I'm not a cocktail expert. . . but how hard can it be?
I picked up an interesting-looking book called The Cocktail Club: A Year of Recipes and Tips for Spirited Tasting Parties at Mongrel in Carytown recently, hoping it would spark some creativity in the art and science of cocktail-making in my kitchen. I have immersed myself as much as humanly possible in the world of beer the past six months - its time to expand my palate a little (but I'd try out home brewing if I had the space.)
So summer. . . it's the ideal time to experiment with different cocktails, which I have a feeling I will be modifying, based on my tastes. I found a nice collection of recipes on TheKitchn.com today, "20 Summer Cocktails with Fresh Herbs," and I may end up making half of them, they look so good. (The author of The Cocktail Club, incidentally, is a columnist for TheKitchen.com! I knew I picked the right book. . .)
The first one I selected was Peach Whisky Smash. . . I had some Apricot Simple Syrup (snagged at Union Market in Church Hill) already, and I wanted to make a cocktail with peaches in another recipe, so picked up some apricots at the grocery, and tweaked the recipe. Instead of peaches, I subbed apricots, of course, and in lieu of mint, I added basil. I have gobs and gobs of basil on my upper floor deck, and I don't want to see it go to waste.
I wasn't sure about the combo of basil and apricots but. . . I was pleasantly surprised how tasty it turned out - and how "not too shabby" my cocktail-making skills are!
I don't have a lot of experience with terrace gardening. . . but as someone who loves growing and nurturing flowers (a photography obsession) and gardens, I had to plant a few things on my upper level apartment balcony. It's been a learning experience.
What I have planted:
While some plants are thriving better than others, the "testing" what works and what doesn't is almost as much interest to me. There is a surprising amount of heat that's generated on an upper floor deck... I thought it would be cooler and more breezy up here. But it bakes everything, and I have to water almost twice daily. I'm pretty sure all of my plants would be happier in the ground.
That said, the tomatoes are faring well, but the peppers will bud flowers and then drop off. A recent transplant has helped. The artichokes, which I don't see grown often around here, started off promising... ...and then I transplanted them into separate containers, and then they had to recover from transplant shock. They are picking back up now, but it may be too late in the season for them to get to where they need to be. At least I know that I can seed them with success. The fennel also don't like being container-bound, but I over-planted anyway so there is a crowding issue.
You can almost see the changes in each plant daily as they grow. . . It will be interesting to see how they develop over the summer, and adjust and adapt.
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