Ring in the New Year with a New Martini

Welcome to my page! I am so excited to share my new Holiday “sip” with all of you! As you should know by now, I love cocktails and creating drinks that I can share with my family and friends. Typically inspired by something I drank at a restaurant or found on Pinterest, I enjoy putting my own spin on these recipe finds and making them more enjoyable, easier, or cheaper for my followers.


If you’re looking for a beautiful New Years Eve cocktail, you are going to love this fresh and mildly sweet White Cranberry & Rosemary Martini!
Martini 13I  was a bit apprehensive at first as the original recipe called for simple syrup, and although I was a bartender for many years, I had never made simple syrup from scratch before. Come to find, SUPER easy folks! I give 100% credit to my 14 year old brother, who apparently had made this before for his fresh lemonade. If you’re not familiar, simple syrup is an essential sweetener and ingredient in many cocktails. Some will use agave in place of this, however, if you have a stove and can boil water, you can can make it in 2 minutes! Just mix equal parts water and sugar, bring to a boil, add crushed rosemary, then let stand for 30-40 minutes, before straining out the rosemary. As a rosemary lover, it was delicious!


Fresh ingredients are always what makes a craft cocktail superb. My Mom picked this rosemary from her best friend’s garden and it smelled delicious! Once it was infused into a syrup, it made for an excellent sweetener that you can keep for up to a couple of weeks! Note: do not substitute for dried rosemary, since this will not infuse correctly.

I am extremely lucky that my Mother has a lime tree! Pictured here are her limes which are uniquely yellow, with the most perfect sour. You can always tell how good a lime is by the juice that comes out of them. Have you ever cut into a lime and barely anything comes out? It’s the worst and my Mom’s never disappoints!


I actually had never tried a real cranberry until I made this cocktail. It has a mildly sour yet hard exterior and does not really have much taste. I’m still not sure how I feel about it honestly, so let’s just say it’s better for decoration. Pictured here is my amazing and supportive brother who taught me how to make simple syrup and helped me stage this blog post.


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As with most martinis, this cocktail is shaken over ice, and I always suggest to shake for at least 20 seconds to get a real frothy martini!

Recipe:1.5 oz Vodka

2 Tbls White Cranberry Strawberry Juice

1/4 slice of Lime (these are fresh limes which is why they look like lemons)

2 Tsp simple syrup

Simple Syrup:

1/2 cup Water

1/2 Cup Sugar

Crushed Rosemary




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Not so shy girl in Chi town

Chicago 24Did you know that Chi Town originally got it’s name from a 1975 country album? The album by C.W. McCall had a song on the record called “convoy” and included lyrics about driving through “Chi Town.” The last time I had gone to Chicago I was 9 years old. I do not remember going to see the city or anything exciting, as I was driving cross country to move from Connecticut to California and it was just a quick stop to visit one of my mom’s best friends. It was summer time and the only thing I remember is going to a pool with a waterslide…not very much of a Chicago memory if you ask me! So it was a pleasant surprise when my boss asked me to attend our annual conference in Chi Town this past November! I had already built up in my head for years what I would do if I was in Chicago next, but I only had about 24 hours to actually explore, so I had to be strategic!

Chicago 17I really did love this city and I cannot wait to go back again! From the beautiful architecture to the delicious food, there really is nothing Chicago can’t offer you for a true “downtown” experience. I had the LONGEST list in life of things I wanted to do while there, all suggestions from friends, family and of course my Blogger Babes! However, after a 4.5 hour plane ride, meeting and speaking with 500 different faces and shaking hands at the conference, going from warm 70 degree weather to cold 40 degree weather, you could imagine my dismay when I got sick the last day which was the day I had planned (3) more Chicago bucket list restaurants and bars! I ended up spending my last day in my hotel room and ordering Caviar (which is similar to Postmates but on the East) and having ramen (which was not the best). Boo! Honestly, there was SO much more I wanted to do, see, and eat, and I was so disappointed I got sick, but below you will read highlights from my trip, where I stayed, the restaurants I ate at, and unfortunately, a few items I did not have time for that I would highly suggest to my travelers.

Accommodations~ I am so lucky to work for an amazing brand like Kimpton. Each and every one of our properties are unique and innovative, while keeping a sophisticated charm. I had the opportunity to see and experience (3) hotels while in Chicago: The Grey by Kimpton, Intercontinental Chicago (Miracle Mile), and my personal overnight accommodations, The Kimpton Allegro. All 3 hotels are in fantastic locations, walking distance to many bars, restaurants, shopping, and nightlife, and I experienced them by attending an event, dinner, or meeting at each one.

The rooms are quaint but also encompass a downtown feel with amazing views of the city!  allegrochicago.com

With every Kimpton property, they love to give you that WOW factor in the lobby. This art piece at the Allegro (below) clearly illustrates that the hotel wants to remind it’s guests of an older era, which I would say is 1920’s since they have a speakeasy upstairs! The detailed decor in this lobby really incorporated a vintage feel with the gold accents and leather furniture, and the designers did an amazing job of making you feel that you’re in downtown Chicago.

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Did you know every Kimpton property has a complimentary wine hour from 5-6pm?! It’s such a perk when traveling to have a glass of wine waiting for you right when you get back to the hotel from a meeting! The Allegro actually serves Prosecco for their wine hour which I love as bubbly is always a favorite of mine, but I was able to sample a couple of their white wines as well including this Sauvignon Blanc.

Food: As much as I had heard about Chicago, I definitely had high expectations of the food scene in the city and had compiled a whole list of places to fork down! Of course, as with most trips, I didn’t get the opportunity to venture to nearly as many places as anticipated. However, with the limited time I had, I did get to experience very amazing food and culture!

Bar Siena (pictured below) was a place I had seen blogged about many times on instagram and pinterest since they also own this very cool doughnut and Italian coffee shop, Bombo Bar, which is attached to the restaurant. Located in Restaurant Row in the very popular West Loop neighborhood, Bar Siena is known for their eclectic Italian streetfare which is served family style, and is leaded by winning Top Chef Fabio Viviani (who is gorgeous by the way) and owned by DineAmic Group partners and the Chef himself. I loved the vibe of this restaurant as it had a very energetic, yet romantic feel and although the food has beautiful presentation that made it feel like a fancy restaurant, it has the ability to gives you a casual feel.  

Let me just go ahead and say that I have tasted A LOT of burrata in my life. I have traveled to Italy and tried burrata. My family has even made burrata! This was without a doubt my favorite burrata I have ever had at a restaurant. It was seriously so delicious I cannot stress enough how good it was! And to answer the question you may be thinking, yes! Bar Siena makes all their cheese in house and EVERYTHING on their menu is made from scratch. Of course being Italian, I had to try their gnocchi as this potato pasta is very hard to master. Mixed with prosciutto sausage, rapini, parmesan, and chili flakes, I felt the gnocchi was cooked to perfection and although I did find the dish to be a bit salty, I think that’s because I’ve never had prosciutto sausage before and I wasn’t expecting such a strong taste. 

Bar Siena 5
Bombo Bar is is a walkup eatery that is known for their Bombolini, a small, hole-less donut that has the filling on the side to “stuff” the donut with. I really wanted to incorporate one of their hot beverages with one of their dessert options, so I chose the Hotter Cider (pictured here). As amazing as it looks, this hot beverage consisted of very apple cider, salted caramel, and the best topper, an old-fashioned, pecan-apple donut! Connected to, and also served for dessert at Bar Siena, I would highly recommend this spot for a quick dessert place. 

Pizza from Chicago

Giordanos pizza is infamous for the deep dish style pizza in Chicago and they have multiple locations. If you are not familiar, Chicago style pizza has cheese in the middle, with the crust and the sauce on the outside. For the heavy cheese lovers, this is a melted cheese heaven dream! Being Italian, I was skeptical at first, but it was extremely delicious and I would definitely go back there again! We got half cheese and half sausage, and both were so yummy! #nomnom

Things to do: Just walking around the city is honestly enough to do in itself! Endless shopping, restaurants, and entertainment surrounds you no matter what part of town you’re from. From our hotel, we were able to walk to the river, the iconic Bean, and even the infamous Ledge, which of course, I had to  experience!Chicago 28

The Ledge, also known as Sears Tower is infamously known for their 8 walkout ledges that those who want to experience the terrifying feeling, can enjoy. As they only give groups less than 2 minutes to take pictures, I was very strategic in exactly how I wanted to pose myself for this particular shot (pictured above). It honestly was an extremely terrifying  yet exhilarating experience as you have a whole 1 minute elevator ride up the 130 stories to your ledge! Pictured below is the view from the ledge, when we first got to the top of the building. Luckily by the time it was our turn, the city lights had just come on enabling me to get this beautiful picture above. 

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My first time at the iconic Bean, I was so excited to only get myself in this shot!
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Beautiful leaves turning all around you in Chicago in the Fall

What I wanted to do that I couldn’t: I’m sure as most of you can relate, when we go away somewhere, there’s a long list of places you put in your phone that you want to check out and let’s be honest, we actually probably only see 10% of what we planned. I try to be that person who can cram a lot into one vacation, but as I stated earlier, with getting sick, and also being on a work trip, I was limited. Below are my Top 3 places that I plan to explore the next time I’m in the city:

#1- Three Arts Club Cafe- Owned and located inside Restoration Hardware, this beautiful design gallery is host to a restaurant, cafe, and wine bar Grubstreet.com
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#2- Lena Brava- This eclectic and trendy restaurant is located in the West Loop and  and owned by Top Chef  winner and author of 9 cook books, Rick Bayless  www.rickbayless.com
chicago boat tour
#3- Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise- A 90 minute boat ride that allows you to learn about Chi Town’s history and beautiful architecture. www.timeout.com

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Thank you for reading and always keep sipping!

“Fall” in Love with Sangria

I am so excited to share my very first blog post with  those who are reading. I wanted to keep the first one as simple and sweet as this delicious Fall style sangria my friend Taylor and I found on Pinterest a couple of years ago. Perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and any other parties you attend during the Fall season, this perfect blend of flavors leave your taste buds  truly feeling the Fall spirit!Cheers to sangria

Random history fact! Sangria is originally from Spain and Portuguese decent, however it dates all the way back to Romanian period. In this era, water was constantly contaminated so the Romans used wine to “sanitize” their water and added extra herbs and fruits to make it into more of a juice! As I know from reading books from this era, they did dilute their wine so this makes complete sense and I’m surprised that more Sangria producers don’t implement this into their marketing efforts for the brands!

I throw an annual Hocus Pocus night at my house every year so last year when I was looking for ideas, my girlfriend Taylor and I stumbled upon this concoction which perfectly fits the theme of basically anything October. It’s also a a great choice for a party where a lot of women are attending since it is sweet so it’s more of a girly drink.  PLUS you can make it in bulk and fast if you need to re-fill your pitchers, and if you have girlfriends and family who know how to drink like mine, then this is very convenient!

Now to the fun stuff! This Caramel Apple Sangria is made with a mixture of Caramel Vodka (not be confused with apple vodka), Apple Cider, White Wine, and of course, sliced apples. I have yet to find another Carmel Vodka other than Smirnoff but I have been told that Pinnacle also has had one in the past.


Being an east coast girl, I was raised near an apple farm so I grew up with the luxury of having a cider mill close to me, however I have yet to find a cider mill in Orange County (I believe Julian or Moreno Valley is the closest), so my go-to is Trader Joes Apple Cider. If any of you do know of a great place that makes fresh cider, please comment below!

I am going to be upfront regarding my wine preferences now…I am NOT a Chardonnay drinker, so I will most likely never suggest using that white wine as an ingredient. With that being said, I suggest Sauvignon Blanc for the sweeter side, or Pinot Grigio for the drier the side. We used Pinot Grigio for this party as I like cocktails that are not as sweet, especially when you already have a sweet base  such as apple cider. Also, if you want to make the Sangria less strong, you can use more wine and cider vs. vodka!

IMG_1703To complete your Sangria, make sure you buy various types of apples and cut them to soak in Sangria before serving. I used Fiji, Honeycrips, and Galas to give variety and add extra flavor. Once you mixed the recipe ingredients below, make sure you soak the fruit for at last 1 hour, 2 hours if you have the time! If this was red sangria, you could soak at room temperature, but since this is a white sangria, lets go ahead and refrigerate so it stays cold before guests come over. You also have the option of keeping at room temperature and pouring over ice.

SangriaI am so excited to hear the outcome when you try this at an event! Thank you for reading and stay Full of Sips!


Serves about 8 drinks

3 Apples

5 cups of Apple Cider

1 Cup of Caramel Apple Vodka

1 Bottle of Pinot Grigio

*Refrigerate for 1-2 hours