I mean, come on. Look at this drink! Is that not just the prettiest cocktail you could imagine drinking on a crisp, early fall day? Luckily, Concord grapes are in season right now. Our farmer’s market was full of them but they’ll only last another week or so, so make it now while there’s still time. No pressure or anything.
What ho, and all that, spiffing readers. I’m being especially upper-crust because I wanted to tell you about the scones I made a couple of weeks ago. Let’s take a gander at them first. Have a good look, there you go, feast your eyes.
Alright, that’s enough. Put your eyes away now.
On our spring trip to the UK, I wanted to take Emily out for a right old afternoon tea, with really nice sandwiches, scones, cream, jam, and all that. (You know, the sort of thing that Americans imagine that we Brits have every day, presumably as a break from striding around our castle grounds and whipping peasants.) We managed to find one at Huffkins in Burford (if you visit their site, do look for the amusing “About Our Employees” section) – all piled up on a proper tiered cake stand.
Anyway, I had picked up a jar of clotted cream at our local health food store last week (just let that sink in for a moment. Clotted cream. Health food store. Hm.) and decided on a whim to make scones. After some cursory research, and quickly realising I didn’t have any buttermilk (a requirement for many recipes) I settled on this version from Rachel Allen. I’ve adapted for US volumes and temperature. You can fuss with biscuit cutters and the like, but I like the country-style triangles simply cut from the dough with a knife.
The. Best. Mojito.
Does the world need another mojito recipe? Yes. Yes it does, because this one has a little something extra that, in my tipsy, slightly slurred opinion, takes it to the next level of yumminess. And no, I’m not suggesting you buy an expensive, impossible-to-find rum. Or scour the earth for special ice made from Himalayan mountain water. In fact it’s something really simple. Mint simple syrup…
If you’re not familiar with it, simple syrup is just equal parts sugar and water, heated until the sugar melts. That’s it. It’s when you start infusing syrups that they get really interesting.
We’re growing all this mint on our deck and smelling it seriously put me in the mood for mojitos. I snipped a whole bunch but before I got to muddling, I thought about trying to make a syrup instead. I’m telling you, it’s a revelation. It’s not only intensely minty but you also don’t have to get a mouth full of squashed herbs every time you take a sip. I did still muddle a few leaves but not the massive handful that a good mojito usually needs.
Corpse Reviver #2
My stepmom, Marcia, told us about this cocktail when we visited over the summer and though we didn’t get a chance to try it, it sounded so good I had to make it when we got back.
While it sounds like it should be served out of a skull, bubbling over with dry ice, the “Corpse Reviver” family of cocktails are actually classics. The name refers not to zombies (unfortunately), but to their use as hangover cures. There are several types of Corpse Reviver cocktails that were first listed in the Savoy Cocktail Handbook by Harry Craddock in 1930. When prohibition began, Craddock fled to England, where he became chief barman at London’s swanky Savoy Hotel.
This is his sage advice on how to properly drink a cocktail, “Quickly, while it’s laughing at you”. He’s now my spirit animal.
Corpse Reviver #2 is definitely the most popular today and I can see why. It’s not overly sweet and has a lovely citrusy, herbal flavor. It is strong though so prepare yourself for a fun night (or a nap).
One of the main ingredients is Lillet Blanc, which is a French aperitif. I really love it on its own just with ice, but it’s also a fantastic ingredient in cocktails. You’ll absolutely want to use fresh squeezed lemon juice for this, no refrigerated stuff out of a squeeze bottle.