Cocktail of the Week: White Linen

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I know it’s moving into Autumn, and for a few days it even felt like that here in Northern California but now? Now, it seems were back at the tail end of summer. Blue skies, warm or even hot days… With an Indian Summer in full effect, I decided to make another summer cocktail, a White Linen. This is a deliciously refreshing cocktail that was born right here in “Norcal” at the Shady Lady bar in Sacramento (or Ella’s they share a bartender.)

The ingredients
The ingredients

White Linen

  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz St. Germain
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 5 or 6 thin English cucumber slices

Combine everything with ice in a shaker and shake well. Strain into glass with ice, top with soda water, and garnish with a cucumber slice.

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If you like cucumbers, and gin, you’re going to like this cocktail. If you happen to be in the midst of an unusually mild winter or preternaturally long summer you can’t go wrong with a White Linen. The hint of fresh cucumber, the sweetness of elder flower. A lovely cocktail.

Cocktail of the Week: Pimm’s Cup

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I don’t know where I first heard of a Pimm’s Cup. It’s really starting to bother me… I’m not British and I don’t have any British friends, so, I don’t know why it would have come up in random discussion. I’ve never heard anyone order it at a bar. I’ve never even seen a bottle of Pimm’s until today when I decided to hunt one down. Maybe it was somewhere on the internet? Or in one of my cocktail books or magazines… Anyway, somehow I knew about them and somehow I also knew that they’re fairly standard drinking fare for the summertime in Great Britain. You’d think that the land of tea would have stumbled upon bourbon sweet tea, but I guess not… I had to visit three different stores but I finally located a place that not only knew what I was talking about but also carried the product. I picked it up and, well, you’ll see.

The ingredients
The ingredients

Pimm’s Cup

  • 2 oz. Pimm’s No. 1
  • 1/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • Ginger Ale

Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour in Pimm’s and lemon juice. Top with ginger ale and garnish with thin cucumber slice if desired.

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So, really simply, right? Pimm’s No.1, lemon juice, and ginger ale. There are recipes on-line that have a bunch of fruit and mint in them or require two or three types of liquor. I ignored all of those recipes and went with a simpler one that seems closer to what your average bloke would make for themselves at home. It also happens to be really close to the recipe printed on the bottle itself.

What to say about the Pimm’s Cup? It is refreshing. Reminds me a little of a lemonhead candy? I think it has something to do with the herbs used in Pimm’s? Something about the taste reminds me of candy for some reason.  In the future I think I’d swap out the lemon juice for orange juice and probably up the amount to an ounce or 1/2 an ounce.  The cucumber garnish also doesn’t add anything, easier to just use the orange or lemon you squeezed as a garnish.

It was good though! And I can certainly understand why its so popular! If I didn’t already have bourbon sweet tea I could see myself drinking a lot more of these. I suppose if I ever get too lazy to brew tea…

Cocktail of the Week: Cucumber Jalapeno Margaritas

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This probably would have been more appropriate last week. But, I’m not really big on Cinco de Mayo and margaritas are a great cocktail for any time of the year. D found this recipe and has been begging me to try it for a while now. I have to admit the mix of jalapenos and cucumbers had me intrigued… So, this weekend I made sure I had all the ingredients and go to work!

Most of the ingredients
Most of the ingredients

Cucumber Jalapeno Margaritas

  • 4 oz. tequila
  • 1 lime
  • 1 lemon
  • small cucumber
  • jalapeno simple syrup (see below)

Juice the lemon, lime, and cucumber. Cool the liquid in the refrigerator. Combine juice, tequila, and syrup in a large pitcher with ice. slices of cucumbers and jalapeno may be added as garnish. Serve in salt rimmed cups (margarita, martini, or whatever glasses you happen to have lying around.)

Jalapeno Simple Syrup

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 jalapeno

Slice the jalapeno, removing seeds. Put water, sugar, and jalapeno slices into a pot. Boil the water on medium until sugar is dissolved. Simmer for about ten minutes with pot covered. Drain liquid through a fine mesh colander. Cool completely.

P.S. – if you don’t have a juicer getting liquid out of the cucumber could be a problem. I chopped it up and threw it in to the food processor and blended it into a rough paste and then put the puree into cheesecloth and squeezed the liquid out. Seemed to get the job down.

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This was a surprisingly good take on the traditional margarita. D says it might just be here favorite variation so far. Her exact words were, “A plus and five gold stars.” That’s quite the endorsement and I’m inclined to agree with her. I think I like the traditional margarita a little more but this is certainly my favorite twist on the drink. The jalapeno syrup brings the heat and the cucumber brings the cool. It’s a lovely combination.

Spring Garden 2012: All Done

Bye, bye garden!

Last week we said goodbye to our garden. We didn’t pull it all out as the tenants moving in wanted to have a garden and they’ll be lucky enough to harvest even more cucumbers, tomatoes, and basil if the weather stays nice and they water and tend to it. Sadly, the beans were over run by the cucumbers. Our lone heirloom tomato plant has also started growing fruit, though all of it is still green. The last few weeks have been tough with packing and getting ready for the big move; they weren’t easy on the garden either an aphid and white fly infestation choked out our zucchini plants:

The looked worse when they were in the ground!

Luckily, the aphids and white flies restricted themselves to the zucchini; the tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, cucumbers, and basil are all doing fine:

Cucumbers climb up the eggplant cage

In fact, three to four times a week we’re harvesting four or five lemon cucumbers, an english cucumber, and a handful of cherry tomatoes

What are last few harvests looked like. In the end we were giving lemon cucumbers away to everyone we knew!

We’re going to miss gardening while we’re here in San Diego but it gives us something to look forward to once D’s work is done here and we move on!

2012 Harvest:

Zucchini: 20
Tomatoes: 70+
Bush Beans: 12
Cucumbers: 30+
Eggplant: 3
Basil: 60+ leaves