So I was on assignment last week at Harrah’s Joliet for the opening of Paula Deen’s Kitchen (PD complimented my hair; I love her), and was invited to stay post ribbon-cutting ceremony to try the food. Photographer Nicole Radja and I strategically sampled every single dessert. The rumors are true: Paula Deen loves her some butter.

Cocktails were on the menu, too — standard at casinos, of course, but I was curious how they might tie into Deen’s southern cuisine. Our server was pushing the Granny Smith Martini (Absolut Pears vodka, sour-apple schnapps, etc) but I was curious about the Ol’ Country Time Tea, which is built on an assortment of stuff I seldom drink, let alone in the same glass: Midori, Cointreau, rum, vodka, gin and pink lemonade. It was served in a mason jar and was actually quite delicious.

Paula Deen's Ol' Country Time Tea (photo: Nicole Radja)

Cute, non? I’d totally order it again. When in Paula Deen territory, nothing is off-limits.