real life test kitchen: rosemary-lemon simple syrup


Most of the time when I buy fresh herbs, I use a handful or two and then, sadly, they go back into the vegetable bin, A.K.A. the graveyard. I almost never go through a full bunch, which is so wasteful it makes me feel ashamed. So I started thinking about what to do with leftover herbs when they are still fresh, other than eating parsley salads or making a ton of pesto. And I think I came up with a pretty cool solution: herb-infused simple syrups. You can use the syrups to fancify cocktails, sweeten iced tea, or make your own (Super cheap! All natural!) soda with some fizzy water. My current favorite flavor is lemon-rosemary, but you could substitute any fresh herbs you already have on hand. Don’t like lemon? Try lime, blood orange, grapefruit, or leave out the citrus altogether. It’s a pretty foolproof recipe and livens up so many different types of drinks. –Lisa C. Click for the recipes for rosemary-lemon simple syrup and cocktails!
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bone chillers: an excuse for a party

I received this skull and crossbones ice cube tray for my birthday and I’m crazy about it! Most people (of the non-ridiculous variety) would probably tuck it away until Halloween, but I’ve been trying to find any excuse to make wonderfully sinister ice cubes. So far, I’ve already had a “Pirates of the Caribbean” marathon and started my own secret society. Anyone else have any brilliant party suggestions? –Katie D.

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drink this: fentimans curiosity cola


When I spotted the vintage-inspired bottles of Fentimans Curiosity Cola lined up in the cold case at my local grocery store, my curiosity was piqued. Fentimans brews their beverages naturally, according to century-old English recipes, through the process of fermentation. Ginger roots, herbs, natural extracts, sugar, brewer’s yeast, and fresh spring water are transferred to wooden vats where the liquid is left to ferment for a week to develop the signature flavor and carbonation. Yes, it also allows for trace amounts of alcohol to be formed, but after pasteurization, the booze that remains is less than 0.5%. They even leave a layer of sediment at the bottom of the bottle to ensure that the maximium flavor is delivered to each imbiber. So how’s it taste? In a word, complex. It’s definitely a powerful cola — spicy from the ginger but balanced by the earthiness of kola nut. I found it delightfully effervescent and not too sweet — it will definitely make a repeat performance in my home. I’d actually love to try some more of their inspired refreshments, such as the whimsically named “Orange Jigger” and “Shandy,” a soda made from beer! –Megan B.

More refreshment: Pepsi Natural, Dry Soda.

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strangely appealing: insect ware from bailey doesn’t bark


A little bird (okay, Facebook) told us that Angela recently purchased an ant-enhanced cup and saucer from Baily Doesn’t Bark as a Father’s Day gift for her husband Chad. The strange mix of creepiness and loveliness doesn’t stop there — Bailey Doesn’t Bark has a Roach Series of dishes as well. Mmm! See them all — along with some less weird but still wonderful patterns — here.

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want it now: bromioli rocco kufra pitcher


Now that cookout season is officially upon us, I’ve been enjoying the great outdoors (and ribs) quite frequently. As my boyfriend, the grill master, experiments with homemade marinades, I’ve been experimenting with new types of fruit punch and lemonades — we’re like mad scientists, only with BBQ. Of course, nothing ruins a batch of strawberry and watermelon lemonade faster than melting ice cubes in the summer sun. Enter the Bromioli Rocco Kufra pitcher to make life easier (and less diluted)! The central tube is filled with ice and sits inside your delicious lemonade, keeping it cool without thinning the flavor. They’re sold at Bed Bath & Beyond for just $9.99 a piece, so I can afford to buy enough to serve all of my favorite summer punches. –Katie D.

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