Moonshine on HGTV

Leave it to yours truly to bring a little moonshine to the HGTV Urban Oasis party! Today on the Dreams Happen blog, you’ll find the recipe for a Troy & Sons moonshine Bloody Mary. And, if you don’t get your fill, here are a couple throwback posts to check out:

My recipe for Tennessee Mountain Punch.

Husband’s repurposed steamer trunk bar. 

Bars & Moonshine | Hannah & Husband & the Well-Styled Jello Shot

The big news of the week is that we’re on! Today the first of 5 posts I’ve been working on for HGTV’s Urban Oasis blog went live! The rest will appear over the course of the entry period.


This year’s HGTV Urban Oasis is located just over the mountain in Asheville, North Carolina. Since they’re in our neck of the woods, I was asked to put together a little lifestyle content to introduce readers to the area. This first post has 3 cocktail recipes using honey courtesy of the Asheville Bee Charmer.


As I was mixing drinks and taking pictures, I had a bit of a revelation. You see one of the recipes is for “Block Party Jello Shots,” which is not in my usual catalog of cocktails. As I was styling the photos, I realized it’s probably for the best that I was never a party girl…


If you too want to make jello shots prettier, or non-boozy jello more alluring to your kids, it’s super easy! Simply take a sharp paring knife and cut you citrus of choice in half. Next, run that same knife around the rim to loosen up the insides. Finally, with a  sharp-edged spoon (old silver works great), scoop out the insides.


I also cut off just a slice of the bottom (where the stem would have been) so that the little cups would sit flat.

Throw the leftover insides on top of salmon for dinner to impress your significant other. Then, file this under: “Killing it as a grown-up!”

Booze Traveler


On Friday night, Husband and I were invited to Knoxville’s favorite speakeasy to meet Travel Channel’s Booze Traveler Jack Maxwell who was in town for several Friends of the Smokies events.

I must tell you that Jack was fascinating to meet in person! I had said hello in a long line of Scripps employees at the office earlier in the day when we had chatted about my name being a palindrome. So when James & I walked into the speakeasy, not only did he remember me, he said, “Hannah, I want to meet Husband!” I kid you not.

photo courtesy of Scripps Networks Interactive

photo courtesy of Scripps Networks Interactive

photo courtesy of Scripps Networks Interactive

photo courtesy of Scripps Networks Interactive

Jack is full of stories from his world travels that he tells in the sweetest Boston accent. (Sweet? Boston? It’s totally a thing, but I was as surprised you are.) When he spoke, he was so respectful of the places that he’s been and the people that he’s met. Apparently, when he was auditioning for the job, the most important criteria was that he be unflappable–willing to jump into anything head on. If you’ve ever seen the show, he fits that to a T.

There were two signature cocktails for the evening: the High Note (right) and the Aunt Adelaide (left). I will spare you a review and instead just tell you that Root Beer Bitters is now on my shopping list.

There were two signature cocktails for the evening: the High Note (right) and the Aunt Adelaide (left). I will spare you a review and instead just tell you that Root Beer Bitters is now on my shopping list.

We also asked him about how he approaches all these different cultures. He’s done some absolutely crazy things. (For example: Exhibit A) Has he ever offended anyone? Jack said he tries to be genuine and let people know he’s honored to be there. And that’s probably my favorite thing about watching Booze Traveler: he tries outlandish things I never would and then serves up a cocktail I can make at home.


As the party slowed a bit, I found myself sitting on the couch with Jack and my friend Hannah sipping whiskey and making toasts. Here’s one his Irish grandmother taught him…

If you want to be happy for a day: get drunk.
If you want to be happy for a while: get married. 
If you want to be happy for a lifetime: have good friends. 

Thanks so much to Travel Channel for having us!


Look at everyone holding up those phones… cracked me up! (as I did the same)

Also, a note about Friends of the Smokies: 
Husband and I talk often about how honored we are to live in this sacred place. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited of all the parks for one reason: it is breathtaking. Friends of the Smokies is an organization that works to preserve the park and its inhabitants. You can click here to learn more.

Booze Traveler‘s Tennessee episode will air March 2nd at 10pm on the Travel Channel.

Happy Christmas Eve

Hannah & Husband, Christmas 2014

A pic from Sunday. Downtown was all dressed up and so were we!

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone! We have had such a lovely holiday season this year and plan on spending the next couple of days sipping sherry & espressos and listening to Nat on the record player. I also have a feeling I will be rereading our stack of Christmas books. (Did you read this post on A Cup of Jo about exchanging books on Christmas Eve in Iceland? I just love that!)

If you want a little something to read over the next few days or just need some quick, festive eye candy, here are a few things we’re digging around the interwebs…

Children’s Holiday Letters to Satan | The New Yorker

The New Yorker always has the best Christmas shorts. (In fact, if you’re in to that sort of thing, my in-laws got me Christmas at The New Yorker our first year all together, and I treasure it.) This year, my favorite was this one by Matt Passet, in which children mistakingly address their letters to “Satan,” and he responds. To the 9 year-old who asks for an Xbox:

This game “Grand Theft Auto” indeed seems quite fun, but why waste your days sitting in front of the TV when the sun is shining outside…  don’t remember reading about any shortage of cars, guns, or hookers. Dammit, Daniel, get out there and live!

Miss Yvonne in Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special

My Quest to Dress Like Miss Yvonne

I mentioned Miss Yvonne’s outfit in the Cocktails & Carols post and last night, I finally got a good picture of it. Check out that hair!


25 Days of Christmas Children’s Books

My friend Caryn, has been sharing a Christmas children’s book each day on Three Books a Night. I love when she does this each year, and my absolute favorite this time has been Hilary Knight’s “A Christmas Stocking Story.” Don’t you just love that little elephant?

Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye perform

Go watch White Christmas right now if you haven’t!

On Sunday, we had the pleasure of getting all gussied up and heading to the Tennessee Theatre to introduce some of our friends to White Christmas on the big screen! Isn’t it funny how you can watch certain movies again and again yet still catch  new things? My favorite part of that film is always the chemistry between Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye.

In case you need a drink…

Last year, we had two signature cocktails for our Cocktails and Carols party: a Jingle Julep and a Sage Ginger Sparkler. Click here to get the recipes.


Belles Love Bourbon

Two weeks down with bronchitis–I couldn’t think of a better welcome back post than one about my favorite medicinal libation: bourbon. I like bourbon for the same reasons I like wine: the nuance.

Lately when I decide to imbibe I usually only have one drink, so I like to make it something that I can sip for a while–enjoying all the little notes of flavor. That, mixed with the fact that I’m a Southern girl, is why bourbon is my go-to.

First things first: Let’s clear up some definitions…


Distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. Mash could include corn, rye, wheat, or barley. Whiskey is aged in wooden casks, usually made of charred white oak. Also, please note the “e” in “whiskey” and remember you’re an American.

Bourbon Whiskey

Whiskey made up of a primarily corn mash (at least 51%). Legally “bourbon” must be Made in the USA, and it’s mainly associated with the Southern United States because of its Kentucky origins.

Rye Whiskey

Whiskey with a mash made up of at least 51% rye.

Now, for a few of our favorites…


The daily drinker. The handle you have in the back of the liquor cabinet for when the display bottle out on the shelf starts running low. It’s not crazy expensive and nice to sip after a long day.

Other Options: Woodford Reserve, Buffalo Trace

*A Note On Jack Daniels: I’ll leave it at saying we always have a bottle on hand. 1) If there’s one thing we are not short on in this house it’s Tennessee pride! and 2) Guests love, and sometimes demand, their Jack+Coke.

George Dickel Barrel Select

Looking for something unique? Put Smoke Gets in Your Eyes on the record player and pour yourself a glass of this stuff. It’s my favorite “I want bourbon but it’s really cold outside so I also want to feel like I’m sitting by a bonfire” bourbon.

Other options for a little experimenting: Blantons, Basil Hayden’s, Hudson Baby Bourbon

*Like to literally mix things up? While I usually prefer my whiskey neat, we always have juleps on Derby Day and at our Cocktails & Carols party this year, we served Jingle Juleps. More on point for my week, how about trying a hot toddy?

Pappy Van Winkle

Ah, the thrill of the hunt! Want something for your top shelf that will come with a great story? Take a little cash from savings and bribe your local liquor store in September to find out the October release date.

Now tell me, what’s your favorite bourbon? Anything we should check out? 

Two Holiday-ish Cocktails

I have two new cocktails to share today, and I must confess that neither recipe is completely original to us. Saturday was our annual Cocktails & Carols party, and we had two signature drinks for our guests: the first was a Sage Ginger Sparkler and the second was a Jingle Julep. 

Sage Ginger Sparkler | Hannah & Husband

I found the first idea on Pinterest and, in turn, I found a beautiful blog: Local Milk. The blogger behind Local Milk is a photographer in Chattanooga, Tennessee named Beth and her writing is absolutely beautiful. I’d especially recommend reading what she has to say about the herbs in this sage ginger cocktail

“…we can think of it as a tincture, as a potent medicine that lends itself to mindful savoring & promotes strength, prosperity, and cleansing…”

Sage Ginger Simple Syrup

12 torn, small sage leaves
1 inch ginger, minced
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Bring all the ingredients to a boil over low heat stirring frequently.
Allow to boil until sugar is dissolved.
Turn off burner and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
Store in the refrigerator.

for the Sage Ginger Sparkler

sage ginger simple syrup
crystallized ginger
chilled prosecco
sage leaf

We dipped the rim in simple syrup and crystallized ginger.
Add one teaspoon of the sage ginger simple  syrup to your glass.
Top off with chilled prosecco.
Garnish with a small sage leaf.

Jingle Julep | Hannah & Husband

The second cocktail was a Jingle Julep. The base of the recipe was found via HGTV Gardens’ twitter, but we mixed it up quite a bit. Here’s our take…

Cranberry Rosemary Simple Syrup

2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1 bunch rosemary (6-10 sprigs)

Bring all the ingredients to a boil over low heat stirring frequently.
Allow to boil until sugar is dissolved.
Turn off burner and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
Store in the refrigerator.


We put cranberries & rosemary leaves in these large ice cube trays. Top off the ingredients with boiling water and put in the freezer immediately. Boiling helps the water stay as clear as possible.

Jingle Julep

Cranberry Rosemary Simple Syrup
ginger ale

Muddle mint with a bit of simple syrup in the bottom of your rocks glass.
Add your ice cube and one Tablespoon of Cranberry Rosemary Simple Syrup.
Pour one ounce bourbon.
Top off with ginger ale.



Ready for the Weekend?

I know. I know! It’s only Thursday. But I have to tell you, I am sooo ready for the weekend! Tomorrow afternoon, Husband & I will be heading up to the mountains with some of our dearest friends to spend the weekend relaxing by the river. So tonight, I’m putting together a few little goodies for our trip. This, of course, turned into “Why not plan a cute little brunch & post it on the blog?” You’re welcome.


Find a Le Creuset French Press (which I am currently coveting) here.  //  Cute pic of Strawberry-Lemonade muffins from Southern Living. I’ll be the first to admit, I am a sucker for good food-styling! (I don’t even like lemon in my baked goods; I just can’t seem to get enough of that summery pic.)

So tell me… what is your favorite brunch indulgence?
Is there anything we simply must try?