Hi! I'm back from a stellar vacation in gorgeous South Carolina, and am just in the process of collecting myself and getting in the swing of things back in our new home.
I'm planning to get back in a regular posting schedule soon.
In the meantime, enjoy this post... because nothing says Tuesday morning like cocktails!
*****I love cocktails, and summer is high cocktail season. Some of my favorite hot weather concoctions:
1) A classic, very cold gin and tonic, preferably prepared by my dad who always gets the proportions just right, and whose signature touch of rubbing the rim of the glass with meyer lemon before adding a squeeze of it to the drink puts the whole thing over the top. Yum.
2) A classic margarita. Rocks. Salt.
3) A hibiscus margarita. Rocks. No salt. (I love to create these by making Heidi Swanson's Agua de Jamaica recipe and adding a healthy portion of silver anejo tequila. So damn good).
4) Icy cold Vinho Verde or Sauvignon Blanc.
5) White Sangria.
I could really go on and on, but will stop now, as this summer will be cocktail-free in my world and I'm merely torturing myself with this list! Truthfully, giving up booze is no biggie, and on your average night when everyone is having a beer or two, I'm pretty happy sipping lemonade or coconut water and enjoying the non-hangover factor the next day. However, every once and awhile when friends are stirring up something special, it is a bummer to be left out of the fun, and here is where the faux cocktail (aka mocktail) can make total sobriety just a little sweeter. While pregnant with the little man, I'd drink pomegranate juice and sparkling water out of wine glasses and one of my girlfriends completely made my day when she had us over for dinner and had bought a delicious Italian blood orange soda for me, served in a special glass. This pregnancy, I'd like to continue to dial it up a notch in the alcohol-free bevvie department, and so I decided to call the experts for help.
One of my favorite podcasts is called The Table Set. Three fabulous gentlemen with a flair for entertaining host the show, each episode focuses around planning a particular type of party or gathering, and they discuss everything from innovative food to perfect music to delicious drinks. Nathan, the host with mixology expertise, always seems to be infusing something into gin, or finding a new type of bitters, or muddling a little berry into some sort of herb to make the most delicious sounding concoctions. During one of my first trimester runs I was listening to a Table Set podcast where Nathan described his new creation called a Sonoran Sunset, inspired by the Arizonan desert after a rain storm: pepper and jalapeño infused tequila shaken with fresh lime and tangerine juices, Cointreau, and homemade Prickly Pear syrup, served in a glass rimmed with raw sugar, kosher salt and pepper, and garnished with a lime wedge. I mean, come on. A simple beer is easy to take a pass on, but something this brilliant makes me long for my return to cocktailing.
I decided that if anyone could upgrade the mere mocktail into something beyond pomegranate juice in a wine glass, it would be Nathan and his sidekicks Greg and Andy, so I did what any rational pregnant woman would do and called the show, leaving a message on their call-in line to request recipes for alcohol-free cocktails every bit as drool-worthy as the Sonoran Sunset. The boys get quite a few requests, I know, so I didn't necessarily expect a reply. You can imagine that my jaw completely hit the floor/running path a couple weeks later when I was casually running around the pond, listening to their newest podcast on Southern-inspired garden parties, and I heard my very own name get a shout out!
Not only did the boys answer my question, they made it their week's homework to come up with three brand new, highly imaginative and completely delicious "pregatinis" (they despise the word "mocktail"). Each of them came up with something incredible: a Green Leaf, a No Gin Martini with Juniper and Ginger, and a New Old-Fashioned. Amazing! Check out the fruits of their mixing labors:
I was so flattered and excited to have these drinks custom-invented, each complete with their own lovely photo recipe card. Nathan, Andy and Greg truly outdid themselves, and I'm grateful and a little starstruck! I think that any one of these drinks would be the perfect thing to serve at a baby shower, or any gathering where a number of guests will be abstaining from alcohol for any reason. The No Gin Martini is especially playful, served in an up glass for festive clinking. It is so lovely to be offered something above and beyond water or juice when you are off the sauce. Of course these drinks are a bit involved, so with the chaos around the move and traveling, I haven't had a chance to concoct them myself, but that's at the top of my list now that summer is truly underway. In the meantime, if you decide to stir one up at home, please report back!
What's your favorite "mocktail"?
What's your favorite "mocktail"?