About Rodney Brazil

Enjoying life, wine, and great cocktails.

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Drink Recipes: Brazilian Mule

We really love Moscow Mules, and enjoy trying all of the many variations, such as the Mexican Mule, which replaces vodka with tequila. In honor of the World Cup, we wanted to share this great recipe inspired by one of Brazil’s native fruits. This Brazilian Mule recipe comes from the makers of VEEV spirit, a vodka alternative made with winter wheat and açaí berries. These berries grow wild in Brazil, making VEEV the perfect spirit for this twist on the classic Moscow Mule recipe.

Brazilian Mule

  • 2oz VEEV Spirit
  • 3oz Ginger Beer or Ginger Ale
  • Squeeze of fresh lime
  • 1 Dash of Angostura Bitters (optional)
  • Lime garnish

Add VEEV and ice to glass. Fill remainder of glass with ginger beer.

Siberia Stainless Steel Mug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This sweet and spicy cocktail would look great served in our stainless steel mug, and offers a cold, refreshing treat on a hot summer night.

13 Hot Dog Toppings that Will Blow Your Mind

Hot dogs are a summer favorite throughout the country. Whether grilling out by the pool, camping, or spending the weekend at the beach, nothing hits the spot quite like homemade hot dogs. At the same time, cooking hot dogs is sometimes frowned upon as uninteresting, or food for kids. That’s where fancy hot dogs come to the rescue. Even though the classic combination of ketchup, mustard, and relish has withstood the test of time, here’s a hot dog toppings list that will turn even the most mundane picnic spread into a summer feast. Add these hot dog toppings to your shopping list, and everyone around will go crazy for more.

Thai Peppers

Thai Peppers Hot Dog Topping

The Thai pepper, also known as the bird’s eye chili, is a small, exceedingly hot pepper. Even though they pack a super spicy punch, they are balanced with fruity sweetness, which makes them perfect in hot dog recipes. These peppers turn red when fully ripe, but are commonly eaten while still green. Finely chopped and sprinkled over hot dogs with mustard and onion relish, these spicy soldiers are a natural flavor booster. If you want to go really crazy, sprinkle on some coconut as well.

Fancy Cheese

Fancy Cheese Hot Dog Topping

Among outdoor summer food, hamburgers have always been stingy with the cheese. Although we’re still talking about meat tucked inside bread, party goers frequently forget about adding cheese to their hot dogs. Picnic spreads are known for their sizable stacks of American cheese slices, but for fancy hot dogs, you need fancy cheese. Soft cheeses, like Gouda and Havarti are excellent choices, and fit well with other more traditional hot dog toppings. Stronger flavors, like Danish blue cheese and Stilton, are even better, and should be paired with a steak or barbecue sauce. Keep these cheeses in the cooler, though, because the hot summer heat will make these these gourmet hot dogs extra potent.

Chipotle Peppers

Chipotle Peppers Hot Dog Topping

A staple ingredient in the Southwest, chipotle peppers are really just smoked, dried jalapeños, but add a super sweet smoky flavor. This is one of the best hot dog topping ideas for camping, because you can buy chipotle peppers dried, and keep them in a small, easy to seal plastic bag. To prepare, soak the dried peppers in water for a few minutes, and scrape the seeds out before you chop them up. You can also opt for chipotle peppers in adobo, which doesn’t require soaking or chopping. Chipotles in adobo make an awesome hot dog chili sauce, and make the perfect pair with our next topping…

Fried Eggs

Fried Egg Hot Dog Topping

Meat and fried eggs can be found in every roadside diner, and fried eggs will turn your hot dogs into top-notch comfort food. Easy to make and available anywhere, eggs also look great heaped on top of all your other favorite hot dog toppings. Fried eggs even make it okay to eat hot dogs for breakfast, as if permission was needed.

Chili Spiced Dried Mango

Chili Mango Hot Dog Topping

Another great sweet and spicy recipe for hot dogs comes courtesy of the bulk foods section of the supermarket. These slices of dried mango come seasoned with paprika, salt, chili powder, and a hint of cayenne. The sweet mango flavor is perfect with a grilled hot dog, and the chili spices give it an extra kick. Try a squirt of fresh lime juice on top as a finishing touch.

Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup Hot Dog Topping

Another breakfast inspired hot dog topping, maple syrup offers an earthy, unmistakable sweetness that soaks right into the bun. Best poured on while the hot dog is still piping hot from the grill, this is the perfect condiment for bacon wrapped hot dogs, or even sausage links. Keep it to a light drizzle, though, to avoid soggy buns.

Fresh Herbs

Fresh Herbs Hot Dog Topping

Nothing packs a whollup of bright flavor like fresh herbs. Cilantro, chives, basil, and tarragon all go well with dressings like mustard or mayonnaise, and even give your hot dogs a nice crunch. Chopped green onions can be a good alternative to the white, diced variety. Avoid heartier herbs like rosemary or fennel, because then can be too overwhelming when eaten raw.

Radishes

Radishes Hot Dog Topping

A staple in the salad bowl, radishes will add a peppery crunch to your hot dog recipes. They are easy to chop ahead of time, and firm enough to withstand travel to the beach or tailgating site. The fresh flavor of radishes works well with ranch dressing, and give you picnic spread a little extra color, as well.

Pineapple Salsa

Pineapple Salsa Hot Dog Topping

Fruit salsas can be a great addition to any dish, and pineapple salsa is one of the best hot dog topping ideas. Pineapple salsa has a tropical citrus flavor, but typically features other great tastes, like cumin and garlic. Available in most grocery stores and ready for spooning, it’s a beautiful shortcut to getting the best hot dogs around.

Salt & Vinegar Chips

Salt and Vinegar Chips Hot Dog Topping

Elementary school kids know that the best way to eat a brown bag lunch is to slide the potato chips right between the ham and white bread. Take this lunchtime recipe a step further, and crumble salt and vinegar chips onto your hot dog. The tangy saltiness and fried crunch are perfect for poolside dining, and will make you feel like a kid at recess. Except being a grown-up kid means you get to wash it down with a nice cold beer.

Pickled Garlic

Pickled Garlic Hot Dog Topping

Garlic can be added to just about anything, and hot dogs are no exception. Pickled garlic is great because it’s milder than fresh garlic, but still offers bold flavor. If you’re taking it with you to the campsite, mince the garlic before you leave home, and add it back to the pickling juices. This is a great hot dog topping idea for more traditional folks, and combines perfectly with spicy peppers or sweet relish.

Capers

Capers Hot Dog Topping

A secret ingredient in Italian and French kitchens for generations, capers have recently seen a surge in popularity. They are actually pickled flower buds, and will give your hot dogs a salty, tangy zing. Pair capers with feta cheese and tzatziki sauce for a Mediterranean-inspired delight.

Ravioli

Ravioli Hot Dog Topping

If you are a fan of food stuffed food, such as calzones and chicken cordon bleu, then this will be one of your go-to hot dog ideas. Ravioli are kind of like little sandwiches themselves, so it makes sense. Just tuck as many pieces of cooked ravioli as you can into your next hot dog. If you’re feeling messy, top the whole thing off with marinara sauce, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Eat it fast, or use a toasted bun to avoid getting most of it in your lap instead of your mouth. That would be a shame.

Beer Cocktails: The Golden Bite

Refreshing and delicious, beer cocktails are now a staple at bars and gastropubs across the country. Beer cocktail recipes tend to be very simple mixed drinks, and with good reason. Each beer has it’s own unique flavor profile, and shouldn’t be overshadowed by a weighty list of intense flavors. The best drinks made with beer contain ingredients that elevate the natural flavors of grain and hops, and keep the beer center stage.

One of the most well known drink recipes with beer is the Snakebite cocktail, a 50/50 mix of any beer and hard cider of your choice. For this original beer cocktail, we’ve taken this idea to the next level, combining German beer with a balanced blend of flavors making this refresher a stand out among summer beer cocktail recipes.

The Golden Bite Beer Cocktail Beer Cocktails: The Golden Bite

  • 1/2 pint Weihenstephaner Kristallweissbier
  • 1/2 pint Strongbow Gold Apple Hard Cider
  • 1 oz Apfelkorn apple liqueur

Pour 1 oz of cold Apfelkorn apple liqueur into a chilled glass mug. Next, slowly pour in 1/2 pint of Strongbow Gold Apple Hard Cider, or enough to fill the mug half way. Pour gently, of course, as to retain maximum fizziness. Fill the rest of the stein with 1/2 pint of Weihenstephaner Kristallweissbier. In a pinch, you can try another pale, filtered wheat beer. To keep the carbonation strong in beer cocktails, there’s no need to stir. While drinking, the apple flavor will increase as the ingredients naturally begin to mix.

Beer based cocktails are great for parties, because with these proportions, you can pop open a bottle of beer, a bottle of cider, and make two, perfect mixed bubbly drinks. When you’re ready for another round, just open fresh bottles. These beer cocktails are also perfect to serve with soft pretzels and Cambozola, a.k.a. blue brie.

Beer Gifts for the Man Who Has Everything

For lots of guys, beer is life. They love beer drinking, beer brewing, and beer talking. For them, beer is a hobby, an area of expertise, and a life-long love affair. After so many years of sharing the joys of good beer, cabinets can become filled with beer gifts: t-shirts, antique bottle caps, and interesting bottles from all over the world. Everyone loves a cool pint glass, so they’re an easy win for the affectionate gift buyer, and sure-to-get-a-smile treasures for the recipient. Once the cabinets and dresser drawers are full, though, what next? We’ve assembled a list of highly desirable beer gift ideas that have a significant chance of surprising even the most seasoned beer lover. These beer gifts for the man who has everything may not always fit in the man cave, but they’re sure to to be far more memorable than that “Nobody Rides for Free” foam koozie.

9,000 Year Old Beer

By Leo-setä (Flickr: Madeira) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

There’s no shortage of new and trendy beer ingredients, so sometimes it’s good to stop and look back on tradition. Thanks to modern archaeology, there are lots of interesting ancient beer recipes out there. Although most beer from past millennia lost its buzz a long time ago, there was a batch discovered in recent years that dates back to the Neolithic period.  Preserved pots found in a tomb in Northern China were tested, and a forgotten piece of history was rediscovered: a mixed fermented beverage that at least one person found good enough to take to the grave! The recipe was deciphered, and it’s now produced commercially by Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales, but wouldn’t your dad get a kick out of making the recipe at home? Just gather up some hawthorn fruit, sake yeast, barley and honey, and fire up the home brewing equipment for a taste of the oldest beer in the world.

A Barley Field

By Victor Szalvay (flickr.com) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

A far cry from your everyday beer garden, a barley field is one of the beer lover gifts that keeps on giving. For starters, dad can make his home brew truly one-of-a-kind by using his own exclusive crop of grain. Sure, it might take a little more effort, and hours of backbreaking labor, but nothing worthwhile was ever achieved the easy way. He can also give tours, and even set up a scheme to have others pay him a small fee to help harvest the crop, just for the novelty of it. Genius! It will also give him something else to photograph and post on Facebook, other than breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Massive Bottle Opener He Can’t Lose

Man Cave Bottle Opener

Unique and funny bottle openers are common gifts for beer lovers, and with good reason. You need them everyday, they don’t take up a lot of room, and you can never have too many. For some reason, though, you can’t ever find one when you need it. Sure, you can do try the old pop over the edge of the kitchen counter, but that can be dangerous for the counter. You can open a beer with a wrench or a paint key, but those are always lost, too, fallen into the black abyss of a “junk drawer” somewhere. All of these problems are solved by the super-practical wall mount bottle opener. It doesn’t get lost, it looks cool, and your buddies can’t “accidentally” put it in their pockets and then forget to bring it back forever. As a bonus, it’s less expensive and easier to maintain than a barley field.

Destination Beer Vacations

Trapp Family Lodge

When you’re buying gifts for the man who has everything, one of the best solutions is to avoid actual objects all together, and book a vacation instead. It reduces clutter, and you can invite yourself to go too! Destination beer vacations can be anything from a road trip to a local brewery, to a guided tour of London’s oldest pubs. A great place for the entire family, right here in the US, is the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. Owned and operated by descendants of the world famous, musical Von Trapp family, they opened their own brewery back in 2010. They brew a several lagers, with special attention given to re-creating traditional Austrian taste. They offer flights to visitors, as well as bottled brew to take home. The water used in their brews is drawn from a nearby artesian well. There are a number of taverns and the Crop Brewery nearby, so there are plenty of places to venture out and have a new brew experience.

Enviable Countertop Brew Machine

PicoBrew Zymatic

Isn’t technology wonderful? A new company in Washington state has been hard at work developing the first all-in-one home brewing appliance. Replacing a warehouse full of home brewing supplies,the PicoBrew Zymatic™. By adding your own favorite ingredients, anyone can create a one of a kind craft brew with just the touch of a button. The unit is about the size of a large commercial microwave, so it will consume some counter space, but that’s a small price to pay for the convenience of brewing anything you want, anytime. Try brewing that 9,000 year old recipe for that “The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones” experience.

 

His Name on Custom Beer Labels

Custom Beer Labels

Another way to find beer gifts for the man who has everything is to have them custom made. Everyone loves to see their name on stuff, and beer lovers are no exceptions. These custom beer labels are printed on high quality paper, and stick right onto any bottle. Since these personalized beer bottle labels made to order, they complete the beer brewing process with style, offering a professional feel, just like what you see in any local brewery. When Dad takes a drink from his own home brew in a bottle bearing his own name, he’ll feel like he’s truly arrived.

Wine Humor Round-Up: Drinking Jokes & Funny Wine Gifts

A short surf around the web is all the proof you need that wine drinkers have a great sense of humor. From wine drinking jokes to wine posters to funny gifts for wine lovers, there’s way more than a barrel of laughs. We’ve collected some of our favorite wine humor into a special edition table blend, so pop open a bottle (or if you are so inclined, a box), and enjoy!

Funny Wine Jokes

Everyone loves a great tweet, and Twitter has no shortage of funny wine jokes.

Periodic Table of Wine

This funny and informative wine infographic has been circling the internet for years. It categorized types of red wine and types of white wine with pseudo-scientific hilarity.

Periodic Table of Wine

If you’re looking for funny wine gifts, the Periodic Table of Wine is actually a t-shirt design, and it’s even wine colored so you don’t have to worry about spills!

 

Funny Wine Cartoons

Traditional wine snobbery is an easy target for wine humor, so satirical cartoons frequently here for laughs.

Wine Cartoon

Originally appeared in The New Yorker

Open a Wine Cartoon

Originally appeared in The New Yorker

 

Wine Art

Wine posters and wine art can be found in homes everywhere, and nothing makes us feel more at home that a good laugh.

Love the Wine You're With

 

Always a Good Time

 

Funny Gifts for Wine Lovers

Unique wine gifts are really fun to give, and even more fun to receive. Take something useful and give it a twist of wine humor, and you’ve got a memorable gift to make your wine lover smile.

Red Cup Wine Glass Set

These unique wine glasses are inspired by the ubiquitous red party cup. Some people might say they would never drink wine from a disposable cup, but put a stem on it, and there’s no excuse not to drink from one!

 

Bottoms Up Wine Stopper

Funny wine stoppers are great, because party guests will use them throughout the night, striking a smile and conversation each and every time.

Peacock Wine Holder

Sometimes you’ve got that bottle of special vintage that needs to be displayed, rather than tucked away in a cabinet. Make sure it gets noticed with this hilarious peacock wine bottle holder. We promise he won’t drink the whole bottle.

How to Make Boozy Homemade Donuts

Few things could be considered more popular daily indulgences than donuts and booze, but they can rarely be found together. Drinking at breakfast is mostly taboo, except on Sundays, and Sunday brunch is typically reserved for stuffier fare, such as crepes or poached eggs. Donuts are usually made in the wee hours of the morning, so by happy hour, they’ve all gone stale. Enter these boozy homemade donuts to solve this problem forever.

Baking with booze is already an accepted culinary hobby, and desserts with alcohol have been around for generations. Since donuts are basically cake to eat at breakfast, boozy homemade donuts are a natural progression. Here are six easy homemade donut recipes, each inspired by a classic cocktail, and incorporating spirits and ingredients that will tickle any taste palette. These donut recipes are perfect brunch menu ideas, or for something unique at cocktail parties. So pop open a bottle of bubbly, and let’s learn how to make homemade donuts.

How to Make Donuts

How to Make Doughnuts

All of our boozy donuts are based on the same easy recipe. Just stir together 2 cups of all-purpose baking mix, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 egg for your starting mixture. For each easy donut recipe, simply add the suggested alcohol to the base mixture. This amount of donut batter will make approximately 12, although you can divide it up before you add the booze to make an assortment. Just lighten up a little with the booze when making smaller batches. Mix well, and roll onto a floured surface until it’s just under half an inch thick. Cut into donut shapes using the rims of a highball and a shot glass. Clever, right?

You can opt for baked donuts or fried. For baking, use a parchment lined cookie sheet, and put them in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 8 minutes. For frying, use enough oil in your pan so that the donuts can be fully submerged when you drop them in, and they’ll float when they are ready to be flipped over. Another couple of minutes to finish the other side, and you are good to go. Let them cool for at least 5 minutes before frosting. Oh, yeah! Frosting!

How to Make Frosting

The donut frosting is made with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, and a splash of booze. Again, this is enough frosting for 12 donuts, but you can use proportionately smaller measurements if you are making smaller quantities. Use a spoon or basting brush to coat each of the homemade donuts individually. Now it’s time to open up that liquor cabinet.

 

The Mimosa

Mimosa Cocktail Donut

The most logical choice to bring breakfast hour and happy hour together is the Mimosa. A favorite brunch cocktail, second only to the Bloody Mary, although a spicy tomato juice flavored doughnut just didn’t sound right. Add 1/3 cup of orange juice to your base donut mixture, and a splash of triple sec. Mix well, and cook using your preferred method mentioned above. For the icing, mix one shot of sparkling wine into your powdered sugar, and another splash of triple sec. I added blue sprinkles to mine, in an homage to blue curacao. One bite, and you’ll wish every day was Sunday.

 

The Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned Cocktail Donut

Since there’s already such a thing as an old fashioned donut, there needs to be an old fashioned cocktail donut. For the donuts, add 1/3 cup of bourbon or rye whiskey to your base mixture, along with 3 dashes of bitters. For the frosting, add a 1 tablespoon of cherry juice to your powdered sugar. These donuts are best served with a tumbler of straight whiskey on the side. As you’re learning how to make donuts, this is a great one to start.

The Pina Colada

Pina Colada Donut

Coconut is a popular flavor in many baked treats, like coconut rum cake. There’s even a specific recipe for Pina Colada cake. For the donut version, add 1/3 cup coconut rum to your mix, and a shot of pineapple liqueur or juice to the icing. Coconut flakes sprinkled on top add a great finishing touch.

 

The Cosmopolitan

Cosmopolitan Donut

A Cosmopolitan is one of the most popular cocktails around, and this homemade donut recipe will be a hit at your next party, as well. There are a lot of great flavored vodkas out there, so find a top shelf lime or citrus vodka, and add 1/3 cup to your mix. The icing is made with 1 shot of cranberry liqueur, although if you don’t have any in your home wet bar, cranberry juice is good, too. The cranberry liqueur has a wonderful zing, however, and is highly recommended.

The Black and Tan

Black and Tan Donut

The Black and Tan recipe was inspired by the ever popular beer cookies. The beer flavors are complemented by chocolate to create a rich, sweet treat. To your basic mixture, add 1/3 cup of pale ale, and 3 tablespoons of baking cocoa. Use a shot of chocolate liqueur in the icing, and once your iced donuts have fully cooled, dip them in a nice cold glass of Guiness. You’ll be surprised how great this one tastes.

 

La Cuba Libre

Cuba Libre Donut

Ah! The classic rum and Coke. A standard in hotel bars and frat houses for generations. Use 1/3 cup of spiced rum in your batter, along with a splash of cola. The icing is perfect with just a shot of cola and a squeeze of fresh lime juice added to your powdered sugar. You can also add 1 tablespoon of melted butter to the dough before cooking, to get a taste reminiscent of butter rum cake. Make the full dozen of these easy donuts. They go quickly.

Moscow Mule Mugs – Are Copper Mugs Really Better?

A truly great cocktail is about more than alcohol swished together with your favorite mixer. Cocktails should heighten the senses with exquisite flavors, aromas, and presentation. The act of drinking, in and of itself, is a practice of camaraderie, bringing people together to laugh, share stories, and have fun. So any cocktail worth sipping should have it’s own personality and story. The legend of the Moscow Mule, a standout among vodka drinks made with fizzy ginger beer, tangy lime juice, and served in stunning copper mugs, fits on the list of a classic American cocktails like few others. Although the finely tuned ingredients of the Moscow Mule recipe are certainly appealing, the true signature of this mixed drink is the copper mug. Since Moscow Mules first appeared in the 1940s, copper mugs have been essential for proper presentation. But is copper really better? For some traditionalists, even asking the question, “Why is a moscow mule served in a copper mug?” is blasphemous, since decades of ceremony insist that they be used. Yet, for the discerning drinker, it’s important to know the facts. So we must look beyond the ginger beer and vodka to investigate the true benefits of copper Moscow Mule mugs.

Temperature

Copper Moscow Mule Mug The most scientific benefit of using copper moscow mule mugs is temperature. For centuries, the best drinkers have known that chilled drinks in copper cups offer an extra-cool sensation, due to the metal quickly taking on the icy temperature of the cocktail. The rim of the mug becomes chilly almost instantly, offering a frozen sensation on your lips. The cold metal is highly effective at insulating the cold temperature of any liquid, especially good for summertime drinking, and deflecting heat from the sun. The handle of the mug helps maintain drink temperature, as well, keeping the near 100 degree body heat of your hand away from the walls of the mug, and your Moscow Mule safely chilled inside.

Taste Benefits of Copper Mugs

Garden Ring Moscow Mule Mug The taste benefits are a bit more subjective, and will obviously vary, depending on the recipe you use. There are, however, clear indications that using copper mugs for Moscow Mules enhance the individual flavors of the ginger beer, vodka, and lime. Some experts say that when vodka touches the walls of the mug, the copper begins to oxidize, slightly boosting the aroma, and enhancing the taste of the vodka. Cold copper also has a tendency to increase the amount of bubbles in the carbonated ginger beer, bringing maximum fizziness to the Moscow Mule, when compared to being served in a plastic or glass container. The lime juice is also brought to life by the extra-cold copper, heightening the tangy citrus notes and reducing the acidity to better compliment the spicy ginger beer. When these three flavors reach their maximum potential, they work together to prove that the Moscow Mule deserves its home among classic American cocktails.

The Experience

Hammered Copper Moscow Mule Mug Arguably, the clearest reason to use copper mugs for Moscow Mules is the presentation. A martini just doesn’t seem right unless it’s served in the classic, stemmed glass vortex, with the spirits swirling around a sunken olive. The same is true for any well made drink. Re-tracing the history of the Moscow Mule, this ginger beer and vodka combination started at a bars in Manhattan and Hollywood in 1941. In order to give the drink a distinctive look, the originators ordered specially made copper Moscow Mule mugs, and took pictures of patrons drinking them with Polaroid cameras, a cutting edge invention of the day. The photographs began to circulate, and popularity of drinking a zesty Moscow Mule from a sleek, shiny copper mug found its place in American cocktail culture. Hugely popular in the mid 20th century, recent trends have solidified the timeless nature of this mixed drink.

Are Copper Mugs Really Better?

Copper Barrel Mug Yes. Copper mugs are hands down the best choice for mixing up the best Moscow Mule recipe. In fact, many other cocktails would benefit from this sleek and stunning vessel. No matter which reason is most important to you, whether it be temperature, taste, or experience, you will no doubt enjoy the great tradition of sipping an ice cold Moscow Mules from a beautiful copper mugs.

The Best Moscow Mule Recipe

Don’t let the name fool you. The Moscow Mule is actually one of the classic American cocktails, with the name inspired by Russia being well known for it’s vodka. This delicious, refreshing cocktail is easy to make, with a highly unique flavor combination, being one of the only drinks made with ginger beer. So here’s the best Moscow Mule recipe to use at your next party, or for your own indulgence.

MOSCOW MULE Ingredients:

2 oz vodka
4 oz ginger beer
4 lime wedges
ice
copper mug

Fill your copper mug a little over halfway with ice. If you don’t have copper mugs, get a set. You’ll thank yourself later. Squeeze the juice from three of the lime wedges over the ice. Add vodka, and then top off with ginger beer. Give your cocktail a quick stir, then add the last lime wedge as a garnish. All that’s left to do is enjoy your frosty Moscow Mule.

Once you take a shot at our best Moscow Mule recipe, there are a few exceedingly tasting variations to try. For a Mexican Mule, use tequila instead of vodka. For a Kentucky Mule, substitute bourbon, or if you are really brave, try a Stubborn Mule, using 151 proof grain alcohol.

9 Best DIY Mason Jar Ideas

All my life, and to this day, mason jars have been a staple of life at my grandmother’s house. Leftover potato soup? Put it in a mason jar. Pocket change laying all over the house? Put it in a mason jar. Spider on top of the clothes dryer? Trap him under a jar and call one of the grand-kids in for removal. So I must admit that my uses for mason jars are skewed with nostalgic memories of childhood. But my grandmother was on to something. Mason jars are an amazing example of simple perfection. They are sturdy, but not too heavy, and have a charming, no-frills design. Although my grandmother’s uses are strictly utilitarian, there are many more fun mason jar ideas out there, which I’ll share with you today. From mason jar mugs, to crafty home accessories, these diy mason jar ideas are (close to) the best thing ever.

Mason Jar Vase

Mason Jar Vase
While you’re out enjoying your iced tea, cut a few fresh flowers to brighten up your living room. Home grown flowers tend to have shorter stems than what you would buy at the market, so mason jars are the perfect vase. Bunch your flowers together into a fist-sized bouquet, and cut the bottoms of the stems to even them up. Fill your mason jar vase about half way with water, and rest your little bouquet inside. Decorating your mason jar vase with a ribbon or craft paint brings a homey touch, and adds to the rustic look of the jars.

Mason Jar Picture Frame

Mason Jar Picture Frame
Mason jar gifts are highly portable, and perfect for creating a crafty, do-it-yourself presentation. Everyone loves pictures, and the clear glass walls of mason jars make a really cool photo frames. Just take two standard size photo prints, and gently roll them up, photo side out. Slip the photos into the jar, and presto! Your pictures will stand up and show through the glass jar, almost like a shadow box. I like to put candy or a small gift inside the mason jar picture frame, so when the recipient opens the lid, there’s an extra surprise.

Mason Jar Soap Dispenser

Mason Jar Soap Dispenser
Plastic bottles lets face it, look cheap. A mason jar soap dispenser on the other hand is strong, and hold more than your average disposable container. Using mason jars will make sure your soap doesn’t blow away outdoors or at the camp site, and will contribute to the old-fashioned, family atmosphere. This is especially helpful if you buy in bulk, so you can avoid packing that massively tacky 64oz tub of hand/dish soap. A pump through the lid of the mason jar soap dispenser also makes for easy no-mess squirting right onto your hand. BONUS: Can also be filled with hand sanitizer for instant cleanliness in the outdoors.

Mason Jar Lights

Mason Jar Lights
So, this string of lights isn’t made of real mason jars, but it’s really cool. These plastic replicas of colored mason jars create a fun, bright strand to light up the evening on any porch or patio. You can also create diy mason jar lights by covering real mason jars with brightly colored spray paint, and inserting a battery operated touch light to create a similar glow. Now that I think of it, a collection of mason jar lights would look great as decorations for a summer barbecue. Time to start brewing the iced tea!

Floating Mason Jar Candle Holders

Mason Jar Candle Holder
DIY mason jar ideas make fun craft projects for the whole family, and floating mason jar candle holders are super easy and versatile. Drop a few marbles or stones into the bottom of your jars, then fill three-quarters full with water. Find a home for your jar on a table or counter, then once in place, add a floating candle and light it. The candlelight will reflect through the seams and embossed areas of the mason jar, creating a beautiful glow, and the mouth of the jar will help keep the flame safely contained. If you don’t have any floating candles, just add a few more marbles, skip the water, and use tea lights. Feel free to decorate, but avoid adding any fabric or paper to the jar, just to be safe.

Room Scent Fresheners

Room Scent Fresheners
One of my favorite diy mason jar ideas is to mix up all natural room scents. Use your favorite combination of citrus fruit, fresh herbs, spices, and essential oils. Loosely fill the glass jars with the solid ingredients, then add 3 or 4 drops of essential oil. Natural vanilla or almond extract works too. From here, you have two options. If you want to keep them for later use fill with cold water, seal the lid tightly, and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. When you are ready for fragrance, simply set it on the counter until it reaches room temperature, then place on a candle warmer. If you are ready to smell your elixir right away, fill the jar with very hot, but not boiling water. Within a few minutes, your home will be filled with a captivating aroma. You can then place the jar on a candle warmer to keep the scents going longer.

Mason Jar Herb Garden

Mason Jar Herb Garden
Home grown, fresh herbs are handy to have around, and mason jars are the perfect glass containers for the job. When starting herbs from seed, it’s important to keep the moisture trapped in the soil to give them a good start. You can use the lid to cover until sprouting begins, and the clear glass walls let light in, while allowing you to see the moisture levels in the soil. Once your little green plants start budding through the surface of the soil, just remove the lids, and place the jars in any sunny window for an eye-catching inside garden.

Liquid Refreshment

Mason Jar Mugs
This is by no means a ground-shaking idea, but iced tea in a mason jar is, in my opinion, the only way to drink iced tea. The cold glass jar against the palm of your hand. The reflections of sunlight coming through the walls of the molded mason jar and bouncing an amber glow off of the ice cubes. Chunks of lemon floating inside as you raise the threaded mouth of the jar to your thirsty lips. DIY mason jar mugs take this experience to the next level, adding handles to make the jars easy to grip, and carry through the garden as you bask in the summer sun and say, “Good afternoon!” to passers by.

17 Movies that Make Men Cry

Let’s face it. The days when it was taboo for men to cry at movies are gone. It’s practically a sign of true manliness when a guy is moved to tears by a touching, epic story. Theaters are filled with sad action movies, intentionally made to be good crying movies. Two of the biggest blockbuster hopefuls being released this summer, Edge of Tomorrow and Jupiter Ascending, are basically chick flicks for guys. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

There are several reasons a guy might be up for a good cry. He and his girlfriend got into a fight and she stormed out. He’s away on business and misses his mom. He’s out on a Match.com date and the girl said she liked sensitive guys in her profile. All very valid reasons to turn to movies that will make you cry. Here, we’ve gone to great lengths to assemble a list of 17 movies that make men cry, and are suitable for a variety of tastes and occasions.

Brian’s SongBrian's Song

Based on the real-life friendship between Chicago Bears running backs Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo, Brian’s Song got guys watching because it was about “Daaaa Bears” and football, but it was much more than that. Starring Billy Dee Williams as Sayers and James Caan as Piccolo, this movie explores a friendship that overcame competition, prejudice, and disease. Sayers, after learning that Piccolo has developed terminal cancer, gives a speech at an awards banquet and says, “I love Brian Piccolo. And I’d like all of you to love him too. And so tonight, when you hit your knees, please ask God to love him.” That line induced tears within even men with the toughest facade.

Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private RyanThe first of several movies on this list that involve super-masculine softy Tom Hanks, Saving Private Ryan follows a squad of U.S. soldiers as they go behind enemy lines to save a paratrooper whose brothers were killed in battle. Winner of 5 Academy Awards, stories involving troops at war are notorious tear-jerkers. Combined with a tragic loss of family, this movie is incredibly moving as well.

Shawshank Redemption

Shawshank RedemptionAndy & Red, played by Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, are two prison inmates who join forces to go on an incredible journey, even while incarcerated. The moment that always gets me is when Andy gives Red the harmonica. Unlikely friendship and folk music are a beautiful duo.

Schindler’s List

Schindler's ListSometimes knowing that a story is true makes it even more poignant on the screen. Based on a real businessman, Oskar Schindler, Liam Neeson saves over 1000 people from the gas chambers during the Holocaust. The tale of such bravery demands that the viewer be moved.

It’s a Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful LifeAngels! Christmas! Donna Reed! Life is truly wonderful, and this movie is a great reminder to count your blessings. Oh, and little kids saying adorable things will really tug at your heartstrings.

Old Yeller

Old YellerYou saw this one coming, right? This is one of the few multi-generational movies that make men cry. Old Yeller is a true classic, and beautifully depicts a relationship that is always hard to define: a man and his dog. I’m always on the edge of my seat when little Arliss starts feeding cornbread to that bear, but when that puppy steals that meat at the end, just like his daddy, I totally fall apart.

Philadelphia

PhiladelphiaTom Hanks again! This time, he’s a man living with AIDS who is fired from his job because of it. He hires Denzel Washington to be his attorney in a lawsuit against his former employer, and the two leans plenty of life lessons along the way. Extremely sad and heartwarming at the same time. Double whammy!

Big Fish

Big FishA cranky Dad who exaggerates everything, and his hard headed son learn about life and each other through a series of wacky characters, flashbacks, and shape-shifting. You’ll either cry because of the father/son bond, or because you’re full of frustration at the confusing plot devices. Either way.

Rocky

RockySly Stalone has given himself the character of Rocky Balboa, a bone-headed, eager to please fighter with a heart of, eh, gold I suppose. If not a heart of gold, he definitely owns some gold chains. Anyway, there’s six Rocky movies, and all of them have some eye watering moments. Your best bet, though, is the original. When Burgess Meredith as the trainer, Mickey, says “You’re gonna eat lightnin’ and you’re gonna crap thunder!” it will make you want to reassess your place in life, or at least give yourself a good talking to.

Snoopy, Come Home

Snoopy, Come HomeWhy Charles Schultz thought it was okay to make us think Snoopy was going to leave the Peanuts gang is beyond me. It’s a pretty cruel trick. In the end, though, Snoopy Come Home is a beautiful story of friendship, appreciating what you’ve got before it’s gone, and of course, a man and his dog.

Turner and Hooch

Turner & HoochMore Tom Hanks, this time with a dog. This movie is kind of a forgotten classic, and a great choice for the aforementioned Match.com dates. When she cuddles up to you about 45 minutes in, take the opportunity to put on you best puppy dog face. When the tears start pouring, try not to slobber. That’s only cool for dogs.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Terminator 2It’s a story as old as time: boy meets killer cyborg from the future; cyborg tries to kill boy; and boy’s future self reprograms cyborg to protect his past self. Ok – so Terminator 2 isn’t your typical tear-jerker, but a father-son bond grows between John Connor and the Terminator throughout the course of T2. At the end when the Terminator lowers itself into the pool of molten steel to save John (past and present) – admit it – you choked back tears.

 

Spartacus

SpartacusA lot of people haven’t seen this one, because Kubrick didn’t accept it into his official list of masterworks, but this Spartacus is epic. Starring Kirk Douglas as the rebellious slave in the title, over 10,000 people appear in the movie based on the legendary tale. Although there are many great moments, pay close attention to the final scene. I won’t ruin it for you, I mean, Spartacus dies, obviously, but I will say this: Tears. Will. Flow.

 

 

Dumbo

Come on. You’d have to have a heart of stone to not tear up at this:

E.T.

ETA post-modern take on the “man and his dog” tale, E.T. brings out the tears with a hyper-sympathetic, misunderstood kid, and a never-been-that-adorable-again Drew Barrymore. I still get misty eyed when I see a bicycle with a basket on the front.

Steel Magnolias

Steel MagnoliasKnown primarily as a chick flick, Steel Magnolias is actually a roller coaster of emotions. Right when they’ve filled you with sorrow after the funeral, Sally Field almost hits Shirley MacLaine! Laughter mixed with tears is like eating two desserts: super satisfying. As an added bonus, Dolly Parton is in it.

Field of Dreams

Field of DreamsOf all the movies that make men cry, this one brings out the most tears from happiness. Kevin Costner starts hearing voices, and destroys his only source of income to build a baseball field, and it doesn’t all end terribly! Some might say he even protected himself from future high fructose corn syrup boycotts. This movie is actually very cool, even if you don’t like baseball, and when ghosts start lining up at home plate, get out the tissue!

 

 

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

We love our moms all year long, but Mother’s Day is a very special celebration. It doesn’t come around that often, so it’s important to show Mom how extraordinary she is. You don’t want to spend the next year getting the stink eye, do you? Or having Mom tell everyone how your brother’s gift was better than yours. From beautiful glassware, to memorable home accessories, to personalized gifts for mom, we’ve got the best Mother’s Day gifts ideas for you.

For Moms Who Love Wine

Wine Lover Glass Cutting Board
One-of-a-kind, personalized items make the best Mother’s day gifts. So whether she prefers Pinot Noir or Pinot Grigio, our Wine Lover glass cutting boards will make a lasting impression. Made with beautiful glass for a keepsake quality, these glass cutting boards are great for cutting, serving, or wall display. We create each personalized cutting board individually, so your mother’s name and initials appear within the label area of the wine bottle inspired design. These unique Mother’s Day gifts will make this year a great vintage.

For Moms Who Love Beer

High Heel Bottle Opener
Everyone thinks that it’s the dads who love beer the most, but we all know that moms like a good cold one, too. Give her something to make her brews really pop with our Dazzling Red high heel bottle opener. With fun red glitter and a shiny black finish, these good Mother’s Day gifts let Mom know that her taste in beer is not to be under appreciated. Throw in a six pack of her favorite for good measure.

For Moms Who Love the Outdoors

Picnic Wine Table
Outdoor weather is finally here, and these portable picnic wine tables make fun, useful Mother’s Day presents for moms who love the sunshine. Made of strong metal with a sleek, smooth gray finish, this cool table had two cutouts, specifically designed to securely hold stemmed wine glasses while leaving plenty of room for a plate full of nibbles. This table is supported by a durable, lightweight pole that can be easily pushed into the ground, so she can take it to the lake, the soccer game, or the backyard.

For Moms Who Love to Cook

Himalayan Salt Plate
For my mom, cooking is one of her favorite pastimes. If your mom is also your favorite at-home chef, she’ll love our Mount Everest Himalayan salt plate. Great gifts for Mom should always be beautiful, and this definitely fits the requirement. The look is incredible, cut from a solid piece of natural pink salt. It’s also extremely versatile, and can be used for baking, grilling, chilling, or serving. One of our most unique presents for Mom, the bonus here is the added flavors of the salt.

For Moms Who Love to Host Parties

Rooster Cheese Board

If your mom is the hostess with the mostest, then we’ve got plenty of Mother’s Day gift ideas for her. She’ll be super excited to use our Banty Rooster cheese board at her next party. Cut from stunning natural wood, each custom cheese board is engraved with your family name and initial, creating a keepsake that will last for generations. It’s really functional, too, suitable for cutting and serving fruit, cheese, or other crudites. When it comes to personalized gifts for Mom, this is definitely a top pick.

Don’t Forget Grandma!

Las Vegas Wine Cork Cage
Now that Mom has been taken care of, let’s look at one of our best gifts for grandma. You’ll hit the gift-giving jackpot with this slot machine wine cork cage. She’ll get a kick out of pulling the handle and watching her corks fall down to the bottom. You’ll get a kick out of secretly keeping tabs on how much wine Grandma has had to drink. When searching for good Mother’s Day presents, you’ll be in trouble on your birthday if you forget about grandma.

7 best steak sauces to make at home

Basket of SaucesSteak is the gold standard of dinner party fare. Chicken breast is passable, shrimp is nice too, but nothing says, “This is an awesome dinner,” quite like a juicy slab of grilled beef. Everyone has their own secret steps for cooking a great steak, from proper seasoning to knowing that exact moment when glistening cut of meat is ready to be removed from the flame. Equally important, though, is how the steak is served at the table. Side dishes are important, but let’s not lose our focus. Nobody leaves a dinner party and updates their Facebook status to say, “Awesome party! The green beans were rockin’!”

Buying a quality cut of beef is a good start, but flavor has to be considered from start to finish. Nothing ruins a beautiful platter of grilled perfection faster than a cold bottle of ketchup pulled from the refrigerator door and squirted all over the place. Some people consider steak sauce to be a cop out; a lazy person’s attempt to add flavor, and if you are a terrible cook, that’s true. So we searched for the best steak sauces to make at home. A great mixture of fresh, tasty ingredients adds a finishing touch that makes meat truly memorable. If you don’t know how to make steak sauce, you’re in luck. Here’s list of great steak sauce recipes, suitable for all cuts of meat. You’ll probably want to spoon a little onto the green beans, too.

Red Wine Steak Sauce

Sauced ChefRed wine is a classic companion for beef dishes, and steak is no exception. Red wine steak sauce is extremely easy to make, especially if you’re grilling on the stovetop. After you’ve finished cooking your steaks, remove them from your skillet or grill pan, and place them on a platter to rest. Using the drippings that are still in the pan, slowly pour in about half a glass of red wine. If you’ve been using an outdoor grill, simply melt a little butter and olive oil in the pan, since you won’t have any drippings. Stir the mixture frequently over medium heat until it gets just a little thicker, then add half a cup of beef broth. Continue to heat for a few more minutes while the sauce gets slightly thicker. For an added touch, use wine from the bottle you plan to serve with dinner so that the flavors will blend perfectly.

Balsamic Butter Sauce

By Andrea Levers (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsAnother easy steak sauce to make is balsamic butter, and the recipe is almost as simple as the name. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter, along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, over medium high heat. Once the melted butter starts to brown, remove from the heat and add three quarters of a cup of balsamic vinegar. Stir in a few pinches of salt and pepper, and you’re done! If you’ve got minced garlic, or fresh herbs, these can be added for a little extra flavor, but the combination of butter and balsamic vinegar is hard to beat.

Habanero Peanut Sauce

Best steak saucePeanut sauce is a long time favorite in chicken dishes, but spice it up a little and it’s perfect on steak. Start with a cup of all natural peanut butter. Avoid the kind that has lots of added preservatives, because it won’t blend easily. To your peanut butter, add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of sugar or honey, and 5 or 6 dashes of your favorite hot sauce. Habanero hot sauce pairs wonderfully with the peanut butter, but any pepper sauce will work. Keep stirring until all ingredients are well blended. Minced garlic is a nice addition, as well.

Mushroom Bourbon Steak Sauce

Bourbon Sweet, smoky bourbon is great for bringing out the natural flavors in a good steak. For this mushroom steak sauce, start by heating 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan, then add a quarter cup of chopped onions, and one clove of minced garlic. Chop four, medium sized fresh mushrooms as finely as possible, and add to your pan once the onions have started to turn transparent. After cooking for another 5 minutes, remove from the heat, and add half a cup of your favorite bourbon and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Stir the sauce for about 1 minute, then add nutmeg and freshly ground pepper. After another minute of stirring, add one cup of heavy cream to the mixture. Truly one of the best steak sauces to make at home, this creamy delight is awesome with pork chops, too.

Triple C Sauce – Creamy Chipotle Cilantro

Dial a SteakIt took me a long time to perfect the Triple C Sauce, but it’s one of my favorites. This creamy sauce has a smoky flavor that makes even hamburger steak taste like a blue ribbon dish. In a mixing bowl, blend a small can of chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, with one cup of plain greek yogurt. If your local market has fresh chipotle peppers, even better, but don’t forget to clean out all of the seeds. After stirring for a couple of minutes, add 2 cloves of minced garlic and just a pinch of dried cumin. Squeeze in the juice of one fresh lime, and stir until completely mixed. Sometimes, I add 2 or 3 dashes of Cholula chipotle lime hot sauce as well. Fold in one quarter cup of fresh chopped cilantro, and chill for about 30 minutes before serving. A little goes a long way with this homemade steak sauce.

Brandy, Tomato & Peppercorn Steak Sauce

Turkey with sauceA great twist on commercially available products, this brandy peppercorn steak sauce is perfect to make in advance and bring along for camping and tailgating. Mix together one quarter cup of each of the following: raspberry jam, brandy, tomato sauce, and white wine vinegar. Add 2 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce, and 5 drops of sriracha. Finally, stir in one and a half teaspoons of freshly ground black or green peppercorns, and a pinch of salt. This sauce will last for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator, but we recommend serving it at room temperature.

 

Juniper Gin Sauce

SteakThis is the most unusual steak sauce on our list, but it’s absolutely worth a try. Start by heating 1 cup of chicken broth over medium heat. If you’ve cooked your steaks in a skillet, add the drippings to the broth or use the same pan. Add one teaspoon of ground allspice, and one teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Once you’re starting to see a few bubbles coming up from the bottom of the pan, add a quarter cup of gin. If you can find dried juniper berries, grind a few in a spice mill and add them to the mixture, up to 4 teaspoons worth. After simmering for 5 minutes, remove from the heat and allow to cool for another 5 minutes. Carefully mix in three quarters of a cup of heavy whipping cream, and stir until completely blended. This creamy steak sauce has a surprising flavor that varies greatly, depending on the gin you use. It makes a better story, though, when you tell your guests you used Beefeater.