Blackberry Bliss

Summer is right around the corner and we’re excited for long sun-filled days full of mountain biking, hiking, SUP and maybe a little day drinking. I love fresh berries and mint is always so refreshing, so I combined the two into a mojito inspired vodka cocktail and I’m pretty happy with the results!


Hello Summer fun!!!


Serves 2.

6-8 Blackberries
5 Large mint leaves
1 1/2-2 oz. simple syrup
1 whole lime, cut into 6 wedges
3-4 oz. vodka
club soda


1. Using a handheld blender puree the blackberries, mint and simple syrup.

2. Prepare a quart size mason jar by squeezing the juice from the lime wedges into your jar and then toss the wedges in too. Add the vodka, puree and ice. Give it a quick stir and top it with soda water…. if you don’t want to share just divide the ingredients into two pint glasses. This is just as delicious without the vodka too.

3. Enjoy at the park….or on your patio. This recipe is easy to scale up if you’re having a backyard BBQ and want a fun refreshing cocktail that isn’t too sweet.

Cucumber Basil Martini

Drinking on the job!!! Woohoo…. just one of the perks of writing a blog. Steve and I came up with this super refreshing, not too sweet martini and I can’t wait to have another.

cucumber basil martini

Yum!!! More vodka please. Here’s a pic of our cucumber basil martinis before they disappear.


1 serving.

2 1/2 oz. Crater Lake Vodka
4 slices cucumber
4-5 basil leaves
1 tablespoon sugar (or less depending on how sweet/tart you want it)
1/4 of a lemon
1/2 of a lime
1 handful of ice

In a pint glass or cocktail shaker combine ice, cucumber slices, basil leaves, sugar, lemon and lime and muddle them until the basil is torn. Add vodka, give the cocktail a quick shake, strain into a martini glass and garnish with a cucumber wheel or basil leaf.



Sugar! Sugar! Sugar!

Bring on the sugar overload! Here are some of my favorite tropical rum drink recipes from around the Caribbean. Enjoy!


The Painkiller (made famous at the Soggy Dollar Bar; Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands)

4 parts pineapple juice

1 part Coco Lopez

1 part orange juice

2-4 parts Cruzan or Pussers rum


fresh grated nutmeg


Build over ice, shake it like you mean it, and garnish with fresh nutmeg.

The Mojito (made famous at La Bodeguita del Medio, a bar frequented by Ernest Hemingway; Cuba)

2 oz. light rum (Flor de Caña 7 Year is also delicious)

½ lime cut into thirds

1 tablespoon sugar

Soda water

6 mint leaves



Muddle mint, lime and sugar in a pint glass with ice. Add rum, extra ice if needed and then top with soda and stir gently. Garnish with a mint sprig.

The Panty Ripper (Caye Caulker, Belize)

2 parts Old Master Coconut Rum

4 parts pineapple juice



Pour over ice in a girly glass.

Ron y Piña (Roatan, Honduras and beyond)

Flor de Caña 4 Year rum

pineapple juice



Pour over ice in whatever portions you like.

Ron y Agua (Roatan, Honduras)

1 part Flor de Cana 7 Year

1 part water

slice of lime



Drink like you’ve been there awhile and hydrate while you dehydrate….pour over ice and garnish with a squeeze of lime.

Rum Punch (My version, based on many years of swilling rum drinks)

3 parts Caribbean rum

2 parts pineapple juice

2 parts mango juice

2 parts orange juice

2 slices of lime squeezed



Pour juice and rum into tall glass, squeeze limes into cocktail and stir…or shake if you have a Boston shaker.

Note: I like to add a little club soda to mine so it isn’t so sweet.

Peruvian Ceviche

My favorite restaurant here in Portland is Andina, a family owned Peruvian restaurant in the heart of the Pearl District. And they have their ceviche recipe dialed down. Here is my re-creation of this Latin American favorite based on the recipe I found on



1 ½ pounds firm white fish (mahimahi, ono, bass etc.), bay scallops, or prawns (if using fish or prawns chop into pieces approx.. the size of your thumbnail)

½ small-medium red onion, halved and sliced super thin (use your mandolin if you have one)

juice from 8-9 limes

½ cup cilantro finely chopped

1 habanero, seeded and minced; a jalapeno, seeded and minced, would also work well

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 sweet potato or yam (boiled and cut in to 1″ slices , peel if you like)

1-2 corn on the cob (grilled in the husk); once cooked remove husks and you can either break the cobs in half or slice the kernels off and serve in a bowl

1 head Butter or Boston lettuce

½ cup to ¾ cup Aji Amarillo Sauce

Serves 4.


1. Combine seafood, red onion, habanero, salt and lime juice in a medium size bowl. Stir well and let sit for 20 minutes covered in the refrigerator. Stir well after 10 minutes to make sure the seafood is thoroughly “cooked.”

2. Just before serving stir in the cilantro.

3. My favorite way of serving this dish is family style, with the ceviche in a medium sized bowl and the sweet potato, corn, butter lettuce on a platter, and the aji Amarillo sauce on the side in a small dish with a spoon that people can pass around and take what they want.

Aji Amarillo Sauce


2 T. Aji Amarillo paste (can be purchased at Dashen Latino Grocery on NE Glisan)

2 green onions (chopped)

Juice from 2 limes

1 T. ketchup

¼ c. sour cream

½ cup mayonnaise

salt and pepper (to taste)


1.  Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth. Sauce may be refrigerated before use and can be made in advance.