It was after a recent Girls Night Out that I had my Eureka moment.
I don’t need to wait for one of my parties — or the rare night on the town— for a terrific cocktail.
A great cocktail at home is an incredibly easy and satisfying treat (and can be made for a fraction of the price enjoyed elsewhere).
Plus, who wants to drive after enjoying a stiff one?
So I’ve been tinkering in the kitchen with various ingredients and boozes.
Along the way, I’ve found that just one perfect libation — made with consideration and paired with a tiny snack, is the perfect end of a long day, especially when enjoyed in a favorite spot of your house or garden (my treasured spot is my front porch hammock).
So here are a couple of my favorite cocktails from the past couple weeks.
One night I started with some blackberries I’d bought at Kruger Farm.
I muddled the blackberries and shook them in a shaker with POM Pomegranate juice, vodka and club soda.
Alongside, I enjoyed a fluffy slice of New Seasons focaccia.
Here’s another winner.
Bourbon, ginger ale, and both marinated and fresh cherries.
I found these Unbound Cherries at the PSU Farmers’ Market and I love them (straight up or in an Old Fashioned).
Another night I decided to switch it up with a Stiegl Radler.
There was a big display of these cans at New Seasons and the wine person recommended it; I think it was a lager with a tiny bit of grapefruit soda.
It was fizzy and refreshing and I loved my Lucques olives alongside.
Next up, a cocktail using one of my favorite French imports: Pastis.
I made a small batch of basil simple syrup and added that, a dash of sparkling soda and a healthy shot of this licorice-flavored liquor to a tall glass with lots of ice — and just a handful of roasted almonds on the side.
I’m a huge fan of black licorice and the basil syrup made it that much more interesting.
Another night, I relaxed with a Stiegl lager and homemade sushi rolls: spicy shrimp/avocado and asparagus/grilled corn.
Homemade sushi rolls are the bomb.
Another favorite cocktail included Seagrams 7 plus some homemade ginger syrup a friend had given me.
All this cocktail needed was some grapefruit soda to give it some pep and both lemon juice and zest.
And cheese straws!
Next up, a fruity concoction.
I found a can of this mango nectar at a Mexican store so another night I started with that.
This juice was shaken with the juice of one lime and one orange and a generous glug of aged tequila.
It was so sprightly – and I’d forgotten how tasty fresh peanut butter stuffed pretzel bites can be.
And I saved perhaps my favorite for last.
Vodka and orange juice is pretty universally loved, but this combination was even more interesting to me.
I zested and juiced one enormous grapefruit and one Satsuma, and put that in my cocktail shaker.
Also added was lots of fresh tarragon from the garden and Grey Goose vodka (plus a tiny bit of tonic).
Voila: Grapefruit-Tarragon Screwdriver.
To go with this scrumptious cocktail I had some of those sesame sticks — you know the ones you get on the airplane in tiny foil packets? God knows I love them (despite–or because of?–their shockingly high fat content) and when I saw them at Trader Joe’s I knew I couldn’t resist.
Ah, cocktails in the hammock — here alongside my new find from the Goodwill bins.
We may not have solid summer weather yet, but when the fixings are this good, I’m not complaining too much.