shaken, muddled and stirred {life}


Let's take a break from Paris and London shall we? Fear not! I have more to say(!). Still, if I could use a break writing about it, I figure you guys could sure use a break reading about our travels, yes? And what says "Let's take a break!" better than cocktail hour?

A confluence of events had us making some cocktails Sunday evening. Part of the story was simply that I felt better. I knew I did because the idea of standing in the kitchen was appealing rather than appalling. Part of it was that we'd had some great drinks on our trip, and part of it was that we'd simply been thinking of doing it for some time now. Making some new drinks. Trying some new flavors. Mixing things up, so to speak, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

On Saturday night, my friend Marianne had been given a drink that was light and refreshing and featured blueberry vodka (Shudder) (Where do they come up with these flavors?) (From fresh squeezed blueberries?) and lemonade. On a hot summer night it was surprisingly delightful. And here's the thing. Somehow we'd managed to end up with a bottle of Kurant Vodka and we weren't sure what to do with it. 

By Sunday morning, an idea was born. 

 The Cocktail to Be Named Later
Lemon Thyme Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
Absolut Kurant Vodka
Sparkling Lemonade
Club Soda
Thyme Sprigs for garnish

In an old fashioned glass, muddle a handful of blackberries with 1-1.5 teaspoons of the simple syrup. Add 2 measures of Kurant vodka and fill glass with lemonade. Top with a splash of club soda and a sprig of thyme.

I'm always on the lookout for non-alcoholic drinks that feel celebratory and don't taste like fruit punch. For a non-alcoholic version of this, increase the ratio of blackberries, syrup, and lemonade and the eliminate vodka (!) and club soda. This got a thumbs up from both me and Callum!

Lemon-Thyme Simple Syrup 

If you like to make cocktails, simple syrup is something you really should consider having on hand. It's super easy to make (hence the name), and lends a lightly sweet and yet subtle flavor to your drinks. We have basic simple syrup, but for this cocktail I used Lemon-Thyme Simple Syrup.

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4-8 springs thyme (We happened to have lemon thyme in the garden, because you know, Neel.)
3-4 thin slices of lemon

In a small saucepan, bring all ingredients to a gentle boil until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool and store, up to three months in the refrigerator. You can strain the solids out of the liquid, but for a more intense flavor (and a prettier bottle), keep them in. This versatile syrup can be used in place of sweetener in many ways, including iced tea, lemonade or cocktails. Stirred into Pimms (along with some lemonade) added another dimension to our beloved cocktail.

So until our Kurant vodka runs out, we have a refreshing summer drink. All we need is a name. Any thoughts? We're taking suggestions. And f you happen to make yourself a version of it, let me know how it turns out!