Pardon my Peach Sangria

img_7467If you’ve been following me for a awhile now, you know that one of my favorite alcoholic beverages is sangria. In fact, my very first blog post was on my Fall Caramel Apple Sangria! So of course I wanted to drop another recipe for the Summer season, and just in time for Labor Day. I like to make recipes for sangria because they are usually easy and the main ingredient is wine so a lot of people will drink it. I’m very typical in the fact that I like red sangria during the winter and white sangria during the hot seasons. I’m also more of a white wine drinker in general, so white sangria is my go-to!

I am not going to lie, this recipe was made almost by accident. My Godmother and I were having a pool day one Sunday Funday and I told her I was in the mood for some sangria. We talked briefly about making it white and that I wanted to use peach schnapps since she already had it. When we got to the store there were so many options for seltzers and juices but we finally came to a compromise. She made the first batch and it was delicious! So delicious we drank the entire batch. Needless to say, we were both in bed early that night…I want to say I was asleep by 7:30pm LOL. Since then, I’ve made it two more times, once on my own with a girlfriend and another time for an Orangetheory Pool party. After many raves and a few requests for the recipe, I decided to make it my next recipe blog.

 

Shopping List:

  • Sauvignon Blanc- 1 bottle (makes about 8 glasses)
  • Peach Schnapps- 1 Cup
  • Nantucket Nectars Orange Mango Juice (or similar)-  1 small bottle (16 ounces)
  • Peach Seltzer- top
  • Peaches or nectarines, sliced
  • **Vodka (optional)- If using, substitute 1/2 cup of Peach Schnapps
img_7412
I used Sauvignon Blanc, but I’m sure it would taste great with Pinot Grigio as well. I would stay away from Chardonnays or sweet wines like Moscato for this specific recipe.

Step one: Mix wine, juice, and peach schnapps in a large drink container. Walmart, TJ Max, and Target all have some pretty cheap yet cute containers for Sangria. I suggest getting one with a sturdy top for traveling purposes.

Step two: Slice peaches and add to the sangria mix. Chill for at least an hour (2 if you have time). Of course you can make it and drink it right away, but I personally love for the fruit to soak it up and the flavors to marinate a bit longer together.

Step three: Pour over ice and top with Peach Seltzer. If you need a measurement on it, I would say about a 1/2 cup of seltzer per glass.

Cheers!

img_7532
X O X O   ~ Sips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CT Day Trippin- Mystic and Stonington

It’s been a minute since I’ve done a full blog post. Honestly, moving across the country was extremely draining on me both physically and mentally. I took a step back from writing and needed to engulf myself in my new reality. I appreciate you all following along and waiting patiently before writing about my experiences in Connecticut. The reason I started blogging in the first place was because I genuinely missed writing. I used to write short stories in my earlier years and it gives me such joy to put a well thought out story in my head on paper. I really wanted to wait for my first blog on something in CT to be special and Mystic, a place I’ve wanted to go since I was a little girl (because of the movie of course), is the perfect place to start.

Most of you know by now from following me that I am a HUGE wine lover. Not only am I Italian so I grew up on wine, but my parents live close to Temecula Wine Country in California so naturally, it was a weekend event often. Wine tasting was one aspect from California that I was sure I was going to miss. I actually had no idea that Connecticut even had as many wineries as they do. What I love the most is the scenery in CT. It really is the most beautiful state I’ve ever seen, and their vineyards are no exception!

When Alyssa (@glutenfree_fit_foodie) and I had a weekend to ourselves away from the boys, we wondered what could be the perfect short girlfriend getaway trip. Vineyards came up as we are both wine lovers and heard the Stonington area was a great place for a quick escape. Neither of us had been to any vineyards in the area nor Mystic, so after discussion we decided this would be a good one night trip for us. After over packing and picking a really cute Air B n B in downtown Mystic, we started off on our vineyard adventure! (See below for video of our day)

 

First stop: Saltwater Farm Vineyards

What a gorgeous place for a wedding or romantic picnic! Set in the heart of Stonington, this Saltwater Farm Vineyard is located on the Wequetequock Cove and has many instagramable opportunities with their spectacular views. During our visit, we learned that the tasting room was actually a World War II airplane hanger, which gave the venue a more modern and industrial presence. We did a full tasting including white, rose, and red wine. Each one was delicious and better than the following. Saltwater has very dry wines, however, if you like a little bit of sweetness, I’d suggest to try the rose. As it wasn’t our first rodeo at a vineyard, we packed a picnic bag full of snacks for us to munch on, so it was great to see that they have picnic tables, benches, and chairs to utilize during your stay.  You can view their tasting room hours and music schedule here.

Second Stop: Stonington Vineyard

As soon as we stepped onto Stonington Vineyard we instantly felt the energetic vibe. With an enormous grass area right outside the tasting room, this venue is host to many events and live music during the seasonal times. With so much space, you can assure that if you bring the family, there will be room. We saw many groups that were hosting a picnic and bringing in outside food, and even hung out with a Bachelorette party that ordered Pizza straight to the winery! Can we say Genius? We had an array of tastings here as well, red and white, but what I found most interesting was their Chardonnay. I am typically not a Chardonnay lover, however this white wine is barreled in stainless steel instead of oak, so it gives a much different flavor to the wine then I usually taste with California Chardonnays (usually oak barreled). It was crispy and clean, I highly suggest to get a bottle of it on a warm day! For Stonington’s event schedule and live music, please click here.

Third stop: M Bar

What can I say about this amazing gem? Not enough! Refurbished gas station turned into a retro bar and restaurant, need I say more? First off, the drinks at M Bar were killer and beautiful in presentation. The menu was an eclectic mix of farm to table like fair, that changes seasonally. The plating was just as fantastic as the food items tasted. Pictured here is the Duck entree as well as the Short Rib Polenta, which of course melted in your mouth (please note these items are no longer available). Aside form the fabulous food, cocktails, and service, I think my overall favorite aspect of M Bar is the atmosphere. With their open air restaurant and outdoor patio, it’s a perfect place to end your wine tasting day for dinner or a late lunch. It is also decorated beautifully for many picturesque moments! For their current menu and offerings please click here.

Last Stop: Mystic Pizza

Can you even say you went to Mystic without going to Mystic Pizza? It’s basically the place and movie that made this cute little town famous. If you are a woman reading this and have not seen the Julia Roberts movie before, shame on you! 80’s Chick flick to the max! Although the pizza was not amazing, you really go for the nostalgia of the restaurant and to see where the movie was filmed. I tried THE Mystic Pizza, what they are known for, which was basically a meat filled pie with veggies. It was OK, just not as amazing as the hype had always been. It was a great ending spot to a long day of drinking and to get some last carbohydrates into your system before sleep. However, if there was a long line to get in, I would say skip it and go across the marina to one of the beautiful waterfront restaurants instead. If you don’t want to travel all the way to Mystic to try it, you can also check out their frozen options to be sent to you here.

 

Thank you reading, and keep sippin!

img_2883

Spaghettini, Now that’s Amore!

img_9436

As an Italian American, I am always striving to find the perfect place for Italian in California, a state where the Italian culture is not as embraced as the North East. Where I’m from and where I’m moving back too! If you’ve noticed on my blog, I’ve never done a review on an Italian restaurant because I would say I’m a bit picky. Not only does Spaghettini have great Italian food, but they encompass the Italian hospitality, which is what a lot restaurants lose when they are too focused on their brand versus connecting to their guests. In my first experience with the restaurant, I had the pleasure of meeting the owner Carey who made sure everything on our table was cooked and seasoned to perfection, in addition to keeping the wine glasses flowing. Co-owned with partner Laurie, Carey informed me that family is everything to them. During his visit with us he even informed me that he takes some of his dedicated staff to Italy every year! They even discuss this on their website, but they want to make sure the employees  familiarize themselves with the culture and food so they can bring the same compassion back to Southern California.

img_9444

img_9424Located in Seal Beach, Spaghettini is not only known for their food and friendship, but their happy hour specials and live entertainment! With happy hour Tuesday-Friday 3-6pm, and all day on Monday, guests can enjoy discounted prices on their famous food items such as their bruschetta (pictured here) and brick oven margherita pizza. They also have nightly 3-course specials at $35 per person which I feel is a steal in this area. For $35 you get a salad option, dessert option, and each night the main dish varies with a premium menu item such as their Classic Prime Rib or Chicken Parmesan, drool! For a girls night out, you can enjoy Wine Wednesday, with half bottles off and live entertainment, when scheduled. With everything from soul to pop music, Spaghettini is host to some of the most popular local music vendors around. Make sure to check out their schedule here, they sometimes sell out for certain bands and you need tickets. In addition, they also host a very popular Sunday Brunch which also has live music.

img_9423When I came to the restaurant for a styling shoot, I had the pleasure of enjoying my time with long time employee and fellow blogger Diana, al fresca. Their newly renovated patio is so cute and cozy. Perfect setting for a date night with lounge furniture and fire pits. I highly recommend for a night with friends as well! Some of my favorite items was the Sea Bass (cooked to perfection) and the Butternut Squash Ravioli, which had such a delicate taste of sage and brown butter. Mom will be mad, but I have to admit, I love their big meatballs!

I want to end by saying how appreciative I am for the Spaghettini family. When they heard I was leaving SoCal for a new adventure, they offered to host myself and fellow Blogger Babes for a going away dinner. It was incredible. I didn’t even take pictures because I was enjoying myself so much. Note: there is a highlight of this night on my IG page if you want to check it out. They also sent me off with a wonderful gift box filled with their infamous Spaghettini Champagne, red wine, and their cookbook (which I had been wanting for awhile). You can find their cookbook and other gift items here.

img_6002

Stay Sippin!

 

 

 

 

Hi Vodka, it’s me Drinkade

img_9414

As the name of my blog states, you can usually find me a bit “full of sips” on the weekends. I’m not going to lie, the name can certainly come with consequences and I’m sure everyone can relate to the fact that as we get older, so do our bodies and our tolerance for holding alcohol. At 34, if I drink more than 3 drinks in one given night, the chances are, I will have a headache the next day. Of course we’ve all tried the different remedies: downing water, eating fatty foods, pedialyte etc in order to avoid such consequences. One of my favorite ways to avoid a hangover is taking B12 vitamins, a suggestion from my good friend Kate when I was in my mid-20’s. Although not 100% successful, it does work a lot of the time as it builds your body with the nutrients needed to survive while killing your liver. So when I was approached to review Drinkade, I was not surprised that one of the key ingredients is B12 and that this tiny, but mighty, bottle can assist in feeling your best after a crazy night.

While of course there is no real “hangover cure” I was excited to try the product because one of the flavors has no caffeine in its ingredients. This is unusual for a hangover remedy that usually consists of Excedrin or  Coffee. Sorry to disappoint you all but no, I do not drink coffee or tea on a regular basis in the morning, I have enough energy myself! You can find the key ingredients and how Drinkade works here. Although it does have green tea extract, I did not feel the normal effects of caffeine so don’t worry about getting the jitters!

img_9383Drinkade comes in two flavors: Limeade (red) and Berry (blue). The taste of both drinks is similar to limeade flavor Gatorade, although I liked Berry better! I took both of the drinks at different times as I wanted to test the outcomes. I took Limeade about 15 minutes before I started drinking and when I tried the Berry flavor, I drank it at the same time I started drinking alcohol. (Full Disclosure! I actually tried Drinkade for the first time when I threw my annual Hocus Pocus party last month. I drank WAY too much and it did not take away my hangover however 1- I did not drink the entire bottle as I was tasting it among friends, 2- I was mixing alcohol, and 3- there wasn’t a drink in the world that could relieve my headache). I don’t believe the timing really had an impact on the drink as I felt great both mornings afterwards. I had a reasonable amount to drink each time, about 3-4 drinks and usually I would get a headache after that amount if I didn’t drink water. I want to point out that I kept my water intake to a minimum so I could test the real affects of the drinks. No headache? Yes! I can now finally “Skip the Tough Mornings,” as Drinkade would say.

img_9379

My absolute favorite reason for liking this product however, is not the taste or how it looks, but the size! At 3.4 ounces each, these little miracle workers can travel! As a person who has to travel often for her career, this is a huge plus to be able to bring a few on board with me. They also come in larger bottle size, but I prefer the small bottles that come in a variety of 6, 12, and 24 packs as well as larger party packs that have up to 240 bottles. My genius idea for these packs is to use them as giveaways at a Bachelorette party or Wedding. Wouldn’t it be fun to have tray-passed Drinkade upon arrival of a cocktail party to get your body started right? I personally have planned about 5 Bachelorette parties and these are perfect to add into the welcome gift bags for the bridesmaids and friends. Not to mention they are perfect for the Groom’s festivities as well!

img_9398

You can shop for Drinkade here. Please comment below if you try and let me know how you like it!

Pali House: Where Central Coast meets Anaheim

I just love when I am introduced to new hidden gems, especially when they are right in my neighborhood and in the vicinity of one of the most traveled cities in the world: Anaheim aka the home of Disneyland! Pali 10 As a food and wine lover, I am always so excited when new places open up in an area where that was much needed. Just 5 years ago, Anaheim was known solely for being where Disneyland was located. However, with the opening of the Packing District, rooftop bars, breweries, speakeasys and the new MAKE building, Anaheim is shaping up to become more than a family destination. I was blessed enough to be hosted by Visit Anaheim for a staycation with the SoCal Blogger Babes and they had us check out this cool new winery in the OC!

Pali 17Pali House, located in the brand new MAKE building (which is walking distance from the Packing District FYI), allows you to taste wine al fresco, featuring Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from the central region of California (Santa Barbara and Lompoc for you wine lovers). Formed in 2005 by best friends and business partners Tim and Scott, Pali Wine Co. is named after their hometown, Pacific Palisades. If you are familiar with that area, pay attention to their wine labels, as they incorporate names of neighborhoods in Pacific Palisades.

For the past 2 years, I’ve really been concentrating on white and rose varietals, so I was pleased to find out that the Pali House Rose was delicious and is perfect on those hot summer days. If you have ever sipped wine with me, you know I am not a Chardonnay fan, however I did find that one of them was dry enough for me to enjoy! One of the best parts of this winery is their charcuterie boards! Some wineries don’t serve food at all, so it’s good to know they have some small bites to choose from. Pali 6

With tasting rooms now in Santa Barbara, Lompoc, Anaheim, and San Diego-Little Italy (yes Mom, close to you!), Pali House will ultimately become a new hip California winery staple! Similar to Ballast Point and their success in breweries, they no doubt will add more locations soon for us to enjoy. P.S. may I suggest Newport Beach or the new Lot 579 in Pacific City?  Regardless, I look forward to seeing where this company goes in the coming years!

For Pali House Anaheim’s hours and events Click here!

Pali 8

Rainstorm Wines

Rainstorm 7Being Full of Sips, I am always in search of new wines to try so when Rainstorm Wines reached out to me to review their ever-so-popular Pinot Noir, of course I jumped at the chance. When it comes to buying wine, I am definitely one of those people that have their “go-to’s” and for the past few years now Matua and Kim Crawford have been my favorites. Although it’s been extremely cold in California recently with record breaking low temperatures, white wine still is my favorite.   However, after trying the Rainstorm Wines Pinot Noir, it got me in a “red” sort of mood and I’ve now been mixing red wine into my weekly wine rotation.  The issue with red wine is that you genuinely need to drink a good bottle. We’ve all been there when we’re broke and make the mistake of buying a too cheap wine. Take for example the “Two Buck Chuck” from Traders Joe’s that everyone loves. I personally can’t stand it…it gives me a headache and it tastes grainy. Red wines like these are what ruins your taste buds for exceptional wine. Luckily, I had Rainstorm Pinot Noir to bring me back!

Rainstorm 1At only $18 a bottle, this elegant red blends a 50/50 varietal of grapes stemming from the Willamette and Umpqua Valleys of Oregon, right outside of the funky and well loved town of Portland. As Rainstorm strives for character, relevance, attitude, style, elegance, and that funky Portland vibe, it was no surprise to me that I received a bit of everything when I tasted the Pinot Noir for the first time. Not as bold as a lot of reds, this Pinot was easy to put down and left a fruit forward flavor in my mouth afterwards. This particular blend is grown on a ridge which is something Oregon is insanely proud of as the ridge gives the water a place to drain which moderates the vine’s healthiness and produces smaller amounts of crop that yields quality over quantity.

 

 

 

In addition to the Pinot Noir, Rainstorm also carries a brand new Pinot Rose along with a Pinot Gris. I highly encourage you to check out their wines on their website (linked here) as their opening video quickly catches your attention!  It’s clear that this company not only believes in great taste, but attractive labeling, bottling, and marketing – which makes it all that more fun to drink! I was immediately excited to try their wines after watching the video which gives a sensual edge to wine tasting and encompasses their 6 wine characteristics they strive for, which I mentioned previously.  I was sad to hear that they do not have a tasting room in the Portland area as of yet, but it is in the horizon as well as more labels to come!

Rainstorm 3

Keep Sipping!

 

Where to Mingle When You’re Single on Valentines Day

PH 17Whether in a relationship or not, the big V Day always comes with pressure to either find the perfect place to spend the most romantic night out, or a fun atmosphere to mingle while you’re single! Although Valentine’s Day has always been an American staple, I love that many events, bars, and restaurants are also embracing Single Awareness Day. And why not?! I feel that people who are single have just as much right to celebrate as couples do being in a relationship. It’s been fun the past few years watching what different venues come up with to attract single patrons over couples looking for a romantic dinner. If you think about it, this really needed to happen as some restaurants are getting ridiculously expensive the night of the 14th and surrounding weekends. Most high end restaurants in the Socal area typically offer a set menu at raised “all inclusive” prices that could be as high as $150+tax and tip per person! Ok so wait, not only are you inflating your prices over the holiday, but now I can’t even eat what I want?! No, thanks.

PH 7

Luckily, in the beautiful city of Huntington Beach, we have options! At The Shorebreak Hotel right off of Pacific Coast Highway and in the heart of Surf City USA, is the best craft cocktail bar in Orange County, the Pacific Hideaway.  As you should already know, I am a craft cocktail enthusiast, and love tasting and learning about all the various and creative ways to make one particular drink. I’ve come to learn that a real craft cocktail should technically take at least 5 minutes to make, and sometimes up to 8 minutes if it’s a complicated recipe! Although I don’t believe it takes him quite as long, Lead Bartender Casey Lyons has come up with the most spectacular and  cutting edge cocktail menu in our area including the infamous Dazed and Confused which comes with a sage “joint” smoking on the side. Of course, the upcoming V-day event is no exception to his innovation!

PH 12
Lead Bartender of Pacific Hideaway and Craft Cocktail Connoisseur, Casey Lyons

Along with Director of Food and Beverage, Blake Mathias, they have come up with the most appropriate and exclusive cocktails to honor what they refer to as Single Awareness Night. “I wanted to give local Huntington Beach a place to not only enjoy an amazing atmosphere and incredible cocktails, but where singles can come to mingle and feel comfortable without romantic pressure,” Mathias says of his take on the reverse holiday.

With 3 brand new craft cocktails created by Lyons especially for the occasion, they certainly succeeded! I had the opportunity to go with one of my friends Felicia, (aka PrettyPoorThing) to taste their new creations and I was not only satisfied but completely impressed. With names such a 99 Problems and Swipe Right, Pacific Hideaway definitely embraces singles and encourages bad, yet mostly good decisions.

Can you guess which one is which from the above? My favorite was definitely the Pears & The Bees, which was a concoction of Sky Pear Vodka, Lemon Juice, Honey Syrup, Apple Juice, and Aperol and tasted like heaven in my mouth. Let me tell you, if you’re single and have a few of these, you may not be single by the end of the night!

Even if in relationship,  if you’re looking to get away from the cheesy romantic nuances that come with the most dreaded holiday ever, Pacific Hideaway at the Shorebreak is the place to check out! If you’re single, then go just to tag yourself with a drink that says “Swipe Right” because, well, it’s better to drink then actually swipe right…PH 13

 

 

@Fullofsips