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Alexandra Zega

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Is Downsizing the Right Choice for You?

by Alexandra Zega

Whether you are an adult with an empty nest, recently unemployed, going through a divorce, or even just tired of caring and maintaining for a larger home, it may be time to start the downsizing process. For some homeowners, downsizing may seem like the opposite of what you've worked for your entire life. For others, a smaller home is a thrilling idea due to the decrease in upkeep and bills, and the option of moving to a completely different area.

By deciding to purchase a smaller home or condo, you are potentially saving a substantial amount of time and money that could all be put toward things like entertainment, culture, your children's savings, or that dream car. Even though a lower-maintenance lifestyle may be just the right thing for you, there are a few things to consider first. Be sure to ask yourself a few important questions before making the decision to downsize:

  • What will you miss about living in a larger home?
  • Will this choice save you time and maintenance responsibility?
  • Are there any other factors that will affect your decision to move into a smaller home, such as an adult child moving back home temporarily?
  • Will your downsizing be able to handle such unforeseen scenarios?

Downsizers must also consider the cost of doing so. Not only will you have to cut down on your number of possessions, but furniture will also need to be downsized. You may have to sell larger items and appliances, and buy anew in order to suit the newer, more conservative space. This may or may not be an issue, but don't fail to consider this as another step in the process.

When trying to find the right house, think about townhomes, condos and lofts as options. Many household duties such as lawn mowing and repairs will be covered for you, providing you with an easier lifestyle and less responsibility. Aim for housing styles that will allow for modest living with minimal upkeep - that is the key to downsizing.

Lastly, choosing a neighborhood is an important part of buying any type of home. For smaller options, try looking in the center of town or downtown. Doing so can keep commuting costs low, provide you with more options and, in some areas, a degree of walkability.

Work with a knowledgeable real estate professional who can help you find something that's just right for you. Downsizing can be a very positive experience for flexible homeowners looking to move to the next stage of their lives.

As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have a wealth of real estate and homeownership information that may be of help to you. Feel free to contact me any time to learn more about this important information, and be sure to forward this article on to any friends or family that may be interested as well.

5 Innovative Green Renovations

by Alexandra Zega

Recycling, composting, collecting gray water—these are all ways you can save money and help the environment without leaving your property. However, if you are planning to sell, a few green renovations can go a long way in terms of appealing to buyers. Below are a few green insider tips on eco-friendly changes you can make to your home.

1. Recycled Roof Tiles
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, asphalt shingles represent up to 10 percent of residential jobsite waste. By using reclaimed clay or stone tiles, or slate, you can do your part to help keep tiling out of landfills, and save some cash while you’re at it.

2. Low-Energy Lighting
Electric lighting burns up to 25 percent of the average home energy budget. Adding low-energy light fixtures can have a large impact on your bills.

3. Lime Mortar
Using a lime mortar in brick or stone homes is a healthier choice than a cement-based mortar. Lime manufacturing produces less carbon dioxide, and it actually re-absorbs carbon dioxide, which lowers its carbon footprint even further.

4. Low Energy Appliances
Adding energy efficient appliances in your bathroom and kitchen packs a big appeal to buyers. A low energy toilet, shower, stove and refrigerator are all great choices.

5. Natural Flooring
Choose flooring from sustainable sources, like bamboo, which is classified as a renewable source. Bamboo supplies can be produced quickly and efficiently, which is why it’s a great flooring choice, and delivers less of an impact than wood but still has a great look.

In this market, getting a leg up on the competition is crucial to selling your house. Green renovations are a fantastic way to draw in buyers, add home value and get a great return on your investment.

As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have a wealth of real estate and homeownership information that may be of help to you. Feel free to contact me any time to learn more about this important information, and be sure to forward this article on to any friends or family that may be interested as well.

Are You Overpaying Your Property Taxes?

by Alexandra Zega

 

According to the American Homeowners Association, an average of 60 percent of homeowners are paying too much for their property taxes! No one likes to overpay, and overpaying on your property can be a serious setback. Below are several steps homeowner should take to investigate whether or not their property taxes can be lowered:

  • First, get your detailed property tax assessment record online or from your assessor's office. It's possible your entire neighborhood has been over-assessed.
  • Check with a real estate agent to get a solid understanding of what homes are currently selling for in your community. Professional agents will have the most up-to-date statistics on local market values.
  • Check the accuracy of the details about your home used in your tax assessment. Determine if your property's size and description are accurate. Errors are commonly made in transferring data from paper to online. Make sure details like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms is correct and that any defects that could affect the value of your home - such as a leaky roof or cracked wall - are noted.
  • If errors have made your assessment higher than it should be, try working informally with the assessor rather than going through a formal appeal process.
  • If the correction cannot be made informally, you'll need to make a formal appeal. There may even be a process for appealing your taxes online. Keep in mind that there is usually a narrow window of opportunity in which to file an appeal. Some jurisdictions set aside a time every year to hear appeals, while others only consider appeals for a few months after your house has been reassessed, which is often not every year.
  • Depending on your municipality, you might also be eligible for property-tax exemptions, which range from senior citizen and active-duty military exemptions to ones for those who own livestock.

Throughout the entire process, it's important that homeowners maintain fastidious records, and the proper documentation will be critical to supporting your case. 

As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have a wealth of real estate and homeownership information that may be of help to you. Feel free to contact me any time to learn more about this important information, and be sure to forward this article on to any friends or family that may be interested as well.

Buying a Condo? 4 Questions to ask

by Alexandra Zega

 

Condominium homes have always been, and will likely always be, an efficient and economical route to becoming a first-time homeowner. They can offer the comfort, prestige, and even luxury appointments that apartment living may lack, often at a cost that is not much different than rent.

Purchasing a condo is a smart and, most times, more affordable way to enter the housing market. However, not all condos are equal so it's vital that potential buyers be knowledgeable and know to ask the right questions.

Consider asking the following four questions before you buy:

What will you own? Read the bylaws and be sure you understand what you will be responsible for and what belongs to the condo association. Will you own the boat dock at the back of your unit? Can you elect to build a spa on your patio? Generally, unit owners own and are responsible for the interior of their condos, while costs for outside maintenance, including common areas and sewer lines, are the association's responsibility.

Who lives there? Are the majority of residents owners or renters? Owners generally take more interest in proper maintenance and are more willing than renters to serve on the association board and enforce complex rules and regulations—including the regular collection of homeowner dues.

How effective is the homeowner's association? Do they have legal counsel, reasonable funds and a capable, caring volunteer board? One way to judge is to check with residents about restrictions, oversight and timeliness of repairs and upgrades. Another is to take a hard look at the grounds and be wary of signs of neglect.

What about special assessments? The association should have the power to special assess for needed, one-time large expenditures. Otherwise, things that need to be done may never get done at all, leaving the complex vulnerable to disrepair and lowered property values.

Buying a home is a complex and complicated undertaking, whether it's your first home or your fifth. Once you have a good, working knowledge about purchasing a condo, making the right decision will come much easier. 

As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have a wealth of real estate and homeownership information that may be of help to you. Feel free to contact me any time to learn more about this important information, and be sure to forward this article on to any friends or family that may be interested as well.

Refinance before June 3rd to avoid FHA rule changes

by Alexandra Zega

Thinking about refinancing your existing mortgage, or taking out a new one? Don't delay, or it could cost you. Some Federal Housing Administration (FHA) changes involving tighter lending standards and higher mortgage insurance premiums already took effect on April 1st, while others are on the way - and these changes could make a dent in your wallet.

So what's prompting these changes? They come in the wake of the FHA's Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund - which is used to fund homeowner programs - announcing a deficit of over $16.3 billion for fiscal year 2013.

"All these changes that the FHA is implementing are not surprising considering the struggle to maintain their mandated reserve requirement," says Irene Moustakas, a California mortgage broker with Granite Financial. "But it translates to loans and payments that are more expensive for consumers."

Keep reading to learn about more FHA changes that will take effect on June 3rd, and how it'll affect your home purchase or refinancing opportunities.

You Might Have to Pay Mortgage Insurance for the Life of the Loan

After the FHA changes come into effect on June 3rd, most homebuyers with a case number after this date will have to pay mortgage insurance for the life of the loan - unless they put a down payment of more than 10 percent, according to Mortgagee Letter 2013-04 issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on January 31, 2013.

This means you'll have to either put down more money upfront, or you'll face paying mortgage insurance over the life of your loan.

"If you wait until after June 3rd, then you must pay [mortgage insurance] for either 11 years, or the life of the loan, depending on how much you finance," Moustakas says. "If you put down 10 percent or more, then the annual mortgage premium can be eliminated after 11 years. So if your loan amount is $400,000, with this 10 percent down payment scenario, that's an additional $31,200 you will be paying for insurance [over the life of the loan]."

 If, however, you get a case number for a mortgage or refinance before June 3rd, you can stop paying mortgage insurance once you reach 22 percent equity in your home - and the savings can be significant.

The bottom-line benefit is savings in your pocket, according to Moustakas. The trick is to secure an FHA case number prior to June 3rd.

There Will Be Minimum Equity Increase for Jumbo Mortgages (over $625,500)

Do you have at least 5 percent equity in your home, or for a down payment?

If you are considering refinancing or getting a mortgage over $625,500, the required down payment (or equity in the home if it's a refinance) will rise from 3.5 percent to 5 percent of the home value, according to a FHA Federal Register Notice dated February 6, 2013. This means that your mortgage amount cannot exceed 95 percent of the home value.

"On that sort of loan amount and purchase price, that's a lot of money," says Moustakas - almost $33K you'll have to come up with on a $650,000 loan, for example.

Moustakas says the combination of the impending increased down payment requirements, and the annual insurance premium increase from April 1st, mean people considering taking on or refinancing a big mortgage should act today.

"Right now you would be able to get into a home with FHA financing for less money down than what will be required in the future."

Mortgage Interest Rates are Increasing - Regardless of the Loan You Have

If the upcoming FHA changes don't seem like much to be concerned about, consider this: According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), mortgage interest rates are predicted to reach a whopping 4.3 percent by the fourth quarter of 2013.* And that could be a reason in itself to refinance now - regardless of if you'll be affected by the FHA changes.
Let's take a look at how much of an impact this can have on your wallet.  Below is a comparison of a $400,000, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of 3.76 percent (the March 29, 2013 average according to the MBA), and the predicted 4.3 percent:

  3.76 percent 4.3 percent
Monthly Payment: $1,854.73 $1,979.49
Total Interest Paid: $267,703.83 $312,614.88

With just an increase of a little over half a percent in interest rates, the monthly payment is $124.76 higher, with almost $45,000 extra paid over the life of the loan in interest. Now that sounds like a good reason to refinance.

* Interest rate predictions are as of March 22, 2013.

By Sarita Harbour | Yahoo! Homes – Mon, Apr 29, 2013

The Rolls-Royce of riding mowers

by Alexandra Zega

With the grass beginning to grow in many parts of the country, a little weekend yard work may be in order. But why settle for a labor-intensive push mower when you can ride around on the Rolls-Royce of lawn tractors? That’s pretty much how John Deere bills its X758 Signature Series Tractor – and at around $17,000 for the fully decked-out version (with the snow-blower attachment and an extended-service plan), it’s one of the most expensive of its kind. 

But what do you get for a tractor that costs as much as a Honda Civic? Well, you get a lot of car-like features: Think four-wheel drive, cruise control, tilt steering and a powerful 3-cylinder diesel engine that provides “extra torque and durability,” according to Deere. Oh, and you also get cup holders and a port to plug in your cell phone (just in case you need you need to talk to your stock broker in the midst of your mowing, a cynic might suggest). But perhaps the key element, say Deere execs, is an auto-connect feature that makes it extra-easy to snap on the all-important mower deck (the part that actually cuts the grass).

The reality:

Sure, it might be fun to drive, but it won’t necessarily make your yard look that much better, say lawn pros. For starters, unless you have at least half an acre of yard to maintain, you can probably get away with a standard motorized push mower, which can cost well under $500. But even if you have a large lawn, you need no more than a basic lawn tractor — the sweet spot for models that can do the job and last through several seasons of mowing is between $2,000 and $4,500, pros suggest. And they recommend any number of manufacturers that offer models in that price range, including Husqvarna, Cub Cadet, Troy-Bilt and, yes, John Deere. Pros also says the snow-blowing, gardening and other accessories can make a lawn tractor an extra-essential purchase. Simply put, it is a machine “designed to do more than mow,” says Hank Will, editor in chief of GRIT, a rural lifestyle magazine.

But what to look for in a lawn tractor? The key is a solid engine, but experts suggest that the X758 one, which has 24-horsepower, could be overkill. Carl Eickenberg of Power Equipment Plus, a New England-based retailer that also sells online, suggests that for the average suburbanite, 20 to 22 horsepower “might be all that’s needed.” And while a diesel engine indeed provides plenty of torque, “no homeowner needs a diesel,” says Mark Sodja, outdoor equipment specialist for eReplacementParts.com.

Still, there’s more to a mower than the engine. Pros say it’s a good idea to look for a hydrostatic transmission, which makes it easier to shift speeds. And, yes, that’s the very type of transmission found on the X758, but it can also be found on much cheaper models. As for some of the other features on the X758, they’re more about the show-off factor than the mow factor, pros say. You buy an X758 “because you want your neighbor to watch you mow your lawn,” says Mark Sodja.

And to a great extent, John Deere officials don’t dispute that, when it comes to their top-of-the-line model. “It’s not about, ‘Do I need it?’ It’s about, ‘Do I want it?’” says Greg Weekes, a Deere marketing manager. But that’s why Deere has lawn tractors at all price points: For a quality tractor at a lower cost, Weekes suggests consumers consider their 300 series models, which start at $3,000.

(c) Charles Passy@DowJones.com

Five Ways to Beat Flu Season - from Dr. Oz & Dr. Roizen

by Alexandra Zega
Thinkstock ThinkstockThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report earlier this month, warning that flu season has come early-and it's coming on strong. While in most years, incidence of flu picks up in January and peaks in February, the latest numbers from the last few weeks of November show that flu season has officially arrived. Get your tissues and hand sanitizers ready, troops, it's going to be a long winter.

Lab tests in 48 states have confirmed cases of influenza, and flulike illness in some areas has already topped last season's totals. Google has a cool tool called Flu Trends where you can see where in the world people are searching most for flu-related information, an indication of who's getting hit hardest. The U.S. is already at "High," especially in the Southeast region. Not counting the infamous swine flu outbreak, we're looking at what could be the worst flu season in nearly a decade.

The flu is no fun (as if you needed us to tell you that!). Symptoms range from sniffles and chills to a high fever that keeps you home from work all week, or worse-flu lands 200,000 people in the hospital each year and kills more than 30 thousand in this country alone. There are antiviral drugs that can make you feel a little better and shorten the illness's duration. But of course your best bet is to not get the flu in the first place! Fortunately there are several simple and smart ways to defend yourself this flu season. And none of them requires full body armor or hiding in a bunker until April.

1. Get a flu shot.
This one seems obvious, but it's amazing how many people don't get their flu shots. Only 37 percent of Americans got them last year, and it's looking the same this year. There's no guarantee that it will prevent your getting sick; the flu shot has been 60 to 70 percent effective in recent years. But it's definitely worth a shot! Go to your doctor, a local clinic or one of many drug store chains that offer walk-in vaccination. It takes all of five minutes, kicks in after two weeks and will keep you flu-free through spring.

2. Wash your hands … and your keyboard.
And your phone. And doorknobs, faucets, the door to the fridge-any surface you use a lot and share with others. If the people around you are carrying the virus, they can spread it easily by touching or breathing on the stuff you use every day. And they might not even realize what they're doing: You can start spreading the flu a full day before you even get that I'm-coming-down-with-something feeling.

3. Keep moving.
Regular exercise isn't just great for the parts of your body you can see. It might also help keep your immune system in tip-top condition. There's a clear connection between physical activity and immune function and researchers are trying to identify the specific effects. One early study found that women over 60 who kept active had more responsive immune reactions than their sedentary peers. Don't let the cold weather keep you huddled on the sofa. Get your body in fighting shape-inside and out!

4. Get plenty of sleep.
If you do come into contact with the dreaded flu virus, it's important that your body is ready to put up its dukes to fight it off. Your immune system needs all the energy it can get to successfully battle viral invaders. The hours you spend sleeping are when your body can focus on rest and replenishment. Fewer hours in bed means less energy and a weakened immune state.

5. Supplement your diet.
 There are several foods you can eat or supplements you can take to give your immune system some added power. Vitamin D3 helps your immune system. It's hard to get enough from the winter sun, so consider taking supplements. You can also try chicken soup, large doses of vitamin C (500 mg every 4 hours), zinc lozenges, or anti-viral elderberry extract, all of which have been shown in studies to shorten the duration of colds or flus by 50 percent.

(c) Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen

 

All items in '12 Days of Christmas' now top $107K

by Alexandra Zega

(c) Kevin Begos | Associated Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Add seven swans, six geese and five golden rings to the list of Christmas gifts that cost more than they did a year ago.

And if you get all 364 items repeated throughout "The Twelve Days of Christmas" carol, you'll pay 6.1 percent more this year, according to the so-called Christmas Price Index that PNC Wealth Management updates annually.

That comes to $107,300.

"The rise is larger than expected considering the modest economic growth we've had," said Jim Dunigan, managing executive of investments for PNC. He noted the government's Consumer Price Index has risen just 2 percent in the 12 months before September.

Thrifty shoppers may find some reasons for cheer. Six items mentioned in the song haven't gone up in price: maids-a-milking, ladies dancing, lords-a-leaping, calling birds, turtle doves and the partridge. The eight maids-a-milking still cost just $58 because the minimum wage hasn't risen.

Twelve drummers drumming ($2,775.50) and eleven pipers piping ($2,562) might also be considered relative bargains compared to seven swans, which will set you back $7,000. Nine ladies dancing will cost you $6,294.03.

Dunigan said the 2011 drought caused the prices of some birds to soar, partly because of corn and other feed costs.

"The geese were up 29.6 percent, and swans were up 11 percent," Dunigan said, adding that none of the gifts in the song went down in price this year.

The price of a pear tree is $189.99, an 11.8 percent jump from last year's $169.99. Five gold rings jumped 16.3 percent this year, to $750, and three French hens are now $165, instead of $150.

The $15 partridge is the cheapest item, and swans the most expensive, at $1,000 each.

Last-minute shoppers who turn to the Internet will pay a bit more for the gifts. Buying one set of the core items in each verse costs $24,431 in traditional stores this year, but $40,440 online. Part of that difference is the extra expense of shipping live birds, Dunigan said, adding that Internet costs rose 1.5 percent compared to last year.

PNC Financial Services Group Inc. checks jewelry stores, dance companies, pet stores and other sources to compile the list. Some of its sources this year include the National Aviary in Pittsburgh and the Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania Ballet Company.

 

Pumpkin Carving Tips from the Pros

by Alexandra Zega

Maniac Pumpkin Carvers "Starry Night"Is your Jack-o-lantern's face comprised of three triangles and a lopsided grin? Welcome to the lame pumpkin club. Both professional carvers and talented amateurs are doing some pretty cool things with pumpkins these days like etching out layers to create intricate patterns of light and cutting elaborate silhouettes that go far beyond traditional kitty faces and ghouls. Shine quizzed two experts on how they achieve their magical results

Choosing a pumpkin

Marc Evan is one-half of Maniac Pumpkin Carvers, a Brooklyn-based custom carving business that turns out more than 300 pumpkins during their autumn rush. Although Halloween is especially busy, Evan says there is also a big demand for harvest themed pumpkins and fall wedding decorations.

Different pumpkins are suited for different projects. "For a classic lantern style, we look for a lighter pumpkin that's free of defects," says Evan. "For something sculptural we're want something misshapen and heavy for its size."

Look for a healthy stem that isn't completely dried out. The pumpkin will last longer.

Avoid pumpkins with bruising or soft spots. They will also rot faste

Storing a pumpkin

Wash and dry your pumpkin when you bring it home to get rid of dirt and microorganisms.

Both before and after carving, pumpkins should be kept below 60 degrees. Evan says to store in the refrigerator if possible.

Rub some lemon juice diluted with a little water onto the cut edges to prevent browning and then coat lightly with petroleum jelly.

Wrap with cellophane until ready to display.

Pumpkins begin to deteriorate after about 24 hours so carve as close as possible to the time you plan on displaying.

Carving a pumpkin

Scrape out the inside so its very clean, smooth, and dry.

If the pumpkin is wobbly, slice the bottom off for a secure base.

Have a sketch or photo to work from. "We don't like to wing it," says Evan. There are also lots of free design templates available online.

Use a soft pencil to draw your design on the pumpkin.

Experiment with tools. Evan thinks pumpkin carving sets are good for beginners, but as your skills improve, you can play with other tools. "We're always looking for stuff at a kitchen store or hardware store that might solve problems."

Cut small areas first. If you carve out big chunks, it will leave the face of the pumpkin weak and may cause it to break when you are doing finer work.

Create dimension by scraping layers into the outside of the shell like a block of wood.

As you are carving, occasionally turn off the lights, put a light source in your pumpkin, and check your progress.

Try up-lighting your pumpkin from the outside or cutting a hole the back instead of the traditional lid top. "We like to cut an opening in the back and leave the top intact," says Evan.

Battery operated lights are safer than traditional flame candles. If you do use a traditional candle, use a votive in a glass holder and make sure the flame doesn't touch the pumpkin's flesh. Cut a tiny chimney hole in the upper back area to let smoke escape.

Never leave a lit pumpkin unattended.

 

Three Hot Cinnamon Cocktails You Have to Try This Fall

by Alexandra Zega

 

The Autumn Kiss features cinnamon-spiced whiskey, maple syrup, lemon, and more cinnamon.

When summer turns to fall and we feel compelled to relinquish our margaritas and mojitos in favor of drinks that will nurture and warm us, it's still good to think about what's in season. Fall is when apples, pears, pomegranates and grapes are at their peak, among many other flavors and ingredients. The flavor of cinnamon symbolizes the changing season, able to magically ignite the senses into feeling warm and calm. It can be the basis of a cocktail or a garnish, a perfect companion to anything apple, and just as effective as a kick-in-the-pants hot hit of spice.

From the bark of a tropical tree, cinnamon is most often ground into powder and used to season stews, rolls and apple pies. In the form of cinnamon sticks, it adds a flavorful twist to apple cider.

In either form, cinnamon has been gaining serious ground in cocktail culture, with Kahlua making Cinnamon Spice versions of its coffee liqueur. There are several varieties of cinnamon schnapps, from Goldschlager (the one with actual gold floating around in the bottle), to one called Firewater.

Whiskey producers add to cinnamon cocktail trend

But cinnamon and whiskey seems to be a particularly popular combination. Early Times last year released Fire Eater, a hot-cinnamon flavored whiskey. Red Hot Cinnamon Flavored Whisky from Canada even comes with a warning.

Spicebox Spiced Whiskey, another from Canada, features a blend of differently aged whiskeys, infused with cinnamon, nutmeg, three types of vanilla beans and other spices.

Two whiskey producers have even rumbled legally about the names for their cinnamon-inspired bottlings, with Sazerac Inc., who produces a whiskey called Fireball (with the tagline, "Tastes like Heaven. Burns in Hell") disliking the name of Hood River Distillers' SinFire (a "sinful spirit.").

Staying away from the notion of heaven and hell is the otherwise provocatively named Füchen (pronounced the way you think it would be), a small-batch, savory herbal liqueur made in Denver that tastes of vanilla and cinnamon that can be blended with pineapple juice and grenadine (aka "Füchen Till Dawn") or Coca-Cola (aka "Sid and Nancy").

On the rum side is Dancing Pines Distillery's Spice Rum, infused with whole nutmeg, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick; and Sea Island Spice Rum, made by Firefly Distillery, best enjoyed on the rocks with a splash of lime juice and ginger ale.

Because of autumn's one-day hot, one-day cold indecisiveness (and our own), we offer several options for optimizing cinnamon's sometimes sweet, sometimes savory complexion of flavor.

Autumn Kiss

Serves 1

Created by Kyle Ford of Cointreau

Ingredients

1 ounce Cointreau

1 ounce Mount Gay Extra Old Rum

1 ounce whole milk or heavy cream

1-2 dashes angostura bitters

Dash of cinnamon for garnish

Directions

1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.

2. Heat like you would a cup of coffee, medium heat for one minute, and stir.

3. Serve hot in a tall martini glass.

4. Sprinkle cinnamon on top.

Black Spice

Serves 1

Created by Evan Faber of SALT Bistro, Boulder, Colo.

Ingredients

1½ ounces spiced rum

¾ ounce black walnut liqueur, such as Dancing Pines

¾ ounce grapefruit juice

dash of Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur

Directions

1. Stir all ingredients with ice.

2. Strain into a coupe glass.

Spiceboxer

Serves 1

Created by Ali Tahsini of Bourbon & Branch, San Francisco. Averna Amaro is a traditional Sicilian liqueur.

Ingredients

2 ounces cinnamon-spiced whiskey, preferably Spicebox

¼ ounce Averna Amaro

¾ ounce fresh lemon juice

½ ounce maple syrup

½ ounce egg white

grated cinnamon

Directions

1. In a mixing glass, combine all ingredients.

2. Dry shake (no ice) to emulsify the egg white.

3. Add ice and shake again to chill.

4. Strain into a large cocktail glass and garnish with freshly grated cinnamon

 

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 250

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