Cocktail Spotlight: Fall Classic

This is a must-have during the Fall at the amazing Gramercy Tavern in New York…One of our personal favorites…

[Photograph: Alice Gao]

Fall Classic
YIELD: SERVES 1
PREP TIME: 20 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 10 MINUTES

 
Ingredients:

Thyme simple syrup…
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
Cocktail…
  • 1 ounce bourbon, such as Bulleit
  • 1 ounce calvados or Laird’s bonded apple brandy
  • 1 ounce fresh apple cider
  • 1/2 ounce thyme simple syrup
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Dash Angostura bitters
  • Garnish: dried or fresh apple slice (optional)

Directions:
Place sugar and water in small saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add thyme. Steep for 15 minutes (tasting for intensity of flavor) and strain out thyme. Refrigerate to chill.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add bourbon, calvados or apple brandy, cider, thyme syrup, lemon, and bitters. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with fresh or dried apple if desired.

 

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resources via Serious Eats Blog article http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/11/fall-classic-bourbon-apple-cocktail-recipe-gramercy-tavern.html

Destination Spotlight: Aspen

The holidays are upon us, bringing dreams of snow covered quaint towns and long nights tucked in at a favorite restaurant, waiting out a fresh downfall.  One of Life:Styled’s favorite destinations for a true winter wonderland is of course, Aspen Colorado.  Check out some of our favorite spots and as always, contact Life:Styled SOON to book your holiday travel!
 
Where to stay:
***The Little Nell – This ski in/ski out boutique hotel and residences is famous for being the most luxurious and intimate place to stay.  We love the personalized customer service and established and upscale, while still comfortable, ambiance.

 

 

***The Sky Hotel – just across the street from the Little Nell is the Sky Hotel; a newer, trendy hot spot that has great rooms, service and amenities.  Stay or visit here for one of the greatest après–ski scenes in Aspen.  It’s the perfect combination of local and “in the know” out-of-towners you will find.

 

Where to Eat:
***Ellina:  This cozy locals favorite has a great bar menu, cocktails, and wine list… the food is awesome, and many people are just finding out about and falling in love with it, as it is still young.  It is definitely fine dining, but there is no dress code.  Many people say after one visit that it’s their new favorite place to dine in Aspen.  Don’t leave without trying the absolutely delicious artichoke heart bruscetta and the perfect lemon basil martini.

 

 

***Another dining favorite; ok, so maybe not unique to Aspen, but what can we say about Matsuhisa?  If you are in a city that has one of Chef Nobu’s famed and always delectable spots, you kind of have to go there.  This outpost is particularly popular, a great crowd, packed every night.  You won’t try one thing on the menu that isn’t perfection, but we particularly love the Miso black cod and Toro Tartar with Caviar.

 

What to do:
In the winter, it’s pretty much skiing and snowboarding (along with eating and drinking of course).  Many travelers will stay on Aspen Mountain, .  The coolest terrain is definitely Highlands, where you will find a giant, almost separate peek you can hike to called the Highlands bowl… it’s definitely more for the ambitious type.  And if you want a combo of the two mountains, with the biggest mixture of expert and novice terrain and by far the most acreage of all the mountains, you will want to check out Snowmass.  It’s definitely more family oriented but it has enough crazy back-country runs for everyone to have a great time.

We also have a great contact for private back-country motorized sled tours that is a really fun adventure, not to be missed!

Non-skiers will not be disappointed either; shopping and spas: what’s not to love?  Aspen is a small town, so make friends with your bartender and get many more great locals tips and secrets!

 

Cocktail Spotlight: Caramel Appletini

For us, Autumn is a time for sweet and savory indulgences. So, why not have a sweet cocktail to end the week?

Caramel Appletini
YIELD: SERVES 1
PREP TIME: 3 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 3 MINUTES

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Sour Apple Pucker
  • 1/2 oz ButterShots
  • 3 oz Apple Cider

Directions:

Shake up ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a slice of green apple or caramel candy piece. Simple and delicious… Cheers!

 

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resources via Celebrations At Home Blog article http://celebrationsathomeblog.com/2010/11/autumn-cocktails.html

Cocktail Spotlight: Pumpkin Martini

Since it is Autumn and pumpkins are all around, we thought it would only be fitting to incorporate them into a classic cocktail. Cheers!

Pumpkin Martini
YIELD: SERVES 1
PREP TIME: 3 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 3 MINUTES

 

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Pour the Sylk Liqueur and vodka into a shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Add the pumpkin liqueur or syrup.
  4. Shake again.
  5. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  6. Top with a teaspoon of whipped cream.
  7. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

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resources via about.com’s article http://cocktails.about.com/od/vodkadrinkrecipes/r/pumpkin_martini.htm

 

Hotel Spotlight: Ca’Sagredo Hotel, Venice ITALY

A city of divine architecture and legendary history, Venice is a celebration of the romantic spirit. The Ca’ Sagredo Hotel, classified as a National Monument, will take your breath away. Leaning majestically on the banks of the Grand Canal, between Ca’ D’Oro and the Rialto Bridge, the 15th century Palace still preserves the untouched beauty of an ancient noble Residence.

Ca’Sagredo Hotel
www.casagredohotel.com

In the middle of the 17th century, the palace was purchased by the Sagredos, one of the most prestigious families of the Venetian nobility. The palace has been restored to its former glory with marble staircases, sculptures, carvings and majestic frescoes giving a hint of past splendors such as the hidden doorways and secret passageways which the Sagredo family would use to avoid the prying eyes of their servants (particularly when using the hidden Casino which was situated secretly on a mezzanine level unseen from the main staircase). There are even rumors of an underground passage from the hotel beneath the canal to the Venice Casino.

 Ca'sagredo Palace Venice Italy

With its lavish pink façade, the Palace is a real gem, half hotel, half museum with important works of art by 17th and 18th-century artists Sebastiano Ricci, Giambattista Tiepolo, Niccolò Bambini and Pietro Longhi.

Ca'Sagredo Half Museum in Venice Italy
Ca'Sagredo Palace Ceiling Venice Italy
Ca’ Sagredo truly wraps you into history as though you have lived in Venice all your life and to sleep within the walls of this exceptional boutique property, is like passing through 5 centuries of history. This place is truly mesmerizing. With several of the rooms and suites providing a canal view, stay in one of Ca’Sagredo Hotel’s historical grand suites to appreciate 18th-century stuccoed ceilings and elaborately painted wall friezes. Every corner of Ca’ Sagredo Hotel echoes the captivating charm of Venice itself. Each room is unique and individually decorated, the style is understated, classical and unhurried.

Ca’Sagredo Hotel’s historical grand suites
Ca’Sagredo Hotel’s historical grand suites -02
Ca’Sagredo Hotel’s historical grand suites
Ca’Sagredo Hotel’s historical grand suites

Take time out to discover the extraordinary artworks throughout Ca’ Sagredo. Breakfast is served in the luxurious rooms between the Ballroom and the Music room, from which faint strains of opera can be heard. This creates a wonderful ambiance, enhanced by the staff who are so friendly and accommodating. In particular Bruna – the lady in charge of breakfast is exceptional. This is no ordinary breakfast either, from incredibly ripe fresh fruit and fruit juices to delicious hot meals and bakery items. All the glass fixtures in the hotel (sconces, chandeliers etc) are made at the prestigious factory in Murano (just a short boat ride away) and have a unique and beautiful quality about them.

Ca’ Sagredo ballroom in Venice Italy

Ca’ Sagredo music room in Venice Italy

With its splendid panoramic terrace on the Grand Canal, L’Alcova Restaurant is one of the only restaurants situated on the Grand Canal.  In an exclusive setting, Chef Josef Klostermaier creates a cuisine made of fresh ingredients and characterized by a strong ‘back to nature’ concept. He focuses on elaborating traditional recipes and the local products are enhanced through the daily attentive personal selection from the Rialto Market.  The Rialto market is just in front of the hotel: cross the canal to experience the seasons of the sea and the fresh products.  The Restaurant Manager Gianpaulo is a surprise and delight, the consummate host and abundant with information on the hotel and the city and its little gems.

L’Alcova Restaurant Venice Italy
Venice Italy Palazzo

There is something very seductive about this Palazzo – it’s a real treasure: the restoration carefully enhances the original noble features, delighting the senses while evoking respect for times gone by.

Venice Italy Bride
venetian gold ceiling
Venice Italy gondola
Venice Italy at night

A Private Palazzo, a Noble Residence, a Museum, a Luxury Hotel and much more… For more information and preferred rates and amenities, contact us at Life:Styled
 
 

Cocktail Spotlight: Apple Cider Sangria

Today we are putting an autumn spin on one of our favorite drinks for one very happy Friday cocktail! Cheers!
apple cider sangria cocktail
apple cider sangria cocktail
Apple Cider Sangria
YIELD: SERVES 4-6
PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 10 MINUTES

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle (standard size) of pinot grigio
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh apple cider
  • 1 cup club soda
  • 1/2 cup ginger brandy
  • 3 honey crisp apples, chopped
  • 3 pears, chopped

Directions:

Combine all ingredients together and stir, stir, stir. Refrigerate for an hour or so (or longer!) before serving.

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resources via howsweeteats.com’s article howsweeteats.com/2012/10/apple-cider-sangria

 

Cocktail Spotlight: Salty Chihuahua

Cheers and Happy Friday!
This has been one of those weeks where nothing sounds better right now than a big fat margarita and some yummy mexican food.  Come to think of it, that sounds good every day right?  Well, here’s a fun spin on the marg to add to your repertoire!

salty chihuahua cocktail

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons salt, coarse – (optional), to rim glasses
  • 4 ounces tequila – divided
  • 2 ounces liqueur, orange-flavored – such as Cointreau, divided
  • 3 cups grapefruit juice – divided
  • 4 slice(s) grapefruit – for garnish

Directions

  1. Wet the rims of 4 glasses and coat with coarse salt (if desired); fill the glasses with ice.
  2. Pour 1 ounce tequila and 1/2 ounce liqueur into each.
  3. Top each with 3/4 cup grapefruit juice and stir. Garnish with a slice of grapefruit.

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resources via bettertreats.com

Honeymoon Spotlight: Portugal

Shannon and Eric were a really fun honeymoon couple to work with as they wanted a honeymoon on the somewhat adventurous side, and slightly off the beaten path. They were also basically open to anywhere in the world. After much back and forth, they decided on Portugal which was really fun to plan! They wanted to rent a car and do and see everything the country had to offer, which is exactly what they did.
Beginning in Lisbon, which turned out to be their favorite city, they stayed at the beautiful Bairro Alto Hotel, a LHW property.  They loved the hotel’s rooftop deck, and the nightlife in the Bairro Alto neighborhood. From the bride: “We loved the hotel in Lisbon.  The rooms are smaller, but well appointed and in the BEST location.”

We also booked them a city tour through the hotel that ended up being one of their favorite memories from the trip, and two of the restaurants they ate at in Lisbon were favorites as well; Bonjardim; “best chicken you will ever have” and Cantina.

(Bairro Alto Hotel)

(View from hotel terrace)

(Amenity waiting for them in Lisbon)

From Lisbon they drove to Porto, in the north part of the country, and famous for being home to the great Port wineries. They had heard about the many pousadas around Portugal, which is a boutique hotel chain of historic monuments renovated into small hotels, embodying the architecture and history of the area they are in.  In Porto, we booked them at the Pousada Palacio de Freixo, which is in a restored 18th century palace. They loved exploring this beautiful city, and of course all of the great wine tastings!

 

From Porto, they were on to the Douro Valley (another wine region), and a beautiful SLH hotel called the Aquapura Douro Valley.  Here, we were able to get them highly upgraded to the Panoramic Suite, which in their words, was “heavenly.” They also adored the staff at this hotel who went so above and beyond to ensure their stay was amazing.  They chose to spend their time in the Douro relaxing, hitting the spa, and eating and drinking, which, after all, is what a honeymoon is all about!  They especially enjoyed DOC restaurant here, situated right on the Douro River, a sleek modern restaurant with beautiful terrace, great wine pairings, and amazing chef, Rui Paula.

 

After leaving the Douro Valley, they were on to Evora, a town known for still being partially enclosed in it’s medieval walls, and named a Unesco World Heritage Site.  Here they enjoyed all of the sightseeing the town has to offer, a great restaurant called O’Fialho, and their hotel, outside of town; the very unique L’And Hotel and Vineyards, also an SLH property with great modern architecture.  They loved the hip hotel’s outdoor fireplace for relaxing with a glass of wine, and their signature restaurant as well.

(One of their favorite culinary stops along the trip)

(L’And Vineyards Resort)

From here, it was onto the Algarve!  Known as one of the most popular European seaside getaways, this region is a string of beach towns, all bringing their own character to a lively, warm and sunny coast!  Here they stayed in the town of Portimao, at the Bela Vista resort.  Right on the water, the hotel was funky and unique, and they loved how easily they were able to get to the other towns in the area.  Lagos was a high point of this part of the trip, especially the famous caves, which they toured by boat!

(The Lagos Caves)

(View from their room at the Bela Vista Resort)

From the Algarve, it was time to head back towards Lisbon to fly out, with stops in Sintra and  Cascais for a few nights along the way.  About Sintra, the bride says it is “not to miss.  so many amazing sites, like nothing I have seen before, and does not feel super touristy at all  .  The bus system is great and takes you all around.”

Cascais, known as a great spot for golfers, was a “vibrant, cute town with many great beaches, and the town encourages bicycles as the main mode of transportation, which was fun.”  There they stayed at the Oitavos Hotel, a sleek and elegant property, all of the rooms’ private balconies overlooking the ocean or golf course.

(Sintra’s Pena Palace)

 

After two weeks away, covering so many beautiful towns and sites in a gorgeous country, it was time to head home as husband and wife.  I loved planning this trip for them and although some of our team at Life:Styled has had the opportunity to go, personally, Portugal has definitely moved to the top of my travel list!

Cocktail Spotlight: Hot Toddy

Since it has finally gotten a little colder outside…we decided to bring back a cocktail we featured a year ago…and it is one of our favorites! Cheers!

Cocktail Ingredients

  • 2 oz whiskey or apple brandy
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • hot apple cider
  • lemon wedge for garnish
  • cinnamon stick for garnish
  • 2-3 whole cloves for garnish

Preparation

  1. Coat the bottom of an Irish coffee glass with honey.
  2. Add the whiskey or apple brandy.
  3. Fill with hot apple cider.
  4. Stir well.
  5. Garnish with the lemon, cinnamon stick and cloves

 

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resources via celebrationsathomeblog.com and cocktails.about.com

 

Hotel Spotlight: Setai Miami Beach

In a city filled with Art Deco and Latin inspired structures, The Setai Miami Beach stands out from the crowd. The hotel consists of 2 buildings – The Art Deco landmark building, which is Asian-inspired on the interior and traditional Miami Beach on the exterior, and the 40-story glass building that towers over any other building on the beach.

Relax on the beach in one of the hotel’s plush chairs, and sip on cocktails fresh from your own server. Don’t feel like going to the beach? Try the ever-so-sexy pool, grab a cabana, a good book, and enjoy the fresh tropical air. Still not convinced? Sit on your balcony and enjoy the unparalleled views of one of the sexiest cities in the world.

If you’re hungry, enjoy some bites from the the Pool & Beach Bar or The Grill. At night, dress chic and head down to The Restaurant for a culinary journey through The Wok, The Steam, The Tandoor, The Curries, and The Rotisserie & Grill, accompanied by an award-wining wine list featuring hand selected wines from around the globe.

This Leading Hotels of the World property is one of Miami’s best, so trust us when we say this is a must-visit that will keep you coming back. For more information and preferred rates and amenities, contact us at Life:Styled.  www.thesetaihotel.com