Summer and its bounty are finally here. Three weeks into CSA season, I am proud to report that I’m keeping up. My new consulting lifestyle means lots of breakfast salads and home-cooked, vegetable-laden lunches.
I was in New Orleans for work most of last week, but my cat sitters were good enough to pick up my weekly share. Mysteriously, they had not followed my instructions to demolish the strawberries, so there were two quarts waiting in the fridge when I got home. They weren’t quite as sweet as the last batch. But that’s no bother when you’ve got whiskey on hand.
Strawberry-Ginger Whiskey Sour
- 8-12 strawberries, rinsed and sliced
- 1-2 tablespoons ginger syrup (depending on how sweet your strawberries are and how sweet you like your drinks)
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1-2 ounces rye whiskey (depending on how rough a day it’s been)
- a few dashes of rhubarb bitters
- seltzer (optional, perhaps best if it’s a hot day and cocktail hour is starting early)
Muddle the strawberries and ginger syrup in a cocktail shaker until the berries get nice and mushy. Add the lemon juice, bitters, and a few ice cubes. Give a vigorous shake and pour into a glass. Top with seltzer if you’re going easy.
This cocktail is just fine when batched and smuggled into an outdoor concert venue in a water bottle. Or so I’ve heard. Just pack a can of seltzer separately and assemble on-site.
My train was late getting into Baltimore. The trick or treating was in full effect by the time we made it back to Beth and Don’s house. Fortunately, Beth had laid in a serious stockpile of candy. Folks took turns distributing all manners of sugary goodness from the stoop while I set about crafting a more adult treat.
The Tell-Tale Heart
- 1.5 ounces bourbon (Buffalo Trace is nice)
- 2 ounces ginger ale (Blenheim if you can get it)
- 2 small cubes frozen lemon juice (heart shaped is ideal)
- 6 dashes Jamaican Jerk Bitters
Add the above ingredients, in that order, to a rocks glass. Enjoy.
We are in the depths of winter. Today the temperature rose above freezing for the first time in over a week. It did so just long enough to melt some of the snow. Given that Brooklyn is dropping down to 13 degrees overnight, I imagine the water will transform into sheets of ice in time for tomorrow morning’s bitter commute.
I just got back from a weekend with some of my oldest and dearest friends in Cold Spring (which lived up to its name). I made my way north along the Hudson River in the middle of a snowstorm that rendered the landscape a haunting study of black and white.
Justin collected me at the train station for the drive up the hill. Within minutes, he had a fire going, Beth had fixed a round of apple cider and bourbon, and I was gleefully trouncing Owen and Benjamin in a game of Scrabble.
The next morning, Justin declared that his goal for the day was to finish off the orphaned beverages lurking in the back of the fridge. Nothing if not dutiful, he’d polished off a bottle of Ruby Red grapefruit juice before he even changed out of his bathrobe. My sole outing for the day was to the grocery store, where Beth and I picked up supplies for dinner and Benjamin sweet talked his way into some gummy fighter jets.
While Benjamin and Owen engaged in afternoon play dates with friends who live up the road, I got to work on dinner. By 5:30, four children were dismantling the living room while five adults gathered around the cocktail shaker in the kitchen.
Beth and I had gamely taken up Justin’s challenge, figuring we’d start with the rhubarb syrup from Ikea. (That’s “Saft Rabarber” for those who like to giggle about such things.) After determining that there was no gin in the house, we set our sites on the remaining Eagle Rare bourbon. A cocktail was born.
Promise of Spring
- blood orange
- good quality bourbon
- rhubarb syrup (Create your own by simmering fresh rhubarb along with equal parts sugar and water.)
- orange bitters
- Muddle a few wedges of lemon and blood orange in each of three glasses and add a few cubes of ice.
- Combine 1/4 cup rhubarb syrup, 3/4 cups of bourbon and a handful of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into glasses. Top with a few dashes of orange bitters.
This riff on an Old Fashioned goes down easy, keeps one’s spirits up as January slogs to a close, and is a lovely preamble to spinach and roasted eggplant lasagna.