On the ninth day of Christmas, mama needed a hot toddy. For those of you not familiar with this libation, it’s a warm cocktail of whiskey, hot water, lemon and honey, usually reserved for medicinal purposes. Like the Thai chicken soup I posted for the third day of Christmas, it’s my go-to when I’m suffering from a cold, but on a chilly, rainy night like tonight, it’s perfect, too.
On the fifth day of Christmas, there was Champagne. There’s nothing like bubbly to toast the holiday season (and keep on toasting ’til the New Year). Last night was our annual gift exchange, hosted by Allison, party thrower extraordinaire. In characteristic fashion, the bubbly was flowing. Champagne is nice, but champagne cocktails are the bomb. For our holiday shindig, Elizabeth brought a grapefruit syrup she made with fruit from her own tree. Paired with bubbly, it was light, refreshing, and the perfect libation to sip while enjoying friends and laughter.
Elizabeth found the recipe from Epicurious. It’s as easy as peeling a grapefruit, squeezing the juice, and letting it sit overnight with some sugar. The next day, strain it and then top a few tablespoons with some sparkling wine for a lovely Champagne cocktail. Alternatively, too four tablespoons of grapefruit syrup with sparkling water for a refreshing Italian soda.
It’s as easy as peeling a grapefruit, squeezing the juice, and letting it sit overnight with some sugar. The next day, strain it and then top a few tablespoons with some sparkling wine for a lovely Champagne cocktail. Alternatively, top four tablespoons of grapefruit syrup with sparkling water for a refreshing and kid-friendly Italian soda.
On the second day of Christmas, there were cocktails. Because of crowds at the mall, the fact that your kid told you he wanted the impossible-to-find Nintendo NES from Santa (I said “Santa doesn’t bring presents for grown-ups, and we both know that’s really for your daddy”,) and perhaps you (with the help of your husband and two friends) just harvested over 200 lemons from your backyard tree.
On the Harry Potter Superfan scale of one to ten, I’m probably an eight and a half. I’ve never written Harry and Hermione love story fan fiction or tattooed a snitch on my body, but I did go to every single midnight book release party, wand (aka knobby twig) in hand. There’s something about Rowling’s world building that just captured me, from the clever beginning to the poignant end.
Growing up, it was well-known among my friends that I loved to bake. It’s actually in my blood (but I’m saving that story for another post). Two of my best friends in high school, Julie and Vanessa, used to request meringues from me on almost a daily basis. I’ve even shipped them (although I wouldn’t recommend this, given their delicate nature.) Meringue is just egg whites and sugar whipped until desired, but it has many iterations. It can appear as the fluffy topping on a lemon pie or banana pudding, or baked into a crackly cookie with a chewy, marshmallowy interior, studded with mini chocolate chips (Vanessa and Julie’s favorite). While whipping egg whites can be intimidating, (Firm? Glossy? Stiff? Soft?) it just takes a bit of practice. I’ve got some tips below to help. When I spied some very late-season rhubarb in the store the other day, I knew exactly the dessert I wanted to make. Continue Reading
Mobile, whose motto is “born to celebrate,” is a city of revelry. Visit us during Mardi Gras, and there is no doubt. One of the things I love most about the Gulf Coast in the summer is our seemingly unquenchable thirst. Sweet tea, mint juleps, lemonade, Sazeracs, Planter’s Punch, cocktail or mocktail, we will drink it all, especially when it’s still ninety degrees by the time the sun calls it quits.
On the Gulf Coast, we get a beautiful (albeit short) spring before cool mornings and dazzling sunshine yield to the searing, unrelenting heat of summer. If you’ve never experienced July in Mobile (or New Orleans, or Tallahassee, or some other as-south-as-you-can-go-before-you-hit-water city), imagine going into the sauna at the spa and not being able to leave, even when your eyelashes start to sweat. A few things help us survive the onslaught of buggy, muggy 95-degree evenings: our gorgeous beaches, front porches (friends mandatory), air conditioning, and delightfully fresh and crisp wine like rosé and vinho verde.