Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images: Blog https://www.staynfocus.com/blog en-us (C) Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images (Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) Mon, 19 Jul 2021 20:53:00 GMT Mon, 19 Jul 2021 20:53:00 GMT https://www.staynfocus.com/img/s/v-12/u29489961-o210927393-50.jpg Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images: Blog https://www.staynfocus.com/blog 96 120 Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Peach Mint Julep https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/7/peach-mint-julep Hey there!

Today's recipe is for a cocktail known as the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby. We think our version which includes a peach simple syrup and grilled peach garnish is better than good enough to enjoy not just in the spring on Derby Day but all throughout summer. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 2 drinks! Let's get started!

MJ-IMG_1463MJ-IMG_1463        

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 Peach Slices
2-4 bunches of mint leaves
1 tsp honey

For Simple Syrup
4 oz. Sugar
4 oz. Water
2 Peaches Chopped
2-4 Sprigs of Thyme

 

For Drink
3 oz. Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey (However we chose to use Monkey Shoulder, a malt scotch whiskey) 
2 oz. Peach Simple Syrup
8-10 Fresh Mint Leaves
Crushed Ice

 

You will also need a mixing glass, muddler,  strainer,  2 rocks glass/tumblers, sauce pan and grill/grill pan.
 

Let's Make the Simple Syrup & Garnish!

  1. In a small pot/saucepan add:

    • Sugar (4 oz.)

    • Water (4 oz.)

    • 2 Peaches (chopped)

    • 2-4 Sprigs of thyme

  2. Cook of medium heat until reduced by half.

  3. Strain and set aside.

  4. While your simple syrup cools, cut two 1/4 inch slices of peach.

  5. Rub each side with small amount of honey.

  6. Grill over medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side.

  7. Set aside to cool.

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In your mixing glass add:

    • Mint leaves (8-10 leaves)

    • Peach Simple Syrup (2 oz.)

  2. Muddle and set aside.

  3. Fill each 8 oz. rocks glass with crushed ice.

  4. Add Bourbon Whiskey & stir gently (1.5 oz for each glass)

  5. Top with the mint muddled Peach Simple Syrup. (1 oz for each glass)

  6. Garnish with grilled peach slice & fresh mint.

  7. Enjoy!

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“There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren’t as good as others.” – Raymond Chandler
 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage bourbon food photography fruit mint julep mixed mixed drink mixology mixology monday whiskey https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/7/peach-mint-julep Mon, 19 Jul 2021 19:00:52 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Black Widow https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/7/black-widow-cocktail Hey there!

Today's recipe is dedicated to Natasha, Yelena and the MCU. The black widow cocktail, created by San Francisco bartender Duggan McDonnell combines blanco tequila, blackberries, basil, agave nectar and fresh squeezed lime juice for something sweet with a bite. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 2 drinks! Let's get started!

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Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 Bunches of basil leaves
6 Blackberries

 

For Drink
6-10 Basil leaves
4-6 Blackberries
3 oz. Blanco tequila 
2 tsp. Agave Nectar
2 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

Ice

You will also need a shaker cup, muddler,  strainer,  2 rocks tumblers and 2 cocktail picks


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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In your shaker cup add:

    • Basil (6-10 leaves)

    • Blackberries (4-6 berries)

  2. Muddle for 10 seconds or so

  3. Add remaining ingredients to your shaker cup

    • Blanco Tequila (3oz.)

    • Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice (2 oz.)

    • Agave Nectar (2 tsp. adjust as needed)

    • Ice

  4. Shake vigorously

  5. Strain between your two rocks tumblers full of ice.

  6. Garnish each glass with a bunch of basil leaves and 3 blackberries.

  7. Enjoy!

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"At some point, we all have to choose between what the world wants you to be and who you are"
 

-Natasha Romanoff


 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage black widow blackberries food photography fruit mixed mixed drink mixology mixology monday tequila tequila cocktail https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/7/black-widow-cocktail Mon, 12 Jul 2021 15:30:47 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Bee's Knees https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/7/bees-knees Hey Hey!

I just love this cocktail! This prohibition era drink definitely lives up to its name! You only need a few ingredients: gin, lemon juice and honey syrup so whipping this up is super quick. We will walk you through how to make the honey syrup as well as this refreshing cocktail.  We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 2 drinks! Let's get started!

BK-IMG_0936BK-IMG_0936      

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 Lemon Peel Spirals

2 Sprigs of Thyme

For Honey Thyme Syrup
1 Part Honey (adjust to taste; you can also equal part sugar for a sweeter syrup)
1 Part Water
Several Sprigs of Thyme (we specifically used lemon thyme)

For Drink
4 oz. Gin (we used Hendricks Lunar) 
1.5 oz. Honey Thyme Syrup
~2 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

 

You will also need a shaker cup, hawthorne strainer and 2 coup glasses.

BK-IMG_0906BK-IMG_0906
 

Let's Make the Honey Syrup!

  1. Combine 1part water and 1 part honey (along with 1 part sugar if you choose) along with your thyme in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until honey dissolves and liquid reduces (approx 10-15 minutes) Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature, and strain out thyme. 

 

Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In your shaker cup add:

    • Gin (4 oz.) (we used Hendricks Lunar Gin)

    • Honey Thyme Syrup (1.5 oz.)

    • Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice (~2 oz.)

  2. Shake for 10 - 20 seconds or so.

  3. Pour equally between your coup glasses.

  4. Garnish with lemon spiral and sprig of thyme

  5. Enjoy!

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"The flower doesn't dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes."

-Mark Nepo


 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage bee's knees food photography gin gin cocktail honey syrup mixed mixed drink mixology mixology monday https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/7/bees-knees Mon, 05 Jul 2021 16:14:16 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Kiwi Lemonade https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/6/kiwi-lemonade Hey There!

In my opinion a nice cold glass of lemonade is quintessentially summer. It's super easy to make with only three ingredients that you probably already have. Now that summer plans are beginning to happen, save this recipe for your next get together. We spiked our lemonade with vodka and added some kiwi. *chef's kiss* Your guests will love you for this one. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 2 drinks! Let's get started!

KL-IMG_0675KL-IMG_0675     

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 Lemon wheels

 

For Drink
2 Kiwis 
3 oz. Midori
3 oz. Vodka
1.5 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
4-5 oz. Fresh Lemonade
(1 cup of lemon juice to 1 cup of sugar added to 1 1/2 quarts of cold water)
Ice

You will also need a highball or collins glass, muddler, strainer and mixing glass.


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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In your mixing glass add:

    • Chopped Kiwi

    • Midori (3 oz.)

    • Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice (1.5 oz.)

  2. Muddle for 10 - 20 seconds or so.

  3. Add Vodka (3 oz.) to Mixing Glass.

  4. Stir gently.

  5. Fill your highball/collins glass with ice and add 2 or 2.5 oz. of lemonade to each glass.

  6. Strain your kiwi mixture evenly between each glass. (feel free to spoon a few chunks of kiwi into your glass if you like)

  7. Garnish with lemon wheel and enjoy!

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“When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Then find someone who's life is giving them vodka and have a party!”
 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage food photography fruit kiwi lemonade lime mixed mixed drink mixology mixology monday spiked lemonade vodka vodka cocktail https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/6/kiwi-lemonade Mon, 28 Jun 2021 23:46:45 GMT
Super Easy Low Calorie Veggie Snack - Zucchini Fritters https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/6/super-easy-low-calorie-veggie-snack---zucchini-fritters Hey hey!

I love squash and all its varieties... acorn, spaghetti, butternut, winter or summer squash aka zucchini. Zucchini is so fun and versatile and pairs well with just about anything. I recently made zucchini fritters and knew I had to share the recipe. So here's an easy, quick, low calorie, veggie snack you'll definitely have to make more than once.

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Here's What You Need:

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 sliced green onion
  • 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 monterey jack cheese
  • 1 tsp olive oil (plus additional oil for cooking)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Optional: a few dollops of sour cream for serving

You'll also need a grater, colander, mixing bowl, non stick skillet, wire cooling rack.

 

Timing:

  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 5-10 min
  • Yields 4-5 Fritters

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Let's Make Some Fritters:

  1. Trim the ends off of your zucchini and shred the remaining with a grater.

  2. Place the shredded zucchini in a colander set inside a bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt. Allow the zucchini to sit for approx. 10 minutes.

  3. Push/squeeze out as much liquid from the zucchini as possible. When dry, Transfer the zucchini to a large bowl.

  4. Add the flour, egg, ¾ of your sliced scallions, salt and pepper to the bowl, stirring until the mixture is combined.

  5. Add large drizzle of olive oil to skillet set over medium heat.

  6. Using a tablespoon or ice cream scoop, form even balls of your zucchini batter and place in pan about 2 inches apart. Lightly flatten with a spatula and cook on both side 3-4 min until golden brown.

  7. Transfer the zucchini fritters to your wire cooling rack and sprinkle with salt.

  8. Serve the zucchini fritters topped with sour cream (optional) and remaining sliced scallions. I also added broccoli micro greens on mine to be fancy! 😊

  9. Enjoy!


    ZF-IMG_0525cropZF-IMG_0525crop  


 

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) food photography fritter fritters" low calorie recipe vegetarian zucchini zucchini fritters https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/6/super-easy-low-calorie-veggie-snack---zucchini-fritters Wed, 23 Jun 2021 23:28:46 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Rhubarb Basil Gin Cocktail https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/6/rhubarb-basil-gin-cocktail Hey There!

This week's cocktail inspired us to try something new. Rhubarb is an edible plant that we have never used before. It grows in cooler temperatures so typically becomes available in spring--- in case you are wondering why you might be seeing rhubarb recipes popping up like we have. When eaten raw, rhubarb is quite tart but after cooking, that tartness fades. So we decided to infuse it into a simple syrup. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 2 drinks! Let's get started!

RG-IMG_0354RG-IMG_0354    

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 Rhubarb ribbons
2 Basil /Mint Leave bunches (optional)

 

For Rhubarb Simple Syrup
1 part Honey
2 parts Sugar
2 parts Water
Fresh Basil
Chopped Rhubarb


For Drink
Chopped Rhubarb
Fresh Basil
1.5 oz. Lemon Juice
2 oz. Rhubarb Basil Syrup
2 oz. Amaro Nonino
4 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
~4 oz. Elderflower Tonic Water
Ice

You will also need a rocks tumbler, muddler, strainer and a shaker cup.


 

Let's Make the Simple Syrup!

  1. Add water, sugar, honey, fresh basil, and chopped rhubarb to a sauce pan. (We used 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, 4 oz. honey, 6-8 basil leaves & 3/4 chopped rhubarb)

  2. Let simmer over medium/low heat until it reduces by half (approx 6 oz.)

  3. Strain out the rhubarb and basil.

  4. Set aside to cool.

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In your shaker cup add:

    • Chopped Rhubarb

    • Rhubarb Syrup (2 oz.)

    • Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice (1.5 oz.)

    • Fresh Basil 

  2. Muddle for 10 - 20 seconds or so.

  3. In your shaker cup add:

    • Add Ice

    • Amaro Nonino (2oz.)

    • Bombay Sapphire (4 oz.)

  4. Shake  Well 

  5. Strain evenly between two ice filled glasses

  6. Top with Tonic water (We used Edlerflower Tonic water by Fevertree)

  7. Garnish with Rhubarb ribbon and optional basil or mint leaves.

  8. Enjoy!

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"I love water, especially when it’s frozen and surrounded by gin."
-unknown

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage food photography gin gin cocktail mixed mixed drink mixology mixology monday rhubarb https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/6/rhubarb-basil-gin-cocktail Mon, 21 Jun 2021 17:35:46 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Paper Plane https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/6/paper-plane Hey There!

It's national bourbon day so we definitely wanted to feature it in this week's cocktail. The Paper Plane cocktail was invented in 2008 by Sam Ross and is a modern take on the class Last Word cocktail. Ross was inspired by M.I.A. hit song at the time and garnished the drink with a paper plane. We opted for a orange peel instead. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 1 drink! Let's get started!

PP-IMG_2968PP-IMG_2968
        

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
1 orange peel curl

For Drink
3/4 oz. Bourbon
3/4 oz. Aperol
3/4 oz. Amaro Nonino Quintessentia
3/4 oz. Fresh Squeeze Lemon Juice

You will also need 1 coup glass, a shaker cup, hawthorne strainer,  and ice.

 

Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In shaker cup glass, add: 

    • Ice

    • Bourbon (3/4 oz.)

    • Aperol  (3/4 oz.)

    • Amaro Nonino (3/4 oz.)

    • Lemon Juice (3/4 oz.)

  2. Shake 20 seconds or so.

  3. Strain into your coup glass.

  4. Garnish with your orange peel curl.

  5. Sip slow and enjoy your flight!

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If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go.

-Mark Twain
 

 


 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage amaro amaro nonino aperol bourbon mixed drink mixology mixology monday paper plane recipe https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/6/paper-plane Mon, 14 Jun 2021 21:24:39 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Manhattan https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/6/manhattan Hey There!

This week's cocktail recipe is another timeless classic similar to the old fashioned and sidecar.  The bold but sippable Manhattan combines whiskey, vermouth and bitters with a cherry garnish. Named for one of NY's five boroughs, the Manhattan is simple and straightforward, no frills or fanfare but has many variations. For our recipe, we used the black owned brands Shinju Whisky and Hella Bitters because we truly love them. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

Find Shinju, near you! https://www.shinjuwhisky.com/
Find Hella Cocktail Co., near you! https://hellacocktail.co/pages/find-it

 

This makes 1 drink! Let's get started!

MA-IMG_2794MA-IMG_2794        

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
1 Cocktail Cherry (we used a bourbon cherry)

For Drink
2 oz. Whisky
3/4 oz. Sweet Vermouth
Several Dashes Bitters (we used ginger bitters)
 

You will also need 1 martini glass, a mixing glass, hawthorne strainer, cocktail pick, bar spoon and ice.

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In mixing glass, add: 

    • Ice

    • Whisky (2 oz.)

    • Sweet Vermouth (3/4 oz.)

    • Bitters (several dashes)

  2. Stir gently.

  3. Strain into your martini glass.

  4. Skewer your cocktail cherry and add as garnish.

  5. Sip slow and Enjoy!

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"Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough."

– Mark Twain

 


 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage black owned brands manhattan mixed drink mixology mixology monday photography" recipe whiskey whisky https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/6/manhattan Mon, 07 Jun 2021 13:22:12 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Boozy Popsicles https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/5/boozy-popsicles Hey There!

This week's cocktail recipe is actually not really a beverage, but a minty, peachy, strawberry frozen treat to celebrate the unofficial start of summer. You can find your popsicle molds at your local Target like we did or online. When creating your popsicles its important to keep the ratio of non alcoholic liquid to liquor in mind. Vodka has a lower freezing point than non alcoholic liquid. So when you mix it with regular liquid then it raises the freezing temperature. If you keep the ratio around 3 or 4 to 1 liquid to alcohol, you ensure that the popsicles will freeze at your normal freezer temperature. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes six 3oz popsicles! Let's get started!

PS-IMG_2403PS-IMG_2403        

Here's what you need:


For Popsicles
Several Bunches of Mint Leaves
Thinly Sliced Fruit (we used peaches and strawberries)

6 oz. Vodka
2 oz. Lemon Juice
3 1/4 oz. Simple Syrup
7 1/4 oz. Coconut Water

You will also need popsicle molds with popsicle sticks, muddler, mixing glass, strainer, knife or mandolin.

 

Let's Make the Popsicles!

  1. Prep Your Fruit and Mint Leaves

    • Thinly slice your strawberries, peaches or fruit of choice with a knife or mandolin.

    • Set aside a few small mint leaves for the popsicles along with several larger leaves.

  2. In Mixing Glass add and muddle for 10 seconds or so:

    • Lemon Juice (2 oz.)

    • Simple Syrup (3 1/4 oz.)

    • Mint Leaves

  3. After muddling, add:

    • Coconut Water (7 1/4 oz.)

    • Vodka (6 oz.)

  4. For the look of our pops we wanted the fruit and mint leaves to be visible on the sizes so we placed them using tweezers to the walls of the popsicle molds and placed in the freezer for a little while (45 min - 1 hour or so). You can skip this step if you like and just add the fruit to your mixture.

  5. Fill each popsicle mold with mixture and secure your popsicle sticks. (we used two layers of saran wrap)

  6. Freeze for 6 hours or longer.

  7. Enjoy!

 

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"A little bit of summer is what the whole year is all about."

-John Mayer


 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage boozy popsicles frozen cocktail mixed drink mixology mixology monday photography" popsicles recipe vodka https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/5/boozy-popsicles Mon, 31 May 2021 21:30:18 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Classic Negroni https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/5/negroni Hey There!

This week's cocktail recipe is the classic Negroni. It hails from Italy and is considered an apéritif or a "before dinner drink", used to stimulate the appetite, and is usually dry rather than sweet. The Negroni definitely leans more toward dry/bitter so some may say it's an acquired taste. I guess that means if you and your palate are on the fence, you'll have to keep trying to know for sure! We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 2 drinks! Let's get started!

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Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 Slices of Orange Peel

For Drink
2 oz. Gin
2 oz. Vermouth
2 oz. Campari

Ice

You will also need 2 rocks tumblers, peeler, a mixing glass, strainer and a bar spoon.

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In mixing glass, add: 

    • Ice

    • Gin (2 oz.)

    • Vermouth (2 oz.)

    • Campari (2 oz.)

  2. Stir gently.

  3. Add ice to your rocks tumblers.

  4. Strain and pour cocktail mixture evenly between both glasses.

  5. Twist orange peel over glass then place as garnish.

  6. Sip slow and Enjoy!

 

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"The proper union of gin and vermouth is a great and sudden glory; it is one of the happiest marriages on earth, and one of the shortest lived." 

— Bernard DeVoto
 

 


 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage apéritif beverage brunch gin mixed drink mixology mixology monday negroni photography" recipe https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/5/negroni Mon, 24 May 2021 15:00:00 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Layers of Paradise https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/5/layers-of-paradise Hey There!

This week's cocktail recipe comes from Drinks Made Easy. We saw his YouTube video and were compelled to recreate and share! One sip you understand why this is called 'Paradise'. Close your eyes and you can almost hear the roar of the ocean, feel the sand in your toes.... smell the sunscreen as the sun kisses your face.... ahhh yesss.  For a step by step video to ensure your drink layers are defined please visit Drinks Made Easy!! We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 1 drink! Let's get started!

LP-IMG_0702LP-IMG_0702      

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
1 Peel from Lime Wedge
1 Cocktail Pick


For Drink
3 oz. Pineapple Juice
2 oz. Coconut Rum (we used Malibu)
1/4 oz. Blue Curaçao
1 oz. Water
1/2 oz. Grenadine

Ice

You will also need 2 mixing glasses, 1 Collins or hurricane glass and bar spoon.

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In mixing glass #1, add & stir with bar spoon:

    • Pineapple Juice (3 oz.)

    • Coconut Rum (2 oz.)

  2. In mixing glass #2, add & stir with bar spoon:

    • Blue Curaçao(1/4 oz.)

    • Water (1 oz.)

  3. In your Hurricane or Collins glass, add the following in this order:

    • Grenadine (1/2 oz.)

    • Ice (fill to brim of glass)

    • Straw (optional... can also carefully add at the end)

    • Contents of mixing glass #1 (pineapple juice and rum)

    • Contents of mixing glass #2 (blue curaçao and water)

  4. Garnish with lime peel (yes we put the lime in the coconut lol)

    • We took the peel of a lime wedge and cut 4 slits end to end 

    • Then folded the wedge in half and secure with cocktail pick.

  5. Sip slow and Enjoy!

 

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"If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you'll never enjoy the sunshine."

-Morris West


 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage beverage blue curacao brunch coconut food lime mixed drink mixology mixology monday photography" pineapple juice recipe rum https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/5/layers-of-paradise Mon, 17 May 2021 15:09:51 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Salted Caramel Espresso Martini https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/5/salted-caramel-espresso-martini Hey There!

For inspiration for this week's post we visited newly opened, black owned rum distillery Striped Lion in Woodury, NJ. This family owned & operated distillery opened its doors in December 2020 and offers tours and tastings daily. They offer six varieties of rum including cocoa, cinnamon and citrus but we were pleasantly surprised by the Rum Collector's Reserve which is a blend of 4-10 year old aged rum from Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Panama, and the United States. We decided to pair this with Bailey's liqueur and espresso for another variation of the espresso martini.  We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

To Find Striped Lion Rum or Book a Reservation: Visit the website

This makes 2 drinks! Let's get started!

SC-IMG_0360SC-IMG_0360     

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
Baking Sheet & Silicon Mat or Wax Paper


For Drink
3 oz. Rum  (we used Striped Lion)
1.5 oz. Bailey's Salted Caramel
1.5 oz. Espresso
1/2 oz. Caramel Syrup
1 Dash Nutmeg
1 Dash Cinnamon

Ice
 

You will also need 2 martini glasses / coup glasses, hawthorne strainer, shaker cup, small pot and spoon.

 

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Let's Make the Garnish!

  1. In small pot over medium heat, add 1 cup of sugar.

  2. Stir frequently until it has completely melted into caramel.

  3. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

  4. Using spoon, drizzle caramel into desired shapes onto baking sheet.

  5. Let cool completely before removing from sheet (5-10 minutes or so).  

Note: video of this process is loaded on instagram

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In your shaker cup add:

    • Ice

    • Espresso (3/4 oz.)

    • Cinnamon & Nutmeg (1 dash each)

    • Caramel Syrup (1/4 oz.)

    • Bailey's Salted Caramel Liqueur (3/4 oz.)

    • Rum (1.5 oz)

  2. Shake for 30 seconds or so until chilled.

  3. Strain between both martini/coup glasses.

  4. Garnish with your spun sugar/caramel candy.

  5. Enjoy!

 

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“The powers of a man’s mind are directly proportional to the quantity of coffee he drinks.”
-
Sir James MacKintosh

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage beverage black owned brands brunch cocktail with coffee coffee coffee cocktail drink espresso food photography martini mixed drink mixology mixology monday recipe rum savory https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/5/salted-caramel-espresso-martini Mon, 10 May 2021 15:05:53 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Rosemary Pear Margarita https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/5/rosemary-pear-margarita Hey Hey!

Cinco de Mayo is approaching. The 5th of May is the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, a battle which resulted in the victory of Mexico over France in 1862, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, and is mainly celebrated in Puebla, Mexico. However, for many Americans, Cinco de Mayo is more about celebrating Mexican culture and is an excuse to eat Mexican food and drink Tequila. If you plan to pay tribute to Mexican culture and heritage, here's a margarita recipe for you to try! We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 2 drinks! Let's get started!

PM-IMG_9992PM-IMG_9992    
 

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 Sprigs of Rosemary
2 Slices of Pear (we used Bosc ears)
1 tsp. Lime Juice
Margarita Salt & Sugar (for rim of glass)


For Drink
3 oz. Reposado Tequila (we used Teremana)
1 oz. Cointreau
3 oz. Pear Juice
1 oz. Simple Syrup
2 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
2 Sprigs of Rosemary

Ice

You will also need 2 rocks tumblers or margarita glasses, strainer/hawthorne strainer and a shaker cup.

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Let's Make the Garnish!

  1. In small dish (wider than your glass) add your salt and sugar mix. (we used margarita salt and sugar in the raw).

  2. Use small amount of lime juice around rim of glass. (we used a cotton swab to apply lime juice more precisely)

  3. Dip glass into salt and sugar mixture and move around gently to ensure coverage to your liking and set aside.

  4. Cut two thin slices of pear, drizzle with a little lime juice and set aside.

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In your shaker cup add:

    • Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice (2 oz.)

    • Rosemary (2 Sprigs)

    • Simple Syrup (1 oz.)

  2. Muddle for 20-30 seconds. 

  3. Add Remaining ingredients to shaker cup:

    • Pear Juice (3 oz.)

    • Cointreau (1 oz.)

    • Tequila (3 oz.)

    • Ice

  4. Shake well.

  5. Strain into your glass, be careful to not disturb your salt/sugar rim.

  6. Garnish with your pear slice and rosemary sprig. 

  7. Enjoy!

 

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“Stop trying to make everybody happy, you’re not tequila!”
-Anonymous

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage black owned brands food photography margarita mixed drink mixology mixology monday pear margarita tequila https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/5/rosemary-pear-margarita Mon, 03 May 2021 14:45:15 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Grand Empress Gin Fizz https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/4/gin-fizz Hey There!

Today we're sharing a fizz cocktail, probably the best known fizz... the gin fizz. The gin fizz has been around since at least 1876 and is the cousin to the Tom Collins. A sour cocktail with a frothy foam on top sounds like a perfect duo to me. We used Empress 1908 Gin which gives the drink its pigmentation and we used Grand Marnier liqueur for the additional citrus notes. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 1 drink! Let's get started!

GF-IMG_0107GF-IMG_0107   
 

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
1 lemon peel twist/spiral


For Drink
3/4 oz. Simple Syrup
1 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
2 oz. Empress 1908 Gin
1 Egg White
1/4 oz. Grand Marnier

2 oz. Club Soda
Ice

You will also need a rocks tumbler, Collins glass or champagne flute, strainer and a shaker cup.

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In your shaker cup add:

    • Empress 1908 Gin (2 oz)

    • Simple Syrup (3/4 oz)

    • Grand Marnier (1/4 oz)

    • Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice (1oz)

    • Egg White

  2. Dry Shake (shake without ice) vigorously 20-30 seconds. (​​t​​​his is key for a thick froth)

  3. Add Ice and shake again for another 20-30 seconds.

  4. Strain into your glass and top with club soda.

  5. Add lemon twist garnish. 

  6. Enjoy!

 

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"Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful."
-Jim Carrey

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage empress 1908 gin food photography gin gin cocktail gin fizz Grand Marnier mixed mixed drink mixology mixology monday https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/4/gin-fizz Mon, 26 Apr 2021 14:57:08 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Classic Mojito https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/4/classic-mojito Hey Hey!

Today we're sharing another classic mixed drink hailing from Cuba... the mojito! The history of the mojito is long with some unknowns but what we do know is just about all of the ingredients in the Mojito are indigenous to Cuba. Rum, lime, mint and sugar (the island nation grows sugar cane) are combined in this refreshing cocktail which actually was once used medicinally. Feel free to break out your mixing glass for this or you can skip that step and make it directly in your collins glass like we did! We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 1 drink! Let's get started!

  MO-IMG_0518MO-IMG_0518
 

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
1-2  Bunches of mint leaves
Sugar Cane (cut into 6-10 inch strip) *optional stirrer :)



For Drink
1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
3/4 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
2 oz. White Rum
2 oz. Club Soda
8-10 Fresh Mint Leaves

You will also need a Collins glass, muddler and a bar spoon.

MO-IMG_0552MO-IMG_0552
 

Let's Make the Drink!

  1. Take all mint leaves and give them a good slap.

  2. Place the mint directly into your Collins glass  with fresh squeezed lime juice (3/4oz.) and gently muddle.

  3. Add remaining ingredients:

    • Simple syrup (1/2 oz.)

    • Rum (2 oz.)

    • Ice (fill to brim) 

  4. Top with club soda (2oz.) and use bar spoon or sugarcane strip to stir. 

  5. Garnish w/ the sugarcane strip and additional mint leaves

  6. Enjoy!

 

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In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria. 

-Benjamin Franklin
 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage food photography mint mixed mixed drink mixology mixology monday mojito rum rum cocktail https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/4/classic-mojito Mon, 19 Apr 2021 14:37:52 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Banana Pineapple Daiquiri https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/4/banana-pineapple-daiquiri Hey There!

As the weather gets warmer, the drinks get colder! Today we are sharing something tropical, cold and  sweet. Fun fact: the daiquiri has origins in Cuba. Sometime between 1920 and 1930 the cocktail underwent a transformation into the frozen variety it is today and was known to be a favorite of Ernest Hemingway. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 2 drinks! Let's get started!

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Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 chunks of pineapple
3-4 pineapple leaves (optional)
2 dried pineapple slices (optional)

For Drink
1 oz. Simple Syrup
2 oz. Lime Juice
~ 3/4 Cup Chopped Banana
~ 3/4 Cup Chopped Pineapple
2 oz. Cointreau
4 oz. Banana Rum
2 oz. Pineapple Juice
2 Cup Ice

 

You will also need, 2 coupe glasses and a blender.

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. Chop up1 banana & chop up your pineapple and set aside (we used fresh fruit but you can definitely use frozen pineapple and banana chunks).

  2. Add everything to you blender:

    • Simple Syrup (1 oz)

    • Lime Juice (2 oz.)

    • 3/4 cup Banana

    • 3/4 cup pineapple

    • Cointreau (2 oz.)

    • Banana Rum (4 oz.)

    • Pineapple Juice (2 oz.)

    • Ice (~ 2 cups)

  3. Run blender until everything is well combined.

  4. Pour equally between 2 coup glasses.

  5. Garnish with pineapple wedge and optional pineapple leaves and dried pineapple.

    • Note: if using pineapple leaves, you may need to skewer with a cocktail pick to keep them in place.

  6. Enjoy!
     

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"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self."
-Ernest Hemingway

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage daiquiri food photography frozen drink fruit mixed mixed drink mixology mixology monday rum rum cocktail https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/4/banana-pineapple-daiquiri Mon, 12 Apr 2021 17:47:36 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Dream Cloud Nigori Sake Cocktail https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/4/dream-cloud It was all a dream.....

...a dream cloud Sake cocktail! This week we are pairing honeydew melon with a Sasanigori Sake. This combination is literally like a cloud! A quick lesson: Sake, the national  beverage of Japan, is made from fermented rice. Sake has many classifications and varieties. Nigori  is one of the styles or classifications of Sake; it translates to "Cloudy Sake".  Sasanigori translates to lightly cloudy. That cloudy-ness refers to how much of the rice particles are suspended in the Sake... so be sure to shake your bottle gently before pouring. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 2 drinks! Let's get started!

 δΉΎζ―

(kanpai/cheers!)
 

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Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 chunks/balls of honeydew or cantaloupe

For Drink
5 oz. Sasanigori Sake
1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
3 oz. Chilled Green Tea
~1/2 Cup Chopped Honeydew or Cantaloupe
Ice

 

You will also need, 2 coupe glasses, 2 cocktail picks, shaker cup and a strainer.

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. Add your melon & simple syrup (1/2 oz)  into your shaker cup and muddle.

  2. Add remaining ingredients to shaker cup:

    • Green Tea (3 oz)

    • Sasanigori Sake (5 oz) (we used Shirakawago Sasanigori Sake)

    • Ice

  3. Shake vigorously for 20 seconds or so.

  4. Pour evenly between your two coup glasses.

  5. Skewer melon pieces with your cocktail picks to garnish.

  6. Enjoy!
     

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"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare."
-Japanese proverb attributed to Soichiro Honda


 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage cantaloupe dream cloud food photography fruit honeydew melon mixed mixed drink mixology mixology monday nigori recipe sake sake cocktail sasanigori shirakawago https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/4/dream-cloud Mon, 05 Apr 2021 18:01:52 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Dark n Stormy https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/3/dark-stormy Hey There,

Today's recipes was inspired by a comment on one of my social media accounts. I shared a creative photo earlier this month (click here to see) and someone mentioned to me that it ignited a craving for a dark 'n stormy. Immediately, I thought, this is something we  need to create and share! If you are a fan of the Moscow mule and ginger beer, then you need to give this cocktail a try.

Find Ten to One, near you! https://www.tentoonerum.com/where-to-find/
 

We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 1 drink! Let's get started!

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Here's what you need:

For Garnish
1 Lime wedge or slice

For Drink
2 oz. Dark Rum
1/2 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice (optional)
3-5 oz. Ginger Beer
Ice


You will also need a Highball Glass and a bar spoon.


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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In your Highball add

    • Rum (2 oz.)
    • Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice (1/2 oz.)
    • Ice (Fill Glass)
  2. Top with ginger beer (about 3-5 oz).
  3. Stir with bar spoon gently
  4. Garnish with lime wedge/slice
  5. Find somewhere to dream about a caribbean vacation. Enjoy!

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“Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the Bible says love your enemy.”

—Frank Sinatra
 



 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage black owned brands darkrum food photography ginger beer lime mixed mixology mixology monday recipe rum https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/3/dark-stormy Mon, 29 Mar 2021 14:14:40 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Boozy Licuado de Nopal (Cactus Smoothie) https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/3/cactus-smoothie Hey There,

Today's recipes was inspired by a recent trip to our local produce market. While looking for a specific ingredient for next week's recipe (stay tuned) these nopales caught our attention. Nopal, which is Spanish for the Opuntia cactus or in English prickly pear cactus; they are found natively in the southwestern regions of the United States and in Mexico. The flat cactus pads can be eaten when the plant is young. Nopal cactus is a common ingredient in foods in some regions of Mexico. Traditionally, licuado de nopal (without alcohol) is a breakfast drink but as per usual we had to do things our way and add a little tequila. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 2 drinks! Let's get started!

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Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 Long Ribbons of Cucumber
2 5 or 6" Slices of Nopal (optional)

 

For Drink
4oz. Coconut Water
1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
4 Tbsp. Honey
3 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice 
~ 3/4 Cup Chopped Cactus
1/2 Cup Chopped Cucumber
3 oz. Tequila
1 1/2 oz. Triple Sec
~1 Cup Ice

You will also need, 2 rocks tumblers, 2 cocktail picks and a blender.


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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. Add all ingredients to your blender.

    • Note: Be sure to thoroughly clean and de-spine your nopal before dicing and adding to blender.

  2. Blend well, 30-60 seconds or so.

  3. Pour evenly between your two glasses.

  4. Skewer your cucumber ribbons and add your garnish to each glass.

  5. Enjoy! 

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 "Being negative only makes a journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it."

- Joyce Meyer

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage black owned brands cactus smoothie food photography mixed mixology mixology monday nopal recipe smoothie teqila https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/3/cactus-smoothie Mon, 22 Mar 2021 16:23:33 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Guava Basil Smash https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/3/guava-basil-smash Hey There!

This weekend, we had the pleasure of being a guest mixologist for Chef Jamie Hunt's virtual supper club, an innovative approach to cooking classes during lock down! We shared tips, tricks and how to make this refreshing Guava Basil Smash with the 40+ attendees. Such fun night of cooking, sipping and playing games. We cannot wait for the next one! We enjoyed this cocktail so much we decided to make it again and share it with you all! The guava definitely gives me strong summer vacation vibes!! We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 2 drinks! Let's get started!

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Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2-4 Bunches of Basil

2 Slices of Lemon


For Drink
8-14 Basil Leaves
2 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
4 oz. Vodka
6 oz. Guava Juice
2 oz. Simple Syrup
8 Dashes of Bitters
Ice

 

You will also need 2 Rocks Tumblers, Bar Spoon, Muddler, Julep Strainer, Mixing Glass and Juicer.

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In Mixing Glass Add:
    • Basil Leaves
    • Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice (2 oz.)
  2. Muddle for 10 seconds or so
  3. Add remaining ingredients to Mixing  Glass:
    • Ice
    • Guava Juice (6 oz.)
    • 8 Dashes of Bitters
    • Vodka (4 oz.)
    • Simple Syrup (2 oz.)
  4. Stir with Bar Spoon
  5. Using your Julep Strainer, strain between your two glasses.
  6. Garnish with fresh basil bunches and lemon slice.
  7. Enjoy!

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“One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.”

– Henry David Thoreau
 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage basil food photography fruit mixed drink mixology mixology monday recipe smash smash cocktail vodka vodka cocktail https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/3/guava-basil-smash Mon, 15 Mar 2021 15:49:10 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Blood Orange Screw Driver https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/3/screwdriver Hey Hey,

How many mixologists does it take to screw in a screwdriver? One.... I think... lol According to author Victorino Matus, the screwdriver was one the first vodka based cocktails created decades ago. "American oil workers in the Persian Gulf discreetly added vodka to their orange juice while on the job. Lacking a spoon, the workers decided to stir the drink with a screwdriver." Seems like a good drink for a Monday. Our version, uses blood oranges and.... a spoon. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 2 drinks! Let's get started!

BSD-IMG_9659BSD-IMG_9659

 

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2-4 Blood Orange Slices (fresh and dehydrated)

(we dehydrated our slices in the air fryer for 45 min - 1 hour on the lowest setting)


For Drink

4 oz. Vodka
7 oz. Fresh Squeezed Blood Orange Juice
1 oz. Simple Syrup
Pinch of Salt
Ice

 

You will also need, 2 Collins Glasses, Bar Spoon, Mixing Glass,  Juicer.

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In Mixing Glass Add:
    • Vodka (4 oz.)
    • Blood Orange Juice (7 oz.)
    • Simple Syrup (1 oz.)
    • Pinch of Salt
  2. Stir with bar spoon
  3. Fill your Collins glasses with ice
  4. Optional: Place fresh blood orange slice inside each glass.
  5. Pour your Screwdriver evenly between both glasses.
  6. Garnish with fresh or dehydrated blood orange slice.
  7. Enjoy!

 

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"I read the instruction manual and it said I needed a large screwdriver. So I got out the vodka and orange juice , but everything after that remains a mystery!"


 

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage blood orange food photography mixed drink mixology mixology monday recipe screwdriver vodka vodka cocktail https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/3/screwdriver Mon, 08 Mar 2021 14:44:26 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Botanical Gimlet https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/3/gimlet Hey Hey,

This week's recipe is our variation on the classic gimlet... simple and refreshing. The gimlet is a cocktail made of gin and lime juice. A 1928 description of the drink was: "gin, and a spot of lime." In addition to using a botanical gin, we opted to include muddled mint and thyme for even more freshness. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 2 drinks! Let's get started!

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Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 Lime Slices
2 Edible Flowers

 

For Drink

6 oz. Botanical Gin
1 1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
3 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
8-10 Mint Leaves
2-4 Sprigs of Thyme
Ice

 

You will also need, 2 Coup Glasses, Muddler, Shaker Cup, Fine Mesh Strainer, Julep Strainer,  Hand Juicer.

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In Shaker Cup Add:
    • Mint Leaves
    • Thyme Leaves
    • Simple Syrup (1 1/2 oz.)
  2. Muddle for 10 seconds or so.
  3. Add Remaining components:
    • Ice
    • Lime Juice (3 oz.)
    • Gin (6 oz.)
  4. Shake 15-20 seconds
  5. Double strain using julep strainer and fine mesh strainer between 2 coup glasses.
  6. Garnish with lime slice and edible flower.
  7. Find a relaxing place to luxuriate while you sip.
  8. Enjoy!

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To the question, "When were your spirits at the lowest ebb?" the obvious answer seemed to be, "When the gin gave out."

-Francis Chichester


 

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage botanical gin floral food photography gimlet gin gin cocktail lime mixed drink mixology mixology monday recipe https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/3/gimlet Mon, 01 Mar 2021 20:23:28 GMT
Quick and Savory Naan-like Flatbread https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/2/quick-and-savory-flatbread Hey hey!

So I'm absolutely 100% a carb-ivore and my love language is bread and potatoes. This naan like savory flatbread is so quick and easy to throw together-- it requires no yeast and only about 2 minutes of kneading. They're perfect as they are but could also be an amazing base for a pizza or a sandwich. Give it a try! 

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Here's What You Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1  1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped herbs ( I used fresh chives, basil, parsley and oregano)

You'll also need high heat cooking oil (coconut, peanut, canola etc), rolling pin, one large mixing bowl, wooden spoon, cast iron skillet, wire rack, parchment paper.

 

Timing:

  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 16 min

 

Let's Make Some Flatbread:

  1. DOUGH PREP: In a large mixing bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients: flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir in chopped herbs. Then lastly add in yogurt and stir until a clumpy dough forms.  Place dough onto floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Divide dough into 6-8 pieces and roll into balls. Using your rolling pin flatten into 5-6 inch circles.
  2. COOK: Add about 2 tbsp of cooking oil to your cast iron skillet and heat over medium to high heat. Place  1-2 flatbreads in your skillet at a time (depending on your skillet size) and cook until puffy and golden brown in places. Flip and repeat. Cook time is approximately 1 minute each side. Remove from skillet and place on wire rack. Serve warm and enjoy!

If you happen to have left overs ( I didn't), wrap in foil and store at room temperature for up to 2-3 days.
 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) baking bread bread making bread recipe easy bread flatbread food photography homemade bread naan no yeast bread recipe https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/2/quick-and-savory-flatbread Tue, 23 Feb 2021 14:55:29 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Hella Good Japanese Whiskey Sour https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/2/japanese-whiskey-sour Hey There,

All month we have been sharing black owned brands and today, on the last Monday in Black History Month, we are sharing a cocktail using Shinju, a Japanese Whiskey. Shinju is “double distilled, with wafts of honey, orange and vanilla, accompanied by hints of herbaceous notes and light oak." In a word, this whiskey is delicate and I am in love! We paired this  award winning whiskey with two types of mangoes along with a black co-owned bitters brand Hella Cocktail Co. 

Find Shinju, near you! https://www.shinjuwhisky.com/
Find Hella Cocktail Co., near you! https://hellacocktail.co/pages/find-it

Although BHM is ending we will be keeping this party going and will continue to share Black Owned brands and let you know where to grab them! We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 2 drinks! Let's get started!

JWS-IMG_2716JWS-IMG_2716

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
4-6 Thin Half moon mango slices(skin on)

 

For Mango Simple Syrup
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Cups Water
2 Mangoes ( we used both Honey/Ataulfo and Tommy Atkins variety of mango)

 

For Drink
 3 oz. Shinju Japanese Whiskey
 2 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
 2 oz. Mango Simple Syrup
 2-4 Dashes Hella Cocktail Co. Ginger Bitters
 Egg Whites from 1 Large Egg 

You will also need, 2 Whiskey Glasses, Shakercup, Hawthorne Strainer, Pairing Knife, Fine Mesh Strainer, large saucepan, colander, 2 cocktail picks and ice.
 

Let's Make the Garnish!

  1. Thinly slice mango until you have 4-6 slices (we used a mandolin)
  2. Lay out 2-3 slices with ends overlapping and begin tightly rolling to create your rose.
  3. Skewer with cocktail pick and set aside.
  4. Repeat to create your second garnish.

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Let's Make the Simple Syrup!

  1. Cut up mangoes (skin on) into cubes and add to sauce pan.
  2. Add water & sugar to large sauce pan over medium heat.
  3. Let simmer for 1/2 hour.
  4. Let cool then strain into mason jar and set aside.

Note: Don’t throw away those cooked mangoes. You could mash them for a tasty spread, use them as a filling in a puff pastry, or enjoy them plain as a sweet snack.

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In your shaker add:
    • Lemon Juice (2 oz)
    • Egg Whites
    • Bitters (2-4 Dashes)
  2. Dry Shake (i.e., w/o Ice) vigorously for 30 seconds.
  3. Add to shaker cup:
    • Ice
    • Shinju Whiskey (3 oz)
    • Mango Simple Syrup (2oz)
  4. Shake vigorously for an additional 30 seconds.
  5. Strain equally into 2 Coupe glasses.
  6. Spoon any additional froth left in your shaker cup on top of drink.
  7. Add your mango rose garnish.
  8. Enjoy!

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“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” 
—Muhammad Ali


 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage black owned brands drink" food photography fruit japanese whiskey mango mixed mixed drink mixology mixology monday recipe whiskey https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/2/japanese-whiskey-sour Mon, 22 Feb 2021 19:41:13 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Indoggo Dragon Fruit Martini https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/2/indoggo-dragon Hey There,

Continuing with our theme for sharing black owned/founded brands for Black History month, today we are sharing a cocktail using Indoggo, a strawberry infused gin created by the "Gin & Juice King", Calvin Broadus better known as Snoop Dogg. This "laidback California style" gin is refreshingly smooth and we paired it with a dragon fruit (pitaya) simple syrup. If you're looking for a low calorie, sugar free, gluten free gin, we highly recommend.

Find Indoggo, near you! https://indoggogin.com/buy/

All month we will be sharing our cocktail recipes made with black owned brands paired with unexpected or strange fruit. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 2 drinks! Let's drop it like it's hot!

DF-IMG_2080DF-IMG_2080

Here's what you need:

For Simple Syrup
1 Whole dragon fruit
1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp fresh grated ginger

For Garnish
2 Dragon fruit slices skin on)
 

For Drink
6 oz. Indoggo Gin
3 oz. Dragon Fruit Simple Syrup
3 oz. Fresh squeezed lime juice

 

You will also need, Large Sauce Pan, Colander, 2 Coup/Martini Glasses, Shaker Cup, Pairing Knife, Fine Mesh Strainer, 2 cocktail picks and ice.

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Let's Make the Simple Syrup!

  1. Add water & sugar ( 1 1/2 cup each) to large sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Grate and add1 tsp. ginger to sauce pan.
  3. Cut up dragon fruit into cubes and add to sauce pan.
  4. Let simmer for 1/2 hour.
  5. Let cool then strain into mason jar and set aside.

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In your shaker cup add:
    • Ice
    • Gin (6 oz.)
    • Lime Juice (3 oz.)
    • Simple Syrup (3 oz.)
  2. Shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds.
  3. Pour evenly between two coup/martini glasses.
  4. Garnish with dragon fruit slice skewered with a cocktail pick.
  5. Lay back, sip slow and enjoy!

 

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“The best advice I've ever got is to be yourself. Stay true to who you are and what you stand for and you'll go far in life.” 
—Calvin "Snoop Dogg" Broadus

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage black owned brands dragon fruit drink" food photography fruit gin indoggo mixed mixology mixology monday pitaya recipe https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/2/indoggo-dragon Mon, 15 Feb 2021 16:43:36 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Mint Blueberry Kiwi-tini https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/2/kiwitini Hey There,

Continuing with our theme for sharing black owned/founded brands for Black History month, today we are sharing a cocktail using 44º North Vodka. 44º North was founded by Ken Wyatt and Ron Zier in 2004, and was "designed to showcase Idaho agriculture and American craft distilling at its finest. The brand aims to create the “purest vodka possible” using 100% Idaho potatoes of Brundage winter wheat blended with Rocky Mountain Spring Water." We used their Mountain Huckleberry flavored vodka to pair with kiwi, mint leaves and blueberry and I have to say this is now my favorite cocktail!

Find 44º North, near you! https://44northvodka.com/#!/find

All month we will be sharing our cocktail recipes made with black owned brands paired with unexpected or strange fruit. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 2 drinks! Let's get started!

KT-IMG_9304KT-IMG_9304

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 Kiwi slices(skin on)
2-4 Bunches on mint leaves
6 Blueberries (3 to a cocktail pick)

 

For Drink
3 oz. 44º North Vodka (Mountain Huckleberry flavor)
2.5 oz. Midori
1.5 oz. Simple Syrup
1 oz. Fresh squeezed lime juice
8-10 Mint leaves

2-4 oz. Tonic water
 

You will also need, 2 Coup/Martini Glasses, Shakercup, Hawthorne Strainer, Pairing Knife, Fine Mesh Strainer, Muddler, Mixing Glass, 2 cocktail picks and ice.

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Let's Make the Garnish!

  1. Set aside 2-4 bunches of mint leaves.
  2. Skewer 3 blue berries onto a cocktail pick and set aside.
  3. Create 2 think slices of kiwi, make a small slit from center of kiwi to the end and set aside with your blueberries and mint leaves.

 

Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In your mixing glass add and muddle:
    • 1 Peeled and sliced kiwi
    • Lime Juice (1 oz.)
    • Simple Syrup (1.5 oz.)
    • Mint Leaves (8-10)
  2.  In separate shaker cup add:
    • Ice
    • Midori (2.5 oz.)
    • Vodka (3 oz.)
    • Muddled mixture above
  3. Shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds.
  4. Using your hawthorne strainer and fine mesh strainer, double strain evenly between two coup/martini glasses.
  5. Top with tonic water.
  6. Garnish with your mint leaves, kiwi slices and blueberries.
  7. Sip slow and enjoy!

 

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“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” 
—Booker T. Washington

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage black owned brands drink" food photography fruit kiwi lime midori mint leaves mixed mixology mixology monday recipe vodka https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/2/kiwitini Mon, 08 Feb 2021 19:12:50 GMT
Elote (Mexican Street Corn) Inspired Air Fryer Corn Ribs https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/2/corn-ribs Hey Hey!

I'm really excited about this recipe. These "ribs" were so easy to make and sooo delicious. If you're looking for an addition to Meatless Mondays, or something light to snack on instead of junk food or maybe you're craving Mexican street corn and want yet another reason to bring out the air fryer, look no further! Let's turn some ordinary corn cobs into a yummy work of art! I hope you enjoy! If you make this, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

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Here's What You Need:

  • 4-5 Corn Cobs
  • 4 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp Garlic & Herb Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • Half of one Lime
  • Several Bunches of Cilantro (Freshly Chopped)
  • Grated Cotija Cheese

You'll also need one large mixing bowl, a sharp knife and an air fryer (although you could use a standard oven).

Timing:

  • Prep: 20-30 min
  • Cook: 10-12 min

Let's Make Some Corn Ribs:

  1. Let's get the hardest part of the recipe out of the way! Start by cleaning and removing the husk of the corn cob. Cut the base so that it stands upright and level, then carefully slice from the top down to halve the cob lengthways.  Repeat the process with each half until you have quartered each cob. Take your time, don't rush and be mindful of your fingers. I believe in you.
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  2. Set your ribs aside in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Next, let's make the marinade. In a small bowl add and mix well:
    • 4 tbsp Olive Oil
    • 1 1/2 tsp Garlic & Herb Powder
    • 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
    • 1/2 tsp Pepper
    • 1/2 tsp Paprika
    • 1/4 tsp Salt
  4. Pour this mixture over your "ribs" and ensure every nook and cranny gets coated.
  5. In small batches add your ribs to your airfryer (don't pile them all in). Cook for 10-12 min at 390º to 400º. Flipping periodically.
  6. You will know they are done when the cob starts to curl and the corn gets a little charred.
  7. Place your ribs back in your mixing bowl when done (clean the one you used earlier while you wait).
  8. Squeeze half of a lime all over your ribs and sprinkle your cotija cheese and chopped cilantro generously.
  9. Plate and take a picture for the 'gram.
  10. Grab a napkin and dig in!
  11. Enjoy!!

 


 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) veggies corn corn ribs elote finger food food photography low carb mexican street corn recipe snack vegetarian https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/2/corn-ribs Thu, 04 Feb 2021 02:53:59 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Spiced Pear Whiskey Cocktail https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/2/spiced-pear-whiskey-cocktail Hey There,

Today, on the first day of February, and the first day of Black History month we are sharing a recipe using small batch whiskey, Uncle Nearest.

Brief History Lesson: "More than one hundred and sixty years ago, in the hills above Lynchburg in Tennessee, there was a farm owned by a young preacher man called Dan Call that still stands today. Reverend Call had a side hustle down the road on his farm: a small whiskey distillery, which made a silky smooth, maple-sweet whiskey that was highly regarded by all that tasted it. The man who distilled the whiskey was a black slave named Nathan "Nearest" Green, known affectionately as Uncle Nearest,  and is hailed as the best whiskey maker, the world never knew."

"He brought with him a special technique of charcoal filtering that he had learned when cleaning water in West Africa. This method of filtering whiskey through sugar maple tree charcoal became known as the famous ‘Lincoln method’ and it’s still used today.

At some time in the 1850s, a young white boy came to Reverend Call asking for work. The Reverend took him on and gave him chores but the boy became increasingly fascinated by what was going on down the road at the distillery. Eventually, after begging his master, the boy, named Jasper, was introduced to Nathan ‘Uncle Nearest’ Green, who was told to teach him what he knew. A natural entrepreneur, Jasper so believed in this whiskey that he started selling it as far and wide as he could. 

December 6th 1865 came around and the thirteenth amendment was finally passed. Uncle Nearest was a free man. Not long after, Jasper bought the distillery and named it after himself, though he didn’t use his given name; he preferred what the locals called him: not Jasper Daniel, but Jack Daniel. He asked Nathan to be his very first master distiller, a position which he happily accepted. The men worked together until Nathan retired.

Nathan’s story was lost for a long time. We can only imagine why. However, a new distillery was built just down the road from Jack Daniel’s, where Nathan’s descendents work today. Quite rightly, it was named after the man who turned out to be the true founding father of Tennessee Whiskey: Nathan Green. Uncle Nearest. Both distilleries still enjoy a warm bond formed by their shared histories." (Read more: https://www.thethreedrinkers.com/magazine-content/uncle-nearest-founding-father-tennessee-whiskey)

Find Uncle Nearest, near you! https://unclenearest.com/store-locator/

All month we will be sharing our cocktail recipes made with black owned brands paired with unexpected or strange fruit. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 2 drinks! Let's get started!

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Here's what you need:

For Garnish (Coral Tuile)
High temperature cooking oil 
10g (about 1 heaping tbsp) All purpose flour
5g (about 1 heaping tsp) sugar
70g water
Optional: Edible Gold Dust and Small Brush

For Drink
3.5 oz. Uncle Nearest Whiskey
1.5 oz. Amaro
2.5 oz. Spiced Pear Simple Syrup
2-4 Dashes Orange Bitters
1-2 Small Wedges of Lemon

Ice

For  Spice Pear Simple Syrup
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Vanilla Bean
1 Large Pear
1 Cinnamon Stick
2-3 Sprigs of Thyme
3/4 - 1 Cup Water

 

You will also need, 2 Coup/Martini Glasses, Shaker, Hawthorne Strainer, Pairing Knife, Fine Mesh Strainer, Mixing Glass, Small Sealable Glass Jar (or Container), Small Sauce Pan, small skillet, squeeze bottle and spatula.

 

Let's Make the Garnish!

  1. Add your cooking oil to the small skillet. You should have enough to complete cover the bottom plus a little extra. Heat over Low/Medium Heat
  2. Combine Water, Flour and Sugar. Whisk until fully combined. Consistency should be very loose.
  3. Pour mixture into your squeeze bottle or whatever you will pour from. (A Squeeze Bottle was easiest to use)
  4. Once the pan is hot, and just before the oil begins to really sizzle, pour (or squeeze) a thin layer of your cookie mix into the pan. Caution: THE OIL WILL SPLATTER. I recommend using a mesh splatter shield or pot lid to avoid getting hit with hot oil. You can either coat the entire bottom of the pan or pour in small batches.
  5. Now we wait. You will see the cookie bubble for quite some time. You want to allow it to cook until the bubbles subside some. Making sure the cookie doesn't begin to burn.
  6. Once it looks done, remove from heat and allow to sit for a minute or two.
  7. Gently using a spatula work up the edges of the tuile. Be very careful when removing as the cookie cools it becomes even more delicate.
  8. Allow your tuile to drain and cool for several hours before dusting with edible gold dust using as garnish. 
  9. This process can be tricky and you may need to adjust the ratios or ingredients to get the cookie right.

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Let's Make the Pear Spiced Simple Syrup!

  1. Slice pair into 1 inch cubes and place in sauce pan.
  2. Add sugar, water, vanilla bean, thyme, & cinnamon to the sauce pan
  3. Reduce over low to medium low heat for about 25 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and let’s settle for five minutes.
  5. Double strain in your glass jar using your mixing glass and fine mesh strainer. 

Note: Don’t throw away those cooked pears... snack on those later. :)

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In your shaker add:
    • Ice,
    • Bitters (2-4 dashes)
    • Amaro (1.5 oz)
    • Spiced Pear Simple Syrup (2.5 oz)
    • Uncle Nearest Whiskey (3.5oz)
  2. Shake vigorously for 15 to 20 seconds & pour equally into 2 glasses
  3. Gently squeeze lemon wedge over at the drink and caress the rim of the glass.
  4. Place your garnish coral tuile along with a sprig of thyme carefully and enjoy!

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"Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations."
—Dr. Mae Jemison, first African-American female astronaut

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage black owned brands drink" food photography fruit jack daniels lime mixed mixology mixology monday pear recipe Tennessee whiskey uncle nearest vodka https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/2/spiced-pear-whiskey-cocktail Tue, 02 Feb 2021 01:09:31 GMT
Easy Peasy No Knead Dutch Oven Bread https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/1/no-knead-dutch-oven-bread Hey hey!

Recently I was sent a link to A Pinch of Yum's No Knead Bread recipe and knew I wanted to try it out and of course take pix! The hardest part of this 3 step, 4 ingredient recipe was waiting the 12-18 hours for the instant yeast to work. Not only was this super easy to make, the bread was actually really really good --the whole loaf only lasted a few hours in this house. That just means I have to make more!! I've shared those pix along with a copy of the recipe below. Enjoy!

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Here's What You Need:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1  1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1  1/2 cups room temp. water

You'll also need one large mixing bowl, whisk, wooden spoon, oven safe cast iron dutch oven as well as plastic wrap & parchment paper.

 

Timing:

  • Prep: 12-18 hours
  • Cook: 40 min

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Let's Make Some Bread:

  1. DOUGH PREP: In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and yeast together until mixed. Stir in the water until a chunky, thick dough forms. If it needs a little more water, add a few more tablespoons, just enough to get it barely wet throughout. It should be kinda dry and scrappy looking. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for 12-18 hours at room temperature. 
  2. PREP FOR BAKING: When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450. Stick a 5-6 quart enamel coated cast iron Dutch Oven (or similar) in the oven for about 30 minutes to heat. At this point, the dough should be big and puffy and pretty loose, with little bubbles in it. Gently scrape the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Gently shape it into a ball with flour on the outside, set on a piece of parchment, and cover with plastic while your pan heats up. 
  3. BAKE: Remove the plastic from the dough. Lift the dough and parchment together into the pan so the parchment lines the bottom of the hot pan (be careful not to touch the pan since it’s very hot). Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake another 10-15 minutes to get the exterior nice and golden brown and crispy. Voila! Done.

This bread would be perfectly paired with any jam, I actually used apple butter. *chef's kiss* Or, better yet, you could dunk this into a piping hot bowl of butternut squash soup, recipe here! Enjoy!

For more details and variations of this recipe visit: A Pinch of Yum


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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) baking bread bread making bread recipe easy bread homemade bread no knead bread recipe https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/1/no-knead-dutch-oven-bread Tue, 26 Jan 2021 15:45:27 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Teremana Apple Tequini (TAT) https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/1/teremana-apple-tequini Hey There,

Today, we are sharing a recipe using Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's handmade, small batch tequila, Teremana crafted in Jalisco, Mexico. Teremana comes in two varieties, Blanco and Reposado. We opted to use the latter, Resposado for its oak and vanilla notes. We combined, apple and cinnamon in this unique martini like drink which we are calling the TAT or Teremana Apple Tequini. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 2 drinks! Let's get tatted!!

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Here's what you need:

For Garnish
4-6 Thin Apple Slices
2 Cinnamon Sticks

 

For Drink
3 oz. Teremana Tequila (Reposado)
4 oz. Apple Cider
1.5 oz. Dry Vermouth
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract

2-4 Dashes Herbal Bitters

1/2 Lemon
Ice

You will also need, 2 Martini Glasses (for Neat) OR 2 Rocks Tumblers (for on the “Rock”), Shaker, Hawthorne Strainer, Pairing Knife, Fine Mesh Strainer.

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Let's Make the Garnish!

  1. Quarter and slice apple to thin strips.
  2. Cut lemon in half and squeeze over apple strips and set aside with cinnamon sticks

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In shaker cup add:
    • Ice
    • 2-4 Dashes of bitters
    • Vanilla Extract (1/4 tsp)
    • Vermouth (1.5 oz)
    • Apple Cider (4 oz)
    • Tequila (3 oz)
  2. Shake 15-30 sec.
  3. Using Hawthorne Strainer, strain equally into 2 glasses (Note: We are using custom Martini Tumblers for an “on-the-rocks” option)
  4. Garnish w/ Apple Slices & Cinnamon Stick (Note: You may substitute a cinnamon stick with a dash or two of ground cinnamon.)
  5. Enjoy!

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"Success isn’t overnight. It’s when everyday you get a little better than the day before. It all adds up."  

-Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson


 

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) teremana adult beverage black owned brands drink" food photography fruit lime mixed mixology mixology monday recipe reposado tequila tequila cocktail tequini vodka https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/1/teremana-apple-tequini Mon, 25 Jan 2021 20:31:05 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Berry Moscow Mule https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/1/berry-moscow-mule Hey Hey,

This week's recipe is our variation on the classic and delightfully refreshing Moscow Mule. I love everything about this cocktail from the fresh and frozen berries to the bite of the ginger beer. So let's break out the copper mugs, which are a must. Copper is a superior thermal conductor, so copper mugs respond to the temperature of what is inside, keeping it chilled or warm depending on the beverage. When containing a Moscow mule, copper mugs become super chill, like you soon will be after your first or second sip. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 2 drinks! Let's get started!

 

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Here's what you need:

For Garnish
6 Berries (your choice of raspberry and/or blackberry)
2 Bunches of Sage

2 Cocktail Picks

For Drink

4 oz. Vodka
4 oz. Ginger Beer
2 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
Fresh Ginger Root
6-8 Sage Leaves
5-6 Blackberries
5-6 Raspberries
Ice

 

You will also need, 2 Copper Mule Mugs, Muddler, Shaker, Zester (or Fine Grater), Peeler, Fine Mesh Strainer, Hand Juicer

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Let's Make the Garnish!

This particular garnish needs to prepped hours in advance.

  1. Skewer three berries on each cocktail pick. 
  2. Set aside in freezer (I suggest placing in a small sealed container before placing in freezer).
  3. The sage garnish does need to be frozen but should be set aside in the refrigerator.

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. Peel & zest about 1/2 tsp. Ginger into Shaker cup. 
  2. Add 6-8 Sage leaves to Shaker 
  3. Add Remaining Berries to Shaker
  4. Muddle for 10 seconds or so
  5. Add Ice
  6. Juice lime into Shaker (~2 oz. Juice)
  7. Add Vodka & Shake
  8. Strain w/ Fine Mesh Strainer into ice filled Mule mugs
  9. Top with Ginger Beer.
  10. Grab your berry skewers from the freezer and add to mug along with sage leaves for garnish
  11. Enjoy!

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"Once we hit forty, women only have about four taste buds left: one for vodka, one for wine, one for cheese, and one for chocolate."  

-Gina Barreca


 

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage food photography fruit ginger beer mixed drink mixology mixology monday moscow mule recipe vodka vodka cocktail https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/1/berry-moscow-mule Mon, 18 Jan 2021 17:00:00 GMT
Roasted Sage & Garlic Butternut Squash Crock-Pot Soup https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/1/roasted-butternut-squash-soup Hey There!

So, on the "About" page here on my site (yes I know you probably did not read it...it's ok) I glossed over the fact that I am a pro level bodybuilder. I have a separate website dedicated to health and fitness and I love sharing tips and recipes there and on Instagram. I originally shared this recipe on my site about 2 years ago. This is one of my favorite crock-pot recipes... so I decided to revisit this and re-shoot the images.  I hope you enjoy! 

 

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Here's What You Need:

  • Butternut Squash (2 medium size)
  • Onion (1 medium size)
  • Seasoning: Garlic (1 bulb minced/diced), Sage (15-20 leaves), Salt (1-2 teaspoons), Pepper (1 teaspoon)
  • Low Sodium Vegetable Broth (4 cups/ 1 carton)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Garnish of choice, crème fraîche, nuts/seeds, croutons, herbs etc...

You'll also need a crock-pot and a handheld immersion blender, or standard blender 

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TIMING:

Prep: 30-40 minutes
Cook: 6 hours

Total Time: approx 6.5 -7 hours

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LET’S COOK!

Ok, Ok I know you may be thinking, this is a crock-pot recipe let’s just dump everything in– set it and forget it. We will get to that part but just bear with me for a few minutes. There are two steps we will do first that will help bring that extra depth of flavor that feels like comfort in a bowl. 

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  1. Peel, De-gut and Dice Butternut Squash.  
    • Pro Tip for Peeling Squash: Use a fork to poke holes in the squash all over; microwave for about 3-4 minutes.
  2.  Set oven to broil. 
  3. Take about 1/4  to 1/3 of your diced butternut squash and place on baking sheet, spray light coat of olive oil and season with ground pepper.
  4. Broil Squash until brown with some black char marks (trust me) approx 15 min.
  5. Dice onion and garlic.
  6. Sauté onion in olive oil for a few minutes until soft, then add garlic.
  7. Let Onion and Garlic simmer until toasty brown, then remove from heat.
  8. Dice Sage leaves.
  9. The squash in the oven should be done now; remove from oven. 
  10. Now we’re ready for the crock-pot! Add the uncooked squash to the crock-pot first, then broiled squash, onions and garlic, sage, salt and vegetable broth.
  11. Set crock-pot on low and let it do it’s thing for approx 6 hours.
  12. When the squash is ready, it will be incredible soft and will fall apart easily.
  13. Use an immersion blender to blend everything. (Or transfer to a blender carefully-- this will be super hot).  Blend as little or as much as you like. (I like mine a little chunky)
  14. Make a bowl, garnish... (I used crème fraîche and roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds).
  15. Take a picture for Instagram (tag me---> @staynfocusimages).
  16. Enjoy!

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) butternut squash butternut squash soup cooking cooking with nikki crockpot crock-pot crockpot creations food photography garlic one pot creation onion recipe sage savory soup vegan vegetarian winter soup https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/1/roasted-butternut-squash-soup Sat, 16 Jan 2021 21:28:04 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Momento Mori https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/1/momento-mori Hey Hey,

This week’s original cocktail is our take on a fictional martini-like beverage featured in “Death Parade”, a popular anime series released in 2015. That series explored the afterlife and judgement of ones worthiness for reincarnation. The “Momento Mori” is a cocktail with an explicit reminder to be mindful of our pending death and an implicit mandate to be appreciative of life. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 2 drinks! Let's get started!

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Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 Bourbon Cherries
1 Orange (to peel)

 

For Drink
3 oz. Gin (Bombay Sapphire)
2 oz. Blue Curaçao
1.5 oz. Dry Vermouth 
2 Dashes Herbal Bitters
Ice

You will also need, 2 martini glasses, a citrus peeler and a shaker cup.


Let's Make the Drink!

  1. Place one bourbon cherry in each martini glasses. Set aside.
  2. In shaker cup add:
    • Ice
    • Gin (3 oz.)
    • Vermouth (1.5 oz.)
    • Blue Curaçao (2 oz.)
    • Herbal Bitters (2 Dashes)
  3. Shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds.
  4. Pour equally between both martini glasses.
  5. Grab your orange and a peeler. Peel a 3-4 inch strip and express (twist) over each glass.
  6. Take time to enjoy while playing a friendly game and contemplating the meaning of life.

MM-IMG_1602MM-IMG_1602 MM-IMG_1607MM-IMG_1607 MM-IMG_1608MM-IMG_1608 MM-IMG_1612MM-IMG_1612 MM-IMG_1616MM-IMG_1616 MM-IMG_1620MM-IMG_1620 MM-IMG_1622MM-IMG_1622 MM-IMG_1627MM-IMG_1627 MM-IMG_1632MM-IMG_1632 MM-IMG_1636MM-IMG_1636 MM-IMG_1648MM-IMG_1648 MM-IMG_1663MM-IMG_1663 MM-IMG_1676MM-IMG_1676


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"I don't regret the things I've done... I regret the things I didn't do when I had the chance."

-unknown

 


 

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage blue curacao food photography gin gin cocktail mixed drink mixology mixology monday momento mori recipe https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/1/momento-mori Mon, 11 Jan 2021 17:00:00 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Elevated Fuzzy Navel https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/1/elevated-fuzzy-navel Hey There,

Traditionally, a fuzzy navel cocktail is a mixed drink made from peach schnapps and orange juice. This classic was created by Ray Foley, who stumbled across this combination in the 80s.  If you add 1 oz Vodka, it is then called a hairy navel, and the more vodka you add the hairier it gets!! We didn't like that name so much, so we named our version which includes an additional twist, the elevated fuzzy navel. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This makes 2 drinks! Let's get started!

FN-IMG_0408FN-IMG_0408

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 Orange Slices
2 Small Bunches of Mint Leaves

 

For Drink
5-7 Oranges (blood oranges can be used)
2 Tsp. Peach Preserves
1 oz. Handcrafted Vodka 
3 oz. Peach Schnapps
10 Mint Leaves
Ice

 

You will also need, 2 rocks tumblers, a citrus juicer, muddler, mixing glass, hawthorne strainer and bar spoon.

 

Let's Make the Garnish!

  1. Cut 2 medium sized, round orange slices.
  2. Cut an additional slice in the middle of each round slice but only about halfway down.
  3. Make one last cut perpendicular to the slice you just made.
  4. Grab each piece from the cut you just made and twist in opposite directions.
  5. Set aside along with 2 small bunches of mint leaves.

FN-IMG_0384FN-IMG_0384 FN-IMG_0386FN-IMG_0386
Let's Make the Drink!

  1. Juice all oranges you have set aside. You'll need about 8 oz.
  2. In mixing glass add:
    • Peach Preserves (2 tsp.)
    • Mint Leave (10 leaves or so)
    • Vodka (1 oz.)
  3. Muddle mixture for 10 seconds or so.
  4. Add ice
  5. Add peach schnapps
  6. Stir with bar spoon
  7. Add Ice to your rocks tumblers and pour mixture evenly between both glasses.
  8. Top with orange juice.
  9. Add the garnishes you set aside earlier.
  10. Enjoy!

FN-IMG_0377FN-IMG_0377 FN-IMG_0350FN-IMG_0350 FN-IMG_0355FN-IMG_0355 FN-IMG_0356FN-IMG_0356 FN-IMG_0358FN-IMG_0358 FN-IMG_0360FN-IMG_0360 FN-IMG_0367FN-IMG_0367 FN-IMG_0369FN-IMG_0369 FN-IMG_0375FN-IMG_0375 FN-IMG_0382FN-IMG_0382 FN-IMG_0394FN-IMG_0394 FN-IMG_0398FN-IMG_0398 FN-IMG_0404FN-IMG_0404 FN-IMG_0407FN-IMG_0407


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Orange juice is like duct tape; it fixes everything."

-unknown
 


 

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage food photography fuzzy navel hair fuzzy navel mixed drink mixology mixology monday orange peach peach schnapps recipe https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2021/1/elevated-fuzzy-navel Mon, 04 Jan 2021 17:30:00 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Strawberry Pomegranate Bellini https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/12/Strawberry-Pomegranate-Bellini Hey There,

Lets do our best to not dwell on the tragedies of 2020 and instead, lets be optimistic and look at 2021 with Rosé colored glasses. Today we share a champagne cocktail perfect for toasting the new year. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages
 

This makes 4 drinks! Let's get started!

CB-IMG_9838CB-IMG_9838

Here's what you need:

For Drink
6 Strawberries
1 Tbsp. Pomegranate Arils
6 oz. Grand Marnier
4 Tsps. Local Honey
1 Bottle Rose Champagne

 

You will also need, an immersion blender and champagne flutes.

Let's Make the Drink!

  1. Half 2 Strawberries & place slit in each piece & set aside for garnish
  2. Cut remaining Strawberries into small pieces & set aside.
  3. Place Strawberries, Honey, Pomegranate Arils, & Grand Marnier into blender safe cup & blend with immersion blender until smooth.
  4. Pour mixture evenly into champagne flutes
  5. Top with Rose Champagne (Note: You’ll have to pour champagne slowly to avoid the glass overfilling with bubbly.)
  6. Garnish with Strawberry halves and toast to the new year!

CB-IMG_9837CB-IMG_9837 CB-IMG_9842CB-IMG_9842 CB-IMG_9854CB-IMG_9854 CB-IMG_9863CB-IMG_9863 CB-IMG_9865CB-IMG_9865 CB-IMG_9872CB-IMG_9872 CB-IMG_9877CB-IMG_9877 CB-IMG_9887CB-IMG_9887 CB-IMG_9889CB-IMG_9889 CB-IMG_9890CB-IMG_9890 CB-IMG_9895CB-IMG_9895


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""Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson
 


 

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage bellini champagne food photography mixed drink mixology mixology monday pomegranate recipe strawberry https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/12/Strawberry-Pomegranate-Bellini Tue, 29 Dec 2020 00:27:53 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Boozy Hot Chocolate https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/12/boozy-hot-chocolate Hey hey,

If you find yourself on the naughty list this year, you might want to make note of this recipe. I personally guarantee if you leave this out for Santa, he  will have to add you to the "nice" list... or heck, he may forget he had any lists to begin with! Don't forget to make one of these decadent treats for yourself... the Christmas tree and fireplace aren't the only things getting lit this week! We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages
 

This makes 2-4 drinks (depending on size of your mugs). Let's get started!

BHC-IMG_9507bBHC-IMG_9507b

Here's what you need:

For Drink
3 Cups Whole Milk
6 oz. Heavy Cream
2 oz. Amaretto
6oz. Bourbon
1 Orange
1 Cinnamon Stick
1tsp. Vanilla Extract
6 oz. Semi Sweet Chocolate
2 oz. Orange Dark Chocolate
Whipped Cream

 

You will also need, 2 medium-large sauce pans, large stirring spoon, colander/strainer, citrus zester and  heat safe mugs. 

 

Let's Make the Drink!

  1. Zest orange and break chocolate into small chunks and set aside.
    • Set aside some smaller shavings/chunks for the garnish.
  2. In large sauce pan add milk, cinnamon, orange zest, and vanilla extract.
  3. Heat on the lowest setting for 5 to 10 minutes. [Note: You do not want to cook or scorch the milk, only warm it.]
  4. Stir in your chocolates and continue to heat until melted to an even consistency. 
  5. Stir in your Bourbon (6oz.) and Amaretto (2oz.)
  6.  Heat for an additional 2 to 5 minutes. (Note: the longer you heat your alcohol the more it will burn off. So, you do not want to leave it on heat for very long.)
  7. Strain into second saucepan to remove orange zest and cinnamon.
  8. Pour into your mugs.
  9. Top w/ whipped cream and extra chocolate pieces or shavings.
  10. Find somewhere cozy to sit.
  11. Enjoy!!

BHC-IMG_9488BHC-IMG_9488 BHC-IMG_9491BHC-IMG_9491 BHC-IMG_9495BHC-IMG_9495 BHC-IMG_9502BBHC-IMG_9502B BHC-IMG_9504BHC-IMG_9504 BHC-IMG_9508BHC-IMG_9508 BHC-IMG_9511bBHC-IMG_9511b BHC-IMG_9518BHC-IMG_9518 BHC-IMG_9521BHC-IMG_9521 BHC-IMG_9527BHC-IMG_9527 BHC-IMG_9528BHC-IMG_9528 BHC-IMG_9530BHC-IMG_9530 BHC-IMG_9538BHC-IMG_9538 BHC-IMG_9544BHC-IMG_9544


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"Hot chocolate is like a hug from the inside."
-unknown


 

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage amaretto bourbon bourbon cocktail food photography hot chocolate hot cocktail mixed drink mixology mixology monday recipe https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/12/boozy-hot-chocolate Mon, 21 Dec 2020 22:10:57 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - White Russian https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/12/white-russian Hey there,

The White Russian is our nod to the dude (or his dudeness... if you're not into the whole brevity thing). Historically, there does not appear to be any documented evidence of a White Russian cocktail until sometime into the 1960s. Then in the 1998 Coen Brothers classic, “The Big Lebowski,” the drink was catapulted to cult-classic status. Our twist on this anytime cocktail adds an unexpected pleasant vanilla finish. For the casual mixologist with 5 minutes to "spare", this drink is as easy as taking candy from a baby. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages
 

This makes 2 drinks. Let's get started!

 

WR-IMG_0053WR-IMG_0053

Here's what you need:

For Drink
3 1/3 oz. Vanilla Infused Vodka (We used Smirnoff)
1 1/2 oz. Kahlua
4 oz. Heavy Cream
Ice

For Garnish
2 White Chocolate Chunks
2 Cocktail Picks

You will also need, mixing glass, bar spoon, hawthorne strainer, and 2 rocks tumblers. 

 

Let's Make the Garnish!

  1. Melt chocolate chunk onto cocktail pick. We did this by briefly heating the cocktail pick and them quickly pressing it into the choclate. 
  2. Allow to set in fridge/freezer while you make the drink.

WR-IMG_0015WR-IMG_0015 WR-IMG_0018WR-IMG_0018

Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In a mixing glass, add ice, Kahlua and Vodka. Stir for 15-20 seconds.
  2. Fill your rocks tumblers with ice.
  3. Pour the Kalua & Vodka mixture evenly between both tumblers.
  4. Top with heavy cream.
  5. Add garnish.
  6. Enjoy!!

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“You can’t buy happiness, but you can prepare a cocktail. And that’s kind of the same thing.”


 

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage food photography fresh cocktail kahlua mixed drink mixology mixology monday vodka vodka cocktail white russian https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/12/white-russian Mon, 14 Dec 2020 19:09:01 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Ginger Beer Zipper https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/12/ginger-beer-zipper Hey hey!

We wanted to share a light and sweet cocktail, perfect for a weekend afternoon or to impress your quarantine approved house guest. Our version of the zipper cocktail swaps lemon-lime soda for ginger beer and we add an extra step of muddling blackberries and mint leaves for more depth of flavor. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages
 

This makes 2 drinks. Let's get started!

CZ-IMG_8187_1CZ-IMG_8187_1

 

Here's what you need:

For Drink
2 oz. Chambord (Raspberry Liqueur)
2 oz. Vodka
1.5 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1.5 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
8 oz. Ginger Beer
6-8 Mint Leaves
6-8 Blackberries
Ice

For Garnish
2 Slices Lime
2 Large Mint Leaves

You will also need, cocktail shaker, hawthorne strainer, fine mesh strainer, muddler and 2 rocks tumblers. 

 

Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In a shaker cup, add blackberries and mint leaves and muddle for approx. 10 seconds.
  2. Next, add:
    • Chambord (2 oz.)
    • Vodka (2 oz.)
    • Lemon & Lime juice (1.5 oz, each)
    • Simple Syrup (1/2 oz.)
    • Ice (8-10 cubes)
  3. Shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds.
  4. Double strain using hawthorne strainer and fine mesh strainer into two rocks tumblers
  5. Add ice (4-6 cubes each glass)
  6. Top with ginger beer (approx. 3-4 oz. per glass)
  7. Garnish with mint leaf and lime slice
  8. Enjoy!!

CZ-IMG_8036CZ-IMG_8036 CZ-IMG_8041CZ-IMG_8041 CZ-IMG_8053CZ-IMG_8053 CZ-IMG_8062CZ-IMG_8062 CZ-IMG_8064CZ-IMG_8064 CZ-IMG_8066CZ-IMG_8066 CZ-IMG_8070CZ-IMG_8070 CZ-IMG_8075CZ-IMG_8075 CZ-IMG_8093CZ-IMG_8093 CZ-IMG_8097CZ-IMG_8097 CZ-IMG_8100CZ-IMG_8100 CZ-IMG_8103CZ-IMG_8103 CZ-IMG_8114CZ-IMG_8114 CZ-IMG_8122CZ-IMG_8122 CZ-IMG_8130CZ-IMG_8130 CZ-IMG_8145CZ-IMG_8145 CZ-IMG_8156CZ-IMG_8156 CZ-IMG_8157CZ-IMG_8157 CZ-IMG_8160CZ-IMG_8160 CZ-IMG_8164CZ-IMG_8164 CZ-IMG_8182CZ-IMG_8182 CZ-IMG_8185_1CZ-IMG_8185_1 CZ-IMG_8190_1CZ-IMG_8190_1


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"Let us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare, and look forward to the time when we may pick the fruit."

-Anton Chekhov
 

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage autumn chambord drink food photography fresh cocktail ginger beer mixed drink mixology mixology monday raspberry raspberry liqueur recipe vodka cocktail https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/12/ginger-beer-zipper Mon, 07 Dec 2020 19:00:00 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Mulled Wine https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/11/mulled-wine Hey There,

Are you ready for a warm cocktail?! Today we're sharing a recipe for mulled wine, also known as spiced wine. Mulled wine is popular in Europe around Christmas time, and I have a feeling it will be popular in the Leverett household as well! There are many variations of this cozy beverage, so feel free to experiment with different spices and flavors. As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages
 

This makes 2-4 drinks. Let's get started!

MW-D33A7195MW-D33A7195

 

Here's what you need:

For Drink
1 Bottle Red Wine (We used Cabernet Sauvignon)
2 Blood Oranges
4 Whole Star Anise
8-10 Whole Cloves
3 Cinnamon Sticks
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

You will also need, 2-4 mugs, large sauce pan, cooking spoon, mixing glass and small strainer.

MW-D33A7153MW-D33A7153

Let's Make the Drink!

  1. Peel 1/2 of one blood orange and set peel aside.
  2. Juice both blood oranges. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add:
    • Wine (We used Agitator which is Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon)
    • Star Anise
    • Cloves
    • Cinnamon
    • Brown Sugar
    • Stir in Blood Orange Juice and peel last.
  4. Once the mixture begins steaming, reduce heat to low.
  5. Let simmer for approximately 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and strain into your heat safe mugs/glasses.
  7. For extra spice, feel free to garnish with spices, or orange slices.
  8. Enjoy!

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"Happiness is a hot drink, on a cold day." 

-unknown

 

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage autumn drink food photography hot hot cocktail hot wine mixed drink mixology mixology monday recipe spice wine https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/11/mulled-wine Mon, 30 Nov 2020 19:54:57 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Cranberry Whiskey Sour https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/11/cranberry-whiskey-sour Hey There,

You might be running around like a turkey with your head cut off, trying to get everything together for this Thursday. You may be upset that many of our plans have been canceled this year, and while 2020 just has not been the best, we want to remind you to pause and think of all the things you are grateful for. It's easy to focus on everything that has gone wrong or what we may have lost, but gratitude helps shift our focus and turns what we have into enough.

As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages
 

This makes 4 drinks. Let's get started!

CWS-D33A2858CWS-D33A2858

 

Here's what you need:

For Cranberry Simple Syrup
2 Cups water
2 Cups sugar
2 Cinnamon sticks
2 Sprigs of Rosemary
16 oz Fresh Cranberries

 

For Drink
6 oz Whiskey
4 oz  Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
2 oz Orange Juice
2 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
6 oz Cranberry Simple Syrup
Ice

You will also need, 4 coup glasses, large sauce pan, colander, heat resistant bowl, cooking spoon, cocktail shaker, mixing glass and small strainer.

CWS-D33A2791CWS-D33A2791

Let's Make the Cranberry Simple Syrup!

  1. In large saucepan over medium heat add
    • Water
    • Sugar
    • Cinnamon
    • Rosemary
  2. Bring to boil, then add Cranberries.
  3. Let cook for 10 min.
  4. Remove from heat and strain into large bowl. (We will be using the liquid but you can save the strained cranberries for making cranberry sauce)
  5. Let liquid cool for 10 min.
  6. Using small fine mesh strainer, strain the liquid one more time before using.

 

CWS-D33A2710CWS-D33A2710 CWS-D33A2712CWS-D33A2712 CWS-D33A2713CWS-D33A2713 CWS-D33A2717CWS-D33A2717 CWS-D33A2732CWS-D33A2732 CWS-D33A2736CWS-D33A2736 CWS-D33A2766CWS-D33A2766
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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In shaker cup add
    • Whiskey
    • Lemon Juice
    • Orange Juice
    • Lime Juice
    • Cranberry Simple Syrup
    • Handful of Ice
  2. Shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds
  3. Pour equally into 4 coup glasses.
  4. Toast for what you are thankful for.
  5. Enjoy!


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"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." 

-Robert Brault

 

 

Please practice social distancing and ​​p​​​​lease do your part to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage autumn drink food photography mixed drink mixology mixology monday recipe refreshing simple syrup sour whiskey whiskey sour https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/11/cranberry-whiskey-sour Mon, 23 Nov 2020 22:32:25 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Hazelnut Espresso Martini https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/11/hazelnut-espresso-martini Hey Hey!

The espresso martini was created by British bartender Dick Bradsell in the early 80s who allegedly whipped it up on the spot using old grounds of coffee for a model,  rumored to be Naomi Campbell or Kate Moss. The story goes, this model visited his bar and approached him asking for  “something to wake me up, then f*ck me up”. LOL ...so we had to put our spin on it and give it a try. If you are like us and enjoy a nice cup of coffee and a strong drink, this one is for you. As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages
 

This makes 1 drink. Let's get started!

EM-IMG_7351EM-IMG_7351

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
3-5 Coffee Beans

 

For Drink
2 oz. Vodka (Handcrafted)
1/2 oz. Kahlua
1 oz. Hazelnut Espresso (freshly brewed... we used flavored coffee beans)
1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
Ice
1 Martini Glass (Chilled)

You will also need, shaker cup and strainer.

EM-IMG_7431EM-IMG_7431

Let's Make the Drink!

  1. Place Martini glass(es) in fridge to chill (or freezer if impatient)
  2. In Shaker cup add:
    • Ice
    • Vodka
    • Simple Syrup
    • Kahlua
    • Espresso
  3. Shake Vigorously for 20-30 seconds.
    • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​To get a thick frothy top to your espresso martini, you need to shake the mixture for a few seconds past when you think your arms will fall off. The more you shake, the more froth you get. You may need to spoon the froth on top of your drink as it may be too stiff to pass through the strainer.
  4. Add your coffee bean garnish.
  5. Enjoy!

 

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"May your coffee kick in before your reality does."

-unknown

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage autumn beverage brunch cocktail with coffee coffee coffee cocktail drink espresso food photography martini mixed drink mixology mixology monday recipe refreshing savory vodka https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/11/hazelnut-espresso-martini Tue, 17 Nov 2020 00:33:07 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Smokey Apple Butter Bourbon Bliss https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/11/smokey-apple-butter-bourbon-bliss Hey There!

Inspired by the changing season, leaves falling and.... bourbon, we wanted to create another original cocktail combining some of the flavors we love like apples and maple syrup. We also wanted to play with fire again LOL We hope you enjoy. As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages
 

This makes 2 drinks. Let's get started!

ABB-IMG_7276ABB-IMG_7276

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 Dried Apple Slices
2 tbsp Sugar in the Raw or any granulated sugar

 

For Drink
4 oz. Maple Bourbon
4 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
2 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
2 oz. Simple Syrup
2 tbsp Apple Butter
Ice
2 Tumblers

You will also need, A couple wood chips (we used Apple Hickory wood chips), Lighter or Torch, a mixing glass, mixing spoon, sealable mason jar, strainer and air fryer, oven or dehydrator for garnish.

Let's Make the Garnish!

So, you can either purchase dried apple slices to save some time or you can DIY it! Here's what we did with the air fryer.

  1. Slice an apple thinly. We used Envy apples for this.
  2. Place a few slices in the airfryer, try not to overlap slices too much.
  3. Choose the lowest heat setting available and set timer for 40-50 minutes.
  4. Check on the slices periodically to ensure they are drying out evenly.
  5. When dried sufficiently, removed and dip one half quickly in lemon juice or water then dip in your granulated sugar.
  6. Hit the sugar with your lighter or torch to caramelize the sugar.
  7. Set aside.

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In mixing glass, add 4 oz. Maple Bourbon and Apple Butter (you can find this in peanut butter aisle, or make your own)
  2. Stir gently for 10-15 seconds and set aside.
  3. Grab your lighter/torch again and light one of the hickory chips and cover with your mason jar.
  4. As the flame extinguishes and jar fills with smoke, seal the jar closed (without chip inside).
  5. Now as quickly as possibly, remove the lid from the smoked out mason jar and pour in the bourbon mixture from step 1.
  6. Reseal the mason jar.
  7. Grab your mixing glass that is now empty, don't clean it but add 4 oz. lemon juice, 2 oz. lime juice and 2 oz. simple syrup. Stir.
  8. Now, grab your tumblers, fill about half way with ice.
  9. First pour the contents from the mixing glass (lemon juice, lime juice and simple syrup) evenly between the two glasses.
  10. Next pour the smoked apple butter bourbon mixture evenly between the two glasses.
  11. Stir gently to mix.
  12. Add Garnish.
  13. Find a good spot on your couch and ENJOY!

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"The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let dead things go."
-unknown

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage apple applebutter autumn beverage bourbon drink food photography fruit lime mixed drink mixology mixology monday recipe refreshing savory smoked smokey smoking cocktail https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/11/smokey-apple-butter-bourbon-bliss Tue, 10 Nov 2020 01:09:32 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Clean Slate https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/11/clean-slate Hey Hey!

We're Back! For the last almost 4 months we have been in transition, between selling our former home, moving into a temporary apartment and patiently waiting for construction on our new home to be completed. Although we are very much still in the process of settling in and furnishing this place, we wanted to restart this series. This week is dedicated to new beginnings, and we call this refreshing cocktail, Clean Slate. We hope you enjoy. As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages
 

This makes 2 drinks. Let's get started!

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Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 Sprigs Rosemary
2 Lime Peel Spirals


 

For Drink
2 Sprigs Rosemary (larger than garnish)
8-10  Mint Leaves
4 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
2 oz. Botanical Gin
2 oz. Vodka
4-8 oz. Ginger Beer
Ice
2 Tumblers

You will also need, a mixing glass, mixing spoon, lighter, strainer and muddler.

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In mixing glass, add mint leaves, large rosemary sprigs, and lime juice.
  2. Muddle for approximately 30 seconds.
  3. Add Gin (2 oz.), Vodka (2 oz.) and ice (10 cubes or so).
  4. Stir gently to chill.
  5. Strain between two glasses and add ice to each glass.
  6. Top with ginger beer.
  7. Garnish:
    • Apply flame to your lime peel spiral for 20-30 seconds.
    • Then twist peel over glass to express and place in glass.
    • Add small sprig of rosemary.
  8. Enjoy!

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PSA: Make your vote count tomorrow. Go Vote!


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"Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail, but every day is a clean slate and a fresh opportunity."
-Gretchen Rubin

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage beverage drink election day food photography fruit gin lime mint mixed drink mixology mixology monday recipe refreshing vodka https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/11/clean-slate Mon, 02 Nov 2020 23:53:40 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Flight of the Graduate https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/7/flight-of-the-graduate Hey there!

Today's recipe... well recipes are dedicated to the class of 2020. Our favorite mixologist, Frank (the author of all these drinks on this site) just graduated his MBA program with a near perfect 4.0 average! After all of the papers, exams and group projects.... you need a shot, or 4! Congratulations graduates! We hope you enjoy. As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages
 

This makes 4 [different] shots. Let's get started!

FG-IMG_0956FG-IMG_0956

 

Here's what you need:

For Garnishes
1 Melon Ball
1 Lime Wedge
1 Peach Wedge
1 Pineapple Wedge

 

For Drink
Melon Ball
1/4 oz. Pineapple Juice
1/4 oz. Midori
1 oz. Vodka
Ice

 

Snake Bite
2 oz. Whiskey
1/2 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1/4 oz. Simple Syrup (optional)
Ice

 

Woo Woo
1 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Peach Schnapps
2 oz. Cranberry Juice
Ice

 

Piña Colada
1 1/2 oz. Tequila
1/2 oz. Coconut Cream
1/2 oz. Pineapple Juice
Ice

You'll also need a shaker cup & shot glasses

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Let's Make the Drink!

The instructions for all four shots are the same, they just have different ingredients.

  1. In your shaker cup add all of the ingredients listed above for the shot you are making.
  2. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
  3. Pour approximately 2 oz. into your shot glass
  4. Garnish
    • Melon Ball = Melon Ball
    • Snake Bite = Lime Wedge
    • Woo Woo = Peach Wedge
    • Piña Colada = Pineapple Wedge
  5. Throw it back!
     

 

Melon Ball

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Snake Bite

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Woo Woo

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Piña Colado

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"The key to success, the key to happiness, is opening your mind and your heart to love. Spending your time doing things you love and with people you love."
-John Legend

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult adult beverage beverage drink food photography fruit lime mixed mixed drink mixology mixology monday monday quarantine recipe shots vodka https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/7/flight-of-the-graduate Mon, 06 Jul 2020 19:16:04 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Cucumber Basil Mint Slushie https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/6/cucumber-basil-mint-slushie Hey Hey!

Summer is by far our favorite season and although many of us are still in the midst of a mandatory lockdown, we are still able to enjoy time outside soaking up the sunshine. We wanted to share a recipe for a refreshing drink that is sure to keep you cool on the hot summer days. One sip and I swear your tension will melt away as your mood improves. We hope you enjoy. As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages
 

This recipe makes 1 pitcher or 4 drinks. Let's get started!

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Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 Cucumber Slices
2 Bunches of Basil or Mint Leaves

 

For Drink
3-4 cups of Ice 
4 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1/4 cup Basil Leaves
1/4 cup Mint Leaves
4 oz. Vodka

4 oz. Coconut Cream
2 oz. Water
3 tbsp. Sugar (We used Sugar in the Raw)
2 Cucumbers (chopped)

You'll also need a blender, smoothie/milkshake straws and any 8 oz glasses.

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In your blender, add everything:
    • Ice
    • Lime Juice
    • Basil  & Mint Leaves
    • Vodka
    • Coconut Cream
    • Water
    • Sugar
    • Chopped Cucumbers
  2. Using high speed smoothing setting (or equivalent) and blend for 30 -60 seconds.
  3. Pour into your 8 oz glasses. (Store any left overs in the freezer)
  4. Garnish with cucumber slice and mint or basil leaves
  5. Add a straw and find a comfy spot in the sun.
  6. Enjoy!

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“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
― John Steinbeck

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult adult beverage beverage drink food photography fruit lime mint mixed mixed drink mixology mixology monday monday quarantine recipe slush slushie slushy vodka https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/6/cucumber-basil-mint-slushie Mon, 29 Jun 2020 17:36:19 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Vodka Sunrise https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/6/vodka-sunrise Hey there!

This weekend was a little busy for us, so we decided to make a cocktail which needed minimal prep time and could be made with ingredients we already had. A Vodka Sunrise is similar to a Tequila Sunrise, except we decided to punch up the flavors by adding Chambord and Grapefruit juice. We hope you enjoy. As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages
 

This recipe makes 2 drinks. Let's get started!

SR-IMG_9939_1SR-IMG_9939_1

 

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 Lime Wedges
2 Grapefruit Wedges
2 Skewers/Cocktail Picks 

 

For Drink
4 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Chambord
1 oz. Grenadine
4 oz. Fresh Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
4 oz. Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
Ice
2 Collins or Highball Glasses 

You will also need a shaker cup.
 

SR-IMG_9927SR-IMG_9927

Let's Make the Garnish!

  1. Cut one Lime slice and one grapefruit slice into quarters.
  2. Skewer one lime quarter slice then skewer one grapefruit quarter slice.
  3. Set Aside.

 

SR-IMG_9889SR-IMG_9889

Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In your Collins or highball Glass, add:
    • Chambord
    • Ice
    • Grenadine
  2. In your shaker cup, add:
    • More Ice
    • Grapefruit Juice
    • Vodka
  3. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds
  4. Pour over ice in your Collins/highball glass.
  5. Top with Orange Juice
  6. Add Garnish
  7. Enjoy!

 

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"Rest but never quit. Even the sun has a sinking spell each evening. But it always rises the next morning.
At sunrise, every soul is born again."

– Muhammad Ali
 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult adult beverage beverage drink food photography fruit grapefruit lime mixed mixed drink mixology mixology monday monday orange juice recipe vodka vodka sunrise https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/6/vodka-sunrise Mon, 22 Jun 2020 17:53:31 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Old Fashioned Love Story https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/6/old-fashioned-love-story Hey there,

Today's Mixology Monday post was inspired by a romantic movie and is another spin on an Old Fashion. We first made an Old Fashioned in January, and used blood oranges. Typically, an Old Fashioned uses orange and cherry as a garnish only. This version infuses the flavors of the garnish with the alcohol and the alcohol has the essence of the garnish. Similar to the best love stories, where two independent souls become one, in time (thyme). We hope you enjoy. As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages
 

This recipe makes 2 drinks. Let's get started!

 

OL-IMG_9570OL-IMG_9570

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 Orange Slices
2 Bourbon Cherries
2 Skewers/Cocktail Picks 

 

For Drink
3 oz. Bourbon
1 oz. Cointreau
2 tbsp. Bourbon Cherry Syrup
2-4 tsp. Honey
4-8 Sprigs of Thyme
3 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
Ice
2 Coupe Glasses or Rocks Tumblers

You will also need a shaker cup, muddler, strainer, and air fryer or oven (for garnish)
 

Let's Make the Garnish!

  1. Slice an orange into a few thin slices.
  2. Pop into the air fryer on lowest heat setting for approx 40 min (check periodically)
    • If you do not have an air fryer, you can dry them in the oven on a low setting, it will however take considerably longer.
  3. Skewer one boozy cheery with your cocktail pick. Set aside.

OL-IMG_9538OL-IMG_9538

Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In a shaker cup, add:
    • Thyme
    • Lime Juice
    • Cherry Syrup
  2. Muddle for 20-30 seconds.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to shaker cup:
    • Ice
    • Honey
    • Cointreau
    • Bourbon
  4. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds
  5. Strain evenly between both glasses
  6. Add garnish
  7. Enjoy!

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“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”
— Maya Angelou

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult adult beverage beverage bourbon cointreau drink flatten the curve food photography fruit lime mixed mixed drink mixology mixology monday monday old fashioned recipe https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/6/old-fashioned-love-story Tue, 16 Jun 2020 01:08:10 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Apricot Dawa https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/6/apricot-dawa Hey there!

We hope you are well! Today for Mixology Monday, we are sharing our version of a Dawa. Dawa means medicine or magic potion in Swahili and is a classic cocktail in Kenya. Our take includes a drizzle of honey over the crushed ice, apricot jam and it gets sweeter with thyme (get it?!). Many Kenyan communities believe this drink is the ultimate cure for all ailments... maybe this is the thing we need!  We hope you enjoy. As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages
 

This recipe makes 2 drinks. Let's get started!
 

AD-IMG_9129AD-IMG_9129

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 Apricot Slices

2 Bunches of Thyme
2 Skewers/Cocktail Picks 

 

For Drink
4 oz. Vodka
4 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
2 tsp. Granulated Sugar
2-4 tsp. Honey
4 Sprigs of Thyme
2 tbsp. Apricot Preserves
Ice
2 Rocks Tumbler Glasses

You'll also need a Shaker Cup, Muddler, Strainer and Hawthorne Strainer. 

AD-IMG_9153AD-IMG_9153

Let's Make the Garnish!

  1. Slice an apricot into medium sized wedges.
  2. Use your cocktail pick to skewer the apricot from top to bottom.
  3. Set aside along with 2 bunches on thyme.

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In a shaker cup, add:
    • Sugar
    • Lime Juice
    • Thyme
    • Apricot Jam
  2. Muddle for 20-30 seconds.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to shaker cup:
    • Vodka
    • Ice
  4. Shake Vigorously for 30 seconds.
  5. Add ice to your rocks tumblers.
  6. Drizzle 1-2 tbsp of honey per glass, over the ice.
  7. Double strain shaker cup evenly between both glasses
  8. add your garnish of apricot wedge and sprigs of thyme.  
  9. Sip slow and enjoy!

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"Treat the Earth well. It was not given to you by your parents. It was loaned to you by your children." 
-Kenyan Proverb
 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage apricot beverage dawa drink flatten the curve food photography fruit lime mixed mixed drink mixology mixology monday monday quarantine recipe thyme vodka https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/6/apricot-dawa Mon, 08 Jun 2020 23:14:55 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Black Martini https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/6/black-martini This week’s Mixology Monday is an interpretation of black, not as the absence of light to be feared but as a something sweet to be embraced. This cocktail highlights the black raspberry through use of a French liqueur called Chambord. Black raspberries are sweet fruits which grow in a thorny prickly shrub sometimes referred to as bramble. This concept of fruit amongst thorns is explored in our Black-tini cocktail which pairs sweet black raspberries with the, sharp tartness of lemon. We hope you enjoy. As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This recipe makes 2 drinks. Let's get started!

BBM-IMG_8897_1BBM-IMG_8897_1

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2-6 Blackberries
2 Skewers/Cocktail Picks 

 

For Drink
3 oz. Vodka
2 oz. Blue Curaçao
1 oz. Chambord (Black Raspberry Liqueur)
1 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
Black Food Coloring (just a few drops)
Ice
2 Lemon Peel Strips (For Zest)
2 Martini Glasses

You'll also need a Shaker Cup, Strainer and Hawthorne Strainer. 

 

BBM-IMG_8852BBM-IMG_8852

Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In a shaker cup, add:
    • Ice
    • Vodka
    • Blue Curaçao
    • Chambord
    • Lemon Juice
    • Food Coloring
  2. Shake Vigorously for 30 seconds
  3. Double Strain evenly between two martini glasses.
    • Note: Any time our cocktails include fresh squeezed juice and we don't want to include pulp in the cocktail, we double strain.
  4. Garnish with a skewer/cocktail pick of black berries.
  5. Twist your lemon peels above each glass to add zest.
  6. Enjoy!

 

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SAY THEIR NAME

 

Eric Garner •  John Crawford III •  Michael Brown •  Ezell Ford •  Dante Parker •  Michelle Cusseaux •  Laquan McDonald •  Tanisha Anderson •  Akai Gurley •  Tamir Rice •  Rumain Brisbon •  Jerame Reid •  George Mann •  Matthew Ajibade •  Frank Smart •  Natasha Mckenna • Tony Robinson •   Anthony Hill •  Mya Hall •  Phillip White •  Eric Harris •  Walter Scott •  William Chapman II •  Alexia Christian •  Brendon Glenn •  Victor Manuel Larosa •  Jonathan Sanders •  Freddie Blue • Joseph Mann • Salvado Ellswood •  Sandra Bland •  Albert Joseph Davis •  Darrius Stewart •  Billy Ray Davis •  Samuel Dubose •  Michael Sabbie •   Brian Keith Day •  Christian Taylor • Troy Robinson •    Asshams Pharoah Manley •  Felix Kumi •  Keith Harrison Mcleod Junior •  Prosper Lamontez Jones •   Paterson Brown •  Dominic Hutchinson •  Anthony Ashford •  Alonzo Smith •  Tyree Crawford •  India Kager •  La’vante Biggs • Steven Demarco Taylor •  Ariane McCree •  Michael Lee Marshall •  Jamar Clark •  Richard Perkins •  Nathaniel Harris Pickett •  Benni Leetignor •  Miguel Espinal •  Michael Noel • Kevin Matthews •  Bettie Jones •  Quintonio Legrier •  Keith Childress Jr. •  Janet Wilson •  Randy Nelson • Antronie Scott •  Wendell Celestine •  David Joseph •  Calin Roquemore • Dyzhawn Perkins •  Christopher Davis •   Marco Loud •  Peter Gaines •  Torrey Robinson •   Darius Robinson •   Kevin Hicksmary Truxillo •  Demarcus Semer •  Willie Tillman •   Terrill Thomas •  Sylville Smith •  Sean Reed  • Jamee Johnson •  Natosha “Tony” McDade •  Yassin Mohamed •  Finan H. Berhe •  Miles Hall •  Darius Tarver •  William Green • Kwame “KK” Jones •  De’von Bailey •  Eric Logan • Jamarion Robinson •  Gregory Hill Jr •  JaQuavion Slaton •  Ryan Twyman •  Brandon Webber •  Jimmy Atchison •  Willie McCoy •  Emantic “EJ” Fitzgerald Bradford Jr •  Jemel Roberson •  DeAndre Ballard •  Robert Lawrence White •  Anthony Lamar Smith •  Ramarley Graham •  Manuel Loggins Jr •  Trayvon Martin •  Wendell Allen •  Kendrec McDade • Larry Jackson Jr. •  Jonathan Ferrell • Jordan Baker •  Dontre Hamilton •  Kajieme Powell •  Jerame Reid •  Charly Leundeu Keunang •  Freddie Gray  •  Mario Woods •  Gregory Gunn •  Akiel Denkins •  Terrence Sterling • Keith Lamont Scott •  Alfred Olango •  Danny Ray Thomas •  DeJuan Guillory •   Jonathan Hart •  Maurice Granton •  Julius Johnson •  Jamee Johnson •  Michael Dean •  Alton Sterling •  Philando Castile • Terence Crutcher •  Paul O’Neal •  Alteria Woods •  Jordan Edwards •  Aaron Bailey •  Ronell Foster • Stephon Clark •  Antwon Rose II •  Botham Jean •  Pamela Turner •  Dominique Clayton •  Atatiana Jefferson •  Christopher Whitfield •  Christopher McCorvey •  Eric Reason •  Michael Lorenzo Dean •  Breonna Taylor •  Ahmaud Arbery •  George Floyd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#BLACKLIVESMATTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult adult beverage beverage black martini blacklivesmatter blue curacao chambord drink flatten the curve food photography fruit lemon lime mixed mixed drink mixology mixology monday monday quarantine recipe vodka https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/6/black-martini Mon, 01 Jun 2020 18:53:50 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Amaretto Sour https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/5/amaretto-sour Hey Hey!

Today we're sharing a classic of Italian-American origins, the Amaretto Sour. The exact history of the drink is unclear but the early version of the drink was essentially an overly sweet combination of Amaretto and sour mix from the 1970s. Fortunately for us, this recipe has improved with time. So if you're reading this, remembering (and loathing) sipping this syrupy concoction a few decades ago we encourage you to try this updated rendition, it may end up being one of your favorites. We hope you enjoy. As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This recipe makes 2 drinks. Let's get started!

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Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 Bourbon Soaked Cherries
2 Dehydrated Lemon Slices 
1 tsp Lemon Juice & 2 tbsp Sugar for Glass Rim

 

For Drink
4 oz. DiSarono
2 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
2 Dashes of Aromatic Bitters
1 Egg White
Ice Cubes
2 Coupe Glasses or Rocks Tumblers

You'll also need a Shaker Cup, Strainer and Mixing Glass. 

 

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. Before we begin, sugar the rim of your glasses, as much or little as you like.
    • Pro tip, use a cotton swab to first apply the lemon juice where you want the sugar.
    • Lightly drag the glass (where lemon juice is applied) in your sugar
  2. In a shaker cup add:
    • 1 Egg White (be sure to separate out the yolk)
    • Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice (2 oz)
    • Bitters (2 dashes)
    • DiSarono (4 oz)
    • Ice
  3. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds
  4. Pour into mixing glass
  5. Remove ice and pour cocktail back into shaker cup
  6. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds (with no ice)
  7. Strain into both glasses evenly
  8. Add 1 bourbon cherry and dehydrated lemon slice to each glass.
  • The bourbon cherries were purchased, not made. They can be found in well stocked liquor stores.
  • Our lemon slices were dehydrated in the air fryer. They can also be made in the oven. Set the temperature low, (150 - 200º) and wait. Time: 2 hours in oven.
  1. Enjoy!

 

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"Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
– Thomas A. Edison

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult adult beverage amaretto amaretto sour beverage bourbon cherry disarono drink flatten the curve food photography fruit lemon mixed mixed drink mixology mixology monday monday quarantine recipe https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/5/amaretto-sour Mon, 25 May 2020 15:07:33 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Frank's Hard Lemonade https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/5/franks-hard-lemonade Hey Hey!

We have all heard the saying; “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” but, why settle? Adding spirits, mint, and natural vanilla flavor profiles help elevate this American classic well beyond the ordinary. This original cocktail was Frank's creation after a mentally challenging day. We hope you enjoy. As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This recipe makes 1 drink. Let's get started!

 

FL-IMG_4630FL-IMG_4630

 

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
1 Small Bunches of Mint Leaves
1 Lemon Slices
Optional Lemon Spiral for Aesthetics

 

For Drink
1.5 oz. Vanilla Simple Syrup (click here for recipe)
3 oz. Brandy 
4.5 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
10-12 Mint Leaves
1 tbsp Agave Nectar

Ice Cubes
1 High Ball Glass (or glass that can hold 9 oz)


You'll also need a Shaker Cup and Muddler. 

 

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In a shaker cup add:
    • Mint Leaves (10-12) - Before adding, give the leave 2 smacks; by giving the herbs a smack, you're rupturing some of their cells and releasing their essential oils, this increases the aroma.
    • Vanilla Simple Syrup (1.5 oz) - Recipe Here
      • Note: If you do not have or cannot find vanilla beans, you can use one drop of vanilla extract in the recipe.
    • Agave Nectar (1 tbsp)
  2. Muddle (approx 5 turns)
  3. Add Ice (8-12 cubes)
  4. Add Brandy (3oz)
  5. Add Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice (4.5 oz)
  6. Shake Vigourously for 15-20 Seconds
  7. Pour Into Glass Over Ice
  8. Add Garnish
  9. Enjoy!

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"Our happiness is certainly mixed in with the tragedies of life. You have to find the lemonade. You have to find the silver lining in the middle of everything that happens in life."

~Chandra Wilson

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult beverage beverage brandy drink food photography fruit hard lemonade lemon lemonade mint mixed drink mixology mixology monday monday recipe https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/5/franks-hard-lemonade Mon, 18 May 2020 15:45:00 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Moon Dew https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/5/moon-dew Hey There!

Another Monday, another day in lockdown. Yesterday we honored our mothers, who were our inspiration for today's drink. Our Moon Dew is our twist on the Moonwalk.  No, we're not talking about Michael Jackson's famous dance move. The original Moonwalk cocktail was invented in 1969, by Joe Gilmore, head barman of the Savoy Hotel's American Bar, to commemorate the first moon landing. Gilmore said in an interview, “The Savoy sent it off in a flask and I received a letter back from Neil Armstrong thanking us and saying it was the first drink they had when they came out of quarantine.” Fortunately for us, we don't have to wait for the end of quarantine to sip on this. We hope you enjoy. As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This recipe makes 2 drinks. Let's get started!

 

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Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 edible flowers
Note: Many flowers can be edible but be sure to get yours from a grocery store, in the produce section. Stores such as Wegmans, Trader Joes or Wholefoods will have them.

For Drink
3 oz. Grapefruit Juice w/ Flower Syrup (see below)

2 oz. Cointreau 
8 oz. Prosecco
Ice Cubes
2 White Wine Glasses


For Grapefruit Juice w/ Flower Syrup
2-4 edible flowers
2 Grapefruits
1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sugar
 

You'll also need a Mixing Glass, Shaker Cup and Strainer. 

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Let's Make the Grape Fruit Juice with Flower Syrup!

  1. In a small pot add:

    • Water (1/2 cup)
    • Sugar (1/2 cup)
    • Edible Flowers (2-4)
  2. Let boil for 8 minutes.
  3. Let chill.
  4. Juice both grapefruits (you will need 6 oz)
  5. Add 1.5 oz of your chilled flower syrup to the grapefruit juice and set aside.
  6. Any leftover syrup can be preserved in the fridge.

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In a mixing glass add:

    • Grapefruit Juice w Flower Syrup (3 oz)
    • Cointreau (2 oz)
  2. Stir lightly.
  3. In shaker cup, add your mixture from previous step and ice.
  4. Shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds.
  5. Strain evenly between two glasses.
  6. Top with Prosecco (4 oz each glass).
  7. Garnish each glass with 1 edible flower.
  8. Enjoy!

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“A flower blooming in the desert proves to the world that adversity, no matter how great, can be overcome.”
-Matshona Dhliwayo
 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult adult beverage beverage cointreau drink flatten the curve floral flowers food photography fruit grapefruit mixed mixed drink mixology mixology monday monday moonwalk moonwalk cocktail prosecco quarantine recipe simple syrup https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/5/moon-dew Mon, 11 May 2020 15:32:20 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Blue Milk of Tatooine https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/5/blue-milk-of-tatooine Hey Hey,

Today, May 4th, we are honoring Star Wars Day with a treat from Tatooine. We understand you likely will not have a bantha nearby (unless maybe you're friends with a Jawa)... so, we've made some modifications! Whether you pledge allegiance to the First Order, the Resistance, Empire, or are simply just a piece of Rebel scum; this treat will serve you well, like Luke's R2D2 & C3PO. May the Fourth (and Force) be with you always!. We hope you enjoy. As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages

This recipe makes 2 drinks. Let's get started!

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Here's what you need:

For Drink
4 oz. Gin
2 oz. Coconut Cream 
1 oz. Blue Curaçao
1 oz. Vanilla Syrup (click here)
1 oz. DiSarono

1.5 oz. Pineapple Juice
1.5 oz. Lime Juice 
Ice Cubes
2 Rocks Tumblers

You'll also need a  Shaker Cup, Bar Spoon and Strainer. 

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Let's Make the Drink!

  1. In a mixing glass add:

    • Gin (4 oz)
    • Coconut Cream (2 oz)
    • Blue Curaçao (1oz)
    • Vanilla Syrup (1 oz)
    • DiSarono (1 oz)
    • Pineapple Juice (1.5 oz)
    • Lime Juice (1.5 oz)
  2. Stir Gently
  3. Add ice to your shaker cup
  4. Pour drink mixture into your shaker cup
  5. Shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds
  6. Strain evenly between two glasses.
  7. Enjoy with your favorite Wookie!

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“In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.”
-Yoda, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
 

 

 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult adult beverage beverage coconut cream DiSarono drink flatten the curve food photography fruit gin lime mixed mixed drink mixology mixology monday monday pineapple quarantine recipe simple syrup https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/5/blue-milk-of-tatooine Mon, 04 May 2020 15:33:26 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Boozy Whipped Coffee https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/4/boozy-whipped-coffee Hey Hey!

We hope you are well! We are doing our best over here but often find ourselves losing track of time, wondering what day it is and giving our Keurig a workout. No wonder our sleep schedule is screwed up! This week’s post was inspired from one of those cups of coffee. Caffeinated boozy drinks are not new and offer a ‘best of both worlds’ solution to the hum-drum of this new normal; caffeine to keep you motivated & alcohol to take the edge off these uncertain times. We are pairing this cocktail with our version of the current viral sensation, whipped coffee or the top half of a Dalgona Coffee. We hope you enjoy! As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages  By the way, lately we have been posting behind the scenes videos on IG (in our stories), give us a follow to see for yourself!

This recipe makes 2 drinks. Let's get started!

CAF-IMG_2755CAF-IMG_2755
 

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
1/4 cup Instant Coffee
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Hot Water
1/2 oz. Kahlua 
1-2 tbsp chocolate shavings (optional)

For Drink
1.5 oz. Brandy
1.5 oz Grand Marnier 
1.5 oz Kahlua
8-10 oz Hot Coffee
1 Orange Peel
2 Heat Safe Mugs or Glasses 

You'll also need a  peeler, bar spoon and lighter.

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Let's Make the Garnish:
 

  1. In a bowl add:

    • Instant Coffee (1/4 cup)

    • Sugar (1/4 cup)

    • Hot Water (1/4 cup)

    • Kahlua (1/2 oz)

  2. Using an electric mixer, mix until fluffy (about 2-5 minutes)

    • If you don't have an electric mixer, you can whisk by hand. This will take 8-15 minutes and your arm might fall off, but its worth it!

  3. Put a lid on your bowl and set aside for now.

    • Any extra you have left over can be stored in the fridge for a week or so. 

  4. Shave your chocolate and also set that aside.

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Let's Make the Drink:

  1. Lightly burn your orange peel with a lighter. This helps bring out the orange's oils and a deeper flavor to the drink.
  2. Place the peel in a large cup or mixing glass.
  3. In the glass add:
    • Brandy (1.5 oz)
    • Grand Marnier (1.5 oz)
    • Kahlua (1.5 oz)
    • Hot Coffee (8-10 oz)
  4. Stir Lightly.
  5. Pour evenly between your two glasses, and ensure space to add your whipped coffee.
  6. Gently spoon the whipped coffee onto the top of your drink (it will float).
  7. Add your chocolate shavings.
  8. Sip Slow and Enjoy!

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"With enough coffee, I feel as though all things are possible. Many of them are highly unlikely, but they are possible."
~Nanea Hoffman
 

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult adult beverage beverage boozy coffee brandy caffeine coffee dalgona drink flatten the curve food photography fruit grand marnier kahlua mixed mixed drink mixology mixology monday monday quarantine recipe whipped coffee https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/4/boozy-whipped-coffee Mon, 27 Apr 2020 14:50:47 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Bourbon Basil Smashless Smash https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/4/bourbon-basil-smashless-smash Hey Hey!

We hope you're well! Today we're keeping things nice, simple, easy breezy and we're making a smash! Smashes have been around for at least the last century. There are many different variations of smashes out there but they have a common denominator.... a spirit, a sweetener, fresh herb,  fruit/fruit juice and it’s served over ice. Perfect for the longer and warmer springtime days. We're calling it a smashless smash only because we didn't muddle any fruit here.  We hope you enjoy. As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages 

This recipe makes 2 drinks. Let's get smashed!

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Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 Small Basil Leaf bunches

For Drink
4 oz. Bourbon
2 oz. Lemon Lime Simple Syrup 
2 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
10 Basil Leaves
Crushed Ice or Ice Cubes
2 Rocks Tumblers

For Lemon Lime Simple Syrup
2 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
2 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
2 oz Water
5 tsp. Granulated Sugar

You'll also need a  Shaker Cup and Hawthorn Strainer. 

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Let's Make the Lemon Lime Syrup:

Many cocktails call for a simple syrup which is equal parts sugar and water. We've made a simple syrup before, click here. This version adds lemon and lime juice instead of vanilla.

Combine all ingredients (lemon juice, lime juice, sugar and water) in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar has dissolved completely. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain into a clean container, cover and refrigerate. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
 

Let's Make the Drink:

  1. In a shaker cup, add:
    • Several Ice Cubes
    • Basil Leaves (slap them in your hands once or twice in order to get the most flavor out)
    • Bourbon (4 oz)
    • Simple Syrup (2 oz)
    • Lemon Juice (2 oz)
  2. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
  3. Pour over  Ice into 2 rocks tumblers
  4. Add more Ice
  5. Garnish with basil leaves
  6. Enjoy! 


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"You know what rhymes with Monday? Bourbon."

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(Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images) adult adult beverage basil beverage bourbon drink flatten the curve food photography fruit lime mixed mixed drink mixology mixology monday monday quarantine recipe simple syrup smash https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/4/bourbon-basil-smashless-smash Mon, 20 Apr 2020 16:00:00 GMT
Mixology Monday With The Leveretts - Tiger Juice https://www.staynfocus.com/blog/2020/4/tiger-juice Hey there all you cool cats and kittens!

We hope you and your family are well and are hanging in there! Since we are literally a captive audience these days, I'm sure you are aware of the Netflix docuseries Tiger King, a documentary about tiger owners in the US and their fascinating world. The over the top WTF moments throughout the entire thing are still lingering in our minds, so we are dedicating this Monday to Joe Exotic, Carole Baskin and her missing husband... because Tiger Juice is better than sardine juice! We hope you enjoy. As always, if you make any of our drinks, take a picture and share them with us online! Instagram ---> @ staynfocusimages 

This recipe makes 2 drinks. Let's get started!

TJ-IMG_1194TJ-IMG_1194

 

Here's what you need:

For Garnish
2 Large Orange Peels from 1 Orange

 

For Drink
6 oz. Bourbon
4 oz. Fresh Squeeze Orange Juice 
2 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 Tsp. Agave Nectar
5-7 Ice Cubes
2 Martini Glasses

You'll also need a  Shaker Cup, Hawthorn Strainer, and another Strainer (we're double straining this).

 

TJ-IMG_1132TJ-IMG_1132

 

Let's Make the Garnish:

  1. To make your tiger claw garnish, save the peel from 1 orange.
  2. Cut out two large and tall triangles.
  3. Within each triangle cut 3 equal sized strips (Be careful to not cut end to end, you want the orange peel intact)
  4. Starting with the top point of the triangle, wrap around a chopstick or cocktail pick in a spiral shape.
  5. Wrap in a damp paper towel and set aside until needed.

 

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Let's Make the Drink:

  1. In a shaker cup, add:
    • Bourbon (6 oz)
    • Orange Juice (4 oz)
    • Lemon Juice (2 oz)
    • Agave (1 tsp)
    • Ice
  2. Shake Vigorously for 30 seconds.
  3. Strain using Hawthorn strainer and additional strainer into 2 martini glasses.
  4. Add your garnish.
  5. Enjoy! Sip Slow!

 

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