Oh boy, am I in trouble…..I have been MIA for a few weeks. Here comes my excuse…I have been totally immersed in a Nia White Belt training for seven days, twelve hours a day. And I had to get ready for my birthday party and then I had my birthday party and then I had to recover from my birthday party enough to tell you about it. That should cover those few weeks. Phew! I know, I know, you are going what the heck is a Nia White Belt Training? Nia is something else that I am totally passionate about, just like food. It is the only form of exercise that I do and the only thing that I have stuck with…ever…for eight years now. Nia is a form of movement that combines martial arts, dance arts and healing arts. Nia is all about Mind, Body, Emotion and Spirit. It is exercise and therapy all in one, and boy do I need both! There is no way I could describe the life changing experience I had without going over 3,000 words, so I will spare you. All I can say is click on the link find yourself a Nia class and give it a shot. I highly recommend Jamie Klausing’s classes. She is a Nia Black Belt that has been practicing for twelve years. She truly is an amazing teacher, an inspiration and a friend.
Here we go, my birthday party. Don’t ask how old, that is rude, you know. It is enough to say that I have stopped counting, or can’t count that high. Whatever. You probably want to know how much I weight now too, huh? No go on that one for sure. Actually, I would probably rather tell you my weight than my age! See, I didn’t forget how to go on a tangent…and you were worried!
My birthday party is really the only party we have every year. I keep saying that we need to change that. My favorite thing to do is hang out with friends, especially my friends, because they are all foodies and amazing cooks. I guess I wouldn’t be hanging out with people who weren’t my friends or other people’s friends. Although that is how we got a lot of our friends. They were other people’s friends first, friends of friends and now they are some of our most favorite people on the face of the earth. I am jumping into these tangents full force.
While there was good food at this party, that is a given, the focus was really on the booze this time! The theme was “cocktails” and not just any old cocktail like tired cosmopolitans or boring gin and tonics, cocktails made with the syrups I am making for the syrup company I am launching in the fall. Hmmmm, does that mean I can write off this party? I hope so. I invited my accountant.
I asked everyone to bring a bottle of booze, well, groups of people, otherwise that would have been out of control. At that our liquor cabinet is still full. I suggested that not everyone bring vodka, so everybody brought gin instead! It was funny. Actually that was said mostly for effect, mostly. We did have a lot of gin. We did have some creative bottles, though, too. Margaret brought grappa, excellent canvas. Erica got all old school and cleaned out her father’s liquor cabinet, just like in high school, and brought Godiva , obviously we went to high school in two different decades, Kahlua, Crème de Banana, Harvey’s Bristol Cream and Amaretto. Luckily we didn’t get desperate enough to use the Harvey’s Bristol Cream. Although that would have been my choice over the cocktail made with ketchup and mustard. Sort of like a Bloody Mary, but not good, at all. Sorry Bil. Can’t say my friends are not creative.
I started out by trying all the cocktails people were making. Oh boy did that practice end soon! Yikes! Way to get trashed fast. This was my 34th birthday, not my 21st. (Don’t even think of writing in to tell me about my “typo”) It’s funny, as people were mixing away they would comment, “oh, this one is not so exciting”, and I would say, “Why don’t you just dump it and start over?” That was ALWAYS met with a “We can’t WASTE it!” It’s not like thirsty alcoholics in rural Appalachia would benefit from these drinks if you didn’t drink them. Waste them, so you do not get wasted people. Oops, too late.
Chris was the only smart one, she made tiny cocktails, tasters really. Boy does she have a great palate. The very first drink she made was named “Coke”. It was Godiva, club soda and Café de Olla Syrup (Brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, molasses and orange extract). It really did taste like Coca Cola. Don’t ask me how, but it did. Really. I still had my wits and my taste buds at that point.
Mindy made a good one with the Café de Olla Syrup also, and vermouth, mint and apricot nectar. Those are the drinks that intrigued me, the drinks made with the spiced syrups like Cardamom Rose Water, the Café de Olla and the Fig Vanilla Black Pepper.
Dana Joy of Real Food Rehab was also a natural, naturally. Her one drink contribution was sake, lychee and Lemongrass Shiso Syrup. I think she only had one cocktail. How was that possible? I think the Bills and the Davids made up for it, so it all worked out in the end. Sort of.
The most interesting booze of the night arrived late, but we managed to polish off half a bottle of it. Richard and Michael brought Saffron Infused Gin made by a micro distiller in Dijon, France. Way to go boys.
This stuff was the color of my hair, a beautiful shade of orange and very unique. We all jumped on it. Laurent made an excellent drink with the saffron gin, lemon juice, lemon twist, mint, Hibiscus Basil Orange Blossom Syrup and fresh peach juice that our overachiever friend Seth juiced from Michigan peaches from the farmers market. Not a combo that I would have thought of at all, but boy did it work.
Another interesting alcohol was the bottle that Liz brought. We don’t know what it is! She has moved it from apartment to apartment to apartment and decided to put it out of its misery by bringing it to the party. Perfect. The writing on the bottle is Japanese, all Japanese. Hmmmmm. It looks and smells like a sake that has been aged in wood barrels. Not that I really know what a sake aged in wood barrels looks or smells like. It tastes a little like a whiskey but smoother. If anyone has any insight, send it my way. We went through a quarter bottle of it. I don’t see any recipes using it though.
As I go through the notebook I put out, I see tons of recipes from Jen and Bil. I am glad my friends took this task I put upon them so seriously. I kept screaming “Write it down” all night, but I don’t think anyone listened but those two. And Bil took it a step further and actually wrote down proportions. He is one serious mixologist or at least one serious drinker. (I shall leave that one alone.)
Jen took it a step further and named her soon to be infamous signature cocktail creation of Prosecco, gin, lemon zest and Tangerine Lavender Honey Syrup. People were already asking for it by name at the party. Coming to a bar near you soon…the Dutch 74. It has quite a ring to it, doesn’t it? I asked Jen if the name had any significance. She said (or texted) “ It’s based on a French 75, so I named it after my ancestry and year of birth.” (Oops, gave away your age if people are not too lazy to do the math. Not something you have to worry about yet, like some of us!) How awesome is that? It kicks a French 75s butt! Now who wants to be the first to put it on their cocktail menu? Violet Hour? Whistler? Come on, give the Dutch 74 its righteous place in cocktail history.
Now to wade through all the recipes and first figure out what the heck they say, as you could guess, it gets more illegible as the night continues, and then figure out proportions. (You can only ask drunk people to write down so much, besides Bil, who is on the almost on the cusp of Virgo, which explains it, in my mind, at least!)
Sounds like another party in the making!