Picture Perfect Picnic

As the last days of summer quickly approach, you may be realizing you didn’t complete all of your summer to-do’s… But – with our weather being as lovely as it has been, now is the ideal time to plan a relaxing picnic and enjoy some of these warm summer days before they’re over!

Picnics are perfect as a romantic date just as much as they’re an ideal way to spend some time with the family. Atlanta Magazine recently reached out to our team here at steve mckenzie’s and asked if we’d design a perfect, relaxing picnic for their July 2017 issue. It was a challenge Steve and Jill absolutely relished in accepting! And we hope the results inspire you to go enjoy some last-minute summertime fun in the outdoors!

PHOTOGRAPH BY NATHAN BOLSTER

First thing was a location. For Steve and Jill, this one was easy – it’s one of their favorite spots for a walk with the dog – Duck Pond Park in Peachtree Heights East. It’s absolutely picturesque and so serene!

Next they needed a place to perch drinks and wares and a vintage rattan table was an ideal selection. It is lightweight, but absolutely stylish! A patchwork Kilim from our neighbors, Verde Home, laid the groundwork for lounging. Add some kantha quilts and a bunch of pillows, and the scene is set.

When you think of a picnic, food is top of mind. Steve and Jill wanted something light and refreshing; as well as easy to transport. Enter glass jar salads! Not only pretty to look at, these salads absolutely delicious and so simple to enjoy – just shake, and pour onto your plate! Speaking of plates, although the McKenzie’s love the look of Italian pottery and cut crystal glassware, those selections aren’t exactly picnic practical. Instead, they brought along melamine plates by Le Cadeaux, which offer the look of the real thing, as well as acrylic glassware by Baci to serve cocktails made using Cathead Distillery‘s delectable pecan vodka.

Here’s the recipe for those delightful individual salads:

Mason jar salads
1 red onion sliced thin
½ cup white vinegar
½ cup water
Black peppercorns
2 cups cooked quinoa
4 cups lettuce of some mix
1 ½ 0z cannellini beans drained and rinsed
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tbs mayonnaise
½ tsp salt
Ground pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 ½ tsp chili powder

First pickle the onions. In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar and water to a boil. Add the onions and about five black peppercorns to the boiling mixture. Boil for 3 minutes. Take off the heat and let cool. When cooled, remove peppercorns and place in the refrigerator.

Prepare your dressing. Combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder. Whisk thoroughly to fully combine ingredients.

Take four mason jars and assemble in layers in this order: Dressing in the bottom, quinoa, lettuce, cannellini beans, pickled onions, tomatoes, and chopped cucumber.

And we can’t forget the cocktails! Thank you to our friends at Cathead for making some pretty fantastic products. Our picture perfect cocktail utilizes their pecan vodka, and once you try it, we think it’ll become a liquor shelf staple!!

Spicy pecan spritz
1 oz Cathead Pecan Vodka
½ oz spicy simple syrup
6 oz Pellegrino water

Pour ingredients over ice in a highball glass and garnish with spearmint.

Spicy simple syrup
2 cinnamon sticks
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup raw sugar
½ tsp of ground cayenne pepper
1 cup water

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil turn back heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through coffee filter to remove the cayenne. Serve.

Happy picnicking everyone – hope to see you at Duck Pond Park soon!

All products seen in this article, except for the rug, are available at steve mckenzie’s.

A Delicious Jaunt in Jackson – A Visit to Cathead Distillery!

On our trip to Jackson, Mississippi to visit Kristen Ley and Thimbelpress to learn how to letterpress, we also had the opportunity to learn about Cathead Vodka. Steve loves a nice vodka, and to learn about a small maker was exciting; we couldn’t pass it up!

As you’re well aware by now, we love all things southern, and a southern-made vodka is no exception. Located on the edge of downtown Jackson, near the Mississippi Museum of Art, Cathead distillery was fantastic!

Mississippi ushered in prohibition in 1907 and it was not repealed until 1966. Fast forward to 2011, when Austin Evans and Richard Patrick first opened as Cathead. These boys not only love their vodka, but they love the delta blues of the region. In fact, the distillery is named after the legend, Son Thomas, known for his cathead sculptures he sold at his blues performances.

Because of their love of Delta Blues, Cathead’s founders incorporated a fantastic philanthropic element to their business, which makes the story even stronger. They support many foundations by giving a portion of their sales to different organizations, which support preservation of the blues heritage. In fact, on the Cathead website, you can view some of the amazing blues videos and see great commercials featuring legends of the Delta region.

Some of the southern flavors being produced by Cathead are Pecan and Honeysuckle. They’re absolutely delicious, and over the next few weeks Steve will be sharing some new recipes he developed using their vodkas. In the meantime if you are in a hurry, you can check out other recipes here.

If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Jackson, take a tour of Cathead and try a tasting Thursday – Saturday. Until you can visit,  here is a photo-tour of the distillery…

We’ve also sampled their Gin and it makes the perfect Summertime Gin and Tonic! Next up is the Hoodoo Chickory Liqueur (barrel pictured above). We are excited to see where this spirit will take us.

Please enjoy responsibly.

Distillary photos by Richard Patrick