Sometimes I wish that summer’s bounty could be spread out over the course of the year. It’s a futile and selfish wish, but I feel pressure to eat myself into oblivion during the growing season and spend more time than I ought to figuring out how many fruits, vegetables and herbs I can consume in one day without suffering intestinal damage. But, as is often the case after a drink or two, I found the answer staring me right in the face: cocktail hour. You can get as creative mixing up drinks from the garden as your imagination allows. And, since you can count each drink as one of your six to eight recommended daily servings of fruits and veggies, may as well have another round!
Ready for tasters
Stinson Vineyards, one of the
five wineries that make up the
Appellation Trail, officially opened
its garage-turned-tasting-room last week (open Thursdays through Sundays, 11am-5pm) and have a grand opening party with live music, dancing, a pig roast, and, of course, a tasting of their seven wines from 2010, scheduled for Independence Day weekend.
Basil Vodka Gimlet
Make basil simple syrup by dissolving 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan. Remove from heat and add 1 large bunch chopped basil, allowing to steep for 20-30 minutes. Strain and cool. Fill highball glasses with ice and 4 Tbs. basil syrup. Split 6 Tbs. vodka and 4 Tbs. lime juice over each glass. Stir and garnish with basil.
Blackberry Rosemary Sparkler
Combine 2/3 cup fresh blackberries, 3 Tbs. sugar, 1/4 cup water and 1 Tbs. finely chopped rosemary in a saucepan on low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Pour into a fine sieve set over a glass measuring cup for about five minutes. Discard solids and chill syrup until cold. Pour Prosecco into flutes, then pour 1 ½ tsp. of syrup into each drink. Garnish with rosemary and blackberries.
Cucumber Cilantro Cooler
Muddle 6 sprigs fresh cilantro, 3 inches chopped cucumbers and 2 juiced limes in a cocktail shaker. Add 8 Tbs. Hendricks gin, 2 Tbs. simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water dissolved over low heat) and ice, and shake vigorously. Strain into highball glasses, top with club soda and garnish with cucumbers and cilantro.
Cherry Gin & Tonic
Muddle 6 ripe, pitted cherries in a cocktail shaker. Add 4 Tbs. gin and 2 tsp. lime juice and shake vigorously. Strain into two ice-filled old-fashioneds, top with tonic and garnish with limes and cherries.
Half-fill each collins glass with ice and a few slices of cucumber and borage leaves. Split 6 Tbs. Pimm’s No. 1 over each glass then fill with Sprite or 7-Up. Stir and garnish with lemons, cucumber spears and borage flowers.
Make peach-mint simple syrup by dissolving 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan. Lower heat and add 2 fresh, sliced peaches, allowing to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1 cup fresh mint, allowing to steep for 15-30 minutes. Strain and cool. Fill julep glasses with ice and 2 Tbs. of syrup. Split 8 Tbs. bourbon over each glass, stir, top with club soda and garnish with peaches and mint.
Raspberry Lemon-Thyme Rickey
Make lemon-thyme simple syrup by dissolving 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan. Remove from heat and add 1 cup lemon-thyme leaves, allowing to steep for 20 minutes. Strain and cool. Muddle 1/4 cup fresh raspberries and 2 Tbs. simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add 8 Tbs. vodka and 2 Tbs. raspberry liquor and shake vigorously. Strain into two ice-filled highball glasses, top with club soda, and garnish with lemons and raspberries.