Dani’s Blog: THE JUICE

A 50th Birthday in “the Sticks”

Cheers to 50 years!

Cheers to 50 years!

Fahnestock State Park in Mahopac, NY was the absolutely perfect location and setting for our bestie Tom’s 5oth Birthday Party. My friend Tamara and I have joked for all the years we have been friends that I am the city mouse and she is the country mouse (who insists on living in “the sticks”). We had so much fun setting up this party for Tom even further up “in the sticks”. A beautiful day and love filled celebration followed…

What a gorgeous location!

What a gorgeous location!

SDB 50th bday outdoors_squirrel and choc chip cookie platter

Baked fresh the morning of, I plated up these mini squirrel cookies with my salted dark chocolate chip cookies for the ultimate cookie party platter! (love this quirky little squirrel cutter from IKEA)

Tamara mixed up her world famous G.O.R.P. (good old fashioned raisins and peanuts). We have been enjoying this snack mix at parties for years!

Tamara mixed up her world famous G.O.R.P. (good old fashioned raisins and peanuts). We have been enjoying this snack mix at parties for years!

For the centerpieces, Tamara filled mason jars with vintage photos of Tom and nature related materials.

For the centerpieces, Tamara filled mason jars (you might call them Ball jars) with vintage photos of Tom and nature related materials.

She topped the jar tops with adorable faux bugs and closed them to keep everything secure.

She glued adorable faux bugs to the jar tops and closed them to keep everything secure.

Sparkling Sangria

For refreshments, we made my fave recipe for Sparkling Sangria but substituted grapefruit for the lemon and lime. (get the recipe here)

I loved the way the festive Sangria jar looked next to these real deal Igloo coolers (one filled with water and the other filled with Tom's sister's fresh squeezed lemonade)

I loved the way the festive Sangria jar looked next to these real deal campsite coolers (one filled with water and the other filled with Tom’s sister’s fresh squeezed lemonade)

KF and I designed this custom party logo for Tom and Tamara had it put onto these amazing mason jar glasses which everyone got to take home. The squirrel is a long standing reference to life in the "sticks" and the leiderhosen is our fave reference to Tom's Austrian heritage.

KF and I designed this custom party logo for Tom and Tamara secretly had it designed onto these amazing mason jar glasses which everyone got to take home. The squirrel is a long standing reference to life in the “sticks” and the lederhosen he is wearing is our very fave reference to Tom’s Austrian heritage.

 

 

Tam's app game has always been strong... antipasto on sticks (pun not intended but amazing) were a huge hit!

Tam’s app game has always been strong… antipasto on sticks (pun not intended but amazing) were a huge hit! The ravi on the stick reaction was major!

We added a sign with Tom's BDAY hashtag and a bowl of pins for people to wear when they visited the food truck for lunch.

We added a sign with Tom’s Bday hashtag and a bowl of squirrel logo pins for people to wear when they visited the food truck for lunch. 

Above the snack table we rested a chalkboard sign we drew up the night before featuring fun facts about the year Tom was born

Above the snack table we rested a chalkboard sign we drew up the night before featuring fun facts about the year Tom was born

Tom looking out onto the lake just before the party started

Tom looking out onto the lake just before the party started

Extra large jenga was a huge party hit.

Giant Jenga was a huge party hit… 

... as was grabbing lunch at the food truck!

… as was grabbing lunch at the food truck- Greg’s Good Eats! Photo credit: Tamara Dilworth

Guests were also encouraged to check out the amazing park and landscape.

Guests were also encouraged to check out the amazing park and landscape.

Real live moss!

Real live moss! (maybe not the best shoe choice for this… ;))

I was really hoping for a Kermit the frog sighting!

I was really hoping for a Kermit the frog sighting!  

Time to set up the dessert table! Photo Credit: Nicole Boglivi

Time to set up the dessert table! Photo Credit: Nicole Boglivi

 

CHEERS to 50 years!

CHEERS to 50 years!

Amazing! Photo Credit: Hunter Jones

Amazing! Photo Credit: Hunter Jones  

Amazing candle blowout! Happy Birthday Tom! Here's to another 50 years of amazing friendship, fun adventures and big laughs! All good things always! Xo

Amazing candle blowout! Happy Birthday Tom! Here’s to another 50 years of amazing friendship, fun adventures and big laughs! Lots of love and all good things always! Xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunset Basil Lemonade

Lemonade has been a hot topic lately and everybody knows I love a good theme. This is the perfect cocktail to make in a pitcher when guests are coming over to the porch. Use fresh basil or mint from the garden (or in my case, my neighbor’s garden!)

SDB Sunset Lemonade_lemons and basil

Sunset Basil Lemonade… Introduced to me by a friend who copied the recipe from a drink she enjoyed in Napa, the ingredients are so simple I had to share!

Lemons and basil are always easy to find… either at your local farmer’s market or the supermarket. While you are there, pick up some honey too!

As a natural sweetener I have been using honey. Some honey is thinner than others but you can also make it more syrup like by adding a tablespoon or two of hot water to it.

As a natural and delicious sweetener I have been using honey in cocktails lately. Some honey is thinner than others but you can also make it more syrup like by adding a tablespoon or two of hot water to it (be sure to use immediately- thinned honey will not keep).

Using lemon vodka in this lemonade makes this drink extra smooth (and a bit dangerous- remember to sip!) There are so many yum lemon vodka choices… I prefer Kettle One Citron but Stoli Citros and Absolut Citron are very good also.

SDB Sunset Lemonade_shake

Using the honey as sweetener requires giving this drink a good amount of shaking. As much as I love a beautiful cocktail shaker, I prefer to mix cocktails in a deli container. Its very practical for measuring and storage and for drink shaking… The 32 oz. size is perfect to mix 3 to 4 drinks and you can really get your shake on.

SDB Sunset Lemonade_basil chiffonade

Once your drink is mixed and ready to serve, add the basil. (If you add too early it will darken) I have tried the basil in this cocktail a few ways, chopped finely or torn… Since its not every day you have basil in a cocktail, I think the fine chop is preferred with most people. Did I mention mint would be delish here too?

Garnish with thin lemon slices and a cute straw!

Garnish with thin lemon slices and a cute straw!

SDB Sunset Lemonade_double mason jar beauty

Sunset Basil Lemonade Ingredients & How- To:

1.5 Cups Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

6 to 12 Fresh Basil Leaves

3/4 Cup Lemon Vodka

1/4 Cup of Honey (I like wildflower honey)

1 to 2 Tablespoons of hot water

Using the hot water, thin honey to desired consistency and shake or whisk to combine. Add lemon juice and vodka to deli container and shake to mix. Just before serving, add chopped basil to taste and shake again. Pour over ice and add thinly sliced lemon and a cute straw for garnish! Report to patio, deck or front lawn and cheers to summer and sunset!