Cocktails! Who doesn’t love cocktails. Alcoholic/non-alc, doesn’t matter – there’s something….celebratory..about drinks with stuff in ’em. One of my bfffe and I had a holiday luncheon at Joe’s Stone Crab (omg. LUH that place!). We both took the train in so we could drink – and we both were fixated on drinking cocktails (as opposed to wine). In conversation about gin v. vodka Gibsons, our server brought me a bit of Hendricks gin to try and it was then that I remembered: I LOVE FLOWERS in my booze. Flower smells, that is. The Hendricks smells like cucumbers and, combined with a bit of St Germain elderflower liqueur and a dash of lime, is the most sublime cocktail I’ve ever had – EVER! We had 3. Each. And it was then I remembered that I descend from a LONG line of high-functioning alcoholics, I live in a place I Do Not Like and omg. I could see that Box under the Bridge looming large. So I went about trying to figure out how to replicate the cocktail – at least in idea – sans the Hendricks. Not quite the same but substituting some muddled cucumber and some sparkling mineral water (and a dash of Rose’s lime juice instead of a real lime) came close. Doing it with vodka comes close without the ‘sublime’ which means I only want to drink one – not 3/ The Elderflower liqueur is what is so captivating, imo. It smells so pretty (and, moreover, it’s difficult to parse, which is what makes a lot of things captivating, imo)! I was thinking of messing up my kitchen, yet again, trying to make the liqueur but hey, guess what? A) I don’t have an elderflower plant and B) all parts of the Elder plant, save the flowers & berries, are toxic which means I would rather buy St Germaine or St Elder than risk killing everybody at the garden party. Plus, I barely have room for the basil and rosemary oils I make. I either need a bigger kitchen or I can just BUY THE THINGS. And all the bottles are just so pretty!!! I want them all on my drinks cart, just to cute the thing up!
Once I sobered up, I thought about what other floral water-type drinks I enjoy – I love rose-flavored sparkling water. Awhile ago I was at some Food Expo and came upon Alchemy Cordials – snagged a bottle of Love, which promptly went into a cupboard where it sat until about a year ago. Curious, this past Summer I poured a bit into an icy glass of sparkling water, added some mint leaves and a lime wedge and OMG! The most perfect Summer drink EVAH, with hints of raspberry-tinted rose! Alas, it’s not available in the US – at least I cannot find it. NOT EVEN ON (gasp!) AMAZON! So I’mo have to make this bottle last until I can get to Portia’s. Have any of you tried any of their cordials? They have a new one – a turmeric elixir – that I would LOVE to try!In summer I love a pitcher of margaritas, made with Triple Sec and muddled lime (and a dash of Roses Lime juice which is pretty much my go-to lime for summer cocktails). As with most cocktails, I enjoy the smell as much as the actual drink (and, let’s face it, without smell there is little or no taste – which is why I will drink vodka – but I don’t really enjoy it. Certainly not like I enjoy a good gin. Which is why I am so in thrall to Hendricks. And I will gain 250lbs from those martinis.
My beloved Spice House creates their own floral waters, which are great in all sorts of things – I’ve been experimenting with their Orange but, to be honest, I usually just end up wearing them because I think they work best in baking and I prefer their sublime extracts for that. The orange is great when you want just a bit of flavor to a sparkling water, though – and they are GREAT to just sniff or wear! I scented a whipped cream icing with a touch of the rose, to great effect; people were all ‘what am I smelling?’ (in a good way)
And let’s not forget the extremely talented Mandy Aftel’s Chef’s Essences. A few years ago Patty & I were at MiN New York and Mindy Yang introduced us to Mandy’s first offerings. I’d not had basil in a cocktail and it was delightfully different. Since then, of course, Mandy has gone on to create a whole raft of flower & spice essences. Most of them make ‘sense’ to me – then I scrolled down and found this: I was…stunned. I have never given a moment’s thought to Ylang Ylang in cooking but apparently both it and Geranium can be used – the blogger Neroliane suggests using them in salads and desserts (just a little drop’ll do ya) – this is going to be my next purchase for Summer salads – I figure if I don’t love it in food I’ll love it on skin, right? Stay tuned! I can’t wait. For Summer. When, once again, I can eat a salad without worrying about my insides freezing. Right now it’s a balmy -7F and I’m sure every lettuce in the world is frozen solid and tomatoes taste like frozen haddock. I wonder what the ylang would taste like, a drop in sparkling water? Hmmm…okay, it’s on my to-try list! Even though it’s not a cocktail, I would be tempted to add just a touch of this to the frosting of a Persian Love Cake. Rose & Ylang Ylang are a lovely combination…. again, this is a Summer cake because I like to use roses from my own garden. Is it Summer yet? No? Dang.
Do you have any floral favorites? Alcoholic or non, I’d love to hear about them.
Ha! Bet you thought I’d forgotten to list the winners. Ha! You’d be right. But at the last minute I pulled it OUT! so:
Gmail me (evilauntieanitaAT), give me your deeeetails and I will get some goodies out to you! Please do NOT hit the ‘contact us’ button – that goes directly to Patty and she has enough on her plate. Thanks!