Carpano Antica Sangria!

Happy Friday everyone, and thanks for the feedback we received about the Templeton Rye Whiskey Barbecue Sauce.  We’ve had another very hot week in Texas.  The heat index reached a sweltering 106 degrees.  We told you last week that we had shared too many beverage recipes with you, but heat makes us thirsty!

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The Carpano Antica Sangria combines a few of Rhonda’s favorite things:  a little bit of Italy, red wine, and fresh fruit.  This recipe is especially easy, tasty, and fresh.  It was the perfect beverage for Rhonda to slurp down after a hot Texas summer day. Either this recipe is incredible or Rhonda was super thirsty.  We think both are most likely true.

To make the sangria you will need 1 bottle of your choice of red wine.  We used a cabernet.  You will need a cup of grenadine, and 2 cups of cranberry juice cocktail.  We chose the lite cranberry cocktail because it said it had 61% fewer calories.  Add ½ cup of simple sugar.  You can refer to the recipes on our Watermelon Wars post or on our Mojito post.  Remember you can make the stevia simple syrup if you are cutting calories.


You also will need 1 ¼ cups of Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth.  As we have mentioned before, the quality of your ingredients dictates the quality of your beverage. Beware of inexpensive vermouths.  They will adversely affect the taste of your sangria. Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth is an Italian aromatized wine warmed with notes of fig, dried cherries, faint hints of spiced gingerbread and bitter orange peel. (Basically it is a wine product from Italy.) There are other products made by Carpano, so make sure you buy the sweet vermouth. Usually Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth can be found on the wine aisle of your favorite grocery store and in the vermouth section of your liquor store.

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Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth


Finally add in your favorite fruits of the season.  We added strawberries, plums and peaches, but apples and orange slices would work well for a Fall sangria.



Mix all ingredients together and chill until ready to serve.  Like most sangrias it is better the longer you allow the ingredients to infuse and mingle together.  Serve over ice with a straw, because #everything tastes better with a straw!


Carpano Antica Sangria

1 bottle of red wine

1 1/4 cups of Carpano Antica Vermouth

1 cup of grenadine

2 cups of cranberry juice cocktail

½ cup of simple syrup

Sliced fruit of the season, strawberries, peaches, plums, apples, oranges

Mix all ingredients.  Let sit in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours.  Pour sangria into serving glass, fruit and all, add ice.


#everything tastes better with a straw

Sangria is a great choice when entertaining, because you can make it ahead of time and have it chilling in the refrigerator before guests arrive. Do you enjoy a nice sangria from time to time?


Disclaimer: The beverages on this site are meant for adults 21 years and older.  We do not support or encourage underage drinking.  Always drink responsibly and never drink and drive.

Templeton Rye Whiskey Barbecue Sauce

Summertime is an easy time to share beverage ideas with you, because  just looking outside in this heat makes us thirsty.  This week in Texas the thermometer went over the 100 degree mark, and we noticed it did the same thing in much of the country.  However, we are departing from beverages to share another wonderful recipe with you.  If you get thirsty you will need to refer to some our past posts and whip up a refreshing drink or two.

Another great thing about summer is cooking out on the grill.  Although, we cook out pretty much year round, it still makes us think of summer. This week we made steaks with Templeton Rye Whiskey Barbecue Sauce.

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Don’t be overwhelmed when you see the list of ingredients.  For such a simple sauce there is a teaspoon of this and a tablespoon of that.  We assure you that it is easy and most of these ingredients we already had on hand in our pantry or refrigerator.  This recipe is one we adapted from (You know, the grill people.)

To start you will need extra-virgin olive oil, chopped yellow onion and garlic.  Warm the oil in a saucepan and then add the onion.  Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic.  Stir constantly to prevent browning.

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Next, Rhonda’s favorite part, remove from heat and add in ¼ cup of Templeton Rye Whiskey.  Return to heat and let this simmer for a few minutes. Take in that sweet aroma.  Ahhhh!

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We don’t know if you know much about rye whiskey, but this isn’t your dad’s whiskey.  Prior to Templeton Rye, Rhonda wouldn’t even try anything with whiskey.  Now it has become one of her favs.  Templeton Rye  is a touch sweeter than other whiskeys you may have tried. It’s only 80 proof, so there is no burn.  That is why it tastes so good in Mary Ann or Ginger?  Did you know that Templeton Rye was a whiskey made during prohibition by Iowa farmers from the small town of Templeton?  Al Capone loved it and had cases of it shipped to Chicago for him to enjoy.  He dubbed it the “Good Stuff.”  If you hear someone call for the “Good Stuff,” they may be talking about Templeton Rye.  We have other interesting stories about Templeton Rye, but we will save those for another time.  Back to the sauce!

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Next you will add in the tomato paste, syrup, vinegar, mustard, paprika, hot sauce, and pepper.  Let this simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.  You are finished!

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We don’t usually put barbecue sauce on our steaks, but we tried it per the recipe’s suggestion.  We think this would taste great on brisket, chicken, kabobs or hamburgers. The sauce has a spicy sweet taste.  We had plenty left over, so we placed the extra in the refrigerator for later.

Templeton Rye Whiskey Barbecue Sauce

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup finely chopped yellow onion

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

¼ cup Templeton Rye Whiskey

3  tablespoons tomato paste

½ cup pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a saucepan over medium- high heat, warm the oil.  Add the onion and cook until tender but not browned, 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent browning.  Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the whiskey.  Return the pan to the heat and cook until the whiskey is almost completely evaporated.  Stir in the tomato paste until well incorporated.  Add the syrup, vinegar, mustard, paprika, hot sauce, and pepper.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes to meld the flavors and thicken the sauce slightly. Remove from heat and set aside.

Serve over steaks, chicken, burgers, brisket or kabobs.

templeton rye whiskey barbecue sauce

Do you usually add sauce to your steaks or do you enjoy them as they are? Let us know if you try the barbecue sauce, we love to get feedback on our recipes and ideas.

Thank you to everyone who comments on and follows our blog.  We enjoy hearing about the drinks and recipes that you have tried.  Each week our list of followers is growing!  Are you following our blog?  Are you following us on Pinterest at ?


Zaya Rum Mojito

Mojito, Mojito, Mojito!



We are still thinking about our trip to Riviera Maya, where we slurped down quite a few delicious mojitos.  We planned to share our mojito recipe with you this week, and by coincidence discovered that July 11 (also known in our house as free Slurpee day) was National Mojito Day.  Who knew? Mojitos fit our blog criteria: easy, tasty, fresh. Not to mention that Rhonda was trying to find a way to use up some of the mint that is taking over our garden!


A fun part of this blog is that we get to share some recipes and ingredients with you that you may not know much about.  Our featured ingredient this week is our Zaya Rum that was part of our Bananas Foster recipe that we posted last week.  Most friends know very little about rums.  They are frequently familiar with rums of less quality like, Myers, Bacardi, or Captain Morgan’s. We like Zaya for a multitude of reasons.  It is a blend of 12 different aged rums with the oldest rum being aged 18 years.  It is from the beautiful Caribbean island of Trinidad.  It has rich mahogany hues and a deep vanilla aroma.  High quality rums stand on their own and can be sipped neat if desired with just a slice of orange.  Try it out!


There are a variety of mojito recipes out there. Some suggest using regular sugar and muddling it in the bottom of your glass.  Craig and I prefer the consistency of simple syrup rather than straight sugar added to our drinks.  Plus, we have a lo-cal version to share with you as well that we found from

To make the Zaya Mojito, you need simple syrup, limes, Zaya Rum, mint leaves, soda water, and ice.


When making simple syrup for mojitos, you can add 5-10 mint leaves to add some flavor to your syrup.


Pour the rum, simple syrup, lime juice and mint leaves into the glass.  Muddle with a pestle.



Add ice and top off with soda water.  Stir. Easy.  Tasty. Fresh


Zaya Mojito

2 oz simple syrup

Juice of ½ a lime

2 oz rum

5 fresh mint leaves

chilled soda water


Mint and lime slice for garnish (optional)

  • Make simple syrup from our recipe shared in Watermelon Wars!
  • In a 12oz glass, pour in 2oz of the simple syrup, 2 oz rum, a few fresh mint leaves, and juice of half a lime. Muddle the contents using a pestle.
  • Top the glass with ice and fill to the top with soda water. Stir.
  • Garnish with fresh mint and a lime wedge

Serves 1.

For a lighter version that averages about 80 calories, you can make simple syrup with stevia sweetener instead of sugar.

Stevia simple syrup:

4-6 packets of stevia

1 cup of water

Place water and stevia in a small sauce pan. Stir.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and cool.


Mojitos are such a refreshing drink for summertime.  These will be a hit whether you make one for yourself as you sit on the porch and relax on a summer evening, or share with your friends at your next social gathering.



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Rhonda and Craig

Zaya Rum Bananas Foster

How was your 4th of  July?  Did you serve our Seagram’s Peach Punch at your 4th gathering?

Our family spent last week enjoying the tropical paradise of Riviera Maya.  Spending time in the Caribbean got us in the mood for some great Caribbean Rum. Although we enjoy an excellent rum and coke from time to time, we decided to share another easy, fresh and tasty dessert.  This dessert is made with an excellent rum from Trinidad.  Zaya has a pretty rich color and the aroma just makes you relax and say, “No worries.”

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Rhonda clipped this recipe from the Dallas Morning News years ago.  At the time she was not aware that we were going to start a blog, so she did not bother to clip the author’s name. Sorry….

zaya bananas foster

The ingredients you will need for this delicious dessert are vanilla ice cream (we prefer Blue Bell vanilla bean), a 12.25 ounce jar of Smucker’s caramel topping, cinnamon, butter, orange liqueur, Zaya Rum, bananas, banana chips for garnish.

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Empty the contents of the caramel sauce into a 10 inch saute’ pan and place over medium heat.  Add a pinch of cinnamon, butter, orange liqueur and rum. Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the sauce a few minutes to allow the alcohol to burn off.  This is Rhonda’s favorite part of preparing this dessert.  The molasses, cinnamon and buttery aroma that floats in the room as the sauce simmers is delish!  If only we could contain the scent and make it into a candle.  Warning:  the scent of the sauce simmering may bring teenagers and friends away from video games and cellphones to inquire what you are cooking!

After the sauce has simmered, remove from heat.  When ready to serve, scoop the ice cream into bowls or  serving dishes.  We like to serve desserts in our schooners when we can.  Slice fresh bananas over the ice cream.  Drizzle sauce over the top of the bananas and ice cream.  We like to have the sauce slightly warm when serving. It melts the ice cream slightly and enhances the flavor of the rum.  Garnish with banana chips or as you would like.  We couldn’t find any banana chips at the grocery store, so our dessert is not garnished.

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You may have some sauce left over.  Keep it in a container in the fridge.  It is great for serving on ice cream sundaes.

The results of the dessert hinge on using a high quality rum.  We like Zaya because it has a delicious caramely, rich flavor that makes the sauce taste super complicated and expensive.

Zaya Rum Bananas Foster

1/2 gallon of vanilla ice cream

1 (12.25 ounce) jar Smucker’s caramel topping

Pinch cinnamon

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/8 cup orange liqueur

1/4 cup Zaya Rum

3 bananas peeled and sliced

Banana chips for garnish

Up to several hours before serving, empty the contents of the caramel sauce into a 10-inch saute’ pan and place over medium heat.  Add cinnamon, butter, orange liqueur and rum and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the sauce for a few minutes to allow the alcohol to burn off.

When ready to serve, add the fresh sliced bananas to the sauce and bring to a simmer. Spoon bananas and sauce over ice cream in glasses.  Garnish with a banana chip and serve immediately.  Makes 7-8 servings.

Note:  You can add the bananas to the prepared sauce several hours in advance as the sugary mixture will prevent them from browning, although they will soften.  Simply reheat the sauce before serving.

Per serving:

Calories: 416 (33% fat)

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This dessert is one of our family favorites.  Our youngest son requests bananas foster often. We hope you try out this easy recipe, and let us know if you like it.  Don’t forget Follow our blog, look for us on Pinterest, and share our blog with family and friends.


Rhonda and Craig




Red, White and Peach

How did the Watermelon Wars work out in your household?  Our friends, Roger and LeeAnn, shared yet another great watermelon drink that they make.  They believe their drink may be the tie breaker.  What do you think?

4th of july

This week we bring you another yummy drink made with one the season’s fresh fruits – PEACHES!  This drink is an easy refreshing drink to serve in large batches at a 4th of July BBQ or family reunion.

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Seagram’s Peach Punch

The ingredients?  Easy. Tasty. Fresh!  You need Seagram’s Peach Vodka, lemonade, and fresh peaches.  That’s it!  Sooo easy.

seagrams peach punch

The recipe?  Even easier. One part vodka.  One part lemonade. We like to use Minute Maid Lite because it keeps the calorie count low and doesn’t make the drink too sweet.  Add in sliced peaches for garnish and taste.

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The taste?  Light and refreshing.  We had relatives who were healthy eaters and were glad to have a glass or two because of the low calorie count.

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Don’t worry, you don’t need to tell your friends how easy it was to make.  The ease of this drink is why it is so perfect for a BBQ, you don’t have time to fuss over hand making a complicated drink for your guests.

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Super tip!  This drink gets better with time.  What we mean is that it gets even better if you make it well ahead of your guests arriving.  After just an hour of making the drink, it took on a nice pink color of the peaches, and tasted even yummier!

Let us know if you serve it at your next BBQ or picnic.  We love to hear from our readers.  If you haven’t clicked on the “Follow Button” in the lower right corner of your screen, make sure to do it today.  Remember to look for us on Pinterest, as well.

Happy Fourth of July and Cheers,

Rhonda and Craig