On the Rocks: Botanical Bar Ideas

May 01

I love a well thought out bar and this one, a “Botanical Bar” by Valerie Rice offered a variety of fresh herbs, lemon cucumber, sliced lime, gin, and tonic water, for guests to make their own cocktails. Design House of Moira made the prettiest bar menu with instructions for guests.

To mix up your Botanical Bar cocktail you’ll need:

- 2 oz gin

- limes or lemon cucmbers

- herbs of your choice, mint, lemon verbana, basil

- tonic water

Muddle your choice of citrus and herbs in the glass. Add ice, gin, and then top off with tonic water. Garnish with more herbs and a slice of citrus. Cheers!

Photographer: Jess Wilcox for Flutter Magazine
Styling & Concept: Kelly Oshiro
Food & Cocktail: Valerie Rice of Eat, Drink, Garden
Paper goods: Design House of Moira

Summer Tomato Garden Party


I love tomatoes, and I wanted to create a garden party luncheon with a tomato-centric menu. Valerie Rice of Eat, Drink, Garden loved the concept and she created this simple menu featuring seasonal ingredients picked from her own garden.

 For the table setting, this simple striped khaki linen from Porch was perfect for this casual lunch in the garden. I used potted plants as seating cards and also as a favor for guests to take home to their own gardens.
For our first course we served a simple green gazpacho for this luncheon. To make it you’ll need:
-2 lb. green zebra tomatoes
- 1 lb. lemon or persian cucumbers
- 2 lb. padron peppers
- 1 clove garlic (optional)
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp lime juice
- 2 tsp salt
Slice peppers and remove all seeds. Rough chop tomatoes. Peel cucumbers and rough chop. Place peppers, tomatoes, cucumber  in a blender along with garlic, lime and salt and blend. Strain soup through a fine mesh strainer and discard. Refrigerate overnight. Garnish with diced lemon cucumber, sun gold cherry tomatoes and chives.
For the main course, wild salmon was wrapped and roasted in fig leaves. The fig leaves gives a coconut type aroma to the salmon. To make the salmon you’ll need:
- 4.5 oz fillets of wild salmon
- 4 fig leaves, washed and stems removed
- 1 tbsp melted butter
- 1 tsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Combine the butter and olive oil and paint fish with mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Lay fillets skin side down on the fig leaf and then wrap together with butcher’s twine. Place on a cookie sheet and bake in an oven at 400 degrees.
To finish the meal, Valerie served a Fig Fool with Lavender Honey. To make it you’ll need:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 2 tsp confectioners sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
-1/4 cup fromage blanc
- fresh figs
-sweet spanish flatbread or vanilla cookie
-lavender or orange blossom honey
Whip the cream with salt and combine until it forms soft peaks. Add sugar and vanilla. Fold in fromage blanc and refrigerate until ready to serve. Plate figs and dollop cream mixture, garnish with cookie or flatbread and then drizzle honey to finish.
Thanks Valerie for the great recipes and I hope you were inspired to plan your own garden to party luncheon!
Photographer: Jess Wilcox for Flutter Magazine
Styling & Concept: Kelly Oshiro
Food & Cocktail: Valerie Rice of Eat, Drink, Garden

On the Rocks: Lemongrass Fizz

October 18

Happy Friday SB Chic readers. I went to the lemon festival last Sunday and was majorly inspired for today’s post. Lemongrass is such an accessible and easy ingredient to incorporate into a cocktail, but I rarely see it used. Not only does it double as a trusty stirrer, the aroma and subtle flavor is oh-so-delightful! Enjoy!


Lemongrass-infused simple syrup (directions below)

Lemon wedge

1 1/2 shot of top-shelf gin


*Squeeze lemon wedge into a glass, add a small splash of lemongrass-infused simple syrup, gin, and a heavy splash of soda. Shake well and serve on the rocks with a twist and lemongrass stalk.

Lemongrass-infused simple syrup ingredients:

Equal parts granulated sugar and water

1 lemongrass stalk

*Bring water to a boil and add sugar. Take off heat and once sugar has completely dissolved, add lemongrass. I find that it helps to cut the stalks into 1-2 inch pieces, and smash to allow all of the flavor to get released into the simple syrup. Let sit for an hour, strain, and voila!

-XOXO Melissa

And to see even more On the Rocks cocktail ideas they’re right here.

On the Rocks: Dirty Dancing

October 05

Happy Friday SB Chic readers! As I sit here, counting down the hours until cocktail hour….I’m reminiscant about nights out with girlfriends, and how this handy little libation came to be one of our go-to cocktails. As you may know, my absolute favorite cocktail of all time is a classic dirty martini (extra dirty, extra olives). BUT, this isn’t always the most practical drink to make or order out. Dancing with a martini in hand is never a good idea with the constant spillage, and ordering a dirty martini in a dive bar just seems silly. So….my lady pals and I devised a solution to this problem with this super easy cocktail that has all the beloved dirty martini flavor–without the inconvenience or hoity-toity-ness. So dance away!


2 shots of top shelf vodka or gin

1/2 shot olive juice

Tiny splash of dry Vermouth (optional)

Splash of soda

*Add all ingredients in a martini shaker with ice, shake well and serve on the rocks with a couple of olives–if ordering from a bar or restaurant, order a “dirty martini on the rocks, with a splash of soda”

-XOXO Melissa

And to see even more On the Rocks cocktail ideas they’re right here.

On the Rocks: Dirty Martini

June 15

This might be surprising, but my absolute favorite cocktail in the whole wide world is one of the most simple…a dirty martini. They are so unbelievably delicious and have a refined simplicity that I simply adore. While it may seem that I’m always doing new, fancy cocktails with different fruits, herbs, and what-have-you–I can honestly say that this is my favorite concoction in my entire cocktail repertoire. With the added “pizzazz” of a gorgonzola-stuffed olive, this is the perfect cocktail to make this Father’s Day weekend. Cheers!

Take a pinch of gorgonzola cheese (or your favorite bleu cheese) and stuff a martini olive by hand (you may have to remove the pimento if your local market doesn’t carry un-stuffed olives).

In a chilled martini glass, add a small splash of dry vermouth and swirl it around to lightly coat the glass (I personally prefer my martinis bone dry and skip this step). In a martini shaker, add 2 shots of your favorite top shelf vodka or gin and a splash of olive juice. Shake with ice and serve up with your gorgonzola-stuffed olives—I definitely suggest making extra olives, trust me.

I’m literally counting down the hours until I can go home and make one of these for myself and the beau. Happy Father’s Day!

-XOXO Melissa

And to see even more On the Rocks cocktail ideas they’re right here.

On the Rocks: Juniper Cooler

May 18

This weather has been a-mazing and it serves as great inspiration for fruity libations that get me in the summer spirit. I actually don’t like cucumbers (strangely enough), but I LOVE LOVE LOVE them in cocktails…I know it makes no sense, but it’s the truth! They are so refreshing and offer a lovely subtle addition to any adult beverage. Today’s tasty treat is incredibly delicious and so darn pretty! Like almost all of my recipes, try it with your favorite liquor—today I’m paying homage to the gin fans out there. Enjoy!

Cut ¼ cucumber in small cubes and do the same with 2-3 strawberries. Add 2 dashes of bitters.

Lightly muddle–just enough to extract some flavor while still some-what maintaining the fruit’s cube-like shape. Then add a heavy splash of soda and 1 ½ shots of your favorite Gin. Give a good shake, serve over ice and garnish with a cucumber sphere.

Mmm… And here’s the complete recipe:


¼ cubed cucumber

2-3 cubed strawberries

2 dashes of Bitters

Heavy Splash of soda

½ shots of Gin



And to see even more On the Rocks cocktail ideas they’re right here.

Photographer: Tim Halberg
Produced for: Santa Barbara Chic

On the Rocks: Chilled Cherry Limeade

April 27

Happy Friday SB Chic readers! The sun is finally shining so I’m excited to be able to sit outside this afternoon with a cocktail and the beau. I think I’ll be making this tasty treat that seems to always hit the spot when I’m craving something on the sweeter side.

Cut a lime in half and squeeze the juice of the entire lime into a glass, leaving aside one small wedge.

Add the lime wedge, a tiny pinch of sugar, 2-3 maraschino, and a heavy splash of the maraschino cherry juice in a glass/martini shaker.

Muddle together and make sure to extract the oils from the lime rind.

Add 1 ½ shots of your favorite vodka (or gin) and a heavy splash of tonic water. Give a good shake, and serve on the rocks and garnish with a lime and cherry.



-3 maraschino cherries

-pinch sugar

-maraschino juice

- 1 ½ vodka or gin

-splash of tonic water



And to see even more On the Rocks cocktail ideas they’re right here.

Photographer: Tim Halberg