Blood Orange Cayenne Cleanser

Happy New Year! I am SO READY for this year, more than I can adequately express. I’m blessed and honored to have you on this journey with me. Lately I’ve been doing a ton of photography work, which is making my heart so happy and thankful! Cheers to you, your ambitions, and everything 2018 has in store. I pray you aim really high– and go for it!

I’ve partnered with Health-Ade to bring you a few awesome mocktails this year! Introducing our first: the Blood Orange Cayenne Cleanser, made with, you guessed it: Cayenne Cleanse kombucha. It’s got major kick, so I paired it with in-season sweet blood oranges for balance. There’s carrot juice in here too. All to promote a healthier you in 2018! Xo


Serves 4

  • 1 bottle (1 pint) Health-Ade Cayenne Cleanse
  • Juice from 4 blood oranges, plus 1 sliced blood orange for garnish
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon plus zest for garnish
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • Cayenne pepper, for sprinkling
  1. Combine Cayenne Cleanse, orange juice, carrots, lemon juice and ice into a high-powered blender. Blend on low, slowly increasing to high speed. Blend on high for 1 minute or until smooth consistency is reached.
  2. Strain drink through a fine mesh sieve once or twice. Divide drink equally between 4 cocktail glasses. Serve on ice if desired.
  3. Use a vegetable peeler to peel 4 long ribbons of lemon zest. Place 1 ribbon into each glass.
  4. Slice remaining blood range in wheels and place one face up in each glass.
  5. Sprinkle a pinch of cayenne pepper into each glass. Enjoy cold. Refrigerate up to 2 days.

Original recipe by Ashley Cuoco, sponsored by Health-Ade.

Spicy Peach Caipirinha Mocktail

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

After a long couple of weeks at my office desk, I cannot express just how good it feels to get back in my kitchen! And I’ve managed to completely tear it up in less than 24 hours. Typical. But, what a beautiful mess it is.

Two years ago on August 17th I stayed up well into the night creating this website. Like most passions of mine, I became a woman on a mission. I started to fall in love, hard, with food photography. I stumbled my way through most of it, and still stumble often (aren’t we always learning?) and today I’m more proud than ever of what’s conspired. Not only in the physical but in my heart. Through the mundane tasks of life, my kitchen, my camera and this blog have been the silver lining– the thing I look forward to each weekend. My sweet escape in it all. I’ve said this before but it’s worth saying again: find what it is that keeps you up at night, the thing that keeps you on your toes: and do it!

In celebration of the 2nd anniversary of Cuoco Contento, I decided to have some fun with peaches. August is also my birthday month, and I always make a peach pie (at least once). There’s nothing quite like a big, juicy peach– one that falls apart in your hand and drips down your arm. Soft and sweet.

I’ve teamed up with the wonderful folks at Health-Ade for a special Anniversary giveaway!! We’re giving one winner a case of their outstanding Kombucha. It’s my absolute favorite, not only by itself but as an alcohol replacement in mocktails. It’s bubbly, fun and good for your gut. If you’re trying to kick the soda habit and need some carbonation, get yourself in on this giveaway! Details are up on my Instagram page! Health-Ade and I want you to #followyourgut, whatever that means to you. Get out there and make it happen.

Today I present to you a happy little anniversary mocktail, made with Healthade’s Ginger Lemon kombucha. A Caipirinha is traditionally made with sugar and lime. Here I’ve replaced the sugar with honey and added some spice. It’s a little sweet, a little spicy, and all together summer.

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Makes 4 drinks

  • 2 very ripe peaches, peeled and skins removed
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • 4 teaspoons honey
  • 8-10 oz Health-Ade Ginger Lemon kombucha
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • 2 jalapeños, sliced
  • ice cubes
  1. Slice peaches (peel those skins!) and place in a blender. I use a NutriBullet. Add lime juice and honey. Mix until well blended.
  2. Prepare 4 chilled glasses with ice cubes. Divide the peach mixture among the glasses. Top with kombucha. Garnish with lime wedges and jalapeños. Spicy and sweet!

Mulled Hot Apple Riesling

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

For years, my family has taken an annual trip to a farm on the East end of Long Island. I close my eyes: the October air is crisp on my face. Corn mazes, hay rides, and apple trees await plucking from all sides. Children laugh with their siblings as they run though the pumpkin patch. Mom and Dad pull their youngest in a wagon and search for a pumpkin without flaw for their doorstep. The warm, inviting scent of roasted corn in butter, turkey legs and apple cider fill the air. This is my happy place.

After an hour or so of brisk fall fun, all I can think about is sinking my teeth into a roasted ear of corn and sipping on a cup of hot cider. There’s no better feeling than warming the chill in your bones with a hot, soothing drink. I adapted this version of a mulled cider with the addition of my favorite white wine and a little brandy. I imagine this to be just the ticket for pre-dinner on Thanksgiving Day. It’s smooth and warm all the way down. The Riesling and apple cider is mulled with rich cardamom and allspice. A “mulled” drink is one that has been heated with a combination of spices (typically cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg in addition to a fruit like apple or orange peel). Heated low and slow over your burner for an hour or two, all those beautiful spices infuse themselves into the drink. Of course, you can still mull the apple cider as follows without the alcohol for a kid-friendly version. Served hot or cold, this cocktail is a guaranteed Autumn winner! Garnish with a single thin apple slice and cinnamon stick (you’ll impress all your friends). Happy drink making!

Serves: 6 — Hands on time: 10-15 minutes — Cook time: 1 – 3 hours


  • 1 (750 ml) bottle of Riesling (crisp, dry, sweet: perfect! I like Clean Slate Riesling from Germany at under $10)
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 Tablespoon good maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup wildflower honey
  • 1 small piece of fresh ginger, sliced (about 1 Tablespoon)
  • 10 whole allspice
  • 8 whole cardamom pods
  • 1/2 cup apple brandy (I used Calvados)
  • Apple slices and cinnamon sticks for garnish
  1. In a large pot, combine Riesling, apple cider, maple and honey. Add ginger slices, allspice and cardamom to the pot. Cover and cook on low-heat for 3 hours or medium heat for 1 hour (I think low and slow works best, if you have the time. If using medium-high heat, make sure you do not boil).
  2. Stir in brandy. Pour into 6 cocktail glasses (each should hold about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup) and garnish with apple slices and cinnamon sticks. Serve hot for my preference! If not serving hot, refrigerate and try serving on the rocks. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco


Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco