TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – Beachcomber


Videocast 004 : TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – The Beachcomber

The Mad Farmer and Miss Mercy are a little behind for June so we are putting up a “two-for-one” with our June Cocktail, The Beachcomber and a “Bonus Track” for the ever popular Boat Drinks (Jimmy Buffett inspired, of course)!

The possible inventor of the the Beachcomber was ‘Donn Beach‘, a restaurant owner and generally considered the “founding father” of the Tiki culture. Donn was born Ernest Raymond Beaumont Grant (1907-1989) and opened the “Don’s Beachcomber” Tiki bar in Hollywood in 1930’s. Miss Mercy wasn’t able to confirm that Donn was the actual inventor of the Beachcomber rum drink, but since he invented many rum based cocktails it’s not unlikely.

There is also a possibility that Victor Bergeron (founder of Trader Vic’s), a competitor of Donn’s based on the East Coast, actually created the Beachcomber cocktail. The Beachcomber did appear in Victor’s book, the 1947 Bartender’s Guide.

No matter who invented the drink it’s refreshing and perfectly suited to a hot summer day. The Tiny Homestead is using the recipe we found on the Cointreau.com website. The recipe is simple:

  • 1.75 OZ WHITE RUM

Shake in a cocktail mixer with ice and pour into a coup glass and garnish with a lime slice if desired. Very tasty!

Beachcomber as seen on Cointreau.com

One thing that also happens in June is the Mad Farmer’s birthday and Father’s Day. Two holidays that cry out for a summer drink containing rum!

Many years ago, when the Mad Farmer was a much younger pup his family and friends threw a Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville theme Birthday Party.

Happy Birthday !

Shark fins on the fence, cardboard palm trees and a full blown Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville Corona party pack on display everywhere.

Decorations at Margaritaville I

A call was made in secret to the Margaritaville Bar in Key West (long distance charges were a thing – look it up kiddies) and the recipe for a bar favorite, Boat Drinks, was acquired. Only problem was the recipe was for six gallons – a bit more than necessary for the size of the surprise gathering. Adjustments were made but the first few years the drinks were pretty strong and the rum was noticeable. After years of tinkering with the recipe the Mad Farmer finally found the perfect mix (you can even make popsicles out of it)!

Boat Drinks:

In Blender mix:

Fill to top with ice and blend. For kid friendly drinks just remove rum


Beachcomber Recipe (Cointreau.com)

Jimmy Buffett’s Cabin Fever Virtual Concert Series

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Bar (Key West)

Videocast 004 : TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – The Beachcomber

TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – The Manhattan

Videocast 003 : TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – The Manhattan

The origins of the Manhattan are lost in time. The Democrat newspaper remarked in 1882 that, “It is but a short time ago that a mixture of whiskey, vermouth and bitters came into vogue”. The Mad Farmer and Miss Mercy aren’t sure when the Manhattan originated, but we are happy that it did.

Researching this cocktail Miss Mercy discovered several things: First, it’s the oldest history we have for a cocktail so far – reaching back at least to the 1880’s. Second, Vermouth comes in two flavors, Sweet (any red vermouth) and Dry (any non-red vermouth). Third, there are various liquors you can use to make the drink –


    History of the Manhattan

The Modern Bartender’s Guide (1884)

Videocast 003 : TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – The Manhattan

TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – Amaretto Sour (Part 3)

Videocast 001 : TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – Amaretto Sour (Part 3)


In the last podcast Miss Mercy and the Mad Farmer tried the Amaretto Sour with more natural ingredients. That was way better than using the store-bought mix but we thought we could still do better. This week, for the last attempt of the month, we decided to attempt the “Best Amaretto Sour in the World”. This recipe has been created by Jeffery Morganthaller who is apparently a bartender.

In the interest of full disclosure neither Miss Mercy nor the Mad Farmer personally know Jeffery Morganthaller and, we haven’t tried all the recipes for Amaretto Sour that exist, so we’re not actually sure if this is the best or not. The good news is you don’t have to know someone to try out their recipe for cocktails! We did, we aren’t sad, and we hope you follow along…


Jeffrey Morgenthaler

Amaretto Sour

  • 1½ oz/45 ml amaretto
  • ¾ oz/22.5 ml cask-proof bourbon
  • 1 oz/30 ml lemon juice
  • 1 tsp/5 ml 2:1 simple syrup
  • ½ oz/15 ml egg white, lightly beaten
  1. Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake without ice or (even better) use an immersion blender to combine and froth.
  2. Shake well with cracked ice.
  3. Strain over fresh ice in an old fashioned glass
  4. Garnish with lemon peel and brandied cherries, if desired..

Videocast 001 : TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – Amaretto Sour (Part 3)

TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – Amaretto Sour (Part 2)

Podcast 004 : TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – Amaretto Sour (Part 2)

In the last podcast Miss Mercy and the Mad Farmer explored the standard version of the Amaretto Sour and we really didn’t find it to our liking. Over the last several years we have been making a real effort at eating healthier food. Ingesting fewer artificial flavors, cutting as much high fructose corn syrup, processed sugar, growing as much food for ourselves as we can and cutting out as much processed food as possible.

What does this have to do with cocktails you ask? Great Question! The answer is, so far almost everything! Every time we replace a processed ingredient, like store-bought grenadine, with a homemade version the taste is night and day. Replacing canned cherries packed in syrup with organic maraschino cherries you can tell the difference. Changing out a packaged sour mix that tastes like something I would be ashamed to feed to a pet with a natural sour mix of hand squeezed lemons makes a world of difference.

Last week we made an Amaretto Sour with a packaged mix, it was hideous. This week we tried a recipe from MixthatDrink.com with all natural ingredients and it was worth having. One of the few recipes we’ve tried so far that says mix the ingredients then pour into a glass with ice. Take a listen, try it out. We think you will like this one. And tune in later this month when we try a more complex mix that is touted as the best in the world!


Amaretto Sour (MixThatDrink.com)

Podcast 004 : TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – Amaretto Sour (Part 2)

TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – Amaretto Sour

Amaretto Sour

Podcast 003 : TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – Amaretto Sour

Miss Mercy and the Mad Farmer are still on their quest to find the perfect cocktail. There are thousands, so it might take us a while, especially since we are only trying one recipe per month. The journey is part of the fun and we are having a good time researching the history, learning how to make the ingredients we can and searching for other ingredients we have never heard of before. I doubt we will ever become professional mixologists but we are having a good time while we are learning!

This month’s choice is the Amaretto Sour. The Amaretto Sour is a fairly recent recipe, dating only back to the 1970’s as near as Miss Mercy could find. It’s a fairly simple cocktail but there are some variations. The first recipe we are trying is a classic Amaretto and Sour Mix. We used the suggested recipe on the back of a bottle of “On the House” sour cocktail mix we have had lounging about in the fridge for some time.

For the Amaretto we used Disaronno. It’s apparently a very popular Amaretto and we had a very enlightening time at a local liquor store talking with a clerk about the ins and outs of a number of different liquors and mixers. There was a super interesting discussion about rye whiskeys which I ‘m sure we will cover in a future podcast at some point.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Disaronno-01-1024x683.jpg

This week we cover the “classic” Amaretto Sour recipe. Later this month we will be trying a more complex variation using homemade Simple Syrup and some other ingredients.

So give it a listen and let us know about your experience with Amaretto Sours by leaving a post in the comments section.

Happy Cocktailing!

Podcast 003 : TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – Amaretto Sour

Tiny Sustainable Steps

Living “Sustainably” means lots of different things to people. When the Mad Farmer came up with the name ‘Tiny Sustainable Life’ for the blog, I am pretty sure he was thinking about tiny houses, growing food, and relying less on external  inputs and generating fewer outputs – very permaculture-y. We have had a bit of a fumbling start as we navigate our version of sustainability. Whether you read about it, hear a podcast about it, or see something in the media, sustainability is a popular word at the moment. To me sustainability seems to be a huge, somewhat subjective, topic. One person’s sustainability may be another person’s hot button issue.

Here at our little homestead we are choosing to look at sustainability through the lens of self-reliance. We may be fumbling about, but we are still doing it, albeit slowly. Growing food takes planning, time, patience and good weather conditions – which can be the wild card in Kansas. Sourcing your food so that you know more about where it comes from takes time. Sometimes you make do with what you have while you find a local source. Trying to buy fewer material things (except books) takes intentionality. All of these tiny steps we take as we work toward sustainability. Stewardship is often a word that comes to mind when I think of sustainability. Being a good steward of the resources available to help make sure they continue to be available seems a nice fit with sustainability.

The tiny sustainable steps you take may be very different than the ones we are embarking on, in fact; I hope they are. I hope you share your tiny steps with us as we share ours with you and we learn from each other. Whether you are trying to use less plastic, waste less food, be kinder to those around you – whatever your journey looks like and wherever it takes you, good luck! You don’t have to start big, but I do hope you start your own tiny sustainable steps.

TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – The Mary Pickford

Podcast 002 : TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – The Mary Pickford

So Miss Mercy and the Mad Farmer have been actively pursuing a better handle on our schedules and our meal planning. To that end we started having weekly meetings to discuss our schedules and plan our weekly meals. To make those meetings more fun we decided to have a “cocktail”, preferably from the 1920’s. The cocktail we choose to explore in February is the “Mary Pickford”. Mary Pickford was a 1920’s film star and also married to Douglas Fairbanks. Mary was considered to be “America’s Sweetheart” and a very popular gal and some bartender somewhere decided to honor her with her own cocktail. Sounds fun and that brings us to 2020. One hundred years later her signature drink is still a tasty concoction.

There is also a “Douglas Fairbanks” cocktail and it was suggested that for Valentine’s day we could make both of them and live the Retro Dream as a signature power couple of the 1920’s. Turns out the “Douglas Fairbanks” is basically a straight gin martini. Neither of us are huge gin fans so we decided to give that a pass but we did enjoy the Mary Pickford.

This podcast is our first impression of the cocktail “Mary Pickford”. Feel free to follow along and try it out if you like. The recipe for the cocktail is from lovetoknow.com and the homemade Grenadine is from Chowhound.com


Podcast 002: TLS Homestead Signature Cocktail – The Mary Pickford



TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – The Sidecar

Podcast 001: TLS Homestead Signature Cocktail – The Sidecar


So Miss Mercy and the Mad Farmer decided at the end of 2019 to make some changes at the Tiny Sustainable Homestead. One of the things that we are actively pursuing is a better handle on our schedules and our meal planning. To that end we decided to have weekly meetings on Sundays to discuss and clarify our schedules for the upcoming week and to plan our weekly meals. We decided that we would pick a cookbook per month from Miss Mercy’s collection (she loves cookbooks) and explore those recipes for our meal planning.

Simple enough, right? Also, kind of “Hey, let’s end our peaceful and/or fun weekend by sitting down to a business meeting” – oh, that’s not really as much fun as it sounds like (okay, maybe exactly as much fun as it sounds). So the Mad Farmer says “how about we add a cocktail option each week (Miss Mercy being the inspiration for that idea – by bringing up that we were about to be in the ’20’s and could re-create the “Roaring Twenties”)? Miss Mercy loves vintage styles, is excited about retro things and was on board immediately. After a brief discussion that saw the weekly choice turn into a monthly choice, served weekly (to give us a chance to “tweak” the recipe) we had our first January scheduling/menu meeting.

This is a podcast of our first attempt at making “The Sidecar” and our impressions of the cocktail. Feel free to follow along and try it out if you like. The recipe is from liquor.com.


Podcast 001: TLS Homestead Signature Cocktail – The Sidecar



It Depends

What is homesteading really like? The Mad Farmer doesn’t know exactly. The best answer is “It depends”. Funny how that seems to be the answer to almost every question in Homesteading, Permaculture and Life. Almost every situation in life is unique to the moment. Sometimes the right decision is clear. Sometimes the wrong decision is also equally clear. Most of the time, it depends…

is that plant better in this location or over by the fence? It depends. Does the plant need full sun or is it okay with partial shade? It depends. What is the soil like in that spot versus the other spot? It depends. Is there adequate drainage? It depends. How early should it be planted? What if the weather is to hot? To cold? It depends. What, What What????? And that’s one plant, in one location in your yard that you probably aren’t that invested in anyway – I mean really, it’s just a plant, right?

Life is a constant series of “It depends” questions. Nothing is cut and dried, well not much anyway. There are some guidelines:

  • Don’t wear white after Labor Day
  • Don’t chew with your mouth open
  • Pick up trash if you see it on the ground
  • Don’t sass your parents
  • Be kind
  • Don’t beat your children (unless they really deserve it)

Not a complete list. Not a comprehensive list. Will it you help you in life? It depends. Probably not as much as you’d like. Good news is there is a list that will get you through life. Bad news is that you have to open a Bible to read it and you’re going to fail to follow it (Ten Commandments sound familiar)? Interestingly enough, is even if you are not a Christian every culture on the planet has a version. They all boil down to two simple rules:

  • Treat others as you would like to be treated (yep, even people who suck)
  • Don’t steal (anything – if it ain’t yours, it wasn’t given to you and you didn’t earn it, don’t take it)

Other than that, it depends. Should you go to this school or that? Take this job or that? Let your children go to that event, the other event or no events? Plant things that are good for Zone 6 or can I push it to Zone 5b? Move here, move there? Rent or buy? Borrow or pay cash (this one actually has an answer – if you can’t pay for it, you can’t afford it – find another way – keeping in mind the “Don’t steal” rule).

Life is about choices and sometimes about compromising. What is the best way? It depends. Will you always make the best choices? Probably not. Should you keep trying? Yes, you should. That is not an “It depends” question. If you don’t try, you won’t ever succeed. Will you win? It depends…

Leave a comment or contact us at madfarmer@tinysustainablelife.com if you have an opinion or thought.