6 Super-Easy DIY Summer Detox Teas

 Food & Drink, Signature Cocktails, Wellness  Comments Off on 6 Super-Easy DIY Summer Detox Teas
Aug 302016
 
iced tea

Photo: Getty Images

With endorsements from celebrities like the Kardashians and fitness models with six-pack abs, it's easy to see why social media is abuzz over packaged detox teas right now. On its own, tea boasts a number of natural detoxing properties. But the packaged kind — the teas you see splattered all over Instagram and Pinterest — promises gulpers those same results (just on steroids).

However, recent studies have shown that many of the most popular packaged teas aren't necessarily healthier than the real thing. In fact, they can even be associated with a slew of unintended health consequences.

Of course, that's not to say that all detox teas are bad. You just need to be in charge of what ingredients go in them. Here are six healthy, all-natural detoxing tea recipes you can whip up in your own blender by tomorrow morning.

Apple cider vinegar detox tea
Despite apple cider vinegar's sharp-smelling aftermath, many beauty bloggers rave about it as an all-natural alternative to conditioner. And the benefits don't just stop there — it can be used as relief for constipation, itchy skin and even as an energy booster. But if gulping down the acidic stuff straight from the bottle isn't your thing (we feel ya), this easy-to-drink detox recipe should do the trick.

What you'll need:
30-60 oz. of water (roughly two glasses), 4 Tbsp Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar (make sure there are chunks floating in the jar), 4 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 pinch of cayenne pepper (optional) and 4 Tbsp honey (raw if possible).
Recipe: Bembu

Green detox tea
From helping to lower blood pressure to (possibly) preventing cancer, it's no wonder that Chinese medicine has tapped into green tea's detoxifying properties for thousands of years. And really, who are we to mess with a good thing? All you'll need for this blend is some old-fashioned green tea, a few additional fruits and a splash of lemon and sweetener (if you prefer).

What you'll need:
1 green tea bag, 1 slice of lemon, 1 tsp honey or stevia (for sweetening), 2 strawberries (sliced) and 2 slices of cucumber.
Recipe: Skinny Mom

Matcha detox tea latte
Although you're probably best off not trying to pronounce its name out loud (it's mah-cha, by the way), matcha tea — or green tea's leafier Japanese cousin — has been trending in health food shops and restaurants across the country. Made from the young leaves of Camellia sinensis plants, it's stored away from light and oxygen to preserve its antioxidant properties and is sad to contain calming, memory-boosting effects.

What you'll need:
This one's simple: 1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk and half tsp matcha powder (available in most health food shops).
Recipe: Prevention.com

Ginger detox tea
Not just your favorite carbonated hangover cure, ginger boasts a number of detoxifying properties in tea form, too. It's primarily a digestive aid, speeding up the removal of toxins in your gut and improving overall circulation. And did you know it can enhance your complexion, too? Ginger is high in Vitamin C, one of the key ingredients in fighting aging effects.

What you'll need:
Half inch of raw, organic ginger, boiled water (enough to submerge the ginger in a boiling pot, and 1 lemon.
Recipe: Living Pretty Naturally

Watermelon/cucumber or lemon/lime basic DIY detox tea
Detox teas are meant to cleanse the body's circulatory and digestive systems with a purified, all-natural concoction. So it would make sense that a tea without a long list of complicated ingredients might boast the best effects, right? Not to mention, this tasty, refreshing no-frills recipe is perfect to sip on a warm summer's day.

What you'll need:
1-2 liters of water, part of 1 watermelon or one cucumber, 1 lemon or lime, a handful of fresh mint leaves (approximately 10-13) and ice cubes.
Recipe: EverydayRoots.com

The ultimate detox tea

If you're serious about detoxification and sipping tasty, refreshing drinks really isn't your goal, you might want to consider a detox tea that runs on all cylinders. This 15-ingredient mega-tea might not taste so stellar going down, but you're sure to feel superhuman afterword.

What you'll need:
1 and a half cups of spring or distilled water, 4 Tbsp dandelion leaf, 3 Tbsp dandelion root, 2Tbsp burdock root, 3 Tbsp milkthistle seed (crushed), 3 Tbsp cleavers, 4 Tbsp lemon balm, 4 Tbsp pau d'arco, 4 Tbsp horsetail, 5 Tbsp red clover, 2 Tbsp chickweed, 2 Tbsp angelica root, 3 Tbsp yarrow herb, 5 Tbsp nettle leaf and 4 tbsp plaintain. (Phew!)
Recipe: MyNewRoots.com

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See More: 7 Signature Cocktails for Summer Weddings

Jul 292016
 
champagne

Photo: Ted Cavanaugh, Food Styling by Roscoe Betsill, Prop Styling by Emily Mullin/Hello Artists

Bring on the bubbly! Whether at your engagement party, rehearsal dinner, wedding reception, after-party, or anything in between, a sparkling cocktail is the prettiest, tastiest way to raise a glass and celebrate your marriage. Soup up your coupe with these festive mixers and garnishes.

Syrups and Liqueurs
An infused simple syrup gives your fizz a fruity tang. (We love Maine-based Royal Rosé's flavors, like orange-vanilla.) Fresh juice is another classic mixer. Think your Sunday-brunch mimosa, but try swapping out OJ for more complex flavors like blood orange, mango, or peach. Rich liqueurs like creme de cassis (black currant) and St-Germain (elderflower) add soft color and a bonus buzz to your bubbly.

Fruits and Florals
Set out small plates of fresh berries, pomegranate seeds, and citrus (try kumquat rounds or thinly sliced blood orange) and let guests DIY the garnish. Edible flowers like pansies, orchids, nasturtiums, and roses make it super pretty. Just be sure to get a pesticide-free variety from a reputable source (like marxfoods.com).

Sweetness and Light
Edible gold flakes are flavorless but festive; add a pinch and watch them catch the light. Don't have the budget for gold leaf? Drop a simple sugar cube in a glass, sprinkle in a
few drops of Angostura bitters, top with sparkling wine, and finish with a twist of lemon for a classic cocktail that's all class.

See More: The Ultimate Guide to Serving Champagne at Your Wedding

Looking for some budget-friendly bubbly to serve with all these delicious mixers and garnishes? We asked Casper Rice, wine director of D.C. restaurants Fiola and the upcoming Sfoglina, for his top all-star sparklers — all under $25 a bottle.

1. Barboursville Vineyards Brut Cuvée 1814

"This standout sparkling wine is produced in Italy using the champagne method. Made of pinot-noir grapes, it's richer in style and very dry." (Brut Cuvée 1814, $25; Barboursville Vineyards)

2. Patrick Bottex "La Cueille" Bugey-Cerdon Rosé

"Everybody loves rosé, especially in summer. 'La Cueille' is like drinking fresh strawberries with a hint of effervescence." ('La Cueille' Bugey-Cerdon Rosé, $20; K&L Wine Merchants)

3. Juve Y Camps Reserva de la Familia cava 2011
Spanish cava is easy on the wallet in general. With fruity notes and chardonnay, this one's "a great blank slate for a cocktail." (Juve Y Camps Reserva de la Familia cava 2011, $17; Wine.com)

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The 5 Ways to Serve Alcohol at Your Wedding

 Food & Drink, Signature Cocktails, Wedding Catering  Comments Off on The 5 Ways to Serve Alcohol at Your Wedding
Jul 242016
 

One of the things guests are most excited for at any wedding they go to is an open bar. Where else can you go on a Saturday night where you don't have to reach for your wallet to pay for drink after drink? But when you're the ones paying for it, you will see it costs a pretty penny to have unlimited alcoholic drinks available for guests all night long.

While open bars seem like the only option for you and your wedding, there are other kinds ways you can serve alcohol that might save you cash — and still impress your guests. Here are five ways to serve alcohol at your wedding.

1. Specialty
If you or your partner are big fans of a certain type of spirit or liquor, you can do one or two types of bars that offer just that kind of alcohol. Whether it's a whiskey-only bar and a red wine-only bar, the choice is ultimately up to you — and your guests will drink whatever you put in front of them.

2. Consumption
Unlike an open bar (where the couple plays a flat price for unlimited choices all night long), this kind of bar lets the couple pay per drink that is consumed by guests. If you and your guests are not heavy drinkers, this option might make the most sense for your wedding budget.

3. Soft
Keep your open bar simple with a soft bar. This option only offers beer, wine, and champagne. While your guests may wonder where the hard alcohol is, they will surely enjoy the offerings — and most likely you will have everyone imbibing at a more refined pace.

4. Signature
Pick three or four signature cocktails for your wedding, and serve only those for the night. While you're at it, make them complement the theme of your wedding, adding to your wedding branding. Regardless of which type of cocktail concoctions you choose, your guests will enjoy drinking delicious personalized cocktails to celebrate your special day.

5. BYOB
Some venues allow you to bring your own alcohol in, and better yet — have your guests bring their BYOB drink of choice. Serve your own alcohol favorites and offer wedding guests the option to bring a bottle of their favorite thing to drink as well.

See More:
Creative and Clever Wedding Signs for Your Bar

Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.

7 Signature Cocktails for Summer Weddings

 Food & Drink, Signature Cocktails, Wedding Catering  Comments Off on 7 Signature Cocktails for Summer Weddings
May 072016
 
summer cocktail coconut margarita

Photo: Courtesy of With Salt and Wit

Summer loving, and your wedding guests are having a blast. But it can't hurt to help them have even more fun with some liquid courage. These cooling cocktails, featuring summer's most flavorful ingredients, will have them hitting the bar — and then the dance floor.

Coconut Margarita (Above)
Even if your wedding isn't beachside, your guests will be feeling ocean vibes with this creamy take on a margarita. Made with coconut milk and water, it gets its kick from tequila blanco and triple sec, and its tang from fresh squeezed lime. Get the recipe here.

summer cocktails raspberry limoncello prosecco

Photo: Courtesy of Damn Delicious

Raspberry Limoncello Prosecco
Don't worry about summer heat getting your guests down. With this fizzy sipper they'll cool down, and be ready to party, in no time. All your bartender needs for this cocktail: prosecco, limoncello, frozen raspberries and some refreshing sprigs of mint. Get the recipe here.

summer cocktails blackberry whisky lemonade

Photo: Courtesy of Life as a Strawberry

Blackberry Whiskey Lemonade
Nothing says summer like a nice glass of lemonade. But nothing says summer wedding like a blackberry and whiskey version of the season's classic. You can serve this cocktail made-to-order, or have large pitchers on hand for quick pouring. Get the recipe here.

See More: Signature Cocktail Ideas for a Spring Wedding

summer cocktail bourbon peach sweet tea

Photo: Courtesy of Host the Toast

Bourbon Peach Sweet Tea
Throwing a southern wedding? Go classic with a good ol' glass of sweet tea, sweetened even more with peach preserves and lemon juice. And of course, spike it with bourbon. Get the recipe here.

summer cocktails rum orange swizzle

Photo: Courtesy of Jelly Toast Blog

Rum Orange Swizzle
Orange you so happy you just tied the knot? Your guests sure will be once they've had a sip of this wedding cocktail. It's made with summer's booze-of-choice, rum, and stirred with fresh squeezed orange juice, a sugar cube, maraschino liquor, and bitters. Don't forget the cherry on top! Get the recipe here.

summer cocktails grapefruit ginger spiced rum punch

Photo: Courtesy of Whitney Bond

Grapefruit Ginger Spiced Rum Punch
Big batch cocktails can be a lifesaver when it comes to time and money at your wedding. Consider this sweet, tart, and subtly spicy summer punch for yours. It gets its fizz from ginger beer and sparkling wine, and it's tang from a fresh squeezed grapefruits. Get the recipe here.

summer cocktail dark and stormy

Photo: Courtesy of The Framed Table

Dark and Stormy
We're not wishing bad weather on your wedding, but a dark and stormy cocktail is a summer cocktail that can't be missed. As gorgeous to look at as it is to drink, this rum and ginger beer mixer gets a leg up with a sugar rim and lime garnish. Get the recipe here.

How to Pick Your Signature Wedding Cocktail

 Food & Drink, Planning Tips, Signature Cocktails  Comments Off on How to Pick Your Signature Wedding Cocktail
Apr 082016
 
how to pick your signature wedding cocktail

Photo: Lilian Hadar

When it comes time for your wedding guests to toast to your everlasting love, put a signature cocktail in their hand that has flavor and meaning behind it. When you're deciding what drink to share with your guests, be sure to pick one that has a meaning to you and your fiancé and one that's unique to the two of you. If you're not sure where to start on your search for the perfect drink, here are six things to keep in mind when picking your signature wedding cocktail.

Keep It Seasonal
Consider using fresh ingredients and picking a cocktail that flows well with the season. It will be easier to drink and more fitting with your overall wedding theme.

Use Your Wedding Colors
Add in the theme of your wedding and incorporate your wedding colors as part of the drink. Whether it's with a pop of fruit or a kind of drink that's the same hue as the decorations in your venue. If you can't pick a drink that has the exact color scheme (an elegant blue libation is hard to come by, for example), feel free to spice up the cocktail with a colored napkin.

Put a Personal Spin on a Classic
Stick with a classic drink and add one or two new ingredients to it in order to spice it up a bit. Add in a different mixer to it or ask a local mixologist to help you find a fun and easy way to add some flavor and personality to your go-to beverage.

See More: The Best Low-Cost Alternatives to an Open Bar

Give it a Fun Name
No matter what signature drink you pick, give it an added twist with a fun name. Pick something that incorporates the drink name and either your wedding hashtag or a spin off your and your finance's name.

Go With a His and Hers
If you can't decide on just one drink or want to give your guests two options, splurge on his and hers cocktails. You can pick your favorite drink and your fiancé can pick his. That way, your guests have two drink options before the open bar opens up.

Add a Serving of Love
A fun way to personalize your signature cocktail is to have a story behind it. Maybe pick the drink that you two had on your first date or the cocktail that's your go-to on a Sunday evening together.

Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.

7 Ways to Elevate Your Wedding Mocktail

 Food & Drink, Signature Cocktails, Wedding Catering  Comments Off on 7 Ways to Elevate Your Wedding Mocktail
Aug 012015
 
Wedding Non-Alcoholic Mocktails

Photo: Corbin Gurkin

With all the time brides spend on crafting perfect wedding cocktails, non-alcohol drinks get the short end of the stick. Often the alcohol-free selections include bottled water or sugary sodas... only. But all that is changing now that more bars, restaurants and venues offer an elevated alternative: craft mocktails, sans alcohol, with all the flourish of a high-end cocktail.

"Customers now see mocktails as being as complex as traditional cocktails," says Pascaline Lepeltier, master sommelier and beverage director of Rouge Tomate in New York, known for its extensive mocktail list. "There is a palpable shift toward health-conscious eating, so mocktails offer a great, refreshing alternative for those who might not want sugary cocktails or alcoholic beverages."

For brides looking for healthier alternatives or non-alcoholic beverages for religious reasons, mocktails often the perfect mix of craft cocktail culture and crowd-pleasing allure. Here are seven tips for serving up mocktails at your wedding.

Make a non-alcoholic version of a classic cocktail.
The most obvious mocktail — non-alcoholic versions of cocktails like mojitos and bloody marys — can be served alongside their boozier cousins. Lepeltier recommends looking for cocktail recipes that typically have a vodka base, then having bartenders make it without the neutral alcohol kick.

Juice it.
"Healthy juice combinations are now part of the food landscape," Lepeltier says, noting Rouge Tomate's pressed juice program. Offering fresh, juice-based beverages is a step above fruit juices from concentrate and fountain soda, and guests will certainly take note.

Go craft.
Mocktails don't have to be simple. Jazz up tonic water with fresh herbs, fruits or cucumbers, and make them beautiful to look at. "Glasses, garnishes, ice cubes, straws — all the details should be carefully considered," explains Pietro Collina, head bartender at The Nomad in New York. "This will make all your guests feel like they are an equal part of the festivities. I want my non-drinking friend to feel like they are having an extravagant cocktail."

See More: Why You Should Think About Your Favorite Cocktail Before Booking Your Honeymoon

Fizz it up.
Nicely carbonated drinks quench thirst and cleanse the palate, explains Collina. Not only do many restaurants and wedding venues now offer homemade sodas, but more and more brands offer products with no artificial additives and lower sugar. He recommends checking the sweetness of the soda, since guests want to enjoy at least two over the course of the night, but other than that, go wild with fun flavors.

Think seasonal.
Be more creative than the usual suspects. Look up seasonal fruits and put a twist on the mock-tails. Melons and berries work well for the summer; cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup and apple cider scream fall; tropical fruits offer a welcome reprieve from winter; and, light herbs, fennel and rhubarb signal spring.

Create a mocktail station.
Not sure what mocktail to go with? Offer diversity. Create a mocktail station that offers a juice-based drink, soda, sparkling beverage and savory beverage. This, Lepeltier says, shows guests you're being mindful of those who are not drinking alcohol.

Make it shareable.
Non-alcoholic drinks make delicious punches that can be served all night long. Your guests will spend less time in the bar line and more time on the dance floor. "It'll keep guests hydrated with all that dancing they'll be doing," Collina says. "Sometimes it's not necessary to add a spirit to make an incredible drink."

Jul 272015
 

We love a good double-duty wedding idea, like these clever drinks and cocktails that also function as escort cards. It's such a smart idea, since everyone will make a beeline for the drinks following the ceremony, anyway. Here are some of our favorite versions of this creative idea:

St. Germain Signature Cocktail (above): This couple's escort-card cocktail featured St. Germain, club soda, prosecco, and fresh blackberries.

Champagne: These tinsel drink stirrers were decorated with flags printed with guests' names and table numbers (on the back).

Dr. Pepper: Garnish bottles of Dr. Pepper (perfect for Texas weddings!) with wooden escort-card tags.

escort-card drinks

Photo: Kate Vowels for Annie McElwain Photography

Lemonade: A non-alcoholic idea would be to serve glasses of chilled lemonade for guests to enjoy once the ceremony has concluded.

Orange Crush: For something more colorful and whimsical, opt for bottles of your favorite childhood soda.

Champagne with Blackberry: This scroll-style escort card looks so chic and elegant perched on the rim of a champagne flute.

Keep Your Guests Cool with These Cold Drinks and Frozen Treats

 Food & Drink, Signature Cocktails, Wedding Planning  Comments Off on Keep Your Guests Cool with These Cold Drinks and Frozen Treats
Jul 152015
 
Ways to Cool Off Guests at Wedding

Photo: Veil & Bow

If you're having an outdoor wedding, there's a chance it might be very hot that day, which is why it's important to come up with a few ways to keep your guests cool (especially if you're having an outdoor ceremony, before the sun goes down). One of the best ways is to serve chilled drinks or frozen treats to guests as they arrive to the wedding — here are some of our favorite ideas:

Bottles of Water (above): An easy idea would be to set out large tubs at the ceremony entrance full of bottles of still or sparkling water on ice.

Infused Water: Since guests will be sitting under the sun during the ceremony, it's best to skip the alcoholic beverages and serve hydrating drinks instead, like fruit-infused waters.

Iced Tea & Lemonade: Another idea would be a self-serve beverage station stocked with iced tea and lemonade so guests can help themselves.

Popsicles: For something a little more fun, have waiters offer guests fruity popsicles to enjoy as they're waiting for the ceremony to begin.

Otter Pops: Guests will get a kick out of these childhood favorites—set out a tub filled with frozen Otter Pops before the ceremony begins (don't forget to leave a pair of scissors to snip them open!).

Snow Cones: Another whimsical idea would be to hire a snow-cone vendor to pass out treats as guests arrive to the ceremony.

6 Delicious Signature Cocktails for a Summer Wedding

 Food & Drink, Signature Cocktails, Wedding Catering  Comments Off on 6 Delicious Signature Cocktails for a Summer Wedding
Jul 062015
 
summer signature cocktails

Photo: Pizzazerie

Keep guests cool at your summertime wedding by offering them ice-cold, season-inspired cocktails during the reception. So raise a glass and toast to these summery signature drink ideas.

Watermelon Cooler (above): Watermelon is synonymous with summer and this cocktail is like a grown-up slushie, made with fresh watermelon, ice, lime juice, coconut milk, and run.

Sparkling Blueberry Lemonade: This pretty concoction combines lemon juice, sugar, St. Germaine, sparkling wine, and fresh blueberries.

summer signature cocktails

Photo: Laura Ivanova

Piña Colada: For a something summery and tropical, nothing beats a piña colada.

summer signature cocktails

Photo: Judy Pak

Champagne & Strawberries: Add fresh strawberries to glasses of bubbly for a simple and festive libation.

summer signature cocktails

Photo: Aaron Delesie

Tom Collins: A classic Tom Collins (made with gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda) is perfect for summer celebrations—light and refreshing.

Peach Tequila Sunrise: How beautiful is this summery riff on a classic tequila sunrise, made with peach liqueur and garnished with slices of fresh peaches?

Delicious Signature Cocktails for a Spring Wedding

 Food & Drink, Signature Cocktails, Wedding Catering  Comments Off on Delicious Signature Cocktails for a Spring Wedding
May 132015
 

If you're a spring bride, celebrate this beautiful time of the year by serving guests a signature cocktail that reflects the season. You can garnish each beverage with an edible flower as a nod to the gorgeous, in-season blooms or add a fresh herbs for a fragrant touch. Here are six of our favorite spring-inspired cocktails.

Blushing Bride (above): Garnish this pretty cocktail made of peach schnapps, grenadine, and champagne with a sprig of fragrant lavender.

Pear-Ginger Fizz: This flavorful and bubbly libation combines pear juice with vodka and ginger ale; garnish each glass with fresh rosemary.

spring signature cocktails

Photo: Sara Hasstedt

Apple Blossom: Celebrate spring with a signature cocktail inspired by beautiful blooming apple blossoms that features champagne, elderflower, rose soda water, and apple-infused vodka.

spring signature cocktails

Photo: Eric McVey

Cucumber-Mint Gin Fizz: Now that the weather's starting to warm up, serve guests something refreshing, like this cucumber-mint gin fizz.

Rhubarb Mojito: These sweet-yet-tart mojitos made with rhubarb syrup and rum are elegant and unexpected.

Spring Signature Cocktails

Photo: Kate Headley

Beet and Basil Cocktail: For something a little more earthier, serve up these vibrant-red libations made with beet juice and basil-infused syrup.

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