boozey strawberry lemonade

The arrival of warm weather, and the ability to leave the windows and doors open, has a very distinct affect on my state of mind.

boozey strawberry lemonade | Brooklyn Homemaker

Primarily, it puts me in the mood for day drinking. If you’re unfamiliar with the idea of day drinking, it’s pretty simple. You drink (alcohol) during the day, preferably outdoors. Boom. I know. Can you think of anything more wonderful?
Day drinking is something that most people consider a weekend activity, but since I work in retail I’m usually working on Saturdays. When it’s bright and pleasant outside and the rest of Brooklyn is out eating brunch and laying on blankets at the park, I’m indoors selling picnic baskets and wine thermos’, and grill tongs. Don’t shed any tears for me just yet though, I do usually have Sundays off so if the weather is just as warm and sunny, I still get one day to join in the fun.

boozey strawberry lemonade | Brooklyn Homemaker

I was lucky enough a couple weekends ago, just before that last cold snap, when the weather was just nice enough to go out and spend some quality time in our back yard. We decided to make a day of it and called some friends over, fired up the grill, and cooked up some delicious lemon herb chicken thighs (which I told you about here). Of course, I also dove head-first into the task of crafting some seriously amazing spring-time cocktails. I thought hard about what would pair well with the spring-y weather and decided strawberries, lemonade, & vodka were the just the ticket.

boozey strawberry lemonade | Brooklyn Homemaker

Our good friends Karen and Mari of Crown Street Productions wanted to join in the fun too, so they came over to bask in the sunshine with us. Since I was whipping up some cocktails, they brought along their equipment to capture the moment. They’re so much fun to work with, and the best part is that they’re complete videography geniuses. I don’t know how they do it. I’m a total awkward weirdo in real life, and they somehow manage to make me appear charming and professional!
Check out this amazing video for a complete tutorial on how to make these delicious boozey strawberry lemonades. I hope you enjoy the video as much as the cocktails!

Did that make you thirsty or what?

If you want to make this for a crowd you could easily do it in large batches by tossing the strawberries into a blender or food processor. If you went this route, I don’t think adding the extra sugar to the strawberries would be necessary. If you like the idea of a big pitcher or punch bowl with some chunks of strawberries floating around, just pulse your blender until the berries are mashed but not pulverized. If you want to serve these from a drink dispenser with a spigot or pour spout though, you’ll need to completely puree them so that none of the chunky strawberries get stuck in the spout.

boozey strawberry lemonade | Brooklyn Homemaker

Normally I’m not a big vodka drinker, and prefer my tipple to have a bit more backbone. For this drink though, I thought that the neutral flavor (or lack thereof) of vodka would let the other ingredients be the stars of the show. To add an extra hint of citrusy goodness, I also added just a bit of orange liqueur. Any orange liqueur will do just fine, but I think the mix of bitter orange and cognac in Grand Marnier gives this cocktail the cojones that the vodka’s missing.

The combination of sweet tangy lemonade, ripe red strawberries, orange liqueur, and vodka is really phenomenal. There’s just enough alcohol to make you feel gooood without tasting too strong. Muddling the strawberries with a bit of sugar helps them to give off their juices and flavor the drink without turning to total mush. This way you get some little chunky bits of juicy fresh berries floating around in your drink, soaking up all the boozey goodness. All stirred together in a tall glass with plenty of ice, it tastes like you’re sipping on springtime.

boozey strawberry lemonade | Brooklyn Homemaker

You may have have noticed that I served these drinks in quilted mason jars. I know they’re really trendy right now, but before you roll your eyes, here’s the thing. Not only are they cute and homey, but they’re also made of really sturdy glass and they’re really affordable! You can take them outside for your next bbq because if they break they’re easily replaced, and they’re only about $2 each! The 12 oz quilted jars are tall and skinny so they also make great highball glasses in a pinch. Russell and I have a bunch of them because we used them as glassware at our wedding last summer!

No matter what you serve it in, this cocktail is perfect for sunny days spent with friends. Odds are that your friends will agree, so you should call them up and get to drinkin’!

boozey strawberry lemonade | Brooklyn Homemaker

Boozey Strawberry Lemonade

  • Servings: one 10 oz cocktail
  • Print
2-3 strawberries (depending on size)
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 oz orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier)
2 oz vodka
6 oz lemonade

Roughly chop your strawberries and place into a mixing glass or cocktail glass. Top with sugar and muddle until well mashed and juicy. Top with orange liqueur and vodka and stir. Add ice, top off with lemonade and stir again. Add a lemon slice as garnish, if desired.

Homemade Lemonade
makes about 6 1/2 cups of lemonade

3/4 cups of sugar
5 cups of water, divided
1 cup of lemon juice

In a small saucepan make a simple syrup by bringing sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil, stirring frequently. Once all sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and let cool. In a pitcher, combine remaining water, lemon juice, and cooled simple syrup; and stir until well mixed.


garlic press test

Today I want to talk to you for a bit about garlic presses. For the longest time I’ve been using my mom’s old garlic press that somehow made it into my kitchen when I moved into my first apartment. I don’t know how it got there. I didn’t take it, I swear.

The thing about my mom’s old garlic press is, well, that it sucks. It’s a cheap flimsy press with a deep narrow hopper that’s nearly impossible to clean. It’s easy enough to use, but I learned quickly that if I didn’t want dried bits of garlic stuck in the holes then I’d have to soak the press immediately after use. Most of the time I would end up deciding that the pain of cleaning it outweighed the convenience of using it in the first place, and I’d reach for a chefs knife instead. As I’ve mentioned before, I manage a kitchenware store, and after a year or so at Whisk I finally realized that I had no excuse not to have a decent garlic press in my life.  Of course, then the pressure of choosing the right one was too much for me and I stalled again. We carry so many that I just couldn’t decide which was the one for me.

So, I decided to just try them all!garlic press testing | Brooklyn Homemaker

With Whisk’s help I took home a sample of each style, used them all a few times, and kept notes so I could share my new knowledge with you!  I think Whisk has done a really great job of choosing a nice well-edited selection, so to be honest, I didn’t really dislike any of them, but there were some that I did like more than others. To me, the three main things to take into consideration with a garlic press are efficiency, ease of use, and ease of cleaning. Below I’ll give you my honest opinion of each tool I tested, along with a link to each one in case you’re looking for one yourself!

First though, I have a special treat for you! My amazing and talented friends Karen and Mari of Crown Street Productions joined me in my research and made this handy video guide to some of the presses I tested! Not every tool below is in the video, but we thought that seeing some of them in action might give you a better idea of the different features and how they work. Check it out, and please excuse my serious expression. I’m not used to being in front of the camera and I was a bit nervous. Also, I take garlic presses very seriously! haha! I hope you like it!

Learn anything?

Okay, back to the testing.

I wanted to see how these tools would stand up to both peeled and unpeeled cloves, so to get started I tried out the Zak! Designs garlic peeler, available for $9 here.garlic press testing | Brooklyn Homemaker
It’s just a simple silicone tube, but the garlic’s papery peel wants to stick to it. All you do is insert a clove or two into the tube and roll it back and forth on your countertop, then out comes the naked clove! I was skeptical at first, but was really impressed with how well it worked.  It really couldn’t be more simple to use, and if you find yourself peeling a lot of garlic, I’d highly recommend it. The one thing I noticed is that the peels of garlic that’s been sitting around for a few days (or weeks) comes off much easier than garlic that just came home from the grocery store.

The first press I tested is the Fante’s Cousin Umberto’s garlic press by the Harold Import Company and is available for $8 here.garlic press testing | Brooklyn Homemaker
This press is as simple as they come. It can handle both peeled and unpeeled cloves with no trouble at all. It’s made of sturdy food grade aluminum and has a deep hopper with holes at the bottom, and a piston that pushes the garlic through it. One issue I noticed is that the piston doesn’t reach all the way to the bottom of the hopper, so if you’re only doing one or two cloves you lose a bit of your garlic.
Since it’s aluminum it is definitely not dishwasher safe so it must be washed by hand. It’s hard to reach the inside of the hopper to clean it, but it comes with a handy little cleaning tool that helps push any leftover garlic back through for removal. Even with the cleaning tool though, you’ll still need to fish the remaining garlic out of the hopper with a butter knife, and if you ever misplace or lose this piece it would be really difficult to clean.
For the price, I think this press is a great option, but it’s definitely not what I would consider a “forever” tool.

Next I tried out an Oxo Good Grips garlic press, available here for $17.garlic press testing | Brooklyn Homemaker
This press is probably one of the better selling presses in the store. It features soft non-slip curved handles that feel really comfortable in your hands. It’s simple enough to use, but I felt that bit more force was needed than some of the other models I tested. It can handle unpeeled cloves, but that requires even more force. One really nice feature is that the large hopper fits really large cloves, or even multiple small cloves at once, which some of the other presses couldn’t handle. Unfortunately, this press also doesn’t quite reach the bottom of the hopper and leaves some garlic behind.
It is dishwasher safe, and the cleaning tool that pushes garlic back through the holes is attached to the back of the handle, so there’s no way you’ll lose it. Even with this tool, you’ll still need to use something like a butter knife to get out the remaining garlic.

Next up was the Susi3 press by Zyliss for $18, available here.garlic press testing | Brooklyn Homemaker
This press could easily handle peeled or unpeeled cloves with little force. Again though, If only doing one or two cloves, this press didn’t really push as much garlic through the hopper as I would have liked. It’s both lightweight and sturdy, and the curved handles feel comfortable in your hand. It also comes with a cleaning tool that attaches to the handle but removes for cleaning. It has long spikes to really help push the garlic back through the holes so the remaining garlic comes out really easily. On the other side of the cleaning tool there are three spikes to help get at any stubborn pieces that might want to stick around. The packaging says that it is dishwasher safe but “handwashing is recommended”. I don’t have a dishwasher to test it, but I’m guessing that it probably wouldn’t stand up to repeated and frequent travels through the dishwasher.

Next I tried out the Harold Import’s “World’s Greatest” garlic press & slicer, available here for $20.garlic press testing | Brooklyn Homemaker
This press actually ended up being one of my favorites. It can handle both peeled and unpeeled cloves, but I noticed a little extra force was needed with unpeeled cloves which, every once in a while, caused the garlic to shoot out of the press. It was better at getting more garlic through the press than some of the others, but it still left a little bit behind. One of the reasons I like this press so much is that beyond being a press, it also doubles as a garlic slicer, giving you nice thin evenly sliced garlic. To use the slicer function the clove needs to be peeled, but it leaves no garlic behind at all.
Another really great feature is that this tool has a press that actually swivels out of the hopper to make it more accessible for easy cleaning. This feature is more common in pricier garlic presses, so it’s nice to see it in this price range. It also comes with a handy cleaning tool that attaches to the inside of the arm, and slides out when needed. The slicer side can be a little trickier to clean but was easy enough with the help of the cleaning tool.
I really liked how versatile and easy to use and clean this press is, and would definitely consider it my favorite budget choice.

After that, I tried the Easy Squeeze press by Kuhn Ricon, which can be found here for $25.garlic press testing | Brooklyn Homemaker
I thought this press was nice and efficient and really got a lot of crushed garlic out of each clove, but I found that it didn’t work all that well with unpeeled garlic. It has a handy plastic blade that slides across the press to help remove the crushed garlic, and was the only press I tested that had this feature. The major bonus here is that the press mechanism is almost identical to presses almost twice the price, but the one negative, in my opinion, is that the lightweight plastic construction feels a bit flimsy.
This press is dishwasher safe, and the press also swivels for easy access during cleaning.

Next up was the Kuhn Ricon Epicurean press, available here for $40.garlic press testing | Brooklyn Homemaker
This is one of the more high end presses we carry at Whisk. The price may seem a bit rich for some, but after using it you’ll know that you get what you pay for. It’s really very easy to use and very little force is needed to squeeze your garlic through. It makes easy work of both peeled and unpeeled cloves, and it’s very efficient at getting almost all of the garlic through, leaving very little behind. It’s sturdy and strong, made completely of stainless steel. and features curved handles that fit the shape of a hand. The press mechanism also swivels out for super easy cleaning, and the remaining garlic loosened up and came out on its own when rinsed under hot water.
At this price i feel like I’m allowed to be just a bit nit-picky, so my one (tiny) complaint is that it’s a bit heavy and may feel a bit awkward in small hands. Overall though, this press is super sturdy, efficient, easy to use, easy to clean, and is a really solid choice.

The last traditional press I tested is made by Rosle, and goes for $45 heregarlic press testing | Brooklyn HomemakerMuch like the Kuhn Ricon Epicurean model, this press is very easy to use, and can handle peeled or unpeeled cloves with very little force at all. For extra leverage, there’s a small dimple feature that clicks into place when fully depressed, which makes sure the maximum amount of garlic is pressed out with as little effort as possible. Made of 18/10 stainless steel, this press is super sturdy and strong but feels lighter and less bulky than the Epicurean press. It doesn’t have the ergonomic curved handle design but it will fit into any hand easily. It’s also very easy to clean with a swiveling press mechanism that rinses off with little effort. The best thing about this press is that Rosle is so sure of the quality of their products that they come with a lifetime warranty. The stainless steel construction means it should never break, but if it does, they’ll replace it for you. If the smart and attractive design and maximum ease and efficiency isn’t enough for you, the warrantee definitely should sweeten the deal. This is the last garlic press you’ll ever need to buy, and after I finished my research, this was the press I purchased for myself.

With the presses out of the way, I moved on to some more garlic related tools.
Next I sampled the Chef’n garlic slicer, for $12 heregarlic press testing | Brooklyn Homemaker
This tool works sort of like a pepper mill. You put your peeled garlic inside, close the spring loaded press over it, and twist. It can be a little bit confusing to get it working, as the interlocking top and spring loaded mechanism inside aren’t exactly intuitive. It also really only works well with thin, small cloves. Once you get it going though, it works with little force by twisting the top clockwise. The garlic is pushed across the blades and comes out paper thin. This slicer gets your cloves much thinner than the Harold Import press and slicer, but of course, it doesn’t double as a press. It’s really easy to clean, but you have to be careful of the sharp blades.  It might not be completely necessary for all kitchens, but if you’re serious about super thin sliced garlic, and don’t mind working only with small cloves, it’s a pretty handy tool to have.

The last tool I tested is called a garlic rocker, by Joseph Josesph, for $15 heregarlic press testing | Brooklyn HomemakerThis tool produces a similar result to a traditional garlic press, but instead of pressing the garlic through the press with a piston, you rock the blades over a peeled clove while pushing down on the tool’s wide handles. Once the garlic comes through the holes you simply scrape it out with a spoon. The benefits to this tool are that it’s small and stores easily, and you’re able to get almost the whole clove through with little waste. It’s also very easy to clean since there’s no hopper to worry about. I will say though, that some force is needed to push down on the garlic, and can be a bit awkward to use. I wouldn’t recommend this tool for anyone with weak arms or arthritis. I would also say you wouldn’t want to use this on delicate counter surfaces.

So there you have it folks!
If you’re in the market for a garlic press, or you’re looking to upgrade, I hope you find all this information useful.  I think I’ve reviewed a nice selection of different presses in different price ranges, and I hope I’ve made it easier for you to make an informed decision. I think that among these choices there is a tool for anyone with any budget. Of course, I’m only one man, and these thoughts and opinions are mine alone, so some people may feel differently about some of these options. I’ve tried to be as unbiased and honest as possible, and I would like to mention that none of the companies that make these tools have paid me for anything I’ve said here.