Without fail, summer peaks and starts to wind down before I know what happened. So to squeeze as much joy as possible out of my favourite months, I try to make every day memorable or celebratory in some way. That means stopping to smell the roses – pausing to take in the incredible turquoise colour of the pacific ocean on a bright, sunny day – and creating beauty in daily rituals – say, using my favourite blue plates and cloth napkins to serve BLTs al fresco.
I particularly cherish the sweet, balmy nights of August. On such an evening, nothing is better than sharing an impromptu meal with friends, putting fresh flowers on the table and sipping on a summery cocktail (preferably on the patio) in a pretty glass.
I’ve got two perfect August-evening cocktails (well, WINE-tails, actually) for you today, both featuring Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio.
I am excited to work with this brand because, not only do I find their wines delicious and approachable (well-balanced – not too sweet, not too dry – just really drinkable and easy to enjoy), but I really love their credo – upgrading the everyday. Making the day-to-day special. Doing the little things that turn an ordinary moment into an occasion. It really resonates with me! As part of our collaboration, we’re bringing you a “Hang On to Summer” giveaway that I am totally aflutter about. Details below.
The first winetail is a Pinot Grigio-Grapefruit Sunset – freshly squeezed grapefruit juice stirred with Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio, topped with crème de cassis for the graduated “sunset” appearance. The grapefruit brings forward the wine’s light citrus notes in this perfectly not-to-sweet cocktail.
The second is a cucumber-melon cooler – cucumber and ripe honeydew melon blended with Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio and strained into an ice-filled glass, garnished with cucumber rounds, a little wedge and a mint sprig. It’s crisp and refreshing, like the wine itself.
Let me just say that these winetails are perfect summer sippers – not-too-sweet, cold and fresh after a full day in the sun.
I’d suggest pairing either winetail with fresh, summery fare, such as:
– Finely julienned zucchini sauteed with good olive oil and angel hair pasta, finished with lots of chopped fresh mint and parsley, and toasted hazelnuts.
– Grilled salmon topped with a nectarine salsa.
– Chicken skewers marinated in citrus and chile, finished with chopped fresh cilantro.
Recipes below giveaway rules and entry form!
For the “Hang on to Summer” giveaway with Ecco Domani, I’ve curated a selection of things I love – special items that upgrade the everyday. Things I own, or would love to own. I really hope you like them, too!
1. A KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Stand Mixer in Ecco Domani green. I own this colour, not only does it get used all the time, it looks gorgeous on the counter.
2. A set of 3 beautiful candle holders of varied heights from Anthropologie. They create a lovely tablescape, and their transparency means they don’t make even a small table feel crowded. Candlelight is an easy touch to make any meal feel more special.
3. A much coveted Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French Oven, Cassis. A beautiful upgrade for a piece of equipment I personally use all the time – casual elegance comes of slow-simmered braises.
4. A casually beautiful, hand-carved olive wood & natural bone serving set (fair trade, from Kenya).
5. 10 incredible Tahitian Vanilla Beans.
6. The Cuisinart Pure Indulgence Ice Cream Maker – because my ice cream machine is worth every millimetre of storage space allotted to non-essential equipment. I LOVE IT.
7. & 8. Chocolate goodies from my favourite American chocolatier – high quality TCHO Baking Drops and cocoa nibs.
9. My favourite popsicle molds – which you’ll put to good use in the near future with popsicle recipes to come!
10. A sleek and compact Universal Expert Corkscrew from West Elm with a foil cutter that doubles as a bottle opener.
FULL RULES & REGULATIONS HERE: http://foodess.com/hang-on-to-summer-official-rules
To enter, you must “Like” the Ecco Domani Facebook Page (http://www.facebook.com/ Ecco-Domani) between August 8, 2014 at 8am PST and August 18 2014 at 11:59pm PST (“Sweepstakes Entry Period”), and let me know you’ve done it via the Rafflecopter Entry Box below.
Entrants may earn up to (3) additional entries by: (1) Leaving a comment with an idea or recipe for a summer winetail (wine cocktail) on this blog post (2) Tweeting about the giveaway with a link to the contest by posting the following from a Twitter account: “I just entered the Hang On to Summer giveaway with Ecco Domani and Foodess #EccoDomanifoodess.” and (3) Sharing the giveaway on Facebook by sharing the following from a Facebook account: “I just entered the Hang On to Summer giveaway with @EccoDomani and @Foodess http://bit.ly/EccoDomaniFoodess #EccoDomanifoodess.”
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm (PST) Monday, August 18th, 2014.
One winner will be drawn randomly by rafflecopter on August 20th, 2014.
Winner will receive (1) one of each item listed above. (Total retail value of prize = $1,100.)
Winner must respond within 24 hours or prize will be forfeited and another winner will be drawn.
Giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada only (with restrictions; see link above).
UPDATE: Congratulations to Holly O’Gorman, the winner!
- ½ cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, chilled
- 1 cup Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio, chilled
- 1 oz creme de cassis
- Grapefruit slices, for serving
- Stir together grapefruit juice and Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio in a spouted measuring cup. Divide between two glasses. Top each with ½-oz creme de cassis and let it settle for a minute to give the graduated "sunset" appearance. Garnish with grapefruit slices.
- 3” piece of cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
- ¼ medium honeydew melon, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio
- 3 oz simple syrup*, or to taste
- fresh mint sprigs
- cucumber slices and thin melon wedges, optional
- Combine cucumber, melon and Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio and simple syrup in blender and process on high speed until smooth, about 15 seconds. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a spouted measuring cup; discard pulp. Divide between two ice-filled glasses and garnish with mint sprigs, cucumber slices and/or melon wedges as desired.
- *To make simple syrup, combine ½ cup granulated sugar and ½ cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Store refrigerated in a sealed jar - it will keep several months.