Raise Your Bar Serving These New Year’s Eve Cocktails 534

Blood Orange Gin Punch Recipe

Get the party started with this simple cocktail, this modern take on a classic screwdriver is an easy-drinking crowd-pleaser. To keep the party moving, put it in a punch bowl and let your guests serve themselves.

Recipe Serves 10

Shopping List
⅓ cup cane sugar
5 sprigs organic fresh rosemary
11 or 12 organic blood oranges
1¾ cups gin
1¼ cups prosecco
5 cups ice

Tools
Peeler, punch bowl, small sauce pot

1. Make the simple syrup
In a small sauce pot, combine 1½ cups water and sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add 3 rosemary sprigs and bring to a boil (set aside the remaining 2 sprigs for serving). Remove from the heat and let steep until cool, about 30 minutes.

Discard the rosemary. Measure ½ cup simple syrup; save any remaining simple syrup for another use.

2. Prep the orange wheels and twists; mix the cocktail

  • Cut 1 blood orange in half, then cut one half crosswise into thin slices. Do not remove the peel; discard any seeds. Reserve the other orange half for juicing.
  • Using a peeler, remove the zest in 2-inch-long strips from the blood oranges, being careful to remove only the outermost orange layer and leave behind the bitter white pith. You’ll want 1 strip per serving, or 8 to 10 total.
  • Juice enough oranges to measure 3¾ cups.
  • Cut the remaining rosemary sprigs into 1-inch pieces and set aside for garnish.
  • In a punch bowl, combine the orange juice, gin, prosecco, simple syrup, and 1 cup ice. Stir until well incorporated, then add blood orange rounds.

Serve
Set out rocks glasses and the remaining ice and invite everyone to make their own cocktail, garnishing with an orange twist and a rosemary sprig.

Tip: To save time, make the simple syrup the night before; let cool and refrigerate in an airtight glass jar. If you prefer a nonalcoholic cocktail, skip the gin and prosecco, increase the amount of orange juice, and add a splash of soda water or iced tea just before serving.

Recipe & Photo courtesy of SunBasket

 

Giggle Juice

Giggle Juice is delicious combination of moscato, lemonade, and vodka that is sure have all your family and friends laughing.

Recipe Serves 8

Shopping List

Ice
Lemons
Sugar
1 (750-ml) bottle moscato
3 c. pink lemonade
1 can lemon-lime soda
1 c. vodka
2 c. sliced strawberries

Tools
Pitcher, stirrer, glasses, knife, plate for sugar
1. Rim glasses with lemon wedge and dip in sugar.
2. In a large pitcher, stir together moscato, pink lemonade, soda, vodka, and fruit. Add ice and stir to combine.
3. Divide among glasses and serve
Recipe & Photo courtesy of Delish

 

Kombucha-Campari Spritz 

The fermented tea everyone’s drinking has recently made its debut as a cocktail mixer. When you think about, that makes a lot of sense. Kombucha is tart, fizzy, and a little bit funky, just the thing to mix with your favorite spirits. Here pair ginger kombucha with Campari for a low-alcohol drink you can sip all night.

Recipe Serves 2

 

Shopping List
1 organic lemon
2 ounces Campari
2 cups ice
4 ounces ginger kombucha

Tools
Cocktail shaker, medium frying pan

1. Char the lemon garnish
Cut the lemon in half crosswise, then cut half into thin rounds; save the remaining half for another use. In a dry medium frying pan over medium-high heat, add the lemon rounds and cook, turning once, until fragrant and lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

2. Make the Campari spritz 
In a cocktail shaker, add the Campari and half the ice. Shake well, about 30 seconds.

Serve
Fill two rocks glasses with the remaining ice. Strain the Campari into the glass and top off with as much kombucha as you like. Garnish each glass with a charred lemon slice and serve.

Recipe & Photo courtesy of SunBasket

 

Moscow Mule Recipe

A Moscow mule is actually very easy to make. It only has three ingredients: vodka, ginger beer, and lime. We like to garnish it with mint, but it’s not necessary.

Recipe Serves 2

 

Shopping List

Ice
2 oz. vodka
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. (12-oz.) can ginger beer
Lime wedges, for garnish
Mint (optional for additional garnish)

 

Tools
Cooper mugs, Stirrers, knife

1.Fill two copper mugs with ice. Pour 1 ounce vodka and 1/2 ounce lime juice over ice in each mug. Pour ginger beer into each cup until mostly full. Stir.
2. Garnish with mint and lime wedge to serve.

Throwing a Party and don’t want to play bartender all night?  Serve this Moscow Mule punch- which is basically one giant Moscow mule.

Shopping List
4 c. ice
4 c. ginger beer
3 c. vodka
1 c. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 c. mint leaves, plus more for garnish
limes, sliced, plus more for garnish
Tools
Punch bowl, Ladle, Cooper mugs, Stirrers, knife

1. In a large punch bowl, combine ice, ginger beer, vodka, lime juice, lime slices, and mint
2. Ladle punch into glasses or copper mugs and garnish with more mint.

Recipe & Photo courtesy of Delish
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Shop These Local Long Island Toy Stores 2019 431

Had enough of Cyber Week and shopping online? Small toy shops are the go-to destinations for those who prefer to shop brick and mortar stores for their gifts.  Shopping these smaller local stores gives a more personal shopping experience and patrons can find unique and fun gift ideas.  These shops often provide demonstrations and offer one-on-one assistance to ensure you select the perfect gifts.

At these local Long Island shops you will find everything from the hottest new toy trends to the classics, educational toys, party favors and much more:

 

Funky Monkey

Funky Monkey Toys and Books Is A Trendy, Funky, Cool Store That Will Keep You One Step Ahead! You should definitely plan to stop here if you’re looking for what’s new and hot, as they often get a hold of popular and trendy products before other stores. Watch for in-store and seasonally-themed events as well.

More information: 360 Wheatley Plaza, Greenvale; 516-484-0966; Click here for more info

 

 

Fun Stuff Toys

Specializing in kids’ toys. Shop for creative, educational, developmental games, puzzles, and specialty toys.  Fun Stuff Toys has a friendly staff who hold playful demos on the latest and greatest toys. There are many seasonal and trendy toys, action figures, models, educational toys, riding scooters and mainstream items for children of all ages.

More Information: 3639 Merrick Rd., Seaford) 516-409-8697; Click here for more info

 

 

Stevenson’s Toys and Games

With two locations in the Hamptons, Stevenson offers a variety of main stream and rare toys.  They pride themselves on offering toys from around the world that are both fun and stimulating.  Some toys will rekindle memories from your own childhood; others are new and exciting.   Free gift wrapping on all purchases.

More Information: Southampton (631-283-2111) and East Hampton (631-527-7222); Click here for more info

 

 

M.J. Beanz Toys

At M.J. Beanz Toys you’ll find toys of the trendy and educational variety, as well as the traditional activity and coloring books, dolls, stuffed animals, puzzles and arts and crafts kits. There are also party favors and educational products.

More Information:  345 S. Oyster Bay Rd., Plainview; 516-827-7700; Click here for more info

 

 

G. Willikers

At G. Willikers seasonal gifts and trendy board games are the norm.  Here you can find educational toys, dolls, action toys, cuddly stuffed animals and items for babies and toddlers. Art tools and kits, outdoor riding toys and books are also mainstays.

More Information: 22 Forest Ave., Locust Valley; 516-671-3335, Click here for more info

 

 

Einstein’s Attic

At this store in the heart of Northport village, you’ll find more than just toys from major manufacturers, but also handmade and specialty items for dolls and collectibles. Educational and science toys are available too, as are seasonal offerings.

More Information: 79 Main St., Northport; 631-261-7564, Click here for more info

 

 

Funni Business

Toys are the main option of this playful shop notable for the large “Gumby” statue that stands in front of its window, but stock also includes seasonal and lawn games, as well as party favors, collectibles, retro toys, baby playthings, books and candy.

More Information: 30 Audrey Ave., Oyster Bay; 516-922-3900, Click here for more info

 

 

Boardwalk Games

Boardwalk Games has a little something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a gift for a child or a seasoned gamer, the store specializes in strategy games, jigsaw puzzles and chess sets. Boardwalk Games sells collectible versions of classic games. The store has a wide array of chess sets and variation chess games as well as a large selection of Monopoly sets.

More Information: 35 Creek Rd., Port Jefferson; 631-928-4263; Click here for more info

 

Matty’s Toy Stop

A family-owned operation, this local chain of stores has 4 locations serving the Long Island area.  Each locations has a variety of mainstream toys as well as educational items and playthings for babies. Rows of shelves filled with games, toys, books and puzzles, this store is a fun house for young kids.

More Information: Locations: 19 Covert Ave., Floral Park, 516-358-4010; 1350 Peninsula Blvd., Hewlett, 516-295-2555; 2138 Merrick Mall, Merrick, 516-771-4209; 284 Sunrise Hwy., Rockville Centre; 516-634-0030; Click here for more info

 

Goldsmith’s Toys and Electronics

Recently reopened in a new space slightly down the block, Goldsmith’s is still well known for its large collection of rubber ducks; it also carries plush toys, beach and bath toys, books, art supplies, kites, puzzles and more. They carry a full line of Thomas the Tank Engine, Lego, Melissa and Doug, and Lionel Trains. Oh and Goldsmith’s also has electronics, just in case you need batteries, cables or a new phone charger.

More Information: 128 Main St., Greenport; 631-477-0466; Click here for more info

 

Learning Tower

LearningTower Toys features hard to find, innovative, high quality games and toys. Their mission is to provide children with quality products that foster personal expression and self esteem. Learning Tower features mainstream toys, but also focuses on interesting board games, collectibles, figurines and building toys. Be sure and explore its puppet section, which includes a wide selection of well-crafted options that range from finger fun to hand dolls that work best with practiced manipulation.

More Information: 4747 Nesconset Hwy., Port Jefferson Station; 631-928-2040, Click here for more info

 

 

Lakeshore Learning

Lakeshore Learning may not be a traditional toy store but it carries hands-on learning materials. Customers can open any product to take a closer look before making a purchase, and the store hosts free events for kids every Saturday. Some things you’ll find there: building sets, educational toys, science kits, math/reading games and art supplies.

More information: 2079 Hillside Ave., New Hyde Park; 516-616-9360; Click here for more info

 

Classic Holiday Movies to watch this Holiday Season 318

Whether is an old time classic or a modern favorite, watching holiday movies is an annual tradition for many families.

Listed alphabetically below are movies the whole family can enjoy together. Grab your favorite person (or people) and a cozy blanket and make tonight a movie night!

 

‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ (1965)

In this timeless cartoon, Charlie Brown seeks out the true meaning of Christmas.   Charlie Brown finds himself sad despite the onset of the cheerful holiday season. He attempts to direct a neighborhood Christmas play, but his best efforts are ignored and mocked by his peers. After Linus tells Charlie Brown about the true meaning of Christmas, Charlie Brown cheers up, and the Peanuts gang unites to celebrate the Christmas season.

 

 

 

‘A Christmas Carol’ (1951)

There are too many film adaptations of Charles Dickens’s Christmas story to count, but this 1951 version (originally called Scrooge when it was first released) is considered to be the best by many.  as the story goes, an old bitter miser is given a chance for redemption when he is haunted by three ghosts on Christmas Eve.

 

 

 

 

‘A Christmas Story’ (1983)

When I think of this classic three things come to my mind, the infamous leg lamp, Red Ryder BB guns, and never to lick a frozen pole. Set in the 1940s, a 9-year-old named Ralphie spends most of his time dodging the neighborhood bully and dreaming of the one thing he wants for Christmas, a Red Ryder B.B.gun. Ralphie struggles to make it to Christmas Day with his glasses and his hopes intact. Follow along as he tries to persuade his parents, teachers and friends in this holiday classic.

 

 

 

‘Arthur Christmas’ (2011)

Set on Christmas night, the film tells a story about Santas clumsy son Arthur Claus who discovers that the Santa’s high-tech ship has failed to deliver one girl’s present. To try to make things right, he goes on a mission to save her Christmas, accompanied only by his aging grandfather, a rebellious yet enthusiastic young Elf , and a team of eight strong untrained magical reindeer.

 

 

 

‘Elf’ (2003)

As a toddler, Buddy (Will Ferrell) was accidentally sent to the North Pole.  Buddy, a regular-sized man was raised as an elf by Santa Clause and his elves.  When the learns that he’s not a real elf, he decides to head back to his place of birth, New York City, in search of his biological family.

 

 

 

 

‘Home Alone’ (1990)

When bratty 8-year-old Kevin McCallister acts out the night before a family trip to Paris, his mother makes him sleep in the attic. After waking up late and rushing to leave for the airport, his family mistakenly leaves without him.  Kevin awakens to an empty house and assumes his wish to have no family has come true. He quickly learns it is not all fun and games when he realizes that two con men plan to rob his home. He decides that he must protect the family home and comes up with a brilliant and hilarious tricks to prevent burglars from robbing his home.

 

 

 

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York’ (1992)

The McCallisters decide to take a trip to Florida, but Kevin loses track of his father at the airport and takes the wrong plane and ends up in NYC. Now alone in the Big Apple, Kevin cons his way into a room at the Plaza Hotel and begins his usual antics. But when Kevin discovers that the renamed “Sticky” Bandits are on the loose, he struggles to stop them from robbing an elderly man’s toy store just before Christmas. Watch as he manages to outwit the Sticky Bandits one more time.

 

 

 

‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas!’ (1966)

A grumpy Grinch has spent 53 years of his life hating Christmas. On Christmas Eve he hatches a plan to steal Christmas from the Whos of Whoville. The Grinch disguised as Santa empties each house in Whoville of all the food and Christmas-related items, namely presents, the tree, decorations and even the stockings on the chimney. Instead of waking and crying about the stolen goods, the Whos joyously begin to sing Christmas carols, proving that the spirit of Christmas does not depend on material things. The Grinch begins to understand the true meaning of Christmas and has a change of heart.  Since the 1966 other versions have been produced including the latest version, which is still playing in theaters.

 

 

‘Miracle on 34th Street’ (1947)

When Santa can’t participate in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, Kris Kringle steps in and proves to be a hit. He begins to appear regularly at Macy’s in Manhattan and other events. He continuously claims that he is the real Santa Claus, which leads to a court case to determine his authenticity and his mental health.  Along the way, he tries to win over the heart of a young girl who lost her Christmas spirit.

 

 

 

‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ (1989)

Dreading going home to visit your family this year? Watching this Chevy Chase movie will make anything your family does this Christmas seem normal. As the holidays approach, Clark Griswold wants to have a perfect family Christmas, so he pesters his wife, Ellen and children, as he tries to make sure everything is in line, including the tree and house decorations. Things go bad quickly when his “back of the woods” cousin, Eddie  and his family show up unplanned and start living in their camper on the Griswold property. Just when he thought it could not get worse, Clark’s employers renege on the holiday bonus he needs.

 

 

‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’ (1987)

Funny men Steve Martin and John Candy team up for a classic holiday tale gone awry. Released in 1987, this film features these two comedians at their best — two rivals trapped in the car on their way home for the holidays. Easily excitable Neal Page (Steve Martin) is somewhat of a control freak. Trying to get home to Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with his wife (Laila Robins) and kids, his flight is rerouted to a distant city in Kansas because of a freak snowstorm, and his sanity begins to fray. Worse yet, he is forced to bunk up with talkative Del Griffith (John Candy), whom he finds extremely annoying. Together they must overcome the insanity of holiday travel to reach their intended destination.

 

 

Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a 1964 Christmas stop motion animated television special produced by Videocraft International, Ltd.  Donner, Santa’s lead reindeer, and his wife have given birth to a new fawn named Rudolph. All the the reindeer are surprised to see he was not like them, he was born with a glowing red nose.  Rudolph goes out to the reindeer games hiding behind a fake nose.  While celebrating his flight Rudolph’s fake nose pops off, causing him to be expelled.  One Christmas Eve  while everybody was celebrating, Santa reluctantly announced that the weather has forced him to cancel Christmas. Then he thinks of Rudolph’s red nose and asks Rudolph to lead the sleigh.  Rudolph saves the day and leads the way as Santa wishes everyone a Merry Christmas!

 

 

‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ (1992)

The Muppets perform a retelling of the classic Charles Dickens holiday tale in musical fashion. The story follows Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine) as he is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. Favorite Muppets play Dickens’s characters. Kermit the Frog plays Bob Cratchit the clerk of stingy Ebenezer Scrooge. Other Muppets — Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie Bear and Sam the Eagle also star in the movie. They try to help him to see the error of his self-serving ways.

 

 

 

‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (1993)

Tim Burton blends Christmas and Halloween together in a way that’s a little spooky but also heartwarming. Jack Skellington, Halloweentown’s  pumpkin king becomes bored with scaring people. He accidentally ends up in Christmas Town, which is filled with vibrant colors and joyous spirits. He decides he wants to control the new town, so he plots to kidnap Santa Claus to take over that role.  Jack finds himself in a pickle when things don’t go according to his plan.

 

 

 

‘The Polar Express’ (2004)

The Polar Express features Tom Hanks in an animated adventure, based on the children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg.  When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that if you believe, the wonder of life never fades away!

 

 

 

 

‘The Santa Clause’ (1994)

When a divorced businessman accidentally kills Santa, he must take over the role in this 1994 movie starring Tim Allen. Scott (Tim Allen) and his son are transported to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. The elves tell Scott that he must take Santa’s place before the next Christmas arrives. Throughout the next several months he physically transforms into Santa by gaining weight and growing a white beard.

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