Dirty Martini (August 20, 2021)

A dirty gin martini and a glass of red wine sit side by side on a kitchen counter.

Two favorites. Classics. You can’t go wrong with a dirty gin martini, or a glass of red wine. Cheers!

Ingredients

  • Gin

  • Olive brine (lots!)

  • Olives for garnish

Directions

  • Shake and garnish – simple!
Enjoyed on August 20, 2021

Wild Blackberry Mocktail

The Wild Blackberry is a mocktail, featuring homemade tonic, bitters, and handpicked berries as a garnish.

This Happy Hour is notable because it’s the first time Maura met Elizabeth’s sister and her husband! Maura drank a mocktail because she had to go back to work, while Elizabeth sipped a glass of white wine.

This drink is handcrafted, if there ever was one! Not only is it created with Elizabeth’s homemade tonic, but we handpicked the berries in Magnusson Park.

So this is the third iteration of homemade tonic. Mike made the first two, and Elizabeth made this one. You can actually see her jar of homemade tonic in the photos above and below; it’s above the berry garnish. It looks different from the others, more pink than brown, and truth be told, I liked the taste better too. I didn’t detect any trace of the “tea flavor” I’d noticed the last time. It was a very pleasant sipper, for a very nice happy hour.

Happy Hour drinks are a lowball mocktail and a glass of white wine.

A Note about Mocktails

There was an extended period of time when cocktails clashed with a medication that I was taking, and I observed something interesting. When my non-alcoholic beverage appeared to be non-alcoholic, people noticed. Sometimes they seemed uncomfortable, and that, in turn, made me uncomfortable. I never specifically asked, but I inferred from our conversation that they felt guilty for drinking in front of me. They shouldn’t have, because no matter the reason I wasn’t imbibing (and they didn’t know), they were welcome to do it. I encourage it! (And if I couldn’t handle it, that’s my problem, not theirs).

On the other hand, when I drank non-alcoholic beverages that looked like actual cocktails, there was no awkwardness at all. That became my preferred option. Bartenders seem to be very familiar with this phenomenon because I spoke to a couple of them about it. They also generally went out of their way to level-up the garnishes, or recommend a particular combination or flavor, which I appreciated. The bartenders seemed to have the right idea that the key to a mocktail is to make it fun, yet substantial.

For the record, one of my favorites was a ginger ale with bitters.

Ingredients

  • Elizabeth’s Homemade Tonic

  • Cherry Bitters

  • Blackberry garnish

Directions

  • Have Elizabeth do all the work to make the tonic (I am very lucky)
  • Add 2 – 3 drops Cherry Bitters and give a light stir.
  • Garnish with handpicked blackberries and enjoy!
Enjoyed on August 18

Sangria

Homemade sangria, with red wine and fruits.

Sangria! A very summery drink. Some people follow a recipe, simmer spices and fruit on the stove, add sugar, or let it steep for days. For us, the day called for it, so Elizabeth made this in an afternoon with what we had in the kitchen, which was simply, fruit and wine.

I’ve had some sangrias that are too sweet, or with an overly “mulled-spice” taste. Luckily, this one was in no danger of that because Elizabeth tends to avoid sugar, and there were no spices (I’ve often seen cinnamon, for example) involved. Because this one didn’t steep for long, the flavor was very close to wine, which is another favorite in this house, and it was nice to have this ice-cold sipper on the porch while watching the day go by. In future, we might take the time to steep the fruit for longer, use additional fruit (peaches and apples would have added a nice flavor), or add just a hint of complementary spices.

Around this time, people were buzzing about a new comet, called Neowise; that evening, folks were supposed to be able to see it with the naked eye. We brought our sangria with us as we sat in chairs outside, then walked the neighborhood to try to see it…no luck. But the sangria was delicious!

Ingredients

  • Red wine

  • Muddled fruit (grapes, berries, citrus)

  • Juice from Lemons, Limes, Oranges

  • Lavender, for garnish

Directions

  • Muddle fruits; squeeze citrus.
  • Steep for a bit with wine, then chill with ice.
Enjoyed on July 21

Dirty Martini and Red Wine (June 14)

A composite photo of dinner on the table, with a dirty martini on the left, and red wine on the right.

A dirty martini for Maura and red wine for Elizabeth…our respective favorite drinks…the way that mac and cheese is a comfort food, we needed to curl up with these familiar drinks tonight. We went to visit CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest) here in Seattle, and were processing lots of feelings afterward…anxiety, grief, wariness (about COVID – but masks were overwhelmingly being worn), hope even…

It’s hard to know what to say about CHOP (and there are many things to say about it) but I’ll leave these photos here, and remember that I was glad to be among friends to process this, both with and without a “comfort cocktail”.

Processed on June 14