portrait of a cocktail // bombay government punch

This is not your grandmother’s punch. Bombay Government Punch is a deliciously fierce elixir concocted by the English Governor of Bombay, Sir John Gayer, back in 1694. Throw out your notions of dowdy pink punch, and usher in a rich and complex cocktail, that just happens to be served in a huge bowl.

I know, I know. This might not be the prettiest punch to look at. (I happen to enjoy its beautiful amber glow.) But I promise everyone who sips this for the first time says the exact same thing, with the exact same wide-eyed expression. Whoa! This is delicious! And then they guzzle it. There are so many layers of flavor to this punch, it’s impossible to not go back for more.

Did you know that making punch is a bit of a science experiment? A true punch follows the proper proportions. For example, our punch here is based on the oldest and most classic ratio: 1 sour (lime juice), 2 sweet (mandarin orange syrup), 3 strong (the booze), and 4 weak (black tea). Once you have this ratio down, you can make any quantity of punch, like maybe just cocktails for two, or you can start to sub out the different elements. Instead of lime juice you could use lemon, instead of black tea, try green. The possibilities are endless!

portrait of a cocktail // bombay government punch

There are a lot of steps to this punch, but in the end it’s so worth it. Instead of having to mix drinks on the spot for guests, everyone can just help themselves. The ice block is beautiful and, as it melts, the mandarin slices begin to garnish the drink.

Ingredients for punch:

  • 13 oz lime juice (about 13 limes)
  • 3 cups mandarin orange syrup (directions below)
  • 1 bottle dark rum (750 ml bottle)
  • 1/2 bottle VSOP cognac (750 ml bottle)
  • 6 1/2 cups water
  • 3 black tea bags
  • 20 dashes of orange bitters
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 ice block (directions below)

Boil 6 1/5 cups of water. Once boiling, turn off heat and steep 3 tea bags for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes, remove tea bags and let tea cool to room temperature. Combine cooled tea and syrup in punch bowl with lime juice, rum and cognac. Add bitters and sprinkle in cinnamon. Give it a strong stir to make sure the cinnamon doesn’t clump. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour, but no longer than a day if you’ve prepped ahead of time. About 30 minutes before serving remove punch from your fridge and add the ice block. This last step is important. The punch is much better once the ice has melted a little bit.

portrait of a cocktail // bombay government punch

Ingredients for mandarin orange syrup:

  • 3 cups demerara or turbinada sugar (This is real brown sugar and can be found at just about any grocery store.)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 5 mandarins, thinly sliced

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan over low heat. Watch the pot closely, once it reaches a simmer remove from heat. Stir occasionally to make sure all the sugar is dissolved and to help release juice and oils from the mandarins. Let syrup cool completely.

Ingredients for ice block:

  • water
  • 7 mandarins, thinly sliced
  • loaf pan

Place 1 layer of mandarin slices at the bottom of the loaf pan and enough water to just cover the slices. Place in the freezer about 2 hours, then add another layer of slices and water. Let this layer freeze for 2 hours. Repeat these steps until the loaf pan is full. I recommend doing this the day before so that it has all night to set and freeze. To remove the ice block from the pan turn it upside in your sink and run hot water over the pan until you hear the block fall out.

portrait of a cocktail // bombay government punch

Cin cin!

P.S. More cocktail recipes!


Since spring is (hopefully!) just around the corner, I thought I would present you with a trio of herb simple syrups. We’ve got basil, rosemary and thyme, but feel free to use your favorite herb instead. Simple syrup is one of my favorite ways to add a little sweetness to any cocktail. Better yet though is flavoring the simple syrup. It can take your cocktail to the next level!

The ingredients listed are merely suggestions. This is an opportunity to experiment! Use your favorite herb and mix it with your own sugar-to-water ratio. The standard simple syrup ratio is equal parts water and sugar. However, you can adjust this according to how sweet you want it.


Today I’ve paired these simple syrups with muddled berries and a squeeze of citrus. But again, don’t hesitate to experiment with the combinations and other cocktails.

Rosemary + Strawberry + Grapefruit
Basil + Blackberry + Lemon
Thyme + Raspberry + Orange

Ingredients for 3 simple syrups:

  • 3/4 cups water (divided into 1/4 cups)
  • 3/4 cups sugar (divided into 1/4 cups)
  • 3 rosemary sprigs
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 2 bunches of thyme (about twice as much as pictured)

Ingredients for cocktails:

  • Gin
  • Tonic
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries

For Garnish:

  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Thyme


To make the simple syrup, coarsely chop the herb you plan on using. Combine water, sugar and herb in a sauce pan. Stirring frequently over medium heat bring to a simmer, then turn heat off. While stirring bruise herbs to help release more essential oils and get a stronger flavor. You can stop stirring when you turn off the stove. Let the mixture cool completely. Lastly, strain the syrup.

To make one of the cocktails, muddle a few berries in the bottom of a glass with 1 teaspoon of herb simple syrup. Add a shot of gin. Throw in a few ice cubes, top with tonic, and give it a gentle stir. Garnish with a citrus wedge and herb sprig.


Chin Chin!

P.S. More cocktail recipes!


Shaken, not stirred.

In honor of St. Valentine, the Pink Vesper is inspired by one of history’s sexiest characters – James Bond. Mr. Bond invented the Vesper Martini during a heated game of poker, and named the concoction after his first true love. On the surface Martinis seem simple, but there’s a science to making them. I promise, we’ll cover that in another post. Technically this cocktail isn’t a Martini at all because I’ve added delicious cherry and lemon juices. The addition of these and the removal of gin not only makes it more palatable, but gives the drink a beautiful rosy glow. This cocktail is the perfect combination of bright and tart flavors of fruit, a hint of sweetness from Lillet, with a subtle backdrop of vodka. It’s incredibly easy to make. So go ahead and whip one up for your special Valentine.


Ingredients for two:

  • 3 shots vodka
  • 2 shots cherry juice (just use the juice from jar of cherries)
  • 1 shot lemon juice (about one lemon)
  • 1 shot Lillet
  • 6 dark cherries
  • 2 cocktail picks (super cute ones found here)
  • 2 low ball glasses (similar found here)
  • cocktail shaker and ice (love this shaker)


Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add juices, vodka and Lillet. Shake it up! Pour into 2 glasses and garnish with 3 cherries on each cocktail pick.

Take a sip and let the romance begin!


A note on the cherries… I love the Dark Morello Cherries from Trader Joe’s. What you don’t want are Maraschino Cherries (they usually look, taste and smell like plastic). Just make sure whatever you get is not loaded with sugar, and your cocktail will turn out great.

Chin Chin!

Ps – more cocktail recipes!


Here are a few gift ideas for the budding mixologist in your life. Or maybe you’ve got somebody on your list who’s looking to stock their bar, not only with delicious booze, but with essential barware too. Give a gift that will be festive and merry all year round!

  1. A roll of cloth napkins from Casa
  2. Anthropolie’s Wishbone Bottle Opener
  3. A bottle of tasty Chartreuse Liqueur
  4. Tovolo King Cube Ice Tray from Sur la Table
  5. Scrappy’s Bitters
  6. Engraved and hand turned wooden muddler from AHeirloom
  7. Double old-fashioned glass from Crate and Barrel
  8. Dutch copper mug
  9. Clear bottle from Ikea for homemade simple syrups and mixers
  10. Brushed gold cocktail shaker from Crate and Barrel

Chin Chin!

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color of the month / cherry red

I have a special treat today! My good friend Chloe from Click Clack Chloe is curating her picks for cherry red apparel! So without further ado, Chloe, take it away…

Making a statement both night and day, this color red is ripe with emotion. A woman who enjoys it is happy, confident and ready to take on the world. Joanna has shown how cherry red details make all of the difference here. She has invited me today to share a few statement pieces that catch the eye and turn some heads. The boldness of color is a notion so near and dear to me, and red is my top choice anytime, anywhere. I love a perfectly rouge sundress after a long day at the beach, especially when it reminds me of flamenco dancers shimmying in Southern Spain. If your office-life needs a refresh, try some red slacks or a printed blouse. On vacation, let your legs do the talking with this red romper by TOPSHOP. Cherry red is the type of color that makes me smack my lips chapstick-style or just plain smile. Indulge, with me, in this sweet color pop, Summer into Fall!

links left to right, top to bottom: red slacks from Preen / Pocket tank from Krochet Kids International / printed blouse from Anthropologie / romper from TOPSHOP / Bossa Nova dress from Free People

Thanks, Chloe! Be sure to follow her on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram.

PS – check out more Color of the Month posts here!


We’ve all got that person in our lives — you know, the one with her head in the clouds, dreaming of her next creation. I knew I wanted to do a gift guide for the creative types, so who better to curate it than my dear friend and insanely talented illustrator, Katie Rodgers of Paperfashion!

  1. Ferris wheel from Plümo
  2. Midnight circus shadow puppets from Anthropologie
  3. Good time color riot from Ban.do — isn’t that the best name ever??
  4. Soapstone globe from Anthropologie
  5. Glass bottle with bird topper from Anthropologie
  6. Gilt fringe scarf from Anthropologie
  7. Winsor & Neton watercolor set from Overstock — Katie got me hooked on this set months ago!
  8. Pen from Parker

A bit more about Katie…
Hello, I’m Katie! I’m a freelance fashion illustrator living in Boston. Some of my clients include: Kate Spade, Coach, Alicia Keys, Calypso St. Barth, Clé de Peau, Paul Mitchell, Target, Nabisco, and Lucky Magazine among others.

Thanks, Katie!


I’m probably a poor example of settling into a new home… I moved to Philly about a year and a half ago and I have yet to unpack. However, my beloved friend, Anne Sage, recently moved and she is basically setting the example for me to follow. She moved to LA with only what fit into her car, see?? She’s found the perfect little jewelbox apartment and has strict rules about what she allows in — specific materials, neutral colors, good juju. I love it and I am massively envious. Here are her picks for the perfect gift for the recently relocated!

  1. Blackline stoneware piggy bank from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.
  2. Mongolian lambo pillow covers from West Elm — Anne says, “I’ve always wanted a furry pillow.”
  3. Hand-forged fabric sheers from Hollander and Lexer
  4. Heath ceramics pitcher
  5. Tie-dye throw from ABC Home
  6. Gold glazed nesting bowls from Canvas

A bit more about Anne…
Anne Sage is a lifestyle writer, creative director, and social media consultant based in Los Angeles. Her daily interiors and fashion blog The City Sage was named a must-read by Martha Stewart Living, and she was featured in the New York Times for her co-founding of the online shelter publication Rue Magazine. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Thanks, Anne!

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