April 12, 2018
Spring has finally SPRUNG in New England. And I can’t possibly tell you how happy that makes me. Ok, maybe I can. It makes me want to throw all the parties in our cute little backyard. It makes me want to skip down Newbury Street, smiling giddily at all the pretty spring couture windows. It makes me want to drive around everywhere with the windows down and sunroof open.
It also makes me want to mix up springy, pretty, pink cocktails meant to be served on the lawn, or under a pergola.
When Mark and I visited Charleston back in February — and got a reprieve from winter with a touch of spring in the South — we visited one of the coolest little bars I’ve ever crossed the threshold of, The Gin Joint.
I didn’t actually have a gin cocktail that night, but the inventive bartender concocted a mezcal-jalapeno situation that has been on my tastebud memory ever since. I’ve been wanting to play with including a spicy flavor in my at-home bartending and this week, I nailed it!
The Pink Pepper Collins is sweet and tart with a hint of spice (which you can dial up, if you’re more of a spicy gal!). It’s light and fresh and goes great with friends and backyard cookouts. If you’re hosting a Derby party next month and want a bourbon-free alternative (sacrilege, I know, but not everyone’s as cool as us bourbon drinkers), this is your girl.
Ready to serve up this springy concoction? Here we go…
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 oz grapefruit juice, chilled
1 1/2 oz gin
2 oz sparkling water or seltzer (whichever you prefer), chilled
In a small saucepan, combine the jalapeno, sugar, and water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for 3-5 minutes, or until mixture thickens slightly (it should stick to the back of your spoon).
Let the jalapeno mixture cool in the saucepan, then strain into a heat-resistant (I like these glass swing-top bottles) container and set aside.
In a large glass or small carafe, stir together 3/4 oz of the jalapeno mixture (aka your homemade jalapeno simple syrup!), the grapefruit juice, and the gin.
Pour the gin mixture into your serving glass and top with sparkling water.
Toast to spring and enjoy! And for you non-drinkers out there, this one is just as delicious sans-gin, I promise!
As you wait for that jalapeno simple syrup to cool, pick up The Wonder!
Pretty much everyone and their cousin as read (or seen the movie) Room by Emma Donoghue. It’s poignant, provocative, and engrossing. It’s also deeply disturbing. And that’s ok, it’s supposed to be.
It’s not a book I’d necessarily recommend, because of that fact. Which is why I was so excited when I saw Donoghue had written another novel! Her writing is just beautiful. It’s sweeping and touching at the same time.
This time around, Donoghue has left Room entirely behind. The Wonder centers around a little girl in early 20th century Ireland, who claims she’s been fasting for four months — existing without a single bite of food (or other nourishment).
It’s a fascinating look at faith and skepticism — and a bit of historical fiction thrown in for good measure.
Give it a read and tell me what you think, will ya?