Instead of going out to a restaurant to see each other, my friends and I have made it a habit to have at least one to two gatherings at my place a month, now lovingly called “Friendsday Night”. We all make an effort to find time in our busy schedules, meet up for dinner, drinks and a very competitive game of cards. Every gathering has a few requirements: good food, great drinks, and a ton of laughs. It’s become a time I cherish deeply, where we all take the time away from our phones to talk with one another, catch up and unwind.
Being the chef of the group I am usually in charge of the menu. I hit up the weekly farmer’s market and create my menu off of what I find. I especially love finding seasonal fruits at the markets and incorporating them into my cocktail recipes.
Living in Los Angeles, my group of friends is pretty health conscious. We really take advantage of the fresh produce available to us and naturally try and avoid anything with fake sugars, chemicals or additives. I am all about leaving my guests full, happy and healthy.
I have been looking for a great beverage to mix our cocktails with. I tried a bunch of natural sodas and juices, but I found either their flavors to fall flat or be completely overwhelming and “fake” tasting. I recently was introduced to IZZE®, an all natural, sparkling juice drink. IZZE® comes in several natural flavors, and after trying them I was inspired to play around a bit with some cocktail recipes. I was blown away with how accurate each flavor was. They didn’t taste like “fake” juice flavors. The peach tasted just like a peach, the grapefruit was bright, like I just bit into one for breakfast, the mandarin tasted like a sparkling cup of fresh juice. IZZE® on its own is delicious, which makes it the perfect backdrop for a killer cocktail.
IZZE® beverages have been making an appearance almost every Friendsday Night. Each week there is a new flavor and a new cocktail.
I wanted to share my favorite IZZE® cocktail on my blog. I like to call it the “Spicy Georgia Peach”. The farmer’s market is finally starting to carry stone fruits, so I thought it would be the perfect accompaniment to IZZE® Sparkling Peach beverage. I caramelize some nectarines halves in coconut oil until they are nice and toasty. (It tastes kind of like a peach pie when you do this!) With any cocktail I LOVE to pair a little sweet with something tangy and something SPICY! I paired that sweet, delicious caramelized nectarine with some Serrano chili and lots of lime juice. I muddled it all together and added my favorite libation tequila and topped it all off with IZZE® Sparkling Peach.
Fruity and a touch of sweetness at first, then that spiciness follows and hits you right in the back of the throat. If a sassy Georgia Peach was personified in a drink this would be it.
Friendsday Night has become my favorite night of the week. I hope it inspires you to throw one of your own. Here are a few tips to throw an AWESOME Friendsday Night of your own.
- Pick a menu that’s simple to make and easy to clean up. I love one pot meals like a yummy veggie lasagna, roasted chicken, roasted salmon or healthy enchiladas. Serve it with a big ol’ salad and call it a night!
- Have one of the guests bring a dessert.
- Pick out an awesome playlist. Here is one of mine that I made that I love. https://open.spotify.com/user/124097350/playlist/22keSM1Z64fr50Ms8QBqM8
- Take the time to really connect with your friends. Have one person be the designated picture taker, that way people aren’t tempted to grab their phones every 5 minutes.
- I always think of 5 questions to ask the table, they have to be different than the night before. You will be amazed at what you find out about your friends!
- Bust out a board game or a deck of cards after dinner. It always makes for a barrel of laughs.
- Bring IZZE®, with or without booze this stuff is great to sip on all night.
IZZE® Spicy Georgia Peach
(Makes 4 cocktails)
- 2 ripe nectarines, sliced in half, pits removed
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 6 ounces silver tequila
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime (about one lime)
- ½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 bottles IZZE® Sparkling Peach
- In a medium skillet, over medium high heat, melt coconut oil. Place nectarine halves, flesh side down, into the skillet and let it cook for about 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the nectarines and set aside.
- Take two caramelized nectarine halves and chop them into quarters. Take the other two halves and slice them into thin slices. Set the sliced ones aside for garnish later.
- Place the chopped ones into a cocktail shaker. Squeeze the juice of one lime in, and then toss the remains of the lime into the cocktail shaker, followed by the jalapeno. With a muddler, muddle all the fruit together, until the nectarines break down.
- Next add tequila, and mix to combine. Add about ½ of an IZZE® Sparkling Peach beverage and stir to combine.
- Fill four cocktail glasses up with ice. Place a few slices of caramelized nectarine into each glass, reserving 4 slices for garnish.
- Carefully strain the liquids evenly into four glasses filled with ice. Top each glass with move IZZE® Sparkling Peach and garnish with a fresh lime wedge and a slice of nectarine.
“Disclosure: This post was sponsored by IZZE® through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about IZZE®, all opinions are my own.”