Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Italian Cream Soda Shots and Happy New Year!

Hoping all of you had a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or a stress less end of the year. I know what you guys are thinking, what the heck Gina were you on the lamb in the witness protection program or something. Close, but I can assure you it had nothing to do with the time Hot Dog Dude had to do some concrete work inside a mortuary with dead bodies on the tables. Nothing at all with that, I repeat.

I think my absence was more closely correlated with the fact I was suffering from exhaustion, stress overload, and let’s just throw in some depression for good measure. Any normal holiday season leaves me feeling depleted but this one in particular felt like an epic wave came in, crashed down and held me under. I’d say it was the same as being on a cruise ship sailing around Europe and the only thing you remember is spending your days hunched over the railing puking your guts out.  Or at least with the luck I've had this year that is what would be my fortune.

I plowed my way through the last few months, made over a thousand Christmas cookies, decorated the tree, shopped till I dropped, made multiple elaborate meals. Yet there was this black cloud following me around all season. I thought if I kept myself busy every minute of every day I could keep it at bay. But that cloud busted down the door, barged in and wouldn’t fricking leave. Talk about your uninvited house guest. 

I feel I somehow need to apologize to any of you who had the misfortune of spending time with me this holiday season, because the alien who took over my body (probably sucked out my brain too) was a real fun sucker. 

On the flip side though, I’ve decided to show that grump-a-lumpagus the flipping door.  Plus I did kind of need the mental vacation to sort out some things and make some new plans for the future. I've always felt conflicted because I can be extroverted at times and at others introverted. I always feel like there is an epic struggle going on so that one of these two doesn’t take over. Oh crap, maybe there are other personalities in there also.  Wait, does that make me Sybil?

I say we just have a toast to the New Year and forget the last one ever happened. That and have snacks and probably some B-1 shots so I can get my energy back up to make yet another Christmas (Pig Palooza) on Monday. 

Gather yourself a few supplies and we can all raise our glasses with an Italian Cream Soda Shot:
6 ounces fresh raspberries 
1/2 cup water 
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
Vodka or clear liquor of your choice 
Heavy cream 
Sparkling sugar 
Lemon wedge 
Shot glasses 

Run a lemon wedge around the rim of your shot glasses and dip in sparkling sugar and set aside to dry. (If your year was like mine, don't be skimpy and get plenty of glasses lined up.)

In a small saucepan bring raspberries, water, and sugar to a boil and let boil for 8-10 minutes until berries are soft and the liquid is reduced a little. Take off heat and let cool. Strain through a fine sieve and pour into a container for serving. 

First pour a couple tablespoons raspberry syrup in your glasses. This is where you can use your complete discretion, I’m an alky light so I usually go half syrup and half booze or I’m passed out on the floor by 9 p.m., but if you just want a splash of syrup with your alcohol, that’s cool too. 

Use a small spoon and pour the alcohol over the syrup. Top the drink with the heavy cream, use a small pitcher and pour a small amount over the top. (I used a dropper and dropped the cream on top for that cool suspended effect.)  Garnish with some more fresh raspberries if you’d like, they can also double as swizzle sticks.

I hope you know I hate wasting anything, so the day I experimented with these I had to drink all the leftovers and I must say it wasn’t so bad of a day after all. 

Cheers to 2014!  (I was going to light the drinks on fire and burn them in effigy of 2013, but I thought that was a bit too melodramatic even for me.)



  1. Happy New Year, sweet friend! Here's to a fabulous 2014 full of family, friends, travel...and good food!

  2. I'm so glad you survived the holiday season! It was lovely to see you over Christmas (though I insist on more hang out sessions with homemade raspberry syrup in 2014). Happy New Year, friend! :)

  3. Happy New Year to you and your family, Gina.
    Gorgeous shots! Really the vibrant bright colour.

  4. Thanks ladies, I'm just so relieved it's New Year and ready for a new start. Hope you all have the best year ever.

  5. I love these! Now I need to add to my purple sanding sugar unless I want my shots to be ultra-colorful. :) Cheers to starting over!

  6. Gina, if it makes you feel any better, you were nowhere near being a "fun-sucker" at the holiday cookie exchange.
    It was a pleasure meeting you and I enjoyed getting to know you better in person. You took some lovely, colorful photos of your Italian Cream Soda Shots. Makes me want to reach right through the computer and take a sip. Happy New Year to you!

  7. Dearest Queen, I'm so glad God put you in my path....your sense of humor is what keeps you going...and keeps us smiling. I'm glad you survived the hectic holiday season. It can be overwhelming! Then throw in a cold or flu and you've got a recipe for complete mental, physical and spiritual exhaustion. I speak from experience ;) I was forced to slow down to zero on several occasions over the holidays (first because of flu and ending the year with a power outage which was much more significant than I expected).
    Hope you can slow down for some nice long naps now....but I have to tell you, I'm amazed at how much you accomplish all year through with your baking and your awesome recipes. Your photos are so vibrant and a visual delight! You are a visual delight as well, my beautiful friend. Love you! Happy New Year!!! xoxo

    1. So glad you are in my life too Lorraine, you inspire me too in may ways. Wishing you nothing but the best this year.

  8. New year new start! I know you will make this one count! :-)

    This year was overly stressful for me too, I think I was because Thanksgiving and Christmas felt too cramped together and then it was just over. Crazy how fast time goes.

  9. What a great way to start off the new year! First time visiting you blog, nice to meet you! Have a Happy new Year :)

    1. Happy New Year to you too Layla, nice to have you here.

  10. Happy New Year! Great shots, I am waiting for new recipes in 2014th :)

  11. Happy New Year Gina!
    Hopefully this is a better year for all of us:) Wishing you good health and wealth, good friends, and good food!


  12. Glad to see you back! And love the idea of Italian Cream Soda Shots - what fun! Hope this year is much, much better for you - Happy New Year!

  13. Sweet Bella these soda shots look amazing. I'm so sorry this black cloud was hovering, and I'm praying for some peace and rest to surround you right now!!! May this new year usher in blessing upon blessings in your life, and an abundance of unexpected joy....great to see you back. I didn't realize it had been SIX MONTHS since I hadn't posted, now I've managed to get 3 in the last 2 weeks, yay! Feels good to be writing again. love to you sweet bella xoxo