Yesterday was the vernal (or March) equinox that is supposed to offiicially usher in spring for the northern hemisphere. Ha! Not just yet Mama Natura, it’s still freezing outside today, and snowed aggressively two days ago, all of which is fine with me. It means things are still working properly (for the moment) and global warming hasn’t entirely fried us yet. I don’t expect to wear ballet flats until April – all is well. So even though it’s technically spring, I’ve been drinking like it’s still winter (since it still feels like it) with thematic drinks that taste like they could be served on Christmas (glogg or hot chocolate with a hit of peppermint schanps, anyone?). Doesn’t this “winter-jito” from Cookshop kind of look like Christmas in a glass?
The other weekend, a dear friend and I ended up heading over there for some drinks in the dead time of late afternoon between brunch and dinner when they don’t serve any food and it’s just a touch too cold to be going on lingering walks. I picked out this drink from the non-alcoholic part of the menu and asked the bartender to “booze it up” – her phrase, not mine (but I like her style). Mojitos are one of my favorite summer cocktails, so this winterized rendition got second and third (and fourth) rounds of support.
I don’t have specific measurements, but I always treat drink-making a bit cavalierly anyway, so here are the ingredients. Happy mixing!
Fresh muddled mint
Fresh lime slices
Summer cocktails are such a treat and I like to keep them simple and spritzed so even I can make them at home with basic ingredients and limited tools. Studio dwellers keep it basic by necessity. Even with the WSJ making spritzers complicated and the NYT is telling me to drink Aperol (which I do like with a splash of gin and soda), I still can’t get away from the florals, call me cutesy if you must. Last weekend, I found two classic cocktail recipes that I hadn’t known about. One found in Tatler at the nail salon and the other in Hamptons Cottages & Gardens. Each magazine had easy floral drinks I wouldn’t mind shaking up one night after work. If only I had a terrace to drink them on! TGIF!
Oxley Royal Air Force (a delightfully branded retinkering of the classic Aviation)
1 ½ oz. Oxley Dry Gin ¾ oz. lavender syrup (Monin or Royal Rose) Hostess tip: put the bottle of lavender syrup to use beyond cocktails by using it as a sugar substitute in a steaming cup of milky earl grey tea
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
¼ oz. Luxardo Maraschino (optional in my book)
2 dashes lavender bitters (who has this lying around?)
Lavender sprig for garnish (if only I had a garden)
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker full of ice. Shake and double strain into a coupe or a martini glass. Garnish.
1 part elderflower liqueur
½ part vodka
2 parts (or the rest of the glass) prosecco
Two ways to make this one: either put pour the vodka and elderflower into the bottom of the glass and top with champagne or shake the liquor on ice and then finish with the prosecco. I say keep it simple and do option 1.
What to do with a long weekend? Drink, naturally. So for the MLK break, I headed upstate to test out the satisfaction level of wine tasting in the depths of winter. Conclusion: the warming effect of wine is highly satisfactory in 12° weather.
We hit two destinations on the Seneca Wine Trail between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Since there were two of us with no chauffeur (sigh, life as a commoner), we had to be conservative so as not to end up in the lake. So first stop was Hector Wine Company, recommended by a mutual friend of the owner. Great thing about small places is that you can meet the owners (when they’re not getting massacred by boozy busloads). Biggest surprise of all? We loved their red wines. As the owner pointed out, if you’re expecting a California red, don’t. Rid yourself of that preconception and then you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Second stop was the well-established regional favorite, Swedish Hill Winery, of which we are long-time devotees. They make a damn good riesling and bottle of bubbly. So take that Mosel and Champagne! (Can you tell I’m nerd-ily proud of New York’s wine making abilities?) Now since I love SH’s wines, visiting their tasting room was what I’m calling vinoMecca (should I copyright that? Just kidding! #stopSOPA). They also make a glögg that is dee-lish. It’s made from Concord grapes (don’t worry, not totally Welch’s), infused with spices, so it’s pretty sweet, but oh-so yummy and comforting when heated up.
Bottoms up – the wine facts continue!
After reading the entry about Malbecs a close friend of mine was a little perturbed that I wasn’t giving Whites the same sort of love. Personally I love a range of Whites. Pinot Grigio is wonderfully crisp and goes perfectly with eating salads, preferably outdoors if the option is available. White Bordeaux is absolutely delish mixed with cassis to make a Kir, which is probably my mixed drink of choice. And sauv blanc, my friend’s fav, is really pretty versatile. Light enough to be refreshing and strong enough to be paired with some heavier entrees. Pizza being our favorite pairing of all. So here we have a little selection of the ones I have found to be enjoyable time and time again.