The other day, Spencer and I were in the kitchen crafting our own refreshments for the evening. Spencer loves playing bartender, and ever since I decided to lay off alcohol for awhile, I've had to get pretty creative with my own "mocktails." We started talking about our favorite drinks, and I thought this would make a great series. It won't just be yummy alcoholic (and non-alcoholic) beverages, but a whole slew of our favorite things in life. It's like Oprah, if Oprah asked for Stedman's opinion. If there are any men reading things blog (which I doubt, not really my main audience), you'll get a man's opinion for once. For the ladies, maybe with the man's opinion you'll get some tips to surprise your friends and
lovers lovahs (spelled this way, it's not as awkward. Think Carrie Bradshaw...) with.
Let's start with the good, old fashioned Old Fashioned. Spencer's first favorite pick. I'll let Spencer explain why he's so enamored with it:
Since I started drinking more bourbon I have found that I prefer it neat. Drinking this spirit straight has allowed me to explore its more detailed facets. However, when I find the cut of straight liquor a little too intense for the occasion or my mood the old fashioned is a variation that still provides the smooth hearty character of the brown liquor in an easy to drink, yet classic preparation. Additionally, its a good avenue to use up any bourbon brands that I have found less than appetizing when served neat. You can use as nice a bourbon as you choose although I think you will be clouding the character of a fine spirit with the other ingredients. This is really a pretty simple drink to make, will introduce a novice to ingredients like bitters and sugar, and the many variations in preparation let one explore the nuances of the ingredients themselves.
Old Fashioned with Bing Cherries
1 teaspoon sugar
2-3 shakes of Angostura Bitters
1 1/2 oz Bourbon
Add sugar and bitters to glass, and a hearty splash of club of soda and swirl to mix ingredients together. Add ice, bourbon, and stir. Add cherry as a garnish if desired (we used bing cherries).
I went for a delicious Lavender Lemon Mocktail. I was going to say spritzer, but apparently, people hate that word. Lavender is one of my favorite smells, and when I learned about lavender simple syrup, I immediately made some. One word: yum. This stuff is like drinking a spa, or sipping on the french country side. It's amazing. Add a little lemon and some sparkling water, and you've got yourself a delicious, summer mocktail.
Lavender Lemon Mocktail
3 tablespoons lavender simple syrup
1 tablespoon 100% pure lemon juice, not from concentrate
10 oz. lemon seltzer (I used R.W Knudsen Sparkling Essence)
Add lavender simple syrup and lemon juice to glass and stir. Add ice, and top with lemon seltzer. Gently stir to mix flavors. Enjoy!
Lavender Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons dried lavender buds
Dried lavender can be found at your grocery store's bulk section. I got mine at a health food store.
Add water, sugar and lavender to sauce pan and stir over medium-high heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain mixture into a container, and refrigerate until completely cold before using. Syrup will have a gorgeous lavender color.