Sunday, August 7, 2016

Mostly Plants for Happy Hour

Given the existence of a liqueur made from 130 herbs, plants, and flowers, it was surely only a matter of time before this blog incorporated a happy hour. Introducing Trip the Light Plantastic, a summer cocktail made of (what else?) mostly plants, including juniper (gin), green chartreuse (there's the 130 herbs, plants, and flowers), mint, lime, and cucumber. Or stone fruit. Or whatever else strikes your produce-happy muddling fancy. In addition to its pun-based name, it also answers to "ooh, yes please," "one more over here," and "what was that drinky thing you made with the cucumber?"

Note: If you like your drinks on the sweeter side, go for the berry version below at peak berry season when they're super sweet and ripe, and aim for more berries rather than fewer. If you're not a fan of sweet drinks, head for any of the other versions.

Ingredients per drink:
1 shot gin
1/2 shot green chartreuse
5 mint leaves, muddled
1/2 shot lime juice or a bit less
1.5 - 2 shots club soda
and then choose your own adventure:

Cool Cucumber:
   2 sliced cucumber, muddled
Summer Stone Fruit:
   1/2 an apricot or 1/4 nectarine, muddled
   1 peel of Meyer lemon zest (use a carrot peeler)
Berry Blend:
   2-4 strawberries and/or blackberries, muddled
   1 peel of Meyer lemon or orange zest (use a carrot peeler)

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint and the cucumber or fruit together, then add the lime juice, gin, and chartreuse. Clink in 2-3 ice cubes and shake vigorously until icy.

Serve into cold glasses on the rocks (an oversized ice cube or scotch rock works particularly well, so that the drink doesn't get diluted as the ice melts). Add club soda to desired level of dilution...I like my drinks strong, so I tend to add 1 1/2 shots of club soda to each glass here, but feel free to up the club soda to taste.

Add garnish as desired—cucumber slices if you're doing the cucumber version, citrus zest if you are doing a fruit version—and serve immediately.

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