GARDEN TO GLASS | STRAWBERRY-BASIL MARGARITA
Starting a garden this year has taken my cocktail game to new heights. It was just the kick in the arse I needed to start experimenting with adding more fresh herbs and spices to my cocktails. How convenient that right as I was wondering what bevs to make with my mint and basil, I was put in charge of a bachelorette party brunch this Memorial Day Weekend.
I want the food and drinks to reflect my love for all things local, seasonal , and most importantly, simple. Since I am pretty sure "Garden to Glass" is a concept everyone can rally behind, the plan is to get the party started with my Strawberry-Basil Margaritas.
On the food front, I need greens in my diet, ALWAYS. If I don't have them, things get kinda weird. The menu will have green things galore thanks to The Forest Feast's Strawberry-Cucumber Salad (pic on the left). Strawberries in the drinks and strawberries on the salad? Too much? Never. Since you read my Spring recipe roundup, you know that I like repeating ingredients as a way to keep my sanity, savings, and immune system on the up and up.
It is possible that I'll ease up on the strawberries come dessert time, but only to let some other in-season fruit get some play. Although the exacts of what fruit will be involved is unknown, what I can tell you for certain is that dessert will definitely be some sort of Seasonal Fruit-Filled Galette (IWR chef Claire made these pretty little rustic thangs at IWR Malibu 2015 and everyone licked their forks, fingers and plates. Ok, maybe only I did all 3. My boyfriend hates it when I literally lick the plate, but sometimes I can't help myself).
Interesting how this whole food thing started with me wanting to eat a ton of greens this holiday weekend and then the menu suddenly took a sharp left turn into sweetsville - I don't think anyone is gonna be mad about it. Veering off to the savory side of things, a sunny spring weekend spent in San Diego seems like the perfect opportunity to test out one of those top 5 wanna try asparagus recipes I blogged about last week. It sounds like I can't go wrong attempting the Asparagus Pesto Tart (Recipe No. 2 on this list) !
Leading up to the weekend I'll be recipe testing and cocktail tasting while listening to this uppity 30 min spring playlist (easily made 60 min by playing Justin Timberlake's new song on repeat 13 extra times through). As a yoga teacher, when I listen to music I can't help but think of where in my class every song I hear would fit into the sequence. The more I listen, the more this week's yoga sequences come to life in my mind. If you're in SoCal, hope to see ya on the mat! If not, get a head start on making the 3-ingredient frozen limeade cubes. The key to making this drink pretty hands-off the day of is to make the frozen limeade cubes in advance. Like maybe 1-3 days in advance. Because you may need it, I'm gonna leave this post-holiday give your liver some TLC link riiiighht... here ; )
Menu planning for a group requires some serious prep-work beforehand, the last thing I want day of is for people to depend on me to get their cocktail on. To slip into hands-off hostess mode, I'll make a sign with these ratios for a mellow single serving and slowly walk away from the blender:
- 3 ice cubes
- 3 frozen limeade cubes (recipe below)
- 3 organic strawberries
- 2 basil leaves (crumpled in your hand first)
- 2 oz tequila
Blend in blender. Salt the rim and get your garnish game on. *UPDATE* Same recipe, no blender. It was next level delicious and the crowd went wild. Check out that variation here.
FROZEN LIMEADE CUBES
- 1 cup (8 oz.) lime juice (For me, ~15 small, organic limes produced 8oz. lime juice)
- 1.5 cups (12 oz.) organic honey
- 1.5 cups (12 oz.) water
Make a simple syrup by combining honey + water in a saucepan over *low* heat. Stir occasionally until honey and water integrate (slotted wooden spoon for the win with this task). For that stubborn honey still stuck to the inside of your honey jar and/or measuring cup, swish a bit of the warmed honey water mixture into the glass containers and support my no honey left behind campaign. Stir in lime juice. Let cool. Once cool, pour into ice cube trays and freeze. My ice cube tray is a standard 16 cube one. 2 cups (16 oz.) of limeade liquid generously fills up one tray, so have 2 trays ready to go. FYI give yourself a solid 5+ hours for the freezing to happen. PS If using the single serving recipe above, 32 cubes makes you about 10 drinks.
- The kitchn featured this marg in a pitcher recipe (pic below) as another way to be a hands-off hostess. Love. Using my frozen limeade cubes from above, I may attempt to do a spin-off recipe. More to come. *AS PROMISED* Here's the update on that.
- We'd love to see what cocktails you're all making with the goodies from your garden. Share your stuff with us using #IWRGardentoGlass.