Sunday I hosted my second Crafts + Cocktails event at Urban Provisions in Kansas City’s East Bottoms. This one was officially the Mother’s Day edition — but really just an excuse to drink and get crafty — and we made ridiculously cute earrings and sipped on Ginger and Juice.
Unlike my first event, which was ticketed, for this one we set up six crafting stations and let people come and go as they pleased. Thank the sweet baby Flying Spaghetti Monster it worked out perfectly and everyone was able to get their craft — and cocktail — on. Even better, I didn’t have to hard-boil 420 fucking eggs like I did for the last event.
And of course, I hopped in and made a pair for our lovely hostess, Savannah, who owns Urban Provisions.
I mean, I felt like I owed her something after she came up with this fucking amazing gift wrap. Yep, that’s a real air plant on there.
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Along with the launch of this here blog in March, I started a festive as fuck event series called Crafts + Cocktails. The name pretty much explains it all, but basically, I pick a theme (usually around a holiday) then invite people to come together and get their craft on while they drink cocktails. It’s festive and fun, and while I’m only doing it in Kansas City for now, I do hope to expand to other cities soon.
On Sunday, I hosted the second event at Urban Provisions, a super-cool little shop in Kansas City’s East Bottoms. For this Mother’s Day edition of Crafts + Cocktails we made earrings and sipped on Ginger and Juice, a sweet, tart cocktail I made with Kansas City Canning Company’s Blood Orange Ginger Shrub (if that sounds familiar, maybe it’s because you saw them featured in Bon Appetit recently?), J. Rieger & Co.’s Midwestern Dry Gin, and a homemade basil-infused simple syrup. I promise to post pictures from the event very soon, but for now, I wanted to share the recipe with you. Because it’s good. Really good.
Ginger and Juice
2 ounces gin
3 ounces Kansas City Canning Co. Blood Orange Ginger Shrub
1 ounce basil simple syrup
Fresh basil for garnish (optional)
Add the gin, shrub, and syrup to a Collins glass. Stir and add a handful of ice. Top off with club soda, give it another little stir, and garnish with basil, if using.
Also, I’d originally intended to make this recipe with rosemary simple syrup and a rosemary garnish, then decided that it wasn’t summery enough and that basil is better with ginger than rosemary. So, if you’re here by way of the first round of recipe cards I left at Urban Provisions, just ignore the part about garnishing with rosemary (OOPS!) and garnish the damn thing with basil! Or rosemary if you’re feeling adventurous. Or nothing. I mean, whatever you do, if you’ve made it this far, it’s not gonna be bad.
Basil Simple Syrup
To make the basil simple syrup, combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and 1 cup fairly loosely packed basil leaves (some stems are fine, too) in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to low to simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved and your entire house smells like amazing summery basil. Remove the pan from the heat and let it steep for another 15 to 30 minutes. Strain using a fine mesh sieve and discard the basil, then set aside or refrigerate the syrup to cool. This will make about 1 cup and the extra will keep in a sealed jar in the fridge for at least two weeks.
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Margaritas are like baskets of chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant — you can’t have just one. That’s why when I make margaritas, I make them by the pitcher.
Now, you’re probably already wondering, “How on earth do you squeeze so many limes? It would take forever to fill a pitcher!”
Well… I know I’m usually all, “Don’t be an asshole; take 30 seconds to squeeze some fresh juice out of a citrus fruit for your goddamn cocktail, you monster!” But I must admit, this drink is my one exception to my self-imposed fresh-citrus-juice rule. That’s in part because it’s a family recipe, handed down to me by my late Aunt Susie, which I’m sure came from someone else (possibly the Sweet Potato Queens, but I have yet to confirm the original source). It’s also just really good, even though you’re going to laugh at the ingredients.
Ready to learn what they are?
Are you sure?
Are you really, really sure?
Okay, here goes…
Yes. That’s Pacifico (but it was Corona in my aunt’s version, so I’ve classed it up a bit), Fresca, tequila, and a can of frozen limeade concentrate. And yes, everyone makes fun of this margarita recipe. Until they try it, anyway. Then they usually can’t get enough of it — which is a good thing considering it makes 48 ounces of sweet, tart, boozy goodness.
If you need Cinco de Mayo as an excuse to get wasted on margaritas and eat too many tacos, this is for you. (Though I don’t know why you would ever need an excuse to do those things; I do them, like, every week.) It’s the perfect way to wash down your Spicy Triple Double Crunch Wrap (not judging) or bland cheese enchiladas (okay, maybe judging a little) on Friday.
Seriously, though, do you really even know what Cinco de Mayo commemorates without looking it up on Wikipedia? Still not judging; just trying to prove that this pitcher of very delicious but incredibly inauthentic margaritas is pretty appropriate for Americans’ appropriation of a Mexican holiday celebrating victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on this day in 1862. (Yeah, I had to look up that little detail on Wikipedia, too.)
This margarita recipe is ridiculously easy because it calls for equal parts everything, and all but the tequila come in a 12-ounce package. I just use the limeade can to measure the tequila, ensuring I get every last drop of artificial limey goodness out of it. Because the limeade concentrate is on the sweet side, these really do benefit from a squeeze of fresh lime juice before serving.
12 ounces (1 bottle) Pacifico or Corona
12 ounces (1 can) Fresca
12 ounces (1 can) frozen limeade concentrate
12 ounces tequila
Add all ingredients to a large pitcher and stir until the frozen limeade is dissolved. Serve over ice in whatever salted or unsalted glasses you prefer, along with a healthy squeeze of fresh lime juice.
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Friends, I don’t want you to be alarmed, but I made a mocktail. And, no; I’m not pregnant. I mean, I have been, and when I was, I drank the shit out of this thing. But people keep asking me, “Hey, what’s that mocktail you couldn’t stop talking about when you were knocked up?” So this one’s for the preggos, the teetotallers, and anyone else who might need a little break from alcohol.
While it may just look like a beautiful cup filled with ice water and a lime wedge, this drink is actually full of tropical flavor. And bubbles! (I fucking love bubbles.) I realize that’s not entirely seasonally appropriate, but you’ll thank me this summer when you remember you have the ingredients stashed in your kitchen.
If you’re not familiar with Som, it’s basically a shrub — which is a (usually) fruit-flavored syrup with vinegar. Except it’s, like, the best shrub in the world. If you’re not familiar with Pok Pok, you should be; it’s a ridiculously amazing Thai restaurant started in Portland by a white guy who’s a total cat lady.
Som isn’t super easy to find if you live anywhere other than Portland or LA or New York (and that’s only a partially educated guess) so you may need to order it online. It’s worth it; trust me. Now, if you don’t know how to get your hands on some La Croix and a lime, why are you even here? Go home.
Anyway, if you’re still with me, I call this drink a Poktail Mocktail because I like alliteration and silly word play. But that’s a pretty shitty name and I know it. (If you have a better one, leave it in the comments, please and thank you!).
2 to 3 ounces Ginger Som
Coconut La Croix
Add the Som to a stemless wine, double rocks, or Collins glass, then add a handful of ice. Top it off with the La Croix and a squeeze of lime, then drop the lime in the drink. Give it a quick stir and enjoy.
ALTERNATE POKTAIL MOCKTAIL COCKTAIL
Of course, this doesn’t HAVE to be a mocktail. In fact, you just have to add two ounces of booze to take it from virgin to… not? I guess, technically, rum is the appropriate liquor here. But I say fuck convention and put whatever you want in there. If Bacardi makes you barf like a teenage girl after her first bottle of Boone’s Farm, then put some fucking whiskey in there. Or vodka. Or whatever floats your tiny umbrella.
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Even though May is my birthday month, I decided to give you a gift. Generous, right? I know. It’s a printable May 2017 calendar featuring pretty peonies, and it’s available at the bottom of this post as a free digital download.
Now, as much as I love color, I decided to keep it black and white — because if your printer sucks as much as mine does, this is as good as it gets. (Seriously, why the hell is printer technology stuck in 1997?). Plus, if you’re into coloring and have a stash of super-sharp colored pencils or fine-point markers, you can fancy it up yourself. So, it’s useful, and a kind of a craft (or maybe more of an art project), and possibly even a stress reliever. Best of all, it’s free. And who doesn’t love free shit?
While I’ll eventually probably ask people to sign up for a newsletter or something to get the file (and I’ll most definitely get it up earlier in the month going forward), this time I’m keeping things simple. In fact, the only thing I ask in return is that you follow me on Instagram already. That’s not so hard, now is it?
And if you feel like jotting down my birthday, it’s the 9th. And I’ll be 35. Oh, holy hell.
And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram. (We’re on the honor system here. Don’t be a dick.)