lemon ginger fizzballs.

lemon ginger fizzballs.

So far, in 2013, I have:

  1. Cleaned my house
  2. Re-cleaned my house
  3. Stared at the open fridge for an innumerable amount of hours
  4. Stared at my laptop for an innumerable amount of hours
  5. Eaten a few lemon bars
  6. Ordered new yoga pants and raided J. Crew (sales, people; sales)
  7. Wandered around aimlessly
  8. Downloaded some new music for my “to-the-death!” workouts, which begin next week
  9. Joined Twitter/become fascinated by Twitter in the way that cats are fascinated by those laser pointer things
  10. Attempted to write approximately 15 different posts
  11. Successfully written zero posts.

That’s right, everyone; the holidays have done me in (temporarily.) It’s almost comical how much I can’t form a complete sentence. My photos look like they were taken by a drunken sea turtle. I blame my OCD-ish need for a schedule; my mom and my sister came in for Thanksgiving, then left, then came back again for Christmas and New Years. Between visits, I ran around finishing up decorating, present-obtaining, and wrapping. That’s like a whole month without my routine intact. Do you know what that does to a person who likes to do the same exact things every day?

It’s not pretty.

I can’t write. I can’t focus. I made so much food over the holidays that I can’t even make food right now. So here’s what I’m going to do; I’m going to get it together. In the meantime, I will attempt to entertain you with some of my favorite things from over the holidays, before I began taking photos blindfolded. Let’s start with what my ode to designated drivers.

Confession: I did nothing for New Year’s Eve. I have in past years, and I’m not against it, but this year was snowstorm-filled, and let’s face it; driving is scary during this particular holiday, even in perfect weather. We stayed in, made a crostini bar (details to come), and happily played games and sipped this little non-alcoholic number.

I call it a fizzball. it’s so much fun to drink it deserves the name; try it once and you’ll see why. It’s bright, bubbly, and terribly chic-looking, and there’s not one drop of actual alcohol in it. I daresay you wouldn’t even miss it, because you’d be loving it so much. It’s nice to have a party and be able to offer something to the non-drinkers besides water or club soda, right? Let’s face it: the designated drivers of the world save lives, every single day. They should get to enjoy their evening as much as their tipsy friends, and this drink would make even the champagne-sippers jealous. Plus, zero cravings for greasy fast-food breakfast the next morning. Win/win.

No one likes a fussy-to-make drink; this one is easy. I don’t even have a blender, people, and I managed to make snow using my food processor and the “crushed ice” feature on my icemaker. The flavored part of this can (and indeed should) be made ahead of time; it’s comprised of a little ginger simple syrup, lemon juice, and zest. Nothing to it.

Play with the ratios all you want, and the ginger ale as well; there’s such a wide range of ginger ale strengths – from “just a hint” to “full throttle ginger” – each one will give a different taste to your finished product. I used a mild ginger ale, as I wanted it to lift the flavor of the lemon-ginger ice rather than risk covering it up. I thought my ratio of crushed ice to flavored ice also worked well; you get the hit of lemon and ginger, but it’s not going to kill your taste buds if you’re pairing it party food.

Obiously New Year’s Eve has passed, and you’d think I’d be embarrassed that I’m posting a NYE drink now. I am not. This is the perfect drink for January; it’s clean, it’s light, it’s filled with good-for-you ginger and lemons, and that means it would be perfect every day, all winter long.

lemon ginger fizzballs.

Fizzballs. What a way to welcome 2013.

Please bear with me while I gather my writing skills and slowly get back to life as I know it. Coming soon; my favorite peanut butter cookie, and a toast post. That’s right, I said toast post, dedicated to Ashley over at Hops. She’ll know why when I post it.

Adapted from a recipe for Icy Lemon Ginger Vodka Cocktails from Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2006: An Entire Year of Recipes. I know; my name is better, but I had fizz on my side.

 Ginger-Lemon Fizzballs.

  • 1 4-inch thumb fresh ginger root, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups granulate sugar
  • finely grated zest of 2 small lemons (not the gigantic ones)
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (I used a dozen of the smallish lemons for this)
  • 12 cups crushed ice
  • ginger ale of your choosing, enough for pouring over your fizzballs

Note: can you make this with alcohol? yes. For this size recipe, use a total of 2 cups of vodka, but you won’t end up with fizzballs. Instead, you’ll have a slushy frozen concoction which I’m sure is lovely. When you get to the point where you make snow from your ice cubes and frozen ginger syrup, add 1 cup vodka per half-recipe in the blender. I would imagine, due to the liquid content in this version, you’d actually want to use a blender (an overload of liquid tends to slush itself right out of a food processor; believe me, I know.) Sub one blender for one food processor.

In a small saucepan, combine the sliced ginger with the water and sugar. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a (blender if you’re smart, or if you’re me, a) food processor to puree. If you use a food processor, wrap a kitchen towel around the perimeter, hold the top down firmly, hit “go,” and hope for the best. If you have an immersion blender, this would work too.

Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the syrup into a large, shallow glass baking dish; think a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish, if your freezer can handle the size. If not, use a smaller dish, but you’ll need a few extra hours for it to freeze. Cover your dish of choice and freeze the syrup for 4-6 hours until firm.

Remove the lemon ginger mixture from the freezer (it should be icy but scoopable) and let stand for 5 minutes. Scrape half the mixture into your food processor (or blender) along with 6 cups of crushed ice. Pulse until it resembles fluffy snow, using a spoon every so often to scrape down the sides.

*psst: this is where those of you choosing to make this with vodka would add 1 cup of it, but remember; blender = success. food processor probably = mess for you.

Once it is evenly chopped and snowy, use a large ice cream scoop to scoop snowballs out, pressing against the sides of your machine of choice so you have big, round snow. Place in martini glasses, and make enough snowballs in each one to pile above the rim, like a super-sophisticated ice cream cone. Pour ginger ale slowly around the sides and over top the snowball pile, filling the glass.


Serve immediately, probably with cute drink picks or tiny straws so your guests can stir it up a little, slushie-style.

Each half-batch you whiz up makes 6-8 glasses, depending on the size of your snowballs, for a total of 12-16 servings per whole batch.

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  • Reply Natalie January 3, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    I’m so proud of you and your post! Just look at all those words!!
    I basically just face smashed on my keyboard for mine lol. I’m glad I’m not alone at least.
    Maybe I could just put it on hold until 2014… There ya go.

    These look like so much fun. And so classy… They probably won’t look at pretty in my disposable penguin cups from target… But I suppose there’s really only one way to find out 😉

    • Reply shannon January 4, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      words everywhere! There’s even more words on the 15 drafts of nothingness that i couldn’t bear to let see the light of day. and i loved your post! I think we have some 2013 performance anxiety kicking it (“am i good enough?? what to write?? IT MUST BE THE PERFECT THING!!” *falls on floor*

      I could overthink until 2014…i’m sure of it. 🙂

      OMG i’m totally throwing this in The Glitter Penguin, just to see it sparkle/bubble. It’s how i’m going to drink my next batch; soooo chic.

  • Reply movita beaucoup January 4, 2013 at 4:36 am

    I am almost always the designated driver. It’s about time someone made me something like this – something fancy and refreshing. After all, I’m saving lives. (Actually, one life – 2.0’s.) His boring beer won’t compare to my lemon ginger fizzball.

    Also, let’s just say we’re on a cleanse. A writing and photography cleanse. It sounds cool and makes us sound less creatively challenged. I bet we could get Natalie on board…

    • Reply shannon January 4, 2013 at 4:57 pm

      2.0’s beer would be totally lame compared to this beauty. Have you ever heard of a Beerfizzball? No. Probably for many good reasons.

      I do actually feel like i’m having to purge all the dumb ideas and horridly-lit photos from my psyche before I can continue with anything resembling an actual post, so i’m in for a cleanse. You’re right; it sounds so much more classy and professional than “eeep…can’t…write.” I know natalie would be all for this, yes; i would hate to see her bust her face from smashing it against any more keyboards. 🙂

  • Reply Amy @ Elephant Eats January 4, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Happy New Year, Shannon! This sounds like such a yummy recipe..especially because I don’t drink 🙂 Love the frozen slushy part.

    When you figure out Twitter, please explain it to me. I created a profile a year ago or so but still haven’t quite gotten the hang of it. Or maybe I’m just not interesting enough to use it? I dunno, but I just don’t get it…

    • Reply shannon January 4, 2013 at 5:06 pm

      It is SO the new year! I can hardly believe it; 2012 = blur, probably especially for you with the big wedding and all; that can make time go by at light speed. I barely drink either; it kinda doesn’t fit into my schedule having a toddler (because you have to stay on your toes with those things). 🙂 I like having fun options, though, and i know there’s lots of us out there who get tossed aside during the whole party “what would you like to drink? we have beer, wine, cocktails, um…water? Coke?” conversation.

      Amy, you’re going to have to wait a LONG, long time for that little conversation to occur; i have NO idea what I’m doing yet, but it’s fun so far? I created a personal profile ages ago; i never did anything with it. Try it again with your blog! People love you, and I look at it as an extension of my Facebook page; a fun way to connect on a more personal level with blog friends and people who “follow” my posts. And I think it’s fun to see what we all like and are interested in in our real lives, aside from food; that’s been the most fun, at least for me. I would totally follow you. 🙂

  • Reply Ashley January 4, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Oh, YAY! A shoutout! About toast! I’m wildly guessing what might be included…and waiting eagerly to find out! And I’m touched!

    Fizzball is such an awesome name! It practically starts the party on name alone, and there are few words will that kind of power. Plus it’s easy and refreshing and has ginger – it’s a total winner.

    I hope your recuperation/rejuventation/non-food based cleanse/sanity restoring break is marvelous and helpful! I’m all over the cleaning and the sales too. It’s like a monster emerges, desperate to attack any and all sales for a deal. It’s not pretty…but at least it’s better than shopping without a discount.

    • Reply shannon January 4, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      I’m so excited about my dedication post to you because i feel like i KNOW you will love what i made you. You sort of inspired it, just through our little comment convos over the past few months. With any luck, it’s like you, if you were a crostini; Ashley on Toast. 🙂

      Sounds like it’s got a zing to it, right? And how fun would a party be if it were made up entirely of fizzballs…SO fun. And ginger/lemon is so perfect this time of year; like a little rejuvenating sun in the middle of winter.

      thank you; me too! I need to like, refocus and really hone in on what my plan is. I shouldn’t complain; i have too many ideas, and it’s way better than not having a clue. Right now, cleaning and sales are THE THING, and i am hopefully past it as of like, maybe today. I hit a wall yesterday, as we were aimlessly wandering through Target. I kept looking at things i didn’t need (80% OFF!!) and there were little clearance patches everywhere, and finally i started making a beeline for the checkout. My mom kept stopping and finally i was like “MOM: we have to go.” and all i heard from behind me was “BUT THERE’S CLEARANCE OVER THERE….” and something in my brain snapped. 🙂 shopping = done for a little bit. Because you’re right; it’s NOT pretty.

  • Reply Brianne January 4, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    I’m fresh off of two weeks on my momma’s recliner, and I am raring to go for 2013! Well, as far as school is concerned, anyway. The first thing I did after I got home was work a whole bunch and set the stage for this upcoming semester. I did get a couple of great cookbooks for Christmas, and I’ve been flipping through them and getting crazy inspired. I was, lamely, in bed before 11 on New Year’s Eve. I couldn’t stay awake any longer!

    This drink sounds perfect for a winter’s day. And oh my GOSH, it is FREEZING in Maine these days!

    • Reply shannon January 7, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      Brianne, i’m flying to maine for some energy and motivation, because it sounds like you have it! And man, i do not. That’s awesome that you’re so ready to get back into it! I think going home has to be so entirely refreshing if you let it. I can’t wait to see what you make from your new books…i’m working on flipping through mine (why is that work? because i’m so lazy right now, that’s why) and i basically want to make every single thing. in all of them. so, time to narrow it down.
      Who among us even stayed up until midnight? here i thought i was the only one who wanted to snuggle in and call it a night by 10. i love it. 🙂
      I can imagine Maine must be like, a tundra of cold right now…it’s freezing here, and i am so much closer to the equator. it’s weird how the fizzball, or this fizzball, seems way appropriate to eat, even in chilly winter.

  • Reply Emma January 7, 2013 at 6:06 am

    So far in 2013, I have achieved two great things! Making biscotti for the first time (I thought you would approve), and painting the backs of our flight of stairs. The promise to paint those stairs was made around this time last year. It was time!

    Next up… purchasing a big ol’ truck today! Eeek!

    • Reply shannon January 7, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      Biscotti! Stairs! so much stuff for only 7 days in to the new year! you’ve now officially made 1 more food thing than i have. because i haven’t baked ANYTHING. and here’s to new year’s resolutions (that you made last year and just finished the other day, because i can relate.)

      are you doing that today? are you excited!?! i would be…i am thrilled about this new job of yours. I can’t wait to hear about it.

      • Reply Emma January 7, 2013 at 3:19 pm


        more info to come soon:)

  • Reply Katherine @ eggton January 7, 2013 at 10:50 am

    I will second your confession and say I did NOTHING for New Year’s Eve either. I had a liquor-less dinner at a terribly overrun pizza place in Washington, D.C. and then I drove back to Scott’s sister’s house in Virginia, where I promptly went to sleep. At 11:15. Until morning. It was glorious, but I wish I had sipped on a fizzball instead of consuming 5 diet cokes.

    • Reply shannon January 7, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      I’m so happy that like, NONE OF US do anything for new year’s. i think we’re the cool ones for not giving into peer pressure. I love the idea of a terribly overrun DC pizza place and some early turn-in time..that’s my kind of holiday.

      why i have the phrase “sippin’ on fizzballs…” singing through my head a la Kanye West is anyone’s guess. Do you think Kanye likes sippin’ on fizzballs? Probably, now that Kim is pregnant. If that shows up in any future rap lyrics anywhere, I’ll know Kanye likes to our blogs.

  • Reply Jennie @themessybakerblog January 8, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    1. I’m having a hard time getting it together, too.
    2. I just ordered a crap ton of new work out clothes.
    3. Yay for sales at Under Armour!
    4. I started boot camp last night and my body is screaming.
    5. All I want and think about are cookies.
    6. I love the name of this dessert.

    • Reply shannon January 9, 2013 at 2:16 pm

      1-5: GIRL. i hear you so much. SAME. But we can do this, right? yeah we can.
      6. why, thank you. i’m thinking of creating a new line of fizzballs this year, because this one was so much fun to make that i feel like it could be my thing. I already have ingredients for the next (potential) one.

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