5 Recipes to Celebrate National Pineapple Day

Happy Wednesday! You know what that means? We’re halfway through the week which means the weekend is almost here. And it’s even better because next week is a holiday week which means...short week!!! To say I’m excited is an understatement. Did you also know that today is National Pineapple Day? It’s also International Pineapple Day but the point is, it’s a day for celebrating pineapple, one of my favorite fruits! I love the versatility of it. It’s great fresh, on its own or grilled on top of a burger. I’ve come to enjoy it so much, that it’s even been sneaking it’s way into quite a few recipes lately. Keep scrolling to grab a few.

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I’ve always known Hawaii to be the land of the pineapple but did you know that they’re actually native to South America? The Spanish brought the fruit to Hawaii where they ended up commercializing it. For a while, pineapples became a sign of wealth among European aristocrats since it was so expensive to either import them or grow them through early versions of greenhouses. I find this fascinating! And now, Hawaii barely produces any of the world’s pineapple contributions. Imagine my surprise considering I visited Hawaii back in 2006 and we had plenty of pineapple and even visited a plantation. But now that I realize it was 12 years ago, I guess it shouldn't be so surprising.

I could go on all day about pineapple but I’m sure you’d rather check out a few recipes. My favorite use of pineapple lately has been grilled and on top of burgers. Something about the combination of savory, juicy meat and the tangy sweetness of pineapple gets to me. It’s a flavor combo that can’t be beat and it’s an easy way to add a little pizzazz to your dinner table or impress guests. Where else (other than a restaurant) will you get a burger with a pineapple on top? People are generally too apprehensive to go out of their comfort zone with food when they’re hosting guests. Me? I like to challenge people’s comfort zones so don’t come to dinner at my house if you’re not ready to see something non-traditional on the dinner table. I love the classics but boy, do I love a twist!

BBQ Chicken Burgers with Grilled Pineapple
This recipe is one of my favorites. Ground chicken is used instead of beef for lighter burgers that are packed with flavor. Keep the patty from disintegrating on the grill by using a full cup of breadcrumbs in the meat mixture. I used regular breadcrumbs but panko will work as well and might even give the burgers a light, airy quality.

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BBQ Hawaiian Chicken Bowls
This is a great weeknight dish. Everything (except the rice) is grilled, or cooked on grill pan over the stove. Start with the chicken breasts and while they rest, grill up the pineapple and peppers. Serve over rice with my homemade barbecue sauce and this is a winner.

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Frozen Mango-Pineapple Daiquiri
Fresh or frozen pineapple will work for this delightful cocktail. I call it sunshine in a glass because you can’t help but be happy while drinking it and it looks so sunny! White rum, my preferred choice of liquor, has a mellow flavor so I will warn you - it goes down a little too easy. This would be a great cocktail to whip up for a few friends on a casual night in but I wouldn’t recommend making it in larger batches since the slushy quality really makes it special.

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Grilled Pineapple Burgers
Inspired by one of the best burgers I’ve ever had, this recipe was my first try at putting a pineapple on my own burger. Modeled after a burger I had while visiting Denver, it has a lot of flavor packed into the meat patty so that the pineapple doesn’t take over. Provolone cheese adds a mellow touch to all the strong flavors and provides a nice balance.

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Mango Pineapple Salsa
Probably my favorite salsa recipe...ever. Nothing mixes better with pineapple than other tropical flavors. This salsa, while very yellow in presentation, is addictive. So addictive that in the original post I wrote a disclaimer releasing me from any responsibility of future salsa addictions. It’s so easy to make and is 100% worth making in triple or even quadruple batches. It will go fast. Believe me!

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Frozen Mango-Pineapple Daiquiri - #ThirstyThursday

One more day till the weekend! Isn't it weird that the four-day weeks feel longer than the five-day weeks? To get you through the remaining work week, here is a cocktail that's also a great break from this awfully hot weather we've been having lately. One thing summer has going for it are the frozen adult beverages, that's for sure. Mango and Pineapple are two flavors that were made for each other. Inspired by this pairing, we've put together a cocktail that is refreshing, tart, sweet and perfectly cool for the remaining scorchers summer is forcing upon us.

For a consistency like a smoothie or slushie, trade one or both of the fruits used in this drink with the frozen variety. I used fresh pineapple and frozen mango because I hate cutting mangos. The frozen fruit acts like ice which is what will make the drink nice and thick, like a smoothie. It will also keep it cold longer. This drink uses white rum but you could also use a coconut rum. It will add a bit more of a tropical vibe to an already tropical drink. It's really a fantastic summer cocktail and you can add to it to make it ever better. Maybe throw some strawberries in for a berry-licious flavor. Replace the lime juice with orange juice for a citrusy but lest tart treat. The possibilities are endless.

FROZEN MANGO-PINEAPPLE DAIQUIRI
Ingredients:
1.5 ounces White Rum
1 ounce Fresh Lime Juice
1.5 tbsp Sugar
1/2 cup Frozen Mango
1/2 cup Fresh Pineapple (or frozen)
Pineapple Chunk & Lime Wedge for garnish.

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth and pour into two glasses. Garnish with a pineapple chunk and lime wedge. Serve immediately.

With summer coming to an end, what flavors are you enjoying the most before they're gone?

Summer Sippers: Berry Explosive Raspado & Irish Mule Cocktail Recipes

I may not be summer's number one fan but I do love the season's cool, refreshing cocktails. Luckily, the possibilities are endless so if you wanted, you could have a different cocktail every day of the summer. Some recipes are just so good, they become Friday night favorites. Kind of like the two I have to share with you today. The first is a fruity explosion that is perfect for weekend barbecues and parties. The second is a twist on a refreshing classic that's easy to whip up and even easier to make in a batch. Both recipes have become two of my favorite cocktails to whip up at home. Check them out below.

The Berry Explosive Raspado recipe was created by Milagro Tequila. It's cold, fruity, refreshing and did I mention cold? The cocktail blend is poured over crushed ice (or in my case, shaved ice) making it an adult slushie of sorts. This would be fun for a weekend barbecue or girls' night in. The colors give it a patriotic look so might I suggest whipping this up for Labor Day? You could blend all the ingredients times ten, prepare the crushed ice in advance and even make this into a batch cocktail. It would take a bit more work than the cocktail I have next but It would definitely spice things up.

**If you run out of Agave Nectar or you don't have any in your pantry, simple syrup or honey work fantastic as well. I used a mixture of Agave and Honey because I didn't realize I was running low on the former. If the raspberries aren't looking great at the store, strawberries would be a tasty substitute. 

BERRY EXPLOSIVE RASPADO by Milagro Tequila
Ingredients:
4 parts Milagro Silver
1 part Fresh Lime Juice
2 parts Agave Nectar
8 Raspberries
12 Blueberries
4 Fresh Mint Leaves
6 dashes Peach Bitters

Directions:
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Fill two glasses with crushed or shaved ice and pour over. Top with raspberries and blueberries.

You've probably heard of the Moscow Mule. It's traditionally made with vodka and known to be an incredibly refreshing cocktail. Tullamore D.E.W. gave it an Irish twist substituting the vodka for whiskey. The result? A richer, more flavor-filled cocktail that is still equally as refreshing. The simple ingredient list makes this an easy cocktail to turn into a batch. Simply decide how much ginger beer you need, add a quarter of that amount of whiskey and measure out one lime per cup of ginger beer. So, if you want to make 8 cups/servings, you'll need 2 cups of whiskey and 8 limes. Give it a quick stir, add to a pitcher or beverage dispenser and call it a day!

**My best friend taught me how to pick out the juiciest limes. I'm not sure that there is an exact science behind this but it's worked so far. Look for the shiniest limes. They don't have to be the greenest, the largest or squishy but very shiny. The shinier the lime, the more juice it contains. It hasn't failed me yet! If you've got a hard lime on your hands, throw it around a little, roll it while putting lots of weight on it or pop it in the microwave for a minute. Those should help loosen the juice.

IRISH MULE by Tullamore D.E.W.
Ingredients:
1/4 cup Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey
1 cup Ginger Beer
Juice of 1 lime

Directions:
Fill a copper mug or whatever glass you have available with ice. Pour in whiskey followed by ginger beer and lime juice. Drink as is or give a stir before enjoying this refreshing cocktail.

What are some cocktails you're sipping on this summer? 

Strawberry Pineapple Daiquiri Recipe

Who doesn't love a good daiquiri? They're famous for being frozen and fruity but it can be served just as delicious on the rocks. In fact, I dare you to try this cocktail and not like it. Pineapple is my favorite ingredient for cocktails. Pair it together with strawberry and white rum...heaven. The only thing that would make this better is a bit of coconut but let's not get out of control. Simplicity is key for when you're in a pinch.

I always like to shake my cocktails with an ice cube or two. It helps mix everything really well and makes the drink nice and cold.  White rum has more of a light flavor as opposed to dark rum which is richer. That's why it works well with fruity drinks. Coconut rum would make a fantastic substitute for the white rum and add an extra punch of flavor if you have it on hand. As innovative as you can get with cocktails, there's something about simple recipes with ingredients you can normally find in your kitchen. They're great on demand and mix well in batches too. I like to play with cocktails when I have a bartender making them for me but when I'm at home, I prefer simple and delicious, just like this one.

STRAWBERRY PINEAPPLE DAIQUIRI
Ingredients: 
1/4 cup Strawberries
2 oz. White Rum
1 oz. Simple Syrup
1 oz. Lime Juice
Pineapple Juice

Directions:
1. Place strawberries at the bottom of a cocktail mixer. Muddle with a muddler or be resourceful and use the butt end of a wooden spoon. Add in rum, lime juice, simple syrup and ice cubes (optional). Shake well.

2. Fill a glass with ice, pour the mixture through a strainer. Top with pineapple juice. Garnish with a strawberry for garnish.

What are some of your favorite cocktails to serve during spring and summer?

Raspberry Mint Margarita Recipe

Spring calls for cocktails that can't be beat. With all the fresh fruit, especially berries, that are in season, creating cocktails couldn't be simpler. My interest in playing with ingredients for cocktails is fairly recent. In all honesty, I'm not a big drinker and don't pretend to be. Wine is my go-to and I enjoy a good coconut rum but other than that, I've never really branched out. The main reason behind this is that I don't like the taste of alcohol so if I'm going to have a drink, it's going to be because it tastes freaking fantastic.

Frozen margaritas are something I have always loved, even though the flavor of tequila makes me gag. But they are typically filled with sugar, thus the hangover the next day. I believe that with the right mix of ingredients and a good quality tequila, you can make a margarita on the rocks that is even better than a jumbo frozen margarita from the nearest Mexican joint. What's even better? No hangover because you'll be using natural sweeteners like fruit and in the case of this recipe, agave nectar. Oh, and no brain freezes. Those might be worse than an actual hangover.

A margarita traditionally consists of white or silver tequila, triple sec and lime juice. I leave the triple sec out unless I'm purposely going for a citrus theme. After all, the best part in playing with cocktails is that you call the shots. With that said, I don't think I have made one margarita without mint. Mint and tequila were made for each other and it gives the drink a cool freshness that is perfect for warm summer days. Finally, the fruit. Use whatever fruit you want in a margarita but I personally love berries. This particular recipe features raspberries (my favorite). Whenever you use a fruit with lots of seeds, You want to make sure to strain after mixing. My strainer didn't do the best job but hey, what are you going to do? Check out the recipe below and let me know what you think!

RASPBERRY MINT MARGARITA
Ingredients:
1/4 cup Raspberries
3-4 Mint Leaves
1 ounce Agave Nectar
1 ounce Lime Juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
2 ounces Silver Tequila
Ice cubes (optional)

For Garnish:
Raspberry
Lime wedge

Directions:
1. Place raspberries and mint leaves in the bottom of a mixer. Muddle until berries are crushed well. Add agave nectar and lime juice, muddle about 30 more seconds. Add tequila and two ice cubes*, close or cover well and shake for at least 30 seconds.

2. Fill a rocks glass with a couple of ice cubes, strain the mixed ingredients into the glass and garnish with a raspberry and lime wedge. Serve.

*The ice cubes are optional when shaking. I prefer to use them because it keeps the ingredients moving and gives them a good mix. It also chills the mix really well. If you decide to use ice cubes when shaking, make sure to add them all the way at the end so they don't melt and water down the cocktail.

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day With Tullamore D.E.W.

St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner and to celebrate the holiday, Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey has launched a 50 State Irish True Pub Tour. The event kicked off on St. Practice Day, February 17th, one month before the Irish holiday. The tour is led by Tullamore D.E.W. brand ambassador and Irish pub historian, Tim Herlihy as he travels the country in search of the best ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in all 50 states. 

image c/o Tullamore D.E.W.

image c/o Tullamore D.E.W.

The tour additionally celebrates the debut of Tullamore D.E.W. Trilogy, a 15 year old Irish whiskey that is now a permanent addition to the brand's range in the US. Trilogy is matured in three cask types of three unique woods and is the oldest Tullamore D.E.W. Irish whiskey released to date. While Tim has been discovering some of the oldest Irish pubs in the US and having a cup of Irish Coffee at its birthplace, he's also been offering tastings of the new Trilogy for people he meets along the way to get a first taste.

 

Tim Herlihy, is no stranger to quality Irish whiskey. He was born in Termonfeckin, Ireland where he began his career with the Cooley Distillery. Since then, he's traveled to distilleries across Ireland, Scotland, the US and beyond, studying the history of whiskey and the entire production process from malting to maturation. As Tullamore D.E.W.'s Ambassador, Tim has presented at whiskey shows and cocktail weeks, presented on Irish whiskey history, cocktails and one of his personal favorite topics, the Irish pub.

Follow Tim on Instagram and Twitter to follow along his journey across the US experiencing St. Patrick's Day celebrations, visiting some of the oldest Irish Pubs in the country and much more. See below for a few Instagram shots from Tim's account.

The tour kicked off in Los Angeles and will finish in New York City on St. Patrick's Day with a celebration at The Dead Rabbit. The tour will officially conclude at 3:33pm where a nationwide toast will be held paying a tribute to the triple blend of whiskeys that was pioneered by Tullamore D.E.W.  Visit the Tullamore D.E.W. Facebook page for special announcements regarding the tour and keep an eye out for his stop in your nearest city. If he hasn't been to your state yet, that means he's still on his way!

A photo posted by @tullamoretim on

A photo posted by @tullamoretim on

A photo posted by @tullamoretim on

A photo posted by @tullamoretim on

Thirsty Thursday In June: The Irish Belle

Happy Thursday! You know what's great about Thursdays, you're just automatically in a better mood. I know some people hate them because it's just another day before Friday but I love them! It's ONE more day till Friday as opposed to Tuesdays which I think are the absolute worst day of the week. At least on Mondays, you just come off the weekend and still feel it a bit. Tuesdays are just that day of the week when you still have most of it to go and last weekend feels like it was forever ago. Know what I mean? Anyway, to get your weekend started early on this amazing Thursday, I have yet another cocktail for you. I'm loving this series. I might continue it into July and experiment. I haven't quite decided yet. Today's cocktail is one of my favorite's so far.

The Irish Belle
1 oz Tullamore DEW Irish Whiskey
.5 oz Cranberry Juice
.5 oz lemon juice
Dash of Peach Schnapps
3-4 raspberries

Whiskey and fruit? Sounds like an odd combo, right? At least it does to me. It's so good though. This was super refreshing and the peach schnapps really topped it off at the end. I would love to have included the raspberries but I just couldn't find any good ones at the store. They were all moldy. Perks of getting "exotic" California berries in the Midwest. Instead, I garnished the glass with a lemon wheel as you can see. This is, honestly, the best summer drink. It's cold, refreshing and tart. The mixture of cranberry and lemon juice is a home run and the peach schnapps give it that little bit of sweetness to really round out the flavors. Need something to serve poolside? This is it.

If you wanted to give this a slight twist, I feel like adding a little sparkling water would really work. It's just a theory, I haven't tried it yet but I'm curious. Maybe instead of cranberry juice, you get a sparkling cranberry or white grape juice to give it a fancier feel? I may be on to something or I may be completely over my head messing with already perfected cocktails. You don't even need to change the recipe to fancy it up. Serve in a champagne glass instead and you'll instantly add a little extra class.

So what do you think? Is the Irish Belle a drink for you?