Vanilla Ginger Mojito | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Vanilla Ginger Mojito

Vanilla Ginger Mojito | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Are you getting legit fall weather where you live yet? In Scotland, summer is a distant memory, and it’s been chilly and damp for weeks now, but I know other parts of the world are just now seeing those delightfully crisp autumn days. October is up there as my favorite time of year. The autumn leaves are in full show, and you still get some sunny, albeit cold, days where you can get outside and feel alive. They don’t have apple picking or pumpkin patches or hay rides here in Scotland, but at least there’s still boots and sweaters and all things toffee. 

Today I’ve made you a cocktail that is the perfect transition from summer to fall. Mojitos bring to mind steamy beach vacations, short skirts, and salsa music. But this version has some beautiful fall flavors that are perfect to sip in front of the fire after a day of crunching through leaves. Okay, maybe you can’t pick the mint from your garden, but you can definitely make this happen.

Vanilla Ginger Mojito | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This Vanilla Ginger Mojito is one of the best cocktails I’ve made in a long time. I splurged on a whole vanilla bean to make the syrup, and it was totally worth it. This cocktail is so beautifully fragrant, I wish it was a perfume. I also made that vanilla bean do double duty. The recipe calls for vanilla rum, but that wasn’t available at my grocery store, so I just popped the vanilla bean into my bottle of white rum and presto, vanilla rum. 

This recipe is two stage and involves several fresh ingredients, but it’s in no way complicated to make. And I assure you it is an absolute pleasure to drink. It’s all for the best that this recipe only makes two cocktails because you could easily drink a bucket of these.

Vanilla Ginger Mojito | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cheers to autumn, friends. Make yourself a Vanilla Ginger Mojito and enjoy these awesome days.

Vanilla Ginger Mojito
Serves 2
This Vanilla Ginger Mojito is the perfect drink to take you from summer to fall with a smile on your face.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
For the syrup
  1. 1/2 cup water
  2. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1 vanilla bean, sliced in half with seeds scraped out
  4. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1 inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled
For the cocktail
  1. 2/3 cup fresh mint leaves
  2. 4 ounces vanilla rum
  3. 2 ounces soda water
  4. 2 ounces ginger ale
  5. 2 ounces lime juice
  6. Lime wedges for garnish, optional
For the syrup
  1. Add the water and sugar to a small saucepan. Stir together the water and sugar, then add the scraped out beans from your vanilla bean, along with the whole bean, the vanilla extract, and the piece of ginger. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, and reduce the heat to simmer for about two minutes.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for about fifteen minutes to steep. Remove the vanilla bean and ginger.
For the cocktail
  1. Add about a third of a cup of fresh mint leaves to two glasses. Add two ounces of vanilla rum to each glass and muddle the mint in the bottom of the glass by giving it a good smash with something blunt. I use the handle end of a butter knife.
  2. Fill each glass with plenty of ice, then divide the remaining ingredients between your two glasses.
  3. Garnish with a wedge of lime and some additional mint. Give it a good stir before drinking.
Adapted from Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant
Adapted from Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant
http://awesomeon20.com/
Purple Rain | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Purple Rain

Purple Rain | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Yes, we’re making a purple cocktail today. This brings a variety of random thoughts to mind. Here goes.

When Doves Cry by Prince is one of the greatest pop ballads of all time. If you don’t agree just walk away because you’ll never convince me otherwise. Prince is generally amazing, and though I didn’t love every song he ever wrote, I am in awe of the constant creativity he maintained throughout his life. I still feel a pang of sorrow at his loss whenever I hear one of his songs.

Purple has always been my favorite color. If I’m completely honest, it’s mostly because my whole life I’ve felt compelled to be just a little bit different. I like things that are soft and pretty and feminine, but not sweet, sappy, and girly. I rebelled against pink relatively early on, and purple has been my signature color ever since. 

Purple Rain | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Keeping it real random, let’s talk for a minute about British fridges and how they’re about a third smaller than the typical American fridge. My fridge is also old, inefficient, and generally crap. My freezer needs to be defrosted approximately every three months. Of course, I only have the patience to do it once a year, so it’s growing smaller and smaller by the week as the space gets consumed by the ice forming around the coils. Hence why there’s only four sad ice cubes in this drink.

Right, let’s talk about this actual cocktail. Three ingredients and a mad search for things to garnish it with (again, I came up lacking). We’re using vodka as our base spirit, but the key ingredient is blue curacao. Mix that with cranberry juice to achieve your favorite shade of purple. Start with equal parts of all three, but you can top up with more cranberry juice depending on the size of your vessel and the color you’re trying to achieve.

Purple Rain | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

There should really be more purple in the world, so a cocktail that tastes great and looks awesome is really all I need right now. Purple Rain is a classic. Raise your glass, friends.

Purple Rain
Purple Rain is a retro cocktail that deserves to be in your house.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 part vodka
  2. 1 part blue curacao
  3. 1 part cranberry juice
  4. ice
Instructions
  1. Combine vodka, blue curacao, and cranberry juice in your desired vessel. You can make this by the pitcher just as easily as by the glass. Stir to combine.
  2. Fill your glass with ice, and pour on this purple beauty.
Adapted from Cocktail Details
Adapted from Cocktail Details
http://awesomeon20.com/
Raspberry Margarita | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Raspberry Margaritas

Raspberry Margarita | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This weekend I managed to actually achieve something I had convinced myself I would probably never do. I can’t even remember the first time I tried to complete a Couch to 5K programme, but it was in Hawaii, and before I went into the hospital, so it had to be at least early 2015. Possibly before that. I would always start out with the best of intentions, but inevitably, I’d end up quitting by the third week. Sometimes I had to quit for very good reasons, like my lung collapsed. But most of the time, I’d just lose all motivation and couldn’t drag myself off the couch to engage in a mind-numbingly boring exercise routine. 

This time, I used a different app, One You Couch to 5K. It comes from the NHS here in the UK, and they got some BBC personalities involved, so I had the adorable Sarah Millican as my running coach. She cheered me on, called me flower, and promised me I could make it to the end. Pretty sure I yelled at her a few times, but she won me over in the end. There are five different coaches to choose from, so you can find the person who motivates you the most. One of them is American track Olympian Michael Johnson. I found this a bit intimidating and opted for a woman who looked like she might like cookies as much as I do. With the help of this app, I’ve now completed nine weeks of running three times a week, and I think I might continue on my own.

Raspberry Margarita | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Because life is all about balance, I’ve made us a cocktail to celebrate. Raspberry Margaritas are sweet, tangy, potent, and so awesome. There’s a good amount of raspberry puree in this cocktail, so it’s super fruity. This makes them extremely easy to drink, so I guess it’s a good thing that this recipe only makes four. Plus, the color is just gorgeous.

We’re making this drink in the blender, but it’s not a frozen margarita. I suppose you could chuck in a bunch of ice, but to me that just means you end up with a watery margarita. I prefer them on the rocks. If, like me, you have a cheap hand-me-down blender, you’ll want to strain out the seeds. If you have like a kick ass Ninja blender or something, your seeds will probably be neatly pulverized by the blender magic. We’re also rimming the glass in a combination of caster sugar and coarse sea salt because life should be salty and sweet, and so should your Raspberry Margarita.

Raspberry Margarita | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I still hate running. I’m not turning into a fitness nut. I have every intention of continuing to drink cocktails and eat cheese and chocolate. But now I know I can run (as slow as I want) for 30 minutes without dying, and I can do it three times in a week. Let’s celebrate life’s little successes with a Raspberry Margarita. Cheers!

Raspberry Margaritas
Serves 4
Raspberry Margaritas are sweet, tangy, potent, and so awesome.
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup tequila
  2. 3/4 cup triple sec
  3. 3/4 cup frozen raspberries
  4. 1 cup lime juice
  5. 1/3 cup caster sugar
  6. 2 teaspoons sugar, for rimming the glass (optional)
  7. 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, for rimming the glass (optional)
  8. Lime wedges, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add the tequila, triple sec, raspberries, lime juice, and caster sugar to your blender. Blend until your raspberries are pureed.
  2. Strain your margarita through a mesh sieve to remove the seeds. They're just not that fun to drink.
  3. If you want to rim your glasses, put your sugar and salt onto a plate. Use a lime wedge to wet the rim of each glass, and press the damp edge into the pile of sugar and salt to coat.
  4. Add ice to your glass, fill with your margarita, garnish with a lime wedge, and celebrate.
Adapted from Sweet ReciPEAs
Adapted from Sweet ReciPEAs
http://awesomeon20.com/
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