Out Like a What Now?

Sun in Seattle in March can make people do crazy crazy things. Like sit on the deck and drink cocktails as if it were summer.

Not that we’ve had that much sun. Just a hint.

Last week there was a sunny afternoon that I got to enjoy all by myself, on the way to the Joy the Baker book signing over at Book Larder (I’m totally the blonde in the front row, BTW). I even had the windows down while I blasted lcd soundsystem all the way there.

And there was another one the Very. Next. Day. So sunny and warm we let Lilli play outside in next to nothing while we sipped spring time cocktails on the deck.

It’s days like those that help us gather the courage (liquid or no) to give March the pep talk it needs to shape up it’s act and start acting a little more lamb-like.

In Like a Lion
makes 1

1 1/2 oz of your favorite Gin or Whiskey
1 glass of ice
1 good quality Ginger Ale, such as Boylan’s
1/8 of a Blood Orange (regular oranges are fine too)
Mint, optional

Squeeze the juice out of one section of orange into a glass with as much or as little ice as you like. If using mint, crush a few leaves between your fingers and add to the glass. Top with alcohol of choice and fill with ginger ale. Garnish with the same orange wedge.

I encourage you to try it both ways at least once–we originally thought the gin would be better but ended up preferring the whiskey.

Getting Crafty–Homemade Tonic

I may have mentioned this before, but I live with a pretty frugal guy. Joe is the driving force behind all those times when I say to myself, “Do I really need that?” He’s also the main reason I have gotten really good at justifying kitchen expenses. One recent kitchen expense was a Sodastream machine.

I accidentally started a habit buying a bottle or two of sparkling water when I did our weekly shopping trip, plus the occasional bottle while out and about. And then these machines started invading the homes of everyone I know. I figured if there was going to be some sort of robot soda invasion I wanted to be a part of it, so after much hemming and hawing about if it was really worth it (which was weird considering how environmentally conscious we are, on top of the frugality) we finally bought one. With a coupon.

Then I started experimenting with all sorts of different simple syrups to flavor the water. Orange vanilla syrup leftover from candying orange peels. Rosemary simple syrup made from branches swiped on walks with the kid. Fennel syrup made from the fronds leftover from all the salad I eat.

But when I saw an article about homemade tonic, it kind of blew my mind. It was one of the reasons we finally caved and bought the machine, the idea that I could somehow make tonic from scratch. Seeing that article, along with all the different links it had for variations on tonic syrup was kind of overwhelming. I decided to just pick the one that looked like it had a lot of positive reviews and start there. Little did I know it would actually make more than a quart of tonic syrup. Now I have a lot of gin to drink…

Which totally isn’t a bad thing. Practicing for summer is never a bad thing.

So it turned out that I didn’t have any regular oranges lying around. This was back when we were still in love with little clementines and were eating them by the pound, and before citrus season was in full swing and I started obsessively buying anything I could zest. No big deal I decided. Also no big deal to me was the fact that I neglected to buy whole allspice berries when I went down to Tenzing Momo (at Pike Place Market) to buy the required Cinchona bark. I just used whole cloves instead.

One thing I did do just as Morgenthaler suggested was to strain it through my french press, which I had never though of using in that sort of capacity. Best kitchen tip I’ve gotten in a long long time, let me tell you.

In the end, if you drink a lot of things that need tonic in it, I’d say the recipe was worth the small amount of time it took. After all, it is a syrup so it will last a while in the fridge. It definitely different than commercial tonic, which I think is too sweet but without any real flavor. If you’re into making things homemade just for the sake of it, then this is probably a good thing to add to your repertoire.

And if it can convince your significant other to let you pick up a new kitchen gadget then you get bonus points!