Make Your Own Gluten-Free Hard Cider with this Handy Kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop

Built on the principles that making beer—real beer, from real ingredients—can be simple, tasty and more importantly, fun, Brooklyn Brew Shop sells stylish brew kits and ingredient mixes for seasonally-inspired beers and ciders. All of their kits are designed for use on a standard kitchen stove and use real ingredients instead of the less flavorful extracts and additives typical in other homebrewing kits.

Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Hard Cider Kit is stylish, affordable and super easy to use and offers a simple way to turn leftover apples or pears from fall farm excursions into delicious, home-brewed, craft quality hard cider. It contains everything you need to turn apples or cider from your local market into something a little more festive. It’s good for three batches of hard cider and since cider is naturally gluten-free, it’s an ideal gift for gluten-averse merrymakers and curious epicureans alike!

While apple picking season might be over, cider is a drink that can be served all holiday season long!

The Kit includes 1 gallon reusable glass fermenter, 3 packets yeast, vinyl tubing & clamp, racking cane & tip, chambered airlock, 3 packets cleanser, and screw-cap stopper. All you need is apple cider/juice! You can even bypass the apple juicing yourself for pre-pressed cider from your favorite farmers’ market. Simply add a few packets of yeast to your fresh squeezed apples (or pre-pressed cider) and let science work its magic. After two weeks add three tablespoons of honey to your fermented juice to give the cider the extra dose of sugar it needs to carbonate. A couple weeks later and you’ll be sipping delightfully fizzy Hard Cider by the fire.

This is the perfect holiday gift for the cider lover in your life. Or, by it for yourself and serve it at your holiday party to impress all your friends and family!


Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.

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Davidson’s Organics NEW medicinal teas

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Davidson’s Organics, the first exclusively certified organic specialty tea company in the U.S., is prepping for its upcoming product launch of seven medicinal teas this November: Sleep, Slim, Energize, Digest, Laxative, Detox and Decongest.

David’s Organics teamed up with a renowned Ayurvedic practitioner, Dr. Suhas, in a line of seven, Ayurvedic Infusions, set to launch in December.

Davidson’s Ayurvedic Infusions include: Sleep, Slim, Energize, Digest, Laxative, Detox and De-Congest.

Davidson’s Ayurvedic Infusions add to a product line of over 300 tea bag and loose leaf varieties offered by the only third generation organic tea grower. The newly designed package artwork includes a description of each functional blend and its Ayurvedic purpose, while also depicting the intensity and beauty of each blend by linking the infusions to a function or product of nature, in line with the Ayurvedic principle of living in tune with nature. 

“The natural healing powers of tea and herbs are a weapon we often forget or downplay,” said Promilla Mohan, co-owner of Davidson’s Organics. “With the help of Dr. Suhas and specialty crafted blends, we’ve created a product that both helps the body and tastes delicious. The goal is to teach, inspire and tea-vangelize!”  

Ayurvedic Infusions include:

  • Sleep – Davidson’s Sleep blend provides the stability that the mind, body and emotional state need in order to unwind and prepare for a restful night’s sleep.

  • Slim – Davidson’s Slim blend aims to tackle the mental, emotional and physical challenges associated with embracing a healthy lifestyle and controlling weight management.

  • Energize –  Davidson’s Energize blend aims to provide a natural, balanced rejuvenation with lasting power.

  • Digest – Davidson’s Digest blend is meant to ensure a balanced digestive fire, or agni, and promote the easy absorption of nourishment.

  • Laxative –  Davidson’s Laxative blend is meant to establish regularity and soothe any imbalances that may result from an aggravated colon.

  • Detox – Davidson’s Detox blend establishes a balance of immunity, inner peace and physical rejuvenation, allowing one’s constitution, or prakriti, to heal and start anew.

  • De-Congest – Davidson’s De-Congest blend aims to clear the channels, or srotamsi, of the body that promote the balanced circulation of energy and substance.*My husband drank this tea and it provided him relief from his cold. His cold last only a few days, usually it’s a week, so this tea potentially helped him to recover quicker!

Davidson’s Ayurvedic Infusions are available at davidsonstea.com, amazon.com and in select retailers. Bagged: 25-count boxes ($5.50). Loose Leaf: 2-ounce ($6), 8-ounce ($11.75) and 16-ounce bags ($20).

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.


Planet Fuel Launching Line of Organic Juices

Planet Fuel Beverage Company is launching a line of organic juices. The Connecticut-based Planet Fuel is a mission-driven business, dedicated to building a line of great-tasting, organic products and inspiring their consumers to contribute to environmental conservation.


Planet Fuel’s line of organic juices is available in three flavors: Organic Apple Grape Juice, Organic Cherry Lemonade and Organic Mango Pear Lime Juice. My favorite is the Cherry Lemonade; it’s a nice twist on the classic lemonade drink. 
Unlike competitors in the space, Planet Fuel beverages combine organic juices and a splash of water to naturally lower sugar content without sacrificing the taste. There are no added refined sugars, preservatives or artificial sweeteners in their shelf stable beverages. Each organic juice is sourced from domestic farms that are certified organic and naturally GMO-free. Planet Fuel promotes an organic lifestyle through the consumption of foods free from pesticides and other harmful toxins.


What I like most about Planet Fuel is that this tastes like juice; not sugar and no fake ingredients. 

Planet Fuel Beverage Co. is a proud member of the GoCleanLabel initiative that advocates for simple, clean and easily understood food and beverage labeling. Planet Fuel’s organic juices are the first teen/tween beverage to carry the GoCleanLabel distinction. Planet Fuel Beverage Co. is a business with a social mission to promote environmental education and participate in efforts to protect the planet. In July 2016, the company established the Planet Fuel Charitable Fund (PFCF), the giving arm of Planet Fuel Beverage Co., which is backed by private donors and 5% of sales from Planet Fuel’s organic beverages. This past year the PFCF has given $100,000 in grants to Save the Sound to help restore natlive fish runs in the Long Island Sound, and to The Ocean Conservancy to support their initiatives to reduce ocean plastics through a “Skip the Straw” campaign.

Each beverage is available for purchase in a single can, four, twelve or 24-pack. A single sells for $1.89, $5.99 for a 4-pack, $15.99 for a 12-pack and $32.99 for a 24-pack.

Planet Fuel juices can be found at retail locations across CT and other parts of New England. To find a retailer near you, click here

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.


Crafted Cocktails Bloody Mary Mixer // Perfect for Summer BBQs

With warmer temps upon us and summer around the corner, I want to introduce a healthy and all-natural cocktail option perfect for Summer Parties and BBQs. 

Crafted Cocktails, an all-natural line-up of cocktail mixers and Shrubs, uses pure agave, resulting in a low-calorie cocktail with a natural flavor profile.  Mixer flavors include Piña Colada, Margarita, Spicy Watermelon, Gimlet and Bloody Mary.  All you have to do is add your alcohol of choice or simply mix with club soda and ice to create a drink that is sure to quench your thirst and keep your body looking great on a hot summer day.


The Bloody Mary Mixer is great. It’s hard to find gluten free pre-made Bloody Mary mix, but Crafted Cocktails has created one that delivers. This tangy blend of savory flavors is tasty! This healthy party-boosting cocktail is infused with natural flavors of tomato, horseradish, celery and Worcestershire. Bloody Mary is so incredibly versatile it pairs perfectly with ALL your favorite spirits.

Recently, Crafted Cocktails’ Bloody Mary Mixer won a Gold Medal from Tastings.com and a Silver Medal from the San Francisco International Spirit Competition, winning based on outstanding quality and taste.  If a Bloody Mary doesn’t fancy your taste buds, the Pina Colada Mixer or Strawberry Shrub is sure to be a refreshing and unique alternative.

Last weekend we made these awesome Bloody Mary’s with Crafted Cocktails Mix and everyone loved them! 

All products are made with 100% real agave, contain no preservatives and are gluten free. 

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.


Healthy Summer Beverages

What could be better than an ice cold refreshing drink on a hot summer day? Today, I am going to share a few of my new favorite, thirst quenching, perfect-for-summer beverages with you!

BRUCE COST GINGER ALE is made from whole, 100% fresh ginger, unlike competitors who use artificial ingredients like “ginger oil”. You can actually SEE the ginger pieces in each bottle, and it’s recommended that drinkers “shake gingerly” before twisting off the cap and enjoying! Naturally sweetened with pure cane sugar and locally crafted in Brooklyn, Bruce Cost Ginger Ale is currently available in seven flavors – Original Ginger Ale (bottle and can); “66” (66 calories with monk fruit); Jasmine Tea; Ginger Beer; Pomegranate with Hibiscus; Passion Fruit with Turmeric; and Blood Orange with Meyer Lemon. (Available on Amazon.)

BROOKLYN ORGANICS are perfect for those looking for a sugar free option as all the line of USDA Organic-certified sodas are gently sweetened with plant-based Stevia. All varietals are non-GMO, Kosher, Gluten Free, Caffeine Free and Vegan. Each contains a bold fizz in a svelte package, made with ingredients that are good for you and for the planet. Brooklyn Organics flavors include: Classic, Cola, Acai, Coconut & Guava. While I find these sodas very sweet on their own – from the stevia – they pair well with alcohol for a low calorie cocktail. (Available on Amazon).

GAEA, the leading Greek food company specializing in authentic Mediterranean products such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Olives (Snack Packs, Pouches and Jars), is breaking into the cocktail mixer industry with Dirty Martini Juice – a natural fit considering olives are at the core of their business. With only two ingredients per flavor, Gaea Dirty Martini Juice is the perfect mixer to accompany vodka and gin. Gaea Dirty Martini Juice for Vodka contains red pepper stuffed green olives brine with hot red pepper, while Gaea Dirty Martini Juice for Gin contains green olives. Cheers to that! 

Looking for something for your kids? AquaBall is the only zero-calorie, sugar-free and preservative-free children’s beverage currently on the market. The naturally flavored water is available in four flavors: Berry Frost, Fruit Punch, Grape and Strawberry Lemonade, and features fan favorite characters from Disney’s “Frozen”, Disney Princesses, Marvel’s “Avengers,” and Disney Classic Characters. AquaBall is the simple solution to finding a beverage that both kids and parents will love.


Which beverage do you want to try most this summer? Leave a comment below!

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.


Cider & Artisan Beverages offered at the Hyper Local Brewfest

On June 9th and 10th The Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts will be hosting it’s 6th Annual Hyper-Local Craft Brewfest. So you are probably thinking, “I can’t drink beer!”. I know!! The Briefest is not only about beer. Over the years it has grown to include a number of cider and artisan beverage companies and this year there are quite a few gluten free beverages available at the Fest for you to try!
This year there will be an abundance of cider at the festival, which just so happens to be one of my favorite drinks. From cider to cold brew, there is plenty for the non-gluten drinkers to sample. 

Green Bee hand crafted beverages are made with real ingredients, real flavor and the natural sweetness of honey.  Green Bee beverages harness the power of local bees to offer a healthier alternative to mass produced beverages (this soda but healthier). 

Say Hello To The Green Bee Way:

  • Only use fresh squeezed juices and real ingredients.
  • Ingredient lists are short and clean.
  • You will never find refined sugars. Just pure honey.
  • Made without chemicals and preservatives.

I love that I can drink soda that tastes real and doesn’t make me feel bad after drinking it. The flavors are strong – in a good way – and so fresh tasting! Green Bee Craft Beverages can be found in natural food stores, fine restaurants, leading supermarkets, gourmet shops and fine pubs, including Boston-area Whole Foods, Cambridge Naturals, Allandale Farm, and Luke’s Lobster restaurants. Green Bee Craft Beverages is handcrafted and bottled in Brunswick, Maine.

Prospect Ciderworks was founded in 2015 as Harvard Cider Company, located out in Harvard, Massachusetts. One of the founders, Mark Finnegan, grew up in the area which has a plethora of orchards–fairly common for Central Mass. The idea at the start was to do something different and to push the boundaries of craft cider while still using and showcasing local apples, and in the first full year of business they launched three flagship ciders as well as a summer seasonal. The drive of their ciders is to experiment with new flavor profiles that haven’t typically been used in traditional cider-making.  

Last fall, Prospect Ciderworks moved to a 6,500 sqft facility just south of the South End in Newmarket Square. With the move they decided to change the name to respect the fresh start: Prospect Ciderworks is an homage both to Prospect Hill in Harvard, which has a beautiful view of the Nashua River Valley, and to the street that the three founders first lived on in high school. Prospect Ciderworks will be on shelves come the end of May-early June.

DrinkMaple was founded by two dedicated triathletes in May 2014, DRINKmaple Organic Maple Water is a premium, plant-based hydration beverage containing one single ingredient: maple sap. Boasting 46 naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, antioxidants and prebiotics, the functional beverage is naturally low in calories and sugar, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, organic, Kosher and non-GMO, as well as being naturally subtly sweet and refreshing with a hint of maple. DrinkMaple is available all over Boston including, Whole Foods, CVS, Wegmans, Stop & Shop.

Other gluten free beverages to look out for at the festival:

Commonwealth Coffee Co.‘s craft cold brew coffee is micro-roasted, micro-brewed, and fairly traded specialty coffee from the best coffee farmers in the world.

ParTea Infuse the Booze is made in Somerville, MA. Their infusers are made up of of dried fruits, herbs, and spices packed into paper tea bags. Add any spirit of 80 proof or higher and get delicious results. Each kit comes with flavor-specific recommendations, and you can have fun experimenting!

Stowe Cider is handcrafted and made in small batches from local apples in Stowe, VT.

Artifact Cider is a brewery based in Everett, MA that crafts ciders of distinction from the superb apples of New England. Unfortunately they don’t have a tasting room but you can find their ciders at various locations in and around Boston!

Lookout Farm Cider is a true craft cidery. They use modern fermentation and traditional aging techniques to produce a uniquely refreshing hard cider since 1651. Lookout Farm is located in South Natick, MA, and is one of the oldest continuously operating farms in the U.S.

Bantam Cider is a modern, craft cider made locally in Massachusetts from fresh pressed apples and all natural ingredients. The brewery is located in Somerville, MA.

A handful of beer vendors also have gluten-free beer, but I am currently not 100% sure as to what flavors will make an appearance at the festival.

There are a whopping three unlimited sampling sessions over two days. To purchase tickets, click here

Time & Dates:

  • Session 1 – Friday, June 9th  (6:30 – 9:30 PM) 
  • Session 2 – Saturday, June 10th  (3:00 – 6:00 PM)
  • Session 3 – Saturday, June 10th  (7:00 – 10:00 PM)

The event will be held at The Center for Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA. Tickets are $48.00  for general admission and $89.00 for a pair. The Brewfest will gather nearly one thousand local craft brew fans to celebrate together with dozens of vendors over two days, and three sessions, of unlimited drink samples, food, and fun!

Disclaimer: I was not paid for my review and all my thoughts and opinions are my own.


Detox Water

Detox Water is not a raw juice and it’s not another flavored water. It’s the best of both combined to create a refreshing and all natural organic aloe water.


Considered a miracle plant by the ancient Egyptians, Aloe Vera is a potent natural antioxidant known for its many health benefits to help detoxify and cleanse the body internally and externally. 

Aloe Vera contains 20 minerals to detoxify the body of metabolic wastes and 19 amino acids to fight inflammation and bacteria, it also has strong scavenging activity in terms of getting rid of toxins internally from the stomach, kidneys, spleen, bladder, liver and colon.


The ACTIValoe® in each bottle of Detox Water contains the power of aloe vera’s naturally-occurring polysaccharides, which are long chains of sugar molecules, clinically proven to support immune function, healthy digestion, nutrient absorption and youthful-looking skin (improvement in skin elasticity).

The patented technology allows Detox Water to isolate the most effective polysaccharides within the plant and maintain batch-to-batch consistency of ACTIValoe® gel flakes in every bottle of Detox Water. Batch-to-batch consistency is the key to delivering optimal benefits at all times. Detox Water is your healthy hydration alternative that not only quenches thirst, tastes delicious, but also delivers the plethora of health benefits associated with drinking the most premium aloe in the world.

Detox Water is available in 3 refreshing flavors: Pinamint (Pineapple and Mint), Mangaloe (Mango), and Original (Lychee and White Grape)

Feel great and not guilty. Detox Water is 15 calories per serving and the most rejuvenating, refreshing aloe vera water paired with organic and natural flavors. Detox Water contains no artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Detox Water is also vegan, organic, Kosher, gluten free, non-GMO and locally grown in Texas and Mexico.


Aloe Vera water is able to provide healthy hydration from the best of what nature has to offer. Packed with electrolytes and only 4 grams of sugar, it is a better choice for a post-workout drink. Or replace your sports/electrolyte drink during your workout with Detox Water for a satisfying and hydrating healthy alternative.

Detox Water can be found in retail locations across the country. Click here to find a retail location near you. 

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.

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Lori’s Original Lemonade Unique and Innovative Flavors

Lemonade is one of the oldest beverages in the world dating all the way back to ancient Egypt 1000 AD. It hasn’t seen much change, if any, since it’s inception centuries ago. Thankfully, Lori’s Original Lemonade has taken a sweet and unexpected twist on this classic beverage with their 3 unconventional, yet delicious flavors: Lavender Lemonade, Ginger Lemonade, and Lemongrass Lite Lemonade.

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Lori’s Original Lemonade‘s Chief Believer/Founder Lori Volk created her signature drink, Lavender Lemonade, years ago for her children’s lemonade stand in Ojai, CA. Fast forward to her young children heading off to college years later, Lori needed to find a way to combat the rising costs of tuition. Lori decided to bottle this signature recipe and officially launched Lori’s Original Lemonade in February 2011. Lori’s Original Lemonade has since grown to include Ginger Lemonade and Lemongrass Lite Lemonade.

With lemonade seeing a surge in the beverage industry in the last six or seven years, Lori’s Original Lemonade has taken this classic drink to a whole new level.

The Lavender lemonade is infused with lavender and is a refreshing and light drink with the scent and light taste of lavender.

The Lite Lemongrass is made with fresh organic lemon juice, a dash of organic stevia and a splash of lemongrass to brighten it up! This refreshing concoction features only 9g of sugar per serving and about 1/3 of the calories of our other flavors.


I enjoyed the natural and soothing taste of the Ginger Lemonade. All three have a strong flavor and aroma and are light and refreshing. 

Lori’s Original Lemonade announced last month that they will soon be launching two new flavors, Wild Strawberry and Lemon Love. And I cannot wait to try them!

For a beverage that’s been around for centuries, there’s nothing old or boring about Lori’s Original Lemonade. Each flavor is certified organic and can be purchased online or found in select retailers throughout California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, Kansas, Oklahoma and Alaska. 

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.


Belvoir Elderflower and Rose Lemonade

Belvoir Fruit Farms make naturally delicious Cordials, Pressés and Fruit Crushes at their home in the gorgeous Lincolnshire countryside.

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Mary Manners, the wife of founder Lord John Manners, started making cordials in her kitchen in the seventies by infusing the elderflowers and pressing the fruit grown on their family farm. Since then, Belvoir has carried on the same method of infusion: pressing and cooking of fresh flowers, fruits and spices, which are then blended with local spring water to make their delicious drinks. Never compromising on quality and choosing only the best ingredients, everything that goes into their drinks is real and natural with nothing artificial at all.

The heady floral taste of soft rose petals blends beautifully with the delicate scent of Elderflowers to form a deliciously perfumed sparkling drink. Pink and perfect, this drink will quench your thirst! 

Belvoir Elderflower Lemonades come in a variety of organic flavors in glass bottles that are beautiful and perfect for health conscious drinkers. Made with 100% natural ingredients, the lemonades are also non-GMO, gluten free, vegan, and contain no preservatives, no sweeteners or artificial colors.


The Elderflower and Rose Lemonade can is a great addition to champagne or Prosecco creating an instant crowd pleasing cocktail; perfect for your Valentine’s Day celebration. You can also create an afternoon refresher, by adding a little water and a twist of lime making for a healthy substitute for a sugary, carbonated beverage! Belvoir lemonades add a refreshing and effervescent element to any cocktail or drink.

As soon as I opened the bottle, I could smell the the sweet, fresh aromas of Elderflower and Rose. It is light ans slightly sweet, not too sugary. I tried to savor every sip and wish I had a bigger bottle!

Belvoir Fruit Farms beverages are available in restaurants, cafés, supermarkets, specialty grocery stores and boutique hotels in more than 25 countries across the globe. You can also purchase it on Amazon.

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.


Q Drinks – Gluten Free sodas and carbonated mixers

Most cocktail sodas are lousy. Designed from unpronounceable ingredients by multinational corporations, sweetened beyond recognition with high fructose corn syrup, and packaged in generic containers, the typical cocktail soda is an afterthought that adds nothing to the drinking experience.new_homepage

Q Drinks makes sodas — clean, crisp, completely ungeneric beverages that enhance the finest spirits and stand proudly on their own. Using only the best ingredients — organic agave from the Mexican countryside, quinine from the slopes of the Peruvian Andes, ginger from the fields of Southeast Asia, and salt from the Himalayas. Spectacular on their own and good enough for anything you want to mix them with!

I love that Q soda’s have less sugar than traditional sodas and are therefore less sweet.The flavors are pronounced – ginger beer tasted like ginger, grapefruit soda tasted like grapefruit. Most sodas taste sugary and artificial with a very sweet taste of flavor. Q sodas are definitely different.  

Q Drinks tonic water, ginger beer, and other flavors are carried by many restaurants, bars, and retailers including Whole Foods, Safeway, HEB, and Amazon.
Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.