It’s summer. Time for margaritas!
Margaritas will always be near and dear to my heart, because they played a guest-starring role in one of our favorite honeymoon adventures. Jason and I went to Cabo San Lucas for our honeymoon, and one night we decided to order a pitcher of margaritas with dinner at a local restaurant. The pitcher came with two very small glasses, which I thought odd. We quickly realized that these margaritas were authentic, i.e., super strong. No margarita mix involved. But we’d paid for the whole pitcher, and by God, we were going to drink the whole pitcher.
We took a cab back to the hotel that night.
Step one for making delicious margaritas is: throw away your bottle of fluorescent green margarita mix. You don’t need it!
You will need: Tequila, Cointreau (or Triple Sec), Lime Juice, and Simple Syrup.
First off, mix together some lime juice and simple syrup. I like about 2/3 juice to 1/3 syrup, but it’s up to you. If you like a sweeter drink, add more syrup. If you like to pucker, add less.
The drink ratio is as follows: 3 parts tequila, 2 parts Cointreau, and 1 part sweetened lime juice.
Probably a good idea to mix up a pitcher right now. Just make sure to serve it in small glasses.
This month’s cocktail is the humble gin & tonic, in honor of my mom. I’ll show you how she makes hers, then I’ll show you how I make mine.
Gin & Tonic: Winkie’s Way
Add a lot of crushed ice to a tall glass. Fill it 1/3 of the way with Tanqueray. Top with Publix diet tonic water, preferably bought on sale. Add a squeeze of lime, or a squeeze of bottled lime juice in a pinch. Drink while watching a sporting event.
Gin & Tonic: Windy’s Way
Fill a tall glass halfway with cubed ice. Add 1-2 oz. of Hendrick’s Gin. Top with Schwepps diet tonic water. Add slices of cucumber. Drink while fixing dinner, or by the pool. (For pool consumption, it is recommended that one use a Tervis tumbler instead of a glass. Safety first!)
Guys, we made it.
In some ways, the hard part is over. I won’t miss the frequent diaper blowouts, for example.
In other ways, the easy part is over. Loving a baby is simple and straightforward.
This past month has been rough, as I’ve been helping my mother deal with a medical issue, but through it all Hazel has been a champion. Not many babies can say they perfected their walking skills in the Mayo Clinic halls.
Even though Hazel is enjoying more foods, we are still nursing three times a day. Attempts to drop the mid-day feeding have been met with….resistance. And yes, we’re still cloth diapering. I have a load drying on the line right now.
As for tricks, she will now wave good-bye and blow kisses. She claps and gives high-five.
She makes all of us laugh, every day, with her funny faces and baby gibberish.
We are completely enamored of her, and can barely remember a time she wasn’t part of our family.
Happy Birthday to my tiny bunny.
Hi, my name is Hazel. I’m kind of a big deal.
So how’s our little chicken doing?
Eating: The eating situation has improved dramatically. She is madly in love with those little Halo oranges, and I buy them by the crate. She also will eat yogurt, grapes, squash, cheese, and whatever you’re eating. She’s sampled everything from hot dogs to pickled onions to etoufee.
Walking: Not yet, but soon. Last night she took her first unassisted step, and she’s repeated that trick a couple of times today. I predict she’s fully mobile within the month.
Words: She meows at the cat, and is learning “dog” and “please.” Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my experience as a parent so far, I’d much rather my kid be polite than smart.
Cloth diapers: Yes. It’s warm enough to dry them outside again, for which I am grateful. Since Hazel started eating real food, we’ve been using these diaper liners to catch the, um, solids. They work well.
We’re looking forward to celebrating a whole year of chicken next month. A whole year with this delightful little person! I can’t believe it. I have been very intentional about enjoying every phase with Hazel, and the time has STILL flown by.
This month, I decided to do something crazy.
I made up a drink. Out of thin air.
I mean, let’s face it, there probably aren’t many alcohol combinations that have not been attempted by intrepid mixologists (or idiot college students) at one point or another. However, I could not find record of this particular combination as a popular drink.
It was a Friday evening. I was not interested in going to the liquor store to buy anything, so I looked at what I had on hand. The kids wanted to get in the pool, so we were looking for something on the light/refreshing end of the drink spectrum.
Over in the fruit bowl, a grapefruit called to me.
I squeezed the grapefruit, which yielded about a cup of juice. I added an equal amount of gin, and then sweetened the mixture with a few tablespoons of rosemary simple syrup.
And lo, it was very good.
The grapefruit was a good match for the herbal simple syrup, and the gin added a nice depth of flavor without making the drink heavy.
We’ll call it The Chicken.
It’s hard to get an in-focus picture of Hazel these days because she is one busy little chicken. She is a lightning-fast crawler, and even when she’s not tearing up and down the hall like her diaper’s on fire, she’s in perpetual motion.
She loves to explore. Since the weather’s been nice, we’ve had the windows open, and she spends hours looking through the screens at the world outside.
She can stand pretty well now, and does so for longer stretches every day. We’re working on clapping and waving. She also enjoys following me around the house and supervising my work. I get a lot of this:
“Mama? Mama? Mama? Whatcha doing? Can I help? I’m so helpful.”
She still nurses three times a day, and we’re supplementing her oats and yogurt with bites of our food. She seems to enjoy many of our foods, including refried beans, rice, lentils, breads of all sorts, Goldfish crackers, and she-crab soup.
We took Hazel with us to Charleston a few weekends ago, and she was a delightful traveling companion. She loves being out and about, especially if Jason is carrying her in the backpack.
Hazel loves her dad. Her whole face lights up when he walks in the door, whether it’s been three hours or thirteen. She’s kind of like Lucius in that regard. She also loves her siblings. She’ll crawl from the family room back to the girls’ bedroom to see what they’re up to. She giggles at Tyler’s funny faces.
We love our darling girl.
Is there any phrase more evocative than “forgotten gin cocktail”?
While in Charleston, we visited High Wire Distilling Company and sampled their excellent gin. We discussed our favorite gin cocktails, and the bartender/distiller mentioned a Fitzgerald, which was new to me. He said it involved gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and bitters, and I was sold. Clearly we’d found March’s cocktail of the month.
The Fitzgerald doesn’t have a Wikipedia entry (someone should get on that, stat), but I found reference to it in this article on Forgotten Gin Cocktails from The Kitchn. It’s a pre-Prohibition cocktail, a variation on a gin sour. The recipe varies based on source, but I liked the following ratio: 2 parts gin, 3/4 part lemon juice, 3/4 part simple syrup, and 2 dashes bitters. If you make your own sour mix, it would be 2 parts gin, 1.5 parts sour mix, and 2 dashes bitters. We garnished with a lemon peel.
It tastes like the Great Gatsby. I can’t think of a better way to describe it. I want to drink it while lounging in a flapper dress. The bitters make it more sophisticated than a simple sour, but it’s not an inaccessible or fussy drink. It would make a perfect (and unique) pre-mixed drink for summer parties.