Traditional Christmas Cocktails For The Holidays

Traditional Christmas Cocktails for the Holidays

Making the holidays bright with a sip

Nothing spreads cheer quite like these traditional Christmas cocktails that are perfect for the holidays.

Traditional Christmas Cocktails For The Holidays

No holiday gathering is complete without a signature cocktail or two. Luckily, the holidays are full of traditional cocktails from around the world for you to enjoy. These recipes are sure to warm and delight your spirits.

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Top Christmas Gifts For Folks Who Drink

6 Great Christmas Gifts for Drinkers

Deck the halls with these boozy gifts

Give the gift your booze loving friends and family can’t be without! These 6 gifts for drinkers are the perfects for the holidays.

6 Great Christmas Gifts for Drinkers

Want to give your uncle something other than the same old expensive whiskey again this year? Can’t think of a present for your wine loving cowoker? No worries, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve put together a list of 6 unique booze related gifts to impress your friends and family this holiday season. These gifts will surely put a smile on the face of even the toughest Scrouges.

 

Wine Lock

via Amazon

Keep those peskey sip thieves out of your wine with this clever little wine lock. The simple combination lock protects your wine and only the correct combination can open it. It also works with Liqour too!

 

Boozy Advent Calendars

via VINEBOX

Now this is how we want to ring in the holidays! Boozy Advent Calendars, like the 12 Nights of Wine calendar from VineBox, are great gifts for your drink loving friends and family. You can find ones for wine, whiskey, and even gin.

 

Fashionable Flasks

via Blush

You can really hide alcohol in just about anything these days. So why not get your friend a trendy bracelet flask! It’s stylish and hold 4 oz of your favorite libations. Not into jewelry? There are flask purses, ties, and other accessories that you can find.

 

Himalayan Salt Shot Glasses

via The Spice Lab

Hey Tequila lovers, this one is for you. These Himalayan Salt shot glasses add a naturally salty note to your tequila, so all you need is the lime! These shot glasses are resuable with a quick rinse and wipe. They come in sets of three so you may want to get 2 for a complete set.

 

Brio Smart Coaster

The Brio Smart Coaster prevents Date Rape Drugs from getting in your drink

via Brio Smart Life

The Brio Smart Coaster acts as your drink’s wingman and sends notifications to your smart phone if someone has messed with your drink. You can also play fun drinking games with the coaster’s 24 bright LED lights. Get yours here.

 

Fizzics Waytap

via FIZZICS

Turn any beer into a brewery-fresh pint using this home beer draft system. The system enhances the taste of your beer, kind of like how an aerator does for wine. Simply put a single beer can or bottle into the machine, and pour your beer straight from the tap.

 

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Kellie, head blogger at Brio Smart Life

About the Author

Kellie – Head of Content Creation

Creative Director | Web Designer | Blogger | Sake Enthusiast | Resident Ginger

Spotting the Signs of Drink Tampering

Look for these 6 Warning Signs

These 6 simple warning signs are important to look out for if you think your drink may have been tampered with.

Spotting The Signs Of Drink Tampering

Drink spiking can be a scary but foreign topic for some people. The “that will never happen to me” mentality is strong with younger generations, but can often backfire if you aren’t careful with your drink. Even if you turn away for just a few seconds, an unattended drink can be an invitation to a predator who is looking for an opportunity.

But not all incidents of drink spiking involve slipping a drug like Rohypnol, GHB, or Ketamine into a drink. The most common thing slipped into someone’s drink is [additional] alcohol. These different substances will have varying effects on you and your drink, which can be strengthened when mixed with alcohol.

You might not even notice you’ve been drugged until the next day. And unfortunately, these predators are harder to catch than you’d think. If you think your drink has been messed with, check for these common warning signs:

 

Cloudy Appearance

Look at the appearance of your drink. Notice something different? Dump it out. While not all date rape drugs are visible when they are slipped into a drink, some can leave a cloudy appearance as it dissolves or mixes into a drink.

 

Strange or Different Taste

If you notice your cocktail tastes different, stop drinking it immediately. GHB might not be visible in your drink, but it can have a bitter or salty taste. The same applies to alcohol, which can alter the taste or make the drink taste stronger. If your drink doesn’t taste the same way you left it, get rid of it.

 

Unusual Bubbling

Unusual bubbling is a strong indicator that something may have been slipped into your drink, especially if your cocktail wasn’t carbonated in the first place. This may be harder to notice in drinks that use soda or tonic.

 

Change in Position

Be very wary of continuing with a drink that has been moved from where you left it. There’s no guarantee that it was moved by someone you know, the bartender, or a predator. Err on the side of caution with a drink that has been moved and get a new one.

 

Missing straw, napkin, or garnish

To gain better access to your drink, a predator might move or remove straws, napkins [if you covered it], or garnishes that get in the way. If something is missing from your drink, bring it up with a friend to rule out that they might have taken the missing item and if it wasn’t them, get a new cocktail.

 

Look for a change in color

A drastic change in the color of your drink can be an indicator that something has been added to it. Newer versions of Rohypnol can change lighter color drinks bright blue. If you notice your water or clear colored liquors have suddenly changed color, bring it to the bartender or manager’s attention.

 

Learn more about how products like the Brio Smart Coaster can help protect your drink.

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3 Cocktail Mistakes You Might Be Making

3 Cocktail Mistakes You Might Be Making

How to Avoid these Common Cocktail Mistakes

Fantastic results are obtained when you avoid mistakes such as over-pouring, improper dilution, poor ingredients.

Guest Post: 3 Cocktail Mistakes You Might Be Making

Image from // Pixabay

Serving a simple, flexible yet special cocktail for arriving guests is the epitome of good hosting. While making a cocktail with a little flair requires some skills in mixology, when done correctly the drink becomes something that everyone around you can sip all day.

However, some common mistakes are making you serve a bad cocktail. Once you realize these blunders, you’ll craft your skills and make the perfect cocktails for holidays, a relaxing weekend or when hosting at your home. Here are three cocktail mistakes you might be making:

 

1. Measuring using your eyes or free pouring

It’s easy to be misled when you see professional bartenders free pour and think you can also do the same. Just like when baking a cake, you need the right measurements to have a good end product. Pour more or less, and you’re likely to end up with a poor cocktail. Professional mixologists or bartenders use either the free pour or the jigger to measure liquid ingredients. While the jigger can slow down your speed, it’s the preferred method for the inexperienced. It’s also more precise as it allows for careful measuring of all the liquids that go into each drink.

On the other hand, a free pour takes time and practice to perfect. The right way to free pour is to use a timed count. Try equating each count with a specific amount of liquid poured. For instance, each number should represent 0.5 ounces of controlled liquor doses. While this is a less precise method since everyone has a different speed, create a rhythm that will give your drinks equal consistency. Regardless of whether to use free pour or the jigger technique, your ideal choice should control the amount of alcohol in the drinks.

 

2. Using incorrect dilution

It’s a common myth that a perfectly chilled cocktail just needs ice. However, Kevin Liu has published an article debunking myths about ice. Adding crushed ice dilutes a cocktail without providing the required cool effects. This is because small ice has a large surface area and when stored at room temperature it causes accumulation of a significant amount of surface water resulting in faster chilling and dilution. For cocktail drinkers at home, using ice that comes directly from your freezer can slow down dilution.

The speed in which a large ice melts will depend on air temperature, insulation, and volume of ice to the cocktail. Cocktails with large spheres of ice have a small surface area which causes them to float. As a result, they will be unable to chill the bottom of the drink fast enough. Stirring can help keep your cocktail cold until you’ve finished drinking. Larger ice cubes can lead to over diluted cocktails.

Impurities in ice can also ruin your cocktail. When ice freezes quickly, it traps air bubbles that cause the cloudiness seen in many drinks. Cleaning the ice maker and freezing the water slowly will eradicate any impurities. Since most cocktails use ice cubes and the water brings out the aroma that, allows the drink to smell and taste great, it’s essential that you learn how to clean an ice maker. Remember to unplug the device and clean regularly using a mild soap to prevent scaly deposits.

 

3. Making an unbalanced cocktail

Anyone who has ever made a cocktail from scratch can attest to how challenging the process can be when you’re making a batch for many consumers. Cocktail creation takes appropriate amounts of ingredients to make a tasty drink. An unbalanced cocktail tends to have too much alcohol, is flat, dull, too sweet, or too sour. Making good cocktails doesn’t require a lot of skills, but the balance has to be considered so that all the flavors have equal chances of standing out.

Shortcuts or using low-quality products can diminish cocktail taste and prevent it from reaching its full potential. Apart from ice, citrus is another major item that is likely to be found in almost every cocktail. It’s easy to skip using natural citric fruits such as lemon. Citrus components in the bottle have stabilizing agents that affect the flavor and can make the cocktail taste weird. The more natural and fresh the ingredients the more enjoyable the drink. But instead of focusing only on the ingredients, focus on the flavor perception they bring.

Michael Dietsch believes the balance of a cocktail is achieved when you know your target audience. Whether the drink is sweet, sour, or dry, in a well-balanced cocktail, no single flavor overshadows the others. The formula for cocktails combines alcohol, a sour and sweet ingredient in a ratio of 2:1:1 served in a coupe or cocktail glass. You can add sour bitters to create a balance of sweetness from the syrup and sour from citrus fruits like lemon.

 

Final thoughts

Ultimately, understanding the basic mistakes can help you create both simple and complex cocktails with good flavors. Fantastic results are obtained when you avoid mistakes such as over-pouring, improper dilution, poor ingredients. When you use natural fruits and balance your cocktail, you will get a drink with exciting flavors.

 

Guest Blogger on the Brio Smart Life Blog
 

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Mike Jones – Freelance Writer

Guest Blogger | Wanderer | Foodie | Follow Mike on Twitter

How to Drink Smarter than you did in College

The Easy Guide to Smart Drinking

Drink Wisely, Weedhopper

Drinking smarter can be super easy if you follow these helpful tips.

Keeping track of how much your drink doesn't need to be a challenge.

Somewhere between the ages of 24 and 30, people lose their drive to go out and party, and adopt new ways to enjoy a drink with friends instead. It’s usually around this time when you also start to notice that the drink hits you harder than it did before…especially the next day.

As we get older, the reckless drinking habits we picked up in college take more of a toll on our bodies. Luckily, we can learn to undo those habits with a few easy tricks and get back to enjoying a drink or two without the nasty consequences.

While there’s no guaranteed level of drinking that’s absolutely risk-free, adopting these smart drinking habits can make all of the difference.

 

Take it Slow

There’s no need to rush. How fast your body absorbs alcohol relies on a few factors, including how quickly the alcohol is consumed. The faster you drink, the faster the feeling hits you and goes away, so you may find yourself slamming back another one quickly to keep that buzz going. That method can really backfire on you. If you drink a higher proof alcohol for over a half-hour to an hour long period, you will feel the effects longer and may not be tempted to drink more than you can handle.

 

Learn to sip, not binge

Going shot for shot with the guys/gals might have been fun in your early twenties, but it gets pretty rough as time goes on. Balancing out the quantity of how much you drink with how long you take to drink them can dramatically change how you feel afterward. You are less likely to order another cocktail while you already have one that you’re still working on. So, selectively sipping can help you cut down on how much you are drinking.

 

Don’t forget to Eat

You might think you’re saving on calories by passing on eating before imbibing on some cocktails, but trading calories isn’t the best idea. Having no food in your stomach can make you feel alcohol’s effects faster and make that ‘drunk’ feeling come on very strong. Eating food that has protein and/or fat helps to slow down the body’s absorption of alcohol, which helps mitigate the negative impacts of alcohol in the body.

Don’t forget that alcohol dehydrates you, so it’s always a good idea to drink some water between glasses.

 

Stick to Light or Clear Liquors

While I used to believe this was an Old Wives Tale, sticking with light or clear liquors can have a big impact on your likelihood to get a hangover. The darker your wine, beer, or spirit is the more likely there are extra compounds present. These extra compounds can be impurities picked up during the barrel aging process or derived from the fermenting of the skin of darker grapes. We often associate sulfites and tannins as the major culprits that cause the sensation we know as “Red Wine Headache.” It’s these extra compounds that add up to your nasty hangover.

 

If it bubbles, think twice

There’s no harm in popping a little bubbly for a special occasion. But watch out! Studies have shown that carbonated drinks & mixers, like Champagne, are absorbed by the body faster than other drinks. It also doesn’t help that too many of those sweet bubbly mixers can leave you with a wicked hangover. So, if you’ve ever thought those brunch mimosas go straight to your head, you’re probably right.

 

With the right adjustments, you can find your new sweet spot when it comes to drinking. If you want to explore taking alcohol out of your diet, that’s okay too.

 

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Kellie – Head of Content Creation

Creative Director | Web Designer | Blogger | Sake Enthusiast | Resident Ginger

More Bartenders Are Working to Stop Sexual Harassment

Bartenders are Working to Stop Sexual Harassment

The Safe Bars Program empowers bartenders to shut down sexual harassment through training and education.

More Bartenders Are Working to Stop Sexual Harassment

Image from Safe Bars // Training bar staff to stand up against sexual violence

You’ve just finished getting ready for a night out with your friends at your favorite place. Only to be badgered by a stranger with unwanted attention once you get there. You feel unseasy, unsafe maybe, in that situation but are unsure of what to do next or how to get away.

Does this scene sound familiar? No one ever expects that something could happen to them while they’re out with friends, or worse by being taken advantage of in an altered state. But everything can change in a single moment.

The Safe Bars Program is training bartenders to recognize the signs and stop sexual harassment and date rape in its tracks. The program aims to teach bartenders the skills to assist their patrons out of potentially dangerous situations.

Think kind of like the “Angel Shot“, but with more of a hands on approach.

They educate bartenders and staff about bystander intervention techniques to defuse unwanted interaction between individuals – and if you’ve ever been a woman at a bar or club, that’s pretty common.

Research shows that one in four women will experience sexual assault of some kind in their lifetime, and the Safe Bars Program is helping to chip away at that statistic.

With more bartenders on the lookout for would be predators, you can feel a little bit safer during that next Tinder date.

For more information on the Safe Bars Program head over to their website to see how you and local establishments can get involved.

 

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Kellie – Head of Content Creation

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The Brio Smart Coaster prevents Date Rape Drugs from getting in your drink

These Products are Challenging Date Rape Drugs

These 5 Gadgets Alert Potential Victims

With drink spiking on the rise, these products are challenging would-be bad guys by empowering their users against date rape drugs.

These Products are Challenging Date Rape Drugs

New lines of defense against drink spiking and date rape drugs have been making waves in the news for the last few years. Since 2014, researchers and product designers have been creating products that are tackling the problem of drink spiking head on.

The reality of encountering a spiked drink is startlingly high for college students. A 2016 study of three U.S. college campuses revealed that 1 in 13 students had reported or suspected that they had been drugged. While alcohol is still the most common date rape drug, researchers found that Rohypnol, Xanaz, Ecstacy (MDMA), and even Cocaine were being commonly used to spike drinks.

Many of these products are still in their research & development stages, while others are creating the foundations of the Drink Safe product marketplace.

From Nail Polish to Smart Straws, these innovative products look to empower their users against the potential dangers of date rape drugs in their drinks.

 

Drug detection at your fingertips…literally

via Birchbox

Probably one of the most hyped about products on our list, Undercover Colors is a nail polish that will change color if it comes in contact with date rape drugs.

This wearable technology was developed by a team of engineering students at North Carolina State University. Their idea is quite simple: Dip a finger into your drink and the nail polish will change color if it detects the presence of Rohypnol (“roofies”), Xanax, and GHB.

The FDA has been putting the breaks on products like this as the detection chemical comes in contact with skin and food. However, with a lot of investment capital at their back, the engineers of Undercover Colors are still pursuing the idea and promise big things in the future.

 

This Coaster Has Eyes On Your Drink When You Don’t

The Brio Smart Coaster prevents Date Rape Drugs from getting in your drink

Unlike the other products on this list, the Brio Smart Coaster, developed by New Potato Technologies, Inc., doesn’t test for date rape drugs; it prevents the drugs from getting in your drink in the first place.

The app controlled Brio Smart Coaster utilizes drink safety technology to detect motion of the device after it has been placed on a drink and the user activates “Guard Mode” in the app. If motion is detected the device triggers an alert notification to your phone and lights up the coaster’s 24 LED lights in a “caution” pattern.

The smart coaster can be stored in a purse or back pocket. Brio’s app is currently only available for iOS, but will be coming to Android in the not too distant future.

 

Sipping through this straw is a smart idea

via STOCKSY

What started as a contest entry, ended up skyrocketing these three young entrepreneurs into front page news with their idea of turning a straw into a weapon against date rape.

Their Smart Straws detect the most common date-rape drugs when the straw is placed in a drink. The straws will turn blue if they detect Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) or Ketamine in a nonalcoholic or alcoholic drink.

The Smart Straw is still in its infancy, but these young ladies are making headway by developing a business plan for their company and will keep pursuing their venture.

 

This coaster acts like a Drug Lab Kit

via Tampa Bay Times

The Drink Safe coaster from Drink Safe Technologies is currently the only product available that tests for two commonly used date rape drugs, Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and Ketamine.

To use it, you simply place droplets of your drink onto the test area and wait a few minutes to get the results [the circles will turn dark blue]. You have to wait until the test is dry to get results, so they ask that you be patient.

The Drink Safe coaster does not test for Rohypnol and other commonly used date rape drugs and might not work with certain cocktails, which may be a problem for some users.

 

A flashdrive look-alike can tell if your drink has been drugged

via pd.id

The Personal Drink ID, or pd.id for short, is a small device that, when immersed in a drink, can identify if the drink has been spiked. The device utilizes proven technology used by drug enforcement agencies to determine is date rape drugs are present in a drink.

Like the Brio Smart Coaster, this device utilizes LEDs and an app to alert a user if their drink is unsafe. If a drink is flagged as unsafe, an LED light on the device will turn red, and send an alert text to your phone.

They designed this flashdrive look-alike to be battery powered and reusable. You just need to rinse it with water [and occasionally with antibacterial soap] between uses.

Last December, their team received two grants from Canadian government agencies towards their research. Hopefully, with the funding and support of their government officials, the pd.id will become a reality.

 

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Kellie, head blogger at Brio Smart Life

About the Author

Kellie – Head of Content Creation

Creative Director | Web Designer | Blogger | Sake Enthusiast | Resident Ginger

Wilmington City Council Approves Brunch Bill

Let there be Mimosas! Wilmington City Council Passes Brunch Bill

Brunch is about to get better in the Port City

ABC permit holders in the city of Wilmington will now be allowed to serve alcohol before noon!

New Hanover County Passes Brunch Bill

(Wilmington, NC) – We’ve got great news for brunch lovers in New Hanover County. Wilmington’s City Council unanimously voted to pass the “Brunch Bill“, allowing alcohol to be sold earlier on Sundays.

Before passing this bill, North Carolina businesses with ABC permits were not allowed to sell alcohol before noon. While the Brunch Bill was approved by Governor Roy Cooper in June, the General Assembly gave local governments the option to approve or deny the ordinance.

Two local restaurateurs spoke out in favor of the bill during a public hearing before the Council voted to pass the ordinance. All agreed that passing the bill would allow for increased sales revenue for local businesses, and help boost tourism in the city.

Wilmington joins in with other New Hanover County leaders in Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and Surf City by passing this legislation. The City Council says the change will take effect immediately.

We will be enjoying a Mimosa or two next time we have brunch in the Port City. How about you?

 

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Kellie, head blogger at Brio Smart Life

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Kellie – Head of Content Creation

Creative Director | Web Designer | Blogger | Sake Enthusiast | Resident Ginger

Brio Smart Coaster lit up on Bar

The Brio Smart Coaster: Technology Reimagining Nightlife

Social connectivity meets drink safety technology in Brio, the world’s first socially-connected smart drink coaster that offers drink protection along with interactive features and a social network.

Brio Smart Coaster, the world first socially connected smart coaster that acts as your wingman

(Wilmington, NC) – June 20, 2017 – New Potato Technologies, Inc. – a crowd favorite in app-enabled technology products – breaks new ground with the launch of Brio, a smart coaster that pairs an interactive app and drink safety technology to enhance a user’s social drinking experience.

The bar has been raised in the realm of cool drinking technology. Designed to bring people together in social settings while adding an extra layer of defense from drink tampering, the Brio Smart Coaster is now available for purchase.

The Brio Smart Coaster is conveniently sized to fit into a purse or back pocket, to be taken to restaurants, bars, or any nightlife establishment to spark new connections and provide a source of entertainment; all while helping the user keep track of his or her beverage.

Brio features 24 bright white LED lights that illuminate in unique patterns and comes with coaster inserts that express a user’s personality. Additional inserts, including custom-designed coasters, can be purchased separately.

By connecting the free Brio Smart Life App to their Brio Smart Coaster via Bluetooth, users have access to innovative and engaging features, including:

Introducing Brio: Technology Reinventing Your Night Out

  • Brio Mingle: Users create real-time reports that other users can use to guide their evening plans and find places or events that fit their Vibe.
  • Brio Actions: Brio can perform a multitude of actions with a simple tap, including “Find my Brio”, which allows users to locate their drink. Other games and customized light functions are also available.
  • Guard Mode: Place Brio on a drink and activate Guard Mode through the mobile app. If someone tampers with the drink, Brio will display a light sequence alarm and send a notification to their mobile device.

The Brio Smart Life app is currently available on the App Store for iOS devices and will be released for Android devices later this season.

For updates and more information, follow Brio on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @briosmartlife.

 

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About New Potato Technologies

New Potato, located in sunny Wilmington, North Carolina, is a creative design firm that extends iOS and Android platforms into innovative areas, and specializes in electronic product development from concept to production.

Visit the Brio Smart Life Newsroom for more news and articles about the Brio Smart Coaster.

This Saké Sangria is a deliciously refreshing blend of fruits and herbs that is perfect for summer sipping.

Epic Saké Sangria for Summer

Nothing beats the heat like a little [Saké] Sangria!

Sangria isn’t just for wine lovers anymore! This Saké Sangria is a deliciously refreshing blend of fruits and herbs that is perfect for summer sipping.

Nothing beats the heat like a little [Saké] Sangria!

The concept of sangria has always been just outside of my reach, as I just so happen to be allergic to wine. I know that must sound tragic to some of you, but I have a delicious alternative to wine without the extreme headache: Saké.

If you’ve never tried Saké before here’s a quick crash course in the different types of saké.

Saké, contrary to popular belief, is not rice wine. It’s actually brewed like beer, and even has a higher alcohol content than both beer and wine! But much like wine, saké makes for a great base for sangria.

Nigori saké, unfiltered saké that is “cloudy” or “milky” in appearance, is a popular choice for saké based cocktails and sangrias. Hakutsuru Sayuri Nigori Saké is one of my favorites for its creamy sweetness and mild floral notes.

The combination of this mildly sweet saké and pear juice is delicate and delicious, and may not require much extra sweetener, which is why this recipe gives you the option to add simple syrup or not.

This is how you make our Summer Saké Sangria!

 

Saké Sangria

Yields: 6 Serving
Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • 1 Bottle Hakutsuru Sayuri Nigori Saké
  • 4 Ounces Sparkling Water
  • 2 Ounces Pear Juice
  • ½ Teaspoon Simple Syrup [Optional]
  • 1 Pear [Sliced]
  • 1 Grapefruit [Sliced]
  • 5 Sprigs Rosemary
  • Grapefruit Section for Garnish
  • Sprig of Rosemary for Garnish
Glassware and Items You’ll Need:

  • Stemless Wine Glasses
  • Pitcher
  • Bar Spoon

 

Preparation

Saké Sangria: Add saké and pear juice to a pitcher with ice. Drop in the mixture of rosemary, sliced pear and grapefruit, and stir together. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Remove from fridge, and top with sparkling water. Stir to combine and let stand. Pour into a stemless wine glass over a couple of ice cubes. Garnish with grapefruit section and sprig of rosemary. Enjoy!

Nutritional Content

1 serving approximately contains: Calories (kcal) 120 Fat (g) 0 Saturated Fat (g) 0 Potassium (mg) 0 Carbohydrates (g) 12 Dietary Fiber (g) 0 Total Sugars (g) 8 Protein (g) 0.5 Sodium (mg) 10

This Saké Sangria is a deliciously refereshing blend of fruits and herbs that is perfect for summer sipping.

 
Hand Crafted: Classic Cocktail Recipes from the Brio Smart Life Blog
 

Kellie, head blogger at Brio Smart Life

About the Author

Kellie – Head of Content Creation

Creative Director | Web Designer | Blogger | Sake Enthusiast | Resident Ginger