Signature Drink from Blackberry Farm

One of the most popular questions I get from Brides is “What’s a good Signature Drink for my reception? You know…One that you haven’t seen anywhere before…?”  

My answer: Try this:

Vanilla Poached Pear

The Vanilla Poached Pear, one of our most popular drinks, is a take on classic dessert flavors translated into drinkable form, and for adult enjoyment no less! Now don’t go thinking this is a super-sweet, make your teeth hurt kind of “dessert” drink. We prefer real cocktails, but more importantly, we prefer balance, and that means a perfect marriage between the sweetness of the vanilla syrup and the slight heat of the Hangar One Spiced Pear Vodka. Contrasting elements brought together by the warm, mouth-filling flavor of pure vanilla bean and the richness of ripe pear. Winter is here and red fruit flavors take over so it makes sense to add a splash of Pinot Noir for color and body.
Not too sweet, not too sharp, just a perfectly balanced cocktail that happens to conjure memories of a classic red wine poached pear, and since we’re moving out of pear season this is the only chance to taste it!

Vanilla Poached Pear 
Add to shaker:
1.5oz Hangar One Spiced Pear Vodka
.5oz Pinot Noir
.25oz vanilla syrup
Squeeze of lemon wedge
Hard shake 10 count and pour into chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with lemon peel
Vanilla Syrup
4 Vanilla beans, split and scraped
3 cups sugar
1.5 cups boiling water
.5oz vodka
Combine all ingredients except vodka and stir until dissolved.
Add splash of vodka when slightly cooled, stir again, strain and store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks.

Jesse Ratliff, Mixologist
January 1, 2011

The old faithful Eggnog!

Today, we cover the most traditional of Holiday beverages…


This eggnog recipe uses cooked eggs instead of raw ones (I know, gross) so no worries about getting sick or sharing a non-alcohol version with little ones. To begin, combine 4 cups milk (whole milk is always better in recipes so don’t use any of the skim stuff here), 5 whole cloves, 1/2 a teaspoon vanilla extract (not imitation vanilla, you WILL be able to tell the difference) and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a saucepan and heat over the lowest heat setting (otherwise your milk will clump) for 5 minutes. Slowly bring this to a boil. I suggest whisking this to avoid dreaded lumps. 

Now, in a large bowl whisk 12 egg yolks and 1 1/2 cups sugar until fluffy. Slowly whisk in the hot milk mixture (so you don’t scramble the eggs). Pour all of this into the saucepan and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring CONSTANTLY, until thick. Please don’t allow this mix to boil. Before letting this cool, strain out the cloves. Refrigerate for about an hour. 

After the hour is up, stir in 2 1/2 cups light rum, 4 cups light cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight before serving. Love the way this looks in a stemless wine glass, pour and enjoy. Cheers Y’all!

This was found at, published by username “nataliesmom”. Wish you were our mom… just kidding, everybody loves their momma in the south!

You CAN catch this Gingerbread Man!

Good afternoon everyone! I hope you are ready for another great cocktail to make your holiday celebrations merrier. Today, we bring you…

The Gingerbread Cocktail!

This one calls for a little prep work, but it is totally worth it. To make the syrup put 1 cup water, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1-inch piece fresh ginger (thinly sliced), 2 cinnamon sticks and 3 whole cloves in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes (until the sugar dissolves), stirring occasionally.

Now, remove the syrup from the heat and let cool (about 20 mintues). Once cool, remove the ginger, cinnamon sticks and cloves.

For the expresso, mix 1 cup boiling water, 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder, 3 to 4 tablespoons, Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) until the powder is dissolved. Let this cool.
To make the cocktail, Combine 1 cup syrup with espresso/hazelnut liqueur mixture in a large martini shaker. Add 4 ounces Kaluha and shake to combine. Pour over ice-filled glasses and serve.
Cheers Y’all!
This recipe came from the Food Network website. 

Burr… Baby its cold outside!

For this week’s cocktails, we will be sharing a few creamy holiday concoctions. 

Today, we cover…
The Blizzard Cocktail 

The best part about this is the Grand Marnier whipped cream, which you can put on anything really. I used it on pumpkin pie during Thanksgiving and it was delicious. To make this cold buster, combine 1 ½ ounces Irish whiskey or rum, ½ an ounce hazelnut liqueur (like Frangelico), ½ an ounce Irish cream liqueur (like Bailey’s) into a clear coffee cup and stir. Top this with HOT coffee.

Now for the good stuff: To make the fluffy topping, whip 1 cup of heavy cream and after it reaches the desired consistency fold in 1 ounce orange liqueur (like Grand Marnier). Garnish the drink with 1 dollop of the whipped cream and serve immediately. Cheers Y’all!

Thank you Martha Stewart for sharing this yummy hand warmer on your website!

Brandy, you’re a fine drink!

This is probably my favorite cocktail we have discussed thus far (I know it is only number 3, but it really is yummy!) It is the Apple Brandy Cordial. How could someone not like that? The name sounds like a lipstick shade, and even the manliest man would enjoy this semi-sweet libation. Plus, it has a great apple base that doesn’t bring an appletini to mind (no offense you super sweet green concoction) and is different enough from the traditional holiday cider. Seriously y’all, this one tops the list.
This drink is made in batches (of 4) so it’s perfect for a dinner party. In a large pitcher, combine 3/4 cup brandy, 1/2 cup apple juice, 1/3 cup Cointreau, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon angostura bitters. Fill 4 glasses of your choice with ice and top that with the yummy mix. To be a proper bartender, then place an apple slice or two on the rim of the glass or just put them right in the drink. Be creative, cheers y’all!

“Apple Brandy Cordial, you’re a fine cocktail. Yeah, you’re taste could steal a sailor from the sea.”

We found this cocktail on the Real Simple website. 

I have yet to mention this, and should have sooner, ALWAYS drink responsibly. Also, cocktails are for grown-ups so stick with the soft stuff if you aren’t 21.

This CosMULLpolitan is MULLicious!

Happy Wednesday A Big To Do lovers! 
Today’s holiday beverage puts a mulled twist on the classic Cosmopolitan, in honor of Mrs. Erica Prewett (as the Cosmopolitan is her favorite cocktail). This deliciously chic mix will warm up even the chilliest of parties. The mulling gives this cocktail a wonderful organic flavor that fits perfectly into the evergreen and holiday spice season.   
First thing you will need to do is create mulled cranberry juice (no worries, it’s a snap). Warm 1 liter of cranberry juice with 5 drops grapefruit bitters**, 3 cinnamon sticks, 2 cloves and 4 orange twists (the peel of one regular sized orange cut into fourths). Let this simmer until fragrant, your home is going to smell delectable! Now let the mix cool and refrigerate (will keep for around 3 days).

Now on to the big show! To make the mulled Cosmo, shake 2 ounces orange or citrus vodka, 1 ounce mulled cranberry juice, ½ ounce lemon juice and a dash of triple sec. Pour into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a clove studded orange slice (just mash a few cloves into an orange slice… those of you not from the south “mash” simply means press).

Cheers y’all!

**If you want to be a true cocktail pro, you can make your own bitters… check out this link to find out how:

(This recipe was adapted from a mix found on the Belvedere website, so thanks Belve!)

You’re a sweet one, Mister Grinch!

To help “spruce up” your holiday cheer over the next few weeks, A Big To Do will be bringing you some yummy and festive holiday cocktails. 

Today, we showcase….

This is a great conversation starter at any holiday party, due first to its lovely colors and second to telling someone its name. However, don’t be fooled by its namesake because this pretty little sipper is the Grinch post loving transformation with those cute little Who’s down in Whoville. The main ingredient here is Midori, which is melon flavored liquor with the perfect amount of sweetness. 

To make the Grinch combine 2 ounces Midori, ½ ounce lemon juice and 1 teaspoon simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice then shake, shake, shake it! Pour into a chilled martini glass that has been rimmed with red sugar crystals (can be found in the baking section of any grocery store). Feel free to garnish with anything that you fancy from a sprig of evergreen to a tiny red ornament. Cheers y’all! 

I Feel A Block Party Coming On!

Alright, let’s be honest, there’s only so much Inside Time one can take. Cabin Fever has officially set in for many of us.  

Take this opportunity to get to know your neighbors.  Invite them over for an impromptu cocktail party. Here’s Food & Wine Magazine‘s Cocktails Building Blocks Guideline.  

Food & Wine Magazine Cocktail Building Block Guideline


For those of your guests that would like a non-alcoholic nightcap, try this: 

Mulled Cranberry Cider


  • 8  black peppercorns
  • 6  whole allspice
  • 6  whole cloves
  • 2  (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 1  gallon apple cider
  • 2  quarts cranberry juice drink


Place first 4 ingredients on a 5-inch-square piece of cheesecloth; tie with string.
Bring cider and juice drink to a boil with spice bag in a Dutch oven. Partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Remove and discard spice bag before serving. Serve hot or cold.

A toast to your weekend

As a toast to your weekend, we are going to share some of our favorite adult beverages today. Drinks are something that are so easy to customize just for your party or event! Even by using one of your favorite drinks but by switching the name you can create a festive accent to your event. Here are some of out favorites for you to try this weekend. With festive names, of course!

Tailgate Twister:
6 Beers
1 750ml of Vodka
1 Can of frozen pink lemonade concentrate 
1 liter of Sprite to taste
Mix all in a large cooler and enjoy with friends !
Thanksgiving Thirst Quencher: 
Also know as 
1- 10oz can frozen mojito mix
3/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
1 tbs orange liqueur
2 tbs fresh lime juice 
Combine fist 5 ingredients in a blend. Fill blender with ice to 5-cup level, and process until smooth. Serve immediately.