ideas before about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/to-life-to-life-la-kayim-the-joy-of-home-enhanced-booze">infusing vodka</a> &mdash; even with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-do-with-leftover-halloween-candy">leftover Halloween candy</a>. Some of my favorite combinations that I've made include ginger-lime gin, the aforementioned hot pepper vodka, and <a href="http://projects.washingtonpost.com/recipes/2007/08/22/homemade-falernum/">falernum</a>, a rum-based drink that was once popular in tiki cocktails.</p> <h2>Cocktail Recipes with Infused Alcohol</h2> <p>Not sure how to use your new infused alcohol? You can replace any flavored spirit you would buy at the store, or try it in a cocktail where you'd normally use a plain version, like mixing a rum and coke with home-infused orange rum. If you need more ideas, cocktail sites like <a href="http://cocktaildb.com/">CocktailDB</a>&nbsp;or the <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipesmenus/drinks/recipes">drinks section of Epicurious</a> are great places to start.</p> <p>Have you tried infusing your own spirits? If so, do you have any flavor combinations to recommend?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/for-delicious-cocktails-infuse-alcohol">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-moonshine">How to Make Moonshine</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-4-get-free-stuff">Getting by without a job, part 4--get free stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-guaranteed-easiest-way-to-make-your-own-pickles">The Guaranteed Easiest Way to Make Your Own Pickles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-ultimate-list-of-hangover-cures">The Ultimate List of Hangover Cures</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cocktail-time-great-budget-liquors">Cocktail Time: Great Budget Liquors</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Food and Drink General Tips alcohol cocktails creative gifts Wed, 03 Nov 2010 13:00:12 +0000 Meg Favreau 277768 at http://www.wisebread.com How to be charming http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-charming <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-be-charming" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/charming_0.jpg" alt="charming baby" title="charming baby" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="180" height="240" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What makes someone charming? Is it their bearing, their countenance? Is it their sparkling conversation? Their dazzling personality and razor-sharp wit? </p> <p>You might be surprised to know that it&#39;s really none of the above. </p> <p>As <a href="http://www.todayslocalnews.com/?sect=jack&amp;p=1518">Brian Tracy</a> says, &quot;Charm is the ability to create extraordinary rapport that makes others feel exceptional.&quot; What&#39;s remarkable about this ability is that it&#39;s easily obtained, not genetic. There&#39;s no special trick to it; it just takes a little practice.</p> <p>I&#39;m about as far from charming as you can get. It might be the mark of a blogger; we&#39;re fun-lovin&#39;, hard-drinkin&#39; types, but we&#39;re not necessarily the most socially graceful people you will ever meet. [Speak for yourself. - Ed.]</p> <p>I&#39;m just not great with people. I&#39;m naturally shy and rather anti-social. I&#39;m talkative once I get to know someone, but introduce me to a total stranger at a party, and I&#39;m usually a wreck. That&#39;s why I took a class on charm and schmoozing a while back.</p> <p>See, I&#39;d always figured that charming people are the ones who are always the center of attention. The class clowns, the life of the party. The ones that are always ready with a sarcastic quip or a smart-aleck comeback. The people who can make the whole room bust a gut. The Chris Rocks of the world.</p> <p>During the first few minutes of my How to Be Charming, our instructor asked us to list qualities that we found charming. Most people said the same thing: funny, warm, memorable. But ultimately, it was very difficult to define charm.</p> <p>Our next task was to name people in our lives that we found charming. The first person that popped into my head is the medical assistant who runs my father&#39;s medical office. Her name is LaWanda, and you&#39;ve never met a more charming lady in your life. She&#39;s the warmest, kindest, and most thoughtful woman that I&#39;ve met in years. </p> <p>The class took turns summarizing our personal impressions of charming people, and we all realized that most of the qualities that we associated with charming people weren&#39;t just that they were warm and kind, but that they made US feel special.</p> <p>That description fits LaWanda to a T. She&#39;s the kind of person who seems to find everything I do fascinating. Got a new contract job? Cool! Working on a blogging website! Fabulous. And she wants to hear all about it. Every time I talk to LaWanda, I end up feeling like I really am accomplishing things in life, that I lead an exciting urban existence.</p> <p>The whole class agreed that our charming examples were all people who drew out the best in us. </p> <p>Charming people all seem to:</p> <ul> <li>Listen exceptionally well</li> <li>Have excellent memory for details</li> <li>Praise our accomplishments and empathized with our troubles</li> <li>Make good eye contract</li> <li>Ask lots of relevant questions</li> <li>Be good at accepting compliments</li> <li>Be genuine in their expressions, never false or flaky</li> <li>Understand the power of touch, be it a great handshake, hug, or arm squeeze</li> <li>Make the other person feel really special</li> <li>Avoid offering unsolicited advice</li> <li>Use our first name a bit more than most people would during conversation (without overdoing it)</li> <li>Ask great follow-up questions</li> <li>Be honest, if not brutally so</li> </ul> <p>In other words, being charming isn&#39;t about being the center of attention. In fact, it&#39;s just the opposite. Charming people put the spotlight on SOMEONE ELSE, allowing someone else to bask in the glory. A charming person acts almost like an interviewer, and almost everyone LOVES to be interviewed. </p> <p>As <a href="http://www.theshrubbery.com/0999/charm.html">The Shrubbery</a> puts it, &quot;People love to hear themselves talk. Even more so do they love to talk about themselves. If you are sincere, keeping eye contact, and asking questions about your Charm-ee, you will be sure to keep an audience with him or her. This will also help you learn about them to the point where you can find some common ground to talk about.&quot;</p> <p>Brian Kim, on his self-improvement web site, <a href="http://briankim.net/blog/2006/08/how-to-be-charming/">offers a list of tips</a> on how to be charming, and gives some great examples of charming people that he has encountered. </p> <p><a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Charming">Wikihow</a> has a good article with some advice on how to be more charming.</p> <p>But why bother being charming? After all, being charming is really more about giving than receiving. You&#39;re putting yourself out there, asking questions of people, learning their names and their kids&#39; names and their birthdays and likes and dislikes, and by the end of the evening, you know a lot about someone else and no one knows anything about you.</p> <p>Exactly.</p> <p>One counterintuitive thing about charming people is that they don&#39;t reveal much. They keep their cards close to their chests. And why? Well, some charming people are actually very private. Others just enjoy hearing about other people&#39;s lives more than discussing their own. But one cliche that applies well to this situation is &quot;Knowledge is power.&quot; The more someone knows about you, the more power they have over you.</p> <p>Whether you are talking about intelligence agencies, ex-girlfriends, or your own mom, knowledge is power. It doesn&#39;t mean that this knowledge will be used for nefarious means: the fact that LaWanda remembers my birthday every year only means that she comes across as much more thoughtful than I do, since I have not a clue when her birthday is. </p> <p>It&#39;s not that charming people are complete enigmas, living in a shroud of mystery that no one can penetrate. It&#39;s just that they are much more selective about who they reveal the details of their lives to. The reward for this is that people think very highly of you, because... well, because you&#39;re so charming. You get invited to more shindigs. You are spoken well of. You get more business referrals.</p> <p>Because I&#39;m such a lousy listener, I&#39;m not sure that I&#39;ll ever be particularly charming. But I&#39;m pretty happy to know that there&#39;s a method to the madness, and that it&#39;s not particularly difficult to attain a certain level of charm.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-charming">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-a-great-new-years-eve-party-for-cheap">How to Host a Great New Year&#039;s Eve Party for Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-people-you-should-have-in-your-personal-emergency-kit">5 People You Should Have in Your &quot;Personal Emergency Kit&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-ways-to-make-someone-happy-today">25 Easy Ways to Make Someone Happy Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/giving-is-better-than-blogging-or-is-it">Giving is Better Than Blogging... or IS it?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-scientists-say-you-should-be-committing-the-7-deadly-sins">Why Scientists Say You Should Be Committing the 7 Deadly Sins</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks charming cocktails friends introduce parties social intercourse Mon, 13 Aug 2007 01:52:36 +0000 Andrea Karim 988 at http://www.wisebread.com