Drink

Citrus Margarita Recipe

Citrus Margarita

It’s been a busy Spring and I haven’t had much of an opportunity to post on the blog lately. But we are finally approaching Summer here in Seattle, so I thought it was time for a new margarita recipe. This idea popped in my head for my upcoming birthday party, but I didn’t have to search much to find a ton of different recipes online.

Now initially, I thought the combination would be limes, oranges, and lemons, but that lemon may not be the right fit for tequila. When a saw another recipe with grapefruit I had a “duh” moment since grapefruit is used in one of the most popular tequila cocktails the Paloma.

Now many margarita recipes call for orange flavor usually in the form of Triple Sec or Gran Marnier. However, I feel like it brings way too much sweetness sort of like off-the-shelf margarita mixes. So, in this recipe, orange actually brings the smooth orange flavor that helps cut the tartness of the limes and grapefruits. Since you still do need a sweet element in this recipe, you can either use agave syrup or make your own simple syrup.

Grapefruit Simple Syrup
To give your margarita that little extra zing, make some grapefruit simple syrup. Follow the standard one cup sugar to one cup water ratio. After it has begun to cook down, add some grapefruit zest and a couple of squeezes of grapefruit juice then take it off the over to cool.

While nothing compares to a freshly shaken margarita poured over ice, Summer is all about entertaining so this recipe is built for a party!

Citrus Margarita Recipe
6 Cups of Reposado Tequila
3 Cups of Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
1 1/2 Cups Frozen or Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
1/2 Cup Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
1 Cup of Grapefruit Simple Syrup

This recipe makes about 24 servings (4-ounce portions). Mix everything together and then chill in the fridge. Then before serving, stir in a couple of cups of ice and let chill. I like to salt the rim of the glass with a Habanero Sale with a bit of lime zest mixed in. When ready to serve, salt rim, add a few extra ice cubes and fill the glass with this delicious margarita.





Drink

Adictivo Reposado Tequila Review

AdictivoTequila

I thought for my last post of 2021 it would make sense to review a tequila. We have all been stuck dealing with Covid for much of 2021, and I know we probably have enough new recipes that we still haven’t tried yet. This tequila is one we actually came across when we were visiting Puerto Vallarta.

One of our favorite excursions is walking into town and visiting the tequila shops. They are always very eager to give you samples, so we try to make sure we buy a bottle from them when we are all done. The bottle has a very cool twisted design, but the bottle that you can find here in the United States looks like it got a bit of an update.

The one thing that stands out about this tequila is how balanced it is across all its flavors. Usually, tequila will lean sweet or spicy, sometimes oakey, but this balances them all very well. In reading other reviews, many people thought this tequila was too sweet. Since I do tend to like sweeter tequilas, I thought I would share others’ observations.

When you compare this to something like Casamigos, I think Adictivo is much more balanced. It still serves up the vanilla and caramel notes, but the oak and spice smooth it out for me. The other thing about this tequila is how smooth it is and it finishes well. This may not be the perfect gift for a tequila connoisseur, but is worth trying! Enjoy your New Year’s Eve. Happy 2022!

Home|Lifestyle

Nest Mesh Wifi Review

Google Nest Wifi Mesh Router

I have had many routers over the years and have tried them in many configurations. For home automation, I chose to go with TP-Link’s Kasa line of lights and switches. For a long time, I was under the impression that I had to have a TP-Link router in order to run them all since Kasa doesn’t come with a central hub. So after my first TP-Link router stopped working properly, I upgraded to a more powerful TP-Link router. Within a matter of weeks, the wifi part of the router stopped working. Then, one day I realized that my Xfinity Router supported Kasa. So, I moved all 40 of my Kasa units over to the Xfinity router. The one thing Comcast doesn’t talk about is that their router only supports a limited number of devices at one time.

I started to research which system I was going to with next. Then I happened upon one selling point that many other routers weren’t talking about and that was the number of supported devices. When I saw that Google was advertising that their new mesh router system supported up to 200 devices at once, I was intrigued. Unfortunately, I was a little put off by its expensive price tag so I watched for a sale and finally picked up a router and additional access point.

I already had many Google Home streaming devices, so going with the Nest system was a natural decision. The other selling point for me was the additional access point also acted as a speaker. Since I already had the Google Home app set up, adding the new router was really easy. The complete setup went very well, so then I just needed to move all my devices over to the new Nest Mesh System.

I immediately saw an improvement in streaming across the entire house. Any previous dark spots were gone. It also kept all Kasa devices connected and they weren’t dropping off as they did with my previous routers. If you are running Kasa and Google Home, then this is the system for you!




Drink

Orange Cilantro Margarita

Orange Cilantro Margarita

I made this on Cinco de Mayo and it was great! The main thing I learned about making a good margarita is that you don’t need margarita mix or a big bottle of Cointreau. A true margarita really only needs fresh lime and a sweet element like agave. For this version of margarita, I used a splash of orange juice to help balance out the lime. It is a perfect fresh margarita for summertime!

Orange Cilantro Margarita
3 Limes Squeezed
1/3 Cup of Orange Juice
3 – 4 Ounces of Gran Orendain Reposado
2 Tablespoons Agave
Bunch of Cilantro
Splash of Lime Seltzer

In a cocktail shaker, muddle together half your cilantro with lime juice. Add in your tequila, orange juice, and agave syrup. Shake well and pour over a glass of ice. Sprinkle the remaining cilantro on top, then top with a bit of lime seltzer. Enjoy!

Drink

Lemonade Seltzer Reviews

Lemonade Seltzer Review

You may have seen previous posts about Mike’s Lite disappearing of shelves in 2020. Since then, we have been on our journey to find something comparable to replace it with. We tried a lot of different brands of seltzers in many different flavors, but we weren’t finding anything that was hitting our taste buds right.

We really liked the Truly brand, but the lemon truly still lacked any real flavor. Then we discovered Truly Lemonade. The strawberry and black cherry flavors were a little polarizing in our house. I didn’t like the strawberry lemonade and he didn’t like the black cherry. But, the standard Lemonade flavor was pretty good.

Then all of a sudden one day, Mike’s Hard Seltzer popped up on the shelf. We quickly purchased it and rushed home to sample. It comes in 4 flavors (lemon, mango, strawberry and pineapple). All the flavors passed the test.

I had ordered groceries online one day, and the substituted the Bud Light Seltzer for one of the cases of Mike’s Hard Seltzer. Now, we had all three brands on hand and we proceeded with a head to head taste test of all three brands.

First of all, they are all about 100 calories each. So that really leveled the playing field. So, we had to break it down from there.

BrandTruly LemonadeMike’s Hard SeltzerBud Light Hard Seltzer
Calories100100100
Sodium45mg90mg30mg
Carbs3g1g3g
Sugars1g1g>1g
TasteTart/LemonyFresh/SweetWine/Bland
Rank#1#2#3

As much as we wanted Mike’s Hard Seltzer to come out on top, Truly seems to be dominating the space right now. Unfortunately, Truly Lemonade does not sell it’s plain lemonade flavor by the case. So, we found that Total Wine carries large cans in their singles aisle, we have been ordering a case of those and picking them up at the store.

Please let us know your thoughts and thanks for taking this journey with us.

Drink

Best Cheap Tequila by the Half Gallon

Best Cheap Tequila

Since the beginning of 2020, we have been buying our tequila and having it delivered. In the process, we have been comparing brands of tequila that come in the 1.75 liter size. First of all, I have to state that our household does not believe in Silver tequila. Silver tequilas do not have the benefit of resting in barrels and developing those more complex flavors. Silver tequila has what I can a grainy alcohol especially when you are looking for cheaper brands. So, this post is going to focus on affordable tequilas that come in the half gallon size.

One night we decided to rank several half gallons of reposado by price and we were surprised where they all fell in line. It was that night that inspired this blog post. Hopefully it will help you decide which tequila might be right to have handy when you need to make a couple pitchers of margaritas.

Hornitos Reposado 1.75L (Average Price $30 – $35)

This has been one of our go-to tequilas for years and years. It’s what I might call old faithful. It has a mellow flavor that isn’t too spicy or too smokey. It has fruity floral notes that carry through that add to any mixed cocktail.

Legado Reposado 1.75L (Average Price $32 – $37)

We often bounced between Camarena and Legado as our resident cheap tequila. As the price of Camarena went up, Legado won the honored spot. When we compared that to Hornitos, we actually found that the Legado was a slightly more refined tequila. It has more spicy notes and is a little sweeter as well.

1800 Reposado 1.75L (Average Price $43 – $47)

This tequila sits right in the middle in terms of price and quality. I don’t think of this tequila as a fine tequila and often surprised when restaurants and bars try to pass it off as top-shelf.

Camarena Reposado 1.75L (Average Price $43 – $45)

As mentioned, this was one of our go-to cheap tequila brands for some time. This tequila reminds me a bit of Hornitos in that none of the flavor profiles are too pronounced. It has just enough complexity and flavor to be a great tequila for Margaritas and cocktails.

Espolon Reposado 1.75L (Average Price $45 – $50)

This tequila might be best known for its great label. Featuring skeletons and skulls, the Dia de Los Muertos design makes it perfect for holidays and celebrations. This is also a very solid tequila. Complex notes of spice, smoke, and sweetness live together well in this brand.

Altos Reposado 1.75L (Average Price $40 – $50)

Of all the tequilas mentioned in this post, this one had the widest variety of prices. Altos is a great brand with a well-developed flavor profile. The maturity of this tequila is in the flavors. As tequilas become higher quality, you start to experience much smokier and spicier notes with rich sweetness. If you find this at the right price, it’s a great value.

Cazadores 1.75L (Average Price $45 – $50)

As we lined up our half gallons by price, we were surprised that Cazadores came up as the most expensive. Cazadores is also a very solid brand and as mentioned above, higher quality tequilas have more complex flavors. This is great for people who love the taste of tequila in their cocktails and want those flavors to shine through.

The Winner

We went with Legado as the best cheap tequila that is available in the half gallon size. The rub on this one is it is only available at Total Wine as part of their Direct Spirits brand. As we come out of our Coronavirus lockdown and move into ‘drinks on the patio’ weather, pick it up and give it a try. Let us know what you think!

Food

Almond Flour Pizza Recipe

Almond Flour Pizza

Since today is National Pizza Day, I thought I would share this recipe. When I began cooking low-carb meals, this was one of the first things I tried to master. Let me tell you, this is much easier than trying to make real dough from scratch.

First of all, get out your cream cheese and let is soften. Combine that with the cheese in a microwave-safe bowl. Then, I microwave it 30 seconds at a time until the cheese gets melted a bit. That’s when I fold in the almond flour and egg. Combine well, then flatten between two pieces of parchment paper.

Turn your broiler on low, and cook the crust for just a few minutes until it starts to brown. Take it out and flip it onto your second piece of parchment paper. I actually cook the other side of the crust for just a minute to make sure it gets a bit of crunch. Then top pizza and cook for about 7 – 8 minutes until toppings have cooked through the center.

Almond Flour Pizza Dough Recipe

  • 1/4 package cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup mozzarella
  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper

I would suggest keeping the toppings fairly light or the crust might start to get a little soggy. So, a thin layer of sauce and toppings will work best! Enjoy!

Drink

Herradura Barrel Select Review

HERRADURA DOUBLE BARREL REPOSADO TEQUILA

Let me start by saying I am fan of the Herradura family of tequilas. The crystal anejo is easily one of my favorites. This could stem from the fact that Herradura is one of the oldest producers of tequila as it was founded in 18700. The Double Barrel Reposado is aged for 11 months in oak barrels, then aged another month in a toasted oak barrel.

Herradura to me is not one of the sweeter tequilas. One thing that is always at the forefront is the spiciness. On the palette, you still get complex flavors from vanilla, allspice and agave. However, on the nose, you certainly get that impact of being aged in the toasted oak barrel.

I have always said that complex Anejo tequilas start to remind me of certain varieties of Whiskey. This is especially true with Barrel Select Reposado. So, if you are more of a purist with your tequila and not much of a fan of Whisky, this may not be the tequila for you.




Drink|Lifestyle

Spiked Seltzer Reviews

Hard Seltzers

For years, Mikes Hard Lemonade became our favorite line of beverages. Eventually we settled on Mike’s Lite Lemonade as it was healthy. Then the flavored seltzer water trend began and we started mixing them together. But Mikes recently discontinued their Lite version along with many others as they often due with certain flavors in their line up. Now we are forced to find another new favorite beverage in this new world of spiked seltzers and other lower calorie alcoholic beverages. So, we decided to record our journey of experimentation here.

First, lets point out there is a difference between sparkling water and seltzer. I actually wrote a post about it here. But, the lowdown is that sparkling water is naturally carbonated. If carbonation is added later, than its most likely a seltzer or club soda.

White Claw
White Claw is a spiked seltzer. This was the most obvious brand to start with, but with a ton of flavors, we decided to start with the variety pack (lemon, mango, tangerine and watermelon). We really started with this pack because it had a lemon variety. Who knew finding another lemon based drink would be so hard. I think of the four, mango was probably my favorite. The tangerine was especially orange flavored. The watermelon was also good and the lemon on its own didn’t get rated well. However, if you mix the lemon with other things it can be pretty good.

Truly
The next kind we tried was Truly. We also started with their variety back which featured Lime, Orange, Grapefruit and Lemon. I think the flavor of Truly appealed to me much for than the White Claw. White Claw seemed like the flavor was just a little too subtle. So, I decided to expand upon our Truly flavors and bought a different variety pack. This included a Wild Berry flavor which I think is amazing! Then, I also realized the Truly had a Lemonade, but only it was only available in a large 24 oz. can. I see on their site that they have a lemonade 4-pack, but haven’t seen that in any stores yet. The Classic Lemonade got pretty high scores especially when served over a big glass of ice. So, far Truly is in the lead.

Three Birds Hard Seltzer
The next brand we tried out was Three Birds Hard Seltzer. They added in a cucumber flavor to keep themselves original. I don’t mind a jalapeno cucumber tequila beverage, so I was intrigued. The one thing I realized when sampling, is that this particular hard seltzer is a wine-based beverage. If you are not a wine drinker, than this may not be the beverage for you. There is definitely a different texture and taste to this seltzer because it is wine based. Each can is still about 110 calories and 5% alcohol. It’s not quite as sweet as Truly and a bit more like White Claw.

Smirnoff Ice
This beverage is not marketed as a hard seltzer but was the most similar to Mike’s Lite than any other one we came across. I will note here that both the regular and Zero Sugar variety were not my favorites. My other half really like this so I thought it deserved a spot in the post. One thing about the Zero Sugar is it has a very sweet aftertaste maybe a bit of that fake sugar taste. Even when mixed with other things, the taste really stands out.

BonViv
This is actually one of the first brands of spiked seltzer that hit the market. Understanding the alcohol in the seltzer also helps understand the taste and flavor. Bon Viv is made with champagne yeast and not barley or wheat making it gluten free. However, I felt it almost gave it a wine after taste. I only tried some of the more popular flavors. This brand did not make the cut.

Truly Lemonade
For now, I am going to wrap up this post with a reference to my most recent post about the disappearance of Mike’s Hard Lite Lemonade. That is what began our journey to find a new lighter beverage. Not only is Truly’s Lemonade variety the hands down winner, but its plain lemonade version is probably the best replacement we have found.

Please, please comment below. Looking to hear about other’s experiences and favorite flavors!



Drink

Herradura Ultra Anejo Tequila Review

Herradura Ultra Anejo

Happy National Tequila Day 2020! With the Coronavirus still cancelling some of our favorite drinking holidays this year, I thought I would pick a really nice tequila for you to go out and blow some money on.

I have written about the trend of clear Anejo tequilas coming on the market. I previously reviewed Don Julios version last year. If you don’t know the difference between a silver or plato tequila and these clear anejo counterparts, please read on.

Anejo tequilas are aged much longer than other varietals. Because of this, they absorb much of their color from the barrel along with that deep smokey flavors you usually get with a good one. Silver tequilas aren’t aged long at all, so that’s why they remain clear. For these clear anejos, they follow the same aging process, but than are filtered many times. This filtering process pulls out some of the color and even some of that dark sugary taste.

What you are left with is a very very smooth tasting tequila that still has all the complexities of a normal anejo, but a very refined taste palate. What I like about Herradura tequilas, is their strong spicy profile. Here’s what the distiller says about this tequila: “With the perfect blend of our premium Añejo and Extra Añejo barrels, ULTRA is a crystal-clear tequila. A subtle hint of agave nectar offers a superior taste that will transport tequila connoisseurs beyond smoothness”.

Like many other Herradura tequilas, the beginning is very sweet with a powerful vanilla taste which is not uncommon for aged tequilas. But, where this tequila wins is the finish. It comes together with some spicy tons and ends very smoothly. Easily one of my favorite tequilas at the moment.