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Entertaining Gifts

Sep 1, 2014


Do you have a friend who's just better at life than you are?

Photo courtesy of Katy Aitkens 

I do.

She's amazing.

The other day she breezed over to my house (looking casually beautiful), with her 18 month and 8 week old darlings. She brought me a huge pile of fresh vegetables and herbs from her insane backyard garden. She managed to plant this while pregnant and has been diligently (but effortlessly) tending to it with her infant and toddler in tow.

Use whatever herbs you have on hand.

My garden is also insane but more so in the way that all of my neighbors thought I was insane for planting a vegetable patch on my front yard, under a giant tree. They were right but I really wanted to build a garden with my son. It turned out to be as much fun as I hoped, even with our (ahem) low yield. We got a few peas and two miniature cucumbers, we had some success with lettuce and our herbs are...alive. We even got one small tomato of our own, it was green and gnarly and hard. It might even have turned into something edible had my son not picked it as a lovely present for his Mother.

On the other hand, the bounty of fresh food that my friend grew was so overwhelming that she needed to share the overflow to avoid wasting. I was the benefactor and I feel it's only right to pay it forward. (she then also found time to Pin some shade garden ideas for me, agh how does she do it?)

This drink is a very literal translation of garden to glass. It takes advantage of the tomatoes and herbs that are so fresh and abundant right now. I love savory cocktails and this one completely hits the mark. A cross between boozy gazpacho and a bloody Mary, it's a little sweet, a little spicy and fully amazing.

These were from the market, I used up all of the gifted fruit before snapping a pic.

The making of this drink is much more like the building of a dish. You need to get kitchen ready for this one. It's quite simple to assemble but some prep time will be necessary. One of the ways I translate cooking into drinks is by using the same types of preparation techniques and common flavour combinations. Without the gin this would look very much like a recipe for gazpacho.

For this recipe I took the entire batch of herbs and buzzed them with a few chili flakes and a half clove of garlic. I do this whenever I have a large bunch of fresh herbs. After, you can douse it in olive oil and place it in a jar or get Pintrest-y and freeze it in ice cube trays for later use. Whatever dish or drink it ends being used for, you'll already have it on hand.

Photo courtesy of Katy Aitkens

1 1/2 oz gin (Victoria)
1/4 oz dry vermouth (Martini)
1/4 oz sweet vermouth (Carpano)
1/2 C fresh tomato, rough chopped
1 tsp honey
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Tabasco or other hot sauce (I used Crystal)
1 tsp fresh herbs, minced (mint, tarragon, thyme)
salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a Boston shaker, stir briefly to dissolve honey. Fill shaker 3/4 with ice. Shake for 30 seconds until well chilled and tomatoes are broken down. Double strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with fresh herbs and a drizzle of really good olive oil. Yeild 1 drink

I must live under a lucky star, or have the gift of knowing how to surround myself with wonderful people. Were you wondering why this week's photo is a sudden leap ahead? My other dear friend (who is also better than me) happened to be staying with me this weekend, and not only gave me an amazing tutorial, graciously took this week's drink photos for me.

Thank you to all of the terrific ladies in my life but in particular to the two great women who helped in putting this post together.


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