Honey-Rhubarb Pisco Sour

Honey-Rhubarb Pisco Sour

We’re finally starting to see signs of spring here in Vermont. All the snow is gone, there’s one lone tulip in my garden, and my downstairs neighbor and I had our first porch beers of 2015. It’s currently rainy and chilly, but I’ll happily take it after our never-ending winter of ice and snow and grossness. I wanted to be excited for spring when the asparagus started showing up, but that’s kind of hard to do while you’re wearing a winter coat and still craving soup. But last week there was rhubarb and tons of pretty pastel-colored flowers at the store, and it finally felt like spring to me. It seemed appropriate to celebrate with some drinks.

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Homemade Angostura Sugar Cubes & The Champagne Cocktail

Homemade Angostura Sugar Cubes

Hey guys! I hope everyone that celebrated Christmas this week had a fantastic one. This was the first year that I did not spend Christmas eve and day at my parents’ home. (I had to push the trip back to this weekend due to some scheduling issues.) It was a little strange, but we managed to have a fine little holiday here, complete with beef Wellington and hot buttered rum. And that time not spent traveling meant I could do a little New Year’s Eve planning on Thursday!

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A Better Method: Cold-Process Infused Simple Syrups

A Better Method: Cold-Process Infused Simple Syrups

Whoopsie, I disappeared for a little bit there! It seems that a weekend of baking and peddling treats makes me not want to think about food for a good stretch of time. But now that I’m back, I’d like to talk to you about something I started experimenting with a couple months ago. Something that kind of revolutionized my approach to creating simple syrup infusions.

It all started back in July, when I began making this shrub. I’d combined the fruit and sugar, let it sit, then macerated and covered it, as per ushe. As I walked by the plastic wrap–covered bowl a couple hours later, I looked at it and thought, “huh, it looks like a lot of that sugar has dissolved into syrup already.”

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Fennel-Apple-Rhubarb Shrub & The Summer Breeze

Fennel-Apple-Rhubarb Shrub

So just in case any of you were worried that last year’s shrub-stravaganza was a fleeting obsession, allow me to assure you that it was, so most definitely, not. I’ve been branching out in weird directions this summer, and the results have been mixed thus far. (There’s currently a cantaloupe + champagne vinegar shrub steeping in my pantry that smells……funky. Like musky melon funky. And a fig + balsamic shrub sounded amazing in theory, but the actual execution would have best involved me living in a place where I can get fresh, ripe figs, not strange unripe ones shipped from god knows where. I still have hopes for both of these, but not high ones.) This fennel-apple-rhubarb shrub, however, is a different story.

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Smoky Cardamom-Coconut Cuba Libre

Smoky Cardamom-Coconut Cuba Libre

Ah, the Cuba Libre. Better known to many as the rum & coke. Has anyone else felt somewhat “above” this drink, or was it just me? My skepticism was most likely due to the fact that it was the preferred beverage of many a douche on the UAlbany campus during my years there — providing those fine young gents with a special combination of caffeine and liquor that let them really get their drink on, as loudly and late into the night as possible. (Seriously, you can only hear “yo bro gimme five captain ’n’ cokes” at a seedy college bar so many times before any thought or mention of rum + coke is met with Pavlovian eye rolling.)

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