There is a story of how I first started liking alcoholic drinks. When you meet the husband for the first time, he will waste no time in telling you how I went from teetotaler to alcoholic. It’s not as dramatic; but I was averse to alcohol because, well, I was a prude and I thought all alcohol smelled and tasted bad. Then I met Smirnoff Ice; it was lemony and sweet with a bitter aftertaste. Not at all bad. In fact, it was much better than having a coke or juice. I actually enjoyed the bitterness. Hubby thinks it is a sign of growing up – learning to enjoy the bitter with the sweet. The story goes like this. The day after I first drank a Smirnoff, hubby returned home from work around 7 in the evening to find me sitting on a rocking chair in the living room drinking a Smirnoff Ice. When he asked me what I was doing I allegedly replied, “I was thirsty.” I say allegedly because it has been so long and the story has been re-told so many times especially after multiple drinks that who knows what the truth is anymore?
Still I don’t have the stomach for the purely bitter – no scotch on the rocks for me, but I do like my wine and my margaritas. The hubby is also the same. In fact the first party we hosted together as a married couple after I moved to California was a cocktail party and the bartender was a friend of ours who makes the best cocktails. He bought the shaker, the lime juice and the mint; he crushed the mint and served up some mean mojitos. And since then I have been in love with the cocktail and try out a new one every time we eat out.
The hubby is also a huge cocktail fan. So we have a neat division of labor at home – I am the cook and baker and the hubby is the bartender. He has procured a cocktail shaker which was carried back from the US and he tries out his drink experiments every time we have people over. He reminds me of a scientist in his chemistry lab, pouring one colored liquid into another and holding up the solution under the light to see what the reaction is! He loves trying out different combinations of alcohol and juices, and recently he has also taken to playing with colors.
Last weekend we had a get together at home where the food was out sourced so I had little to do except make a spinach and mushroom dip and bake a carrot cake. But the hubby took his job very seriously. He asked the friend who was buying the drinks to buy lemons, basil, lemon juice and soda and multiple other flavors of juice. All morning he asked me random questions like, “Sugar water should freeze right?” And before I could answer he answered himself, “It should, it is salt water than freezes at -32.” Then he walked off and I went on with life.
I woke up from my afternoon nap to find the hubby in the kitchen taking out colored ice cubes from the freezer. Apparently he was making ice cubes out of pomegranate and cranberry juices so his drinks could be colorful. He had spent the entire afternoon waiting for his ice cubes to freeze! And watching Iron Man 2, I believe. Once he had enough juice cubes, he did his piece de resistance – water frozen with red apple peels and basil leaves. I must admit even I was impressed with his dedication!
When people came over, he mixed up the drinks – vodka, lemonade or lemon soda, a juice cube, a basil cube and a couple of pickled jalapenos. The last ingredient was inspired I believe by a cocktail I had at Cafe Mangii. That one was deliciously sweet, with an after kick of the heat of the jalapenos. You can’t stop at one sip. Pure genius. Hubby’s cocktail was stronger and not as sweet. And the colors! Initially it was lemon colored with a floating red blob from the juice cube and as the cube melted, the entire drink became pinkish. It also got sweeter as the cubes melted and the flavor of basil and apple came through, along with the heat from the jalapeno. I must say it was yummy. And no I am not biased, because I do have one complaint – the drink was too small! I mean half a wine glass – and hey, what’s up with serving cocktails in a wine glass? It took away from the presentation to see the glass half empty. But overall nice work dude. You will not be eliminated this week!
Check out the pictures at the top of the page. Cheers!