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

Gifts for every Hostess

Party season has arrived. Whether you are attending a Thanksgiving meal, holiday party or just a dinner with friends, everyone wants to take an appropriate hostess gift, or host. Here is a run down of the perfect gift for you to take.

For the “Foodie Host” 

Fleur de Sel French Sea Salt

I know what you are thinking, $14 for salt? But trust me, one foodie to another, it is worth every penny.
Macarons $10 for five

I could live off of macarons. These from make it an easy hostess gift that will tast delicious!

For the “Girly Host”
$20 from Cost Plus World Market 

 A real friend would get this monogrammed…
Lolita Glass $24
Also found at Macy’s

I have been collecting Lolita Glasses for four years and I LOVE them. They are precious to display, and all have great drink recipes on the bottom! Many of them are themed for holidays or citys, they also have lots of random fun ones!

For a “Go-to Gift”

Wine is always a good go-to gift for a party host. Go with a medium priced wine like a Yellow Tail or Red Truck, both provide nice quality but won’t break the bank.
Origins $20
Origins Hand Treatment will rock your world. Smells great, and makes your hands silky smooth. A perfect combo for your host who will spend the night washing dishes.

Delicious fudge from Zara May’s 
With the tagline of, “As heathy as fudge can be.” I was sold from the get-go. This organic fudge is SO yummy!

For a “Holiday” gift

These rosemary Christmas tree’s are the perfect hostess gift during the holiday 
season. A bit smaller than a foot, these sit festively on a counter while being 
beneficial for the cook! These can be found easily at Pike’s or your local nursery this time of year. 

$10 on
The Dave Barns Very Merry Christmas CD will get your in the holiday spirit, quick. So do your host a favor and share the spirit. 

Holiday Parties

Holiday parties will be here before you know it. Before you turn around, Thanksgiving will be gone and you will already be getting a late start on your holiday party planning. Here is a great article written by our very own Erica Prewett on Four Ways to Make Your Holiday Party Better Than Ever. 
Perhaps your holiday season will be a little different this year because of current economic weirdness. But you don’t have to compromise on style and fun to uphold holiday traditions, and enjoy the season. Erica Prewett, chief event planner with A Big To Do Event, shares four ways to make this holiday season better than ever.
1. Use what you have. Do you have Grandma’s old milk-glass collection in your attic and have you been wondering what in the world to do with them? Use them on your buffet. Also, instead of renting high-priced specialty linen, consider using a curtain in your “pop” color. I have even used a long dress to brighten my table. Just turn under the edges and fluff the fabric. No one will know.
2. Don’t be too matchy-matchy. It’s perfectly fine to use different patterned plates, different-sized glassware, and even different-colored cloth napkins at your parties especially when the party is in your home. You are inviting your guests into your personal space. What better way to make them feel at home and like family? Planning a party-common mistakes
3. Identify a “Greeter.” We’ve all got a friend who has never met a stranger. Use him/her as your door greeter. His/Her job is to greet guests as they arrive, bring them to the bar, and introduce them to another couple along the way. Everyone feels included and comfortable.
4. Super Woman doesn’t exist. We all want to do it all. Until right before the guests arrive, we still think we can. Prevent panic by allowing friends or a professional to handle the last-minute details. You’ll be glad you were able to mingle with your friends versus kitchen duty.
images via Just Be Splendid

Holiday Party Planning Workshop for Find A Way Home Non Profit

This past Friday, Paul Brummer and I donated our time to the Find A Way Home charity for their Holiday fundraiser. We taught forty women how to entertain using items they already had in their homes (hint: walk around your home upside down. What can you use differently if you just turned it upside down?) , how to make the biggest entertaining impact with minimal cost (Hint: Invitations are the first impression – make it irresistable.), and what to do with all of the white table linens that have accumulated over the years (Hint: donate them and get a couple of sage green linens.)

This is the color of sage green Paul recommends. Believe it or not, purple goes perfectly with this color and it brings out the color of the flowers better than the traditional white linen.

Ok, ready for some inspiration?

Here you go!

This is Paul Brummer’s tablescape. How gorgeous is this? Hint: the centerpiece floral is a wreath!

Use the ornaments as the place cards (just attach the names on a ribbon and attach the ribbon to the hook of the ornament. Makes a great place card).

This tablescape is compliments of Anik Keuller. She’s placed orchids in rose vases and covered the pot the orchid lives in with ribbon. How easy is that??

This centerpiece is compliments of Flowers From Us. A great representation of traditional and elegant florals and presentation.

This tablescape is compliments of Brette Start. This is a great example of recycling. Beneath the moss is two wheels and and axle! How cleaver!

This is a centerpiece design from Summerfields Florals. I love that it’s made out of an upside down large martini glass!!

This event wouldn’t have been as great without the help of our community friends such as Toni with HoneyBaked Ham. They provided a delicious spread!

And Mocha My Day provided the barista service. They have an impressive menu of cappuccinos, lattes, and they also make a mean Hot Chocolate!

And finally, this event would not have been possible without the help and donation of space from The Rental Place. Liz and John Hurst have been anchors in the event world in Atlanta for 20 years. Thank you for allowing us to use your beautiful tent and supplies.
Thank you Mocha My Day, HoneyBaked Ham, and The Rental Place!