Where should we go?

Taking suggestions for destinations for the holidays. Bonus points for cool cultural stuff and affordable flights. I’m entertaining everything from Europe to the tropics so cold or warm both work. I can’t make up my mind about what sounds best and if I don’t think about this now, I tend to dither until its too late.

Adventures in Booze: Cucumber Martini

Light green martini with cucumber vine in the background

When I first mentioned that I had been drinking cucumber martinis to my coworkers, one of them said to me, “Oh! What brand of cucumber vodka do you use?” Brand of cucumber vodka? I had no idea there was such a thing. I just use cucumbers.

This isn’t a great way to use up the cucumber tsunami you may have from being overenthusiastic with your vine planting, but it’s so good that you just don’t care. This is a recipe that I’ve been making for a while without using things like “measurements” so I apologize for the approximations.

3-4 slices of cucumber (about an inch total), unpeeled. You can use English cucumbers to avoid the seeds or just use what you’ve got on the vine.
4-5 mint leaves. I like the stuff they sell as Mojito mint best. This does create a mint-heavy drink so adjust according to preferences.
1 spoonful of sugar. You know, the smaller table spoon from your tableware set. What are those called anyway? Are they teaspoons?
Juice from half a lime or two spoonfuls.
2 oz vodka or gin

Muddle your cucumber, mint and sugar in a cocktail shaker. And when I say muddle, I mean pulverize that shit. Add lime, spirits and ice, shake and strain into a martini glass.

One thing that can be fussy about making this is that your chunks of cucumber can make it a bit of a pain in the ass to strain. But if you make it enough times, you’ll figure out your technique.

This is a drink that I usually make with a nice vodka because I (repeat after me) don’t like gin. I also like to have the light cucumber and mint tastes to come to the fore over any gin botanicals. That said, it’s pretty damn good with gin too. As with all of the gin containing drinks I’ve mentioned thus far, I use Bulldog because I find it drinkable. It’s a London dry if that helps you decide what to pull out of your liquor cabinet. Enjoy!

Adventures in Booze: Aronia-infused Vodka, an on-going project

Ah, the aronia-infused vodka project.

Colander full of dark red aronia berries

I don’t think my initial batch of berries was ripe. This is the first year I’ve actually paid attention to this plant as a food source instead of as a bird feeder so I wasn’t quite sure. It turns out that when they get ripe – and the birds start eating them – that they’re pretty much black. They’re also soft, which should have been a clue. Compare the berries below to the berries above.

Black-red berries in a colander

Much darker color! Hindsight, man. However, this just means I’m going to have two batches to sample. The first has been steeping for a few weeks now.

Jar full of berries and red liquid in front of books

Bet you can’t guess who’s books those are.

It’s probably about time to add the sugar to the first batch. I still need to buy vodka for the second batch which have been chilling in the fridge for a bit while I get my act together. More updates soon!