A Very Patriotic Gimlet

My high school buddy Cuba Libre posted on Facebook today

“Anyone know any noteworthy red, white, and blue gin cocktails?”
Sounds like another H.O.A.G.Y. (Help Out a Gal/Guy, Yeah?) to me!
Cucmber-Honeydew Gin Gimlet.  Plymouth Gin didn't pay me to use their booze.  I just think it's really tasty.

Cucmber-Honeydew Gin Gimlet. Plymouth Gin didn’t pay me to use their booze. I just think it’s really tasty.

Here’s a slightly sweeter and lighter (alcohol-wise) version of a classic cucumber gimlet.  Add a skewer of fresh cherries–beautiful and in season right now!– a honeydew ball, and a couple of blueberries and your cocktail is officially All-American.

Enjoy your 4th, and stay safe, y’all.
Cucumber-Honeydew Gin Gimlet
In a cocktail shaker muddle:
1/2 (about 1/2 cup) small sliced cocktail cucumber (or the same amount of a regular cucumber, peeled).  Really crush the hell out of it.
Add 1 oz. strained honeydew melon puree,
1 oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice,
1/2 tsp. agave syrup,
2 oz. gin,
and a handful of ice.
Shake like crazy, and strain into an elegant glass.  Add your red-white (well, pale green)-and blue garnish.

Pimm’s Cup: A Summer Classic

Pimm's Cup.  Brilliant!

Pimm’s Cup.   Brilliant!

Why m’dear, don’t mind if I do!

To a short cocktail glass (or half-pint Mason jar) filled with ice add:

2 oz. Pimm’s No. 1 Liqueur

2 oz. Extra Ginger Beer (such as Reed’s)

A generous squeeze of lemon (from about 1/6 th of a lemon, then drop it in the glass)

Stir gently with a long spoon.  Garnish extravagantly with cucumber, strawberries, orange slices, or a gingered kumquat in rum syrup (one of my new canning experiments this season.  I’ll share it with you soon!)

After a couple of these I start dropping the Southern thing and start sounding like Kate Middleton.  At least to myself.


This is my gal Cosmopolitan’s (from our Supper Club) favorite summer cocktail.  I’d put it in my Top 5, for sure.


White Lightnin’ Lemonade

White Lightnin' Lemonade

White Lightnin’ Lemonade

This cocktail is inspired by Belmont Park’s official cocktail, the “Belmont Jewel.”  Since my in-laws are New Yorkers, this is a Kentucky gal’s take on their home racetrack’s delicious libation. 

1.5 oz white corn whiskey (Moonshine)

2 oz. lemonade

1 oz. pomegranate or red grape juice

Mix together and pour over a lot of ice in a pint Mason jar.  Garnish with lemon.  Best enjoyed sitting by the chicken coop in your favorite lounge chair with a couple of bird dogs at your feet.

“White” Corn Whiskey

Have you noticed lately how many unaged corn whiskeys are now commercially available?  I’m seriously going to do a taste comparison some day for the blog, after I do some more research on this fascinating and quickly growing field.  Maybe when I have a few straight days when complete brain function and the ability to operate machinery are not required.

Commercially available 'moonshine': Less than 30 days old

Commercially available ‘moonshine’: Less than 30 days old

Until then, I hope you try one for yourself.  Unlike the sketchy backwoods ones I tried long ago, the ‘legal’ ones are really not much harsher than an inexpensive vodka, though I think the heavy corn profile makes moonshine taste both rounder, slightly fruit-forward (less mineral) compared to vodka, and in the versions I’ve tried the corn mash flavor pleasantly lingers on the tongue.  It’s more than a bit much for me, sipped straight from the jar (although those guys on Moonshiners make it look easy.  Gasp), but mixed with some fruity lemonade it’s juuuuuust right.

Tequila Trifecta: Grilled Pineapple-Jalapeño Margaritas

Frozen grilled pineapple-jalepeno margarita

Frozen grilled pineapple- jalapeno margarita

My girlfriend Big Bold Cab texted me, “My girlfriends want me to make pineapple margaritas this weekend?!”  Oh, BBC, you know this is the perfect second H.O.A.G.Y (Help Out A Gal/Guy, Yeah?) for A Bourbon Gal.  We’ve got your back!

Grilled Pineapple.  It’s fantastic stuff – wonderful on teriyaki chicken burgers, served with pound cake and ice cream, or on grilled Hawaiian pizza (shh, don’t tell The Macallan; he thinks fruit on pizza portends the end of days).  But I always have a few spears left over, hanging around in my fridge wilting sadly, waiting for a greater purpose.  Something larger than chicken salad; greater than yogurt smoothies.

And, my friends, I have found grilled pineapple’s true and righteous calling: Tequila Infusion.

I’m probably not inventing the wheel on this one.  In fact, we’ve seen pineapple infused tequila, and jalapeño-infused tequila featured on foodie boozy sites for years.  So maybe a grilled pineapple-jalapeño infusion isn’t original, but there’s only so much time I’m going to spend on Google this afternoon trying to figure out if this is brand-new information, folks, so here’s what I’ve been using and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Grilled Pineapple-Jalepeno Infused Tequila.  Sweet spice in a jar, my friends.

Grilled Pineapple-Jalepeno Infused Tequila. Sweet spice in a jar, my friends.

Grilled Pineapple-Jalapeño (GPJ) Infused Tequila (Method):

To a lidded clean 1 quart glass jar add

3-4 spears grilled pineapple

1 grilled jalapeño, seeds removed

3 cups tequila (no need to use your best stuff, here)

Refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 1 week.  Remove jalapeño when the heat is at a level you like or it will keep getting stronger.   This infusion is great for sipping on the rocks with a splash of ginger ale, or in either of the following margarita recipes.

Grilled Pineapple-Jalapeño Margarita, rocks (makes 1)

Grilled Pineapple-Jalepeno Margarita with Hawaiian Alaea sea salt rim.

Grilled Pineapple-Jalapeno Margarita with Hawaiian Alaea sea salt rim.

Rub the rim of a margarita or martini glass with a lime wedgeCoat the rim with crushed pink Hawaiian Alaea sea salt; fill glass with ice

To a cocktail shaker add:

The juice of 2 fresh limes

1.5 oz. GPJ tequila

0.5 oz. Cointreau

0.5 oz. agave nectar

Shake well to combine, and pour over ice.  Add a wedge of lime and a chunk of grilled pineapple for garnish.

Frozen Pineapple-Jalapeño Margarita (makes 2 extra-large cocktails, or 4 Utah-regulated pours)

I’m usually not a fan of margarita in its slushy form, but this is a fantastic exception.  Be careful, the tequila-soaked pineapple packs an alcoholic punch!  I’m not sure how much it adds to the proof, but it will knock you on your ass faster than you can say “who’s the designated driver?”

To a blender add:

2 cups ice

Juice of 5 fresh limes

1 ½ spears tequila-soaked grilled pineapple

3 oz. GPJ tequila

1 oz. Cointreau

1.5 oz. agave nectar

If you like things spicy, also throw in a couple of slices of your tequila-soaked grilled jalapeño here, too.  Insanely yum.

Blend until ice is uniformly crushed and all ingredients are frothy.  Pour into margarita or martini glasses, and garnish with pineapple and lime.

A Sassy Orange Julep

Bourbon-Campari Sassy Orange Julep

Bourbon-Campari Sassy Orange Julep

It’s been one of those days.  I ruined a whole batch of strawberry-rhubarb compote by leaving it on the back burner for too long unattended and it totally burnt to the bottom of the pan and splattered all over the stove.  The kids are in meltdown because it’s way past pajama time on a school night “but it’s still light outside mooooooommm.”  The dogs have defeated garden fence version 8.0 and trampled another generation of heirloom tomato plants, and have the baby pullets so freaked out by their barking that the chicks are huddled in a corner of the coop.  (You’d think our dogs would be used to chickens after all this time, but as Sprite said, “they can’t help it, Mom.  Those chicks are, like, bite-sized.”)

This is the cocktail I made tonight.   To remind me that Spring means mint straight from the un-molested corner of the garden.  And frothy Campari cocktails.  And that compared to the truly horrific things that can and do happen to very good people, my slice of frustration is pretty damned small.  I can sit in my lovely chair by the chicken coop and enjoy my view of the portion of the garden that wasn’t pummeled by Labradors.   Most likely the tomatoes will recover, there will be more than enough rhubarb in my future, and our pullets will grow up to be feisty and productive egg layers.  And school will be out of session soon and we’ll all get to enjoy late nights playing outside until it gets dark.

Cheers, y’all.  Here’s to Spring.

Sassy Orange Julep

4-5 fresh mint leaves (plus more for garnish)

1.5 oz. bourbon

0.5 oz. Campari

The juice of ½ orange

1 oz. simple syrup (if y’all have some of that minted simple syrup left, now’s the time to use it!)

Enough ice to cover ingredients

Place all ingredients and ice in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously until frothy and chilled through.  Pour into a tall glass and add another 1-2 oz. of club soda if it’s a particularly warm day.  Garnish with mint & and orange slice.

Sunday Brunch: DIY Red Beer Bar & a Layered Potato Baked Omelet

DIY Red Beer (AKA "Beery Mary") Bar

DIY Red Beer (AKA “Beery Mary”) Bar

In much of the rest of the USA, Sunday Brunch is a competitive social endeavor.  Restaurants, soccer moms, sports tailgaters, BBQ enthusiasts, and country clubs vie for popularity in the brunch time slot:   That halcyon time when everyone leaves church, and are starving, but want to show off their fancy duds in public before they head home and put on sweatpants.

A Bourbon Gal and Hoss on Hops= Trouble

A Bourbon Gal and Hoss on Hops= Trouble

Not so much in Utah.  For most of the Beehive state’s denizens, Sunday means church and family, with neither commercial nor social deviation outside this box.  It goes without saying that both caffeine and booze are verboten.  My LDS* friends also often fast as part of their weekend of prayer and mindfulness.  I will repeat in case you missed it the first time:  No coffee.  No Mimosas.  Non-Atkins induced food deprivation. I know, I’m constantly amazed at their fortitude, too.

In case you are still hyperventilating at the thought, perhaps you just need a little re-visualization. Since I moved to Utah over 8 years ago, now Sunday morning means a wide open playing field for we non-Mormon remainders:  Bring on first tracks in the fresh powder!  Hassle-free trips to Trader Joe’s, Home Depot and Costco!  Irish pubs showing European football (but you can only get a Bloody Mary after 12)!  Sure, kids, you can play in the street- there’s no traffic!  Breathe deep, you’ll get through it too.

Okay, so, back to today.  This weekend it was my turn to host our rotating “beer-vana” group.  Between baseball, lacrosse, turkey hunting season and the general mayhem of spring, it’s hard to find a weekend night when we can all meet up with all of our kids.  Thus: we met for Sunday Brunch.

Saketini and Smoked Porter digging in.  Well, Sake will after her Pepcid kicks in #asianproblems  Love ya, girlfriend!

Saketini and Smoked Porter digging in. Well, Sake will after her Pepcid kicks in #asianproblems Love ya, girlfriend!

My buddy IPA (aka the beer blogger “Hoss on Hops“) and the other members of our sketchy beer club came over with their collective spouses and kids.  IPA supplied the brew from his seemingly magical beer fridge, and I provided all of the “Red Beer” fixin’s.  A Red Beer is basically brew mixed with any combination of tomato juice, Clamato (yes= clam juice + tomato), spice, and citrus.  Some folks like to have a 1 part tomato juice to 2 parts beer ratio.  Others go half-and-half, or mostly beer with a splash of tomato; or just beer, spice and lime (like a traditional Mexican-style Michelada).  That’s the great thing about the mixing bar- everyone gets it just the way they want it! Here are some of our favorite combinations:

  • Durango smoked sea salt rim; lime juice, Tapatio hot sauce; tomato juice; Negra Modelo beer
  • Old Bay spiced rim; lemon juice, Worcestershire, and Crystal hot sauce; Clamato juice; Red Stripe beer
  • Ancho chile powder and sea salt rim; lime juice, Cholula hot sauce; tomato juice; HopNotch IPA
  • Bacon salt rim; lemon juice, Worcestershire, Baron scotch bonnet hot sauce; a tiny splash of tomato juice; Carta Blanca or Pacifico beer

For nibbles alongside our cocktails, we kept it kid-friendly with chips and salsas.  I also made appetizer-sized bites of my modified Spanish-style potato tortilla, which can be made using dinner leftovers (keep those extra steamed potatoes, grilled peppers, and green beans. You’ll use ‘em!).

I set out a “build-your-own-sandwich” spread for grazing with lots of bread, deli meat, cheese, and condiment choices.  My gals Saketini and Lemon Drop brought delicious fruit and salads.  Clean-up was a snap.  I only used one vessel for actual cooking:  score!

Now, time for my nap.

 Layered Potato & Egg Baked Omelet (serves 8-10 as an appetizer)Layering your ingredients

2 medium red potatoes (skin on) steamed until soft but still firm, sliced into 1/8” thick rounds

½ cup steamed thin green beans, cut into 1-2” long pieces

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (or, if you like it spicy, two roasted red jalepenos – YUM!)

7 eggs

¼ cup half-and-half

2 tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

2 Tbs. Sriracha hot sauce

½ cup chopped green onions

Method (Preheat oven to 350 degrees):

Spray a 9”x9” ceramic or glass baking dish with vegetable oil or cooking spray.  Line the bottom and sides of the dish with a sheet of parchment paper (this helps prevent the omelet from sticking and makes it easier to cut later).  Spray a light coating of oil on the parchment paper.

Layered Potato Baked Omelet with Sriracha sauce

Layered Potato Baked Omelet with Sriracha sauce

Spread the sliced potatoes in one layer equally over the bottom of the baking dish; overlapping pieces as necessary to fit them all in.  Sprinkle green beans and red pepper evenly over the top of the potatoes.  In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, salt, pepper, and half-and-half until well combined.  Pour slowly over the vegetables to cover evenly.

Bake about 35-40 minutes, or until puffy and cooked through.

Meanwhile, combine yogurt and Sriracha sauce in a small jar or squirt bottle.  Shake to combine well.

After the omelet is done, let rest on the counter until cooled enough to touch (about 15 minutes).  Invert onto a large cutting board, and gently remove parchment layer from the omelet.  Cut into 1” cubes with a sharp knife.

Arrange on a platter; drizzle generously with Sriracha-yogurt sauce; sprinkle on all the green onions.  Great warm or at room temperature (reserve sauce & onion garnish until just before serving).  Enjoy!

*LDS is the preferred abbreviation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  AKA, The Mormons.

Our first H.O.A.G.Y (Help Out a Gal/Guy, Yeah?): Cucumber Gimlet

Of course we take requests here at A Bourbon Gal!

My girlfriend Dirty Martini wrote me, “I can’t make a decent cucumber gimlet. Help!”

Cucumber Gimlet

Cucumber Gimlet

Now, first of all, my gal Dirty Martini has MAD cocktail skillz, so I’m sure her gimlet is pretty tasty, but she is always looking for a more-perfect beverage. And if you’re going to spring for some Very Good Gin (which she does, like Hendrick’s) you want it to be awesome.

Back in the day—meaning Prohibition, gin’s sparkly heyday—a gimlet was usually made with equal parts gin and sweetened lime juice. Another popular gin cocktail, the Gin Rickey, used almost equal parts gin, club soda, and lime juice. Post-WWII, gimlet recipes using lime juice with vodka and either powdered sugar or simple syrup often replaced gin-based cocktails.

Nowadays, if you order a gimlet at a bar you will get a multitude of options: gin or (usually) vodka, lime or another citrus (lemon, grapefruit), and any number of vegetal, herbaceous, and/or fruity additions. A harbinger of the summer party season, super-refreshing cucumber gimlets usually contain vodka, cucumber juice or purée, lime, and sweetener (sugar or syrup). With some pretty cucumber pinwheels in a tall narrow pitcher, cucumber gimlets are lovely made in bulk for quick and easy serving at your next garden party.

Cucumber Gimlet (makes one)

I like using those tiny thin-skinned “cocktail” cucumbers now available in most produce sections. Just a gentle wash and you are good to go: no peeling off the tough bitter skin or scraping out seeds needed. I also like how agave nectar distributes evenly through the cocktail with a nice finish.

1 “cocktail” cucumber, thinly sliced (reserve 2-3 thin slices for garnish), muddled furiously in the bottom of your cocktail shaker (really- juice the hell out of it)

1 tsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice (about ¼ lime)

½ tsp. agave nectar

2 oz. gin

4-5 cubes ice

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Shake until very cold and frothy. Strain into a martini glass containing 2-3 cubes fresh ice. Garnish with thin cucumber slices.

Suddenly Summer!: Cucumber-Basil Martini with a Salish smoked black sea salt rim

Cucumber Basil Martini

Cucumber Basil Martini

Holy hot spike, Batman!  We went straight from snow-covered daffodils to wilting tulips to hopeful tomato plants all in one day here in the Wasatch Mountains.  Even broke some early spring temps records yesterday.  In celebration (and yes, respite… I’m not quite ready for the 90s yet) I broke out some of my favorite summer flavors:  cucumber, basil, and the floral melody of gin.  I’ve wanted to try out some of my lovely salt collection for use on more than finishing pan-seared meats, roasted potatoes, and salad dressing.   These salts I’ve gathered mostly at my local Tony Caputo’s Market – where they thoughtfully provide 99 cent sample cups of various and sundry goodness so those fickle souls such as I can dabble and snack before commitment.   In this case, I used a finer-grained black Salish smoked sea salt on top of a cucumber-rubbed glass rim.  Delightful.  Yay for Spring!  Or at least the 3 hours of it we got this year.

A sampling of sea salts.  In this case, I used the Salish Black Smoked Sea Salt from Caputo's Market, but I also like the coarser grained Durango smoked grey salt for this cocktail.

A sampling of sea salts. In this case, I used the Salish Black Smoked Sea Salt from Caputo’s Market, but I also like the coarser grained Durango smoked grey salt for this cocktail.

Cucumber Basil & Smoked black sea salt Martini

Freeze a martini glass, or add to the glass several cubes of ice to chill and set aside.

Just before assembling, rub ½ of the glass rim with the cut edge of a cucumber and dip into the smoked sea salt of your choice.

 To a cocktail shaker, add:

1 small cocktail cucumber, sliced thin (about 4 slices of cucumber- reserve 1 slice for garnish)

4-5 leaves fresh basil

2 oz. very floral gin (I’m a fan of Broker’s for this cocktail)

½ oz. dry vermouth

4-5 ice cubes

Shake vigorously until well-frosted and frothy (about 15 seconds)

Strain into the chilled and salty goodness of that martini glass.  Garnish with a cucumber slice and a sprig of baby basil.

Isn’t that refreshing?

Now, don’t y’all put away your parkas and gloves yet, my mountain friends.  Just having made this cocktail guarantees we’ll have a freezing spell next week.  I’ve got my towels ready to cover my ‘maters, just in case.

A Proper (and Improper) Mint Julep

Some people have fancy silver Julep cups passed down through many generations.  I have canning jars.

Some people have fancy silver Julep cups passed down through many generations. I have canning jars.

Towards the end of April I start getting all nostalgic about Kentucky Derby’s of my youth, singing (well, warbling) “My Old Kentucky Home,” and the weeks of debauchery Louisville celebrates leading up to the big day.  I’m getting misty eyed just thinking about it, but my friends here in Utah don’t quite get the appeal.  There’s a lot to love about my adopted mountain state, but a tradition of extended whiskey-soaked revelry is just not one of them.  And don’t y’all EVEN tell me Pioneer Day rallies the same hedonistic enthusiasm.  Just stop it.  Now.

Doesn't every 18 year old go through a phase when they want to be a great travel writer?  I read this the summer between high school and college and it blew my mind.  And gave me all sorts of ideas...

Doesn’t every 18 year old go through a phase when they want to be a great travel writer? I read this the summer between high school and college and it blew my mind. And gave me all sorts of ideas…

What’s Derby like?  Well, if you haven’t already, it’s a moral imperative you read Hunter S. Thompson’s 1970 essay, “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved.”  It’s a marvel of sports reporting and travel journalism wrapped up in complete and utter sublime bullshit that stands the test of time more than forty years later.  And it’s Hunter S. Thompson drinking whiskey for three straight days.  See, nothing like Pioneer Day.

My secret to a fantastic Mint Julep?  Don’t kill your mint!  When I see someone grinding mint with a mortar into the bottom of a glass I just cringe.  It makes the mint bitter, and plus all of those little mint pieces invariably get stuck in your teeth and who wants that when you are wearing bright red lipstick and a fabulous hat?  A pert spank will do, instead, if you make minted simple syrup a day in advance.  You’ll love this stuff:  in addition to making superlative Juleps, minted syrup is perfect in Mojitos, iced tea, lemonade, and Arnold Palmers.

Minted Simple Syrup

In a big bowl or quart glass pyrex measure, add 2 cups boiling water to 2 cups granulated sugar.  Mix with a wooden spoon until sugar is completely dissolved.  Meanwhile, place 4-5 big sprigs of fresh mint in a quart-sized Mason or other lidded glass jar.  Once the sugar syrup is cool enough to touch comfortably with your fingers, pour over the mint.  Cool to room temperature, place the lid on the jar, and set in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight.  Remove mint leaves, and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Minted simple syrup.  Boozemongering at it's finest, my friends.  You will use this freakalicious syrup in everything!

Minted simple syrup. Boozemongering at it’s finest, my friends. You will use this freakalicious syrup in everything!

A Proper Mint Julep

2-3 sprigs fresh mint

2 oz. Kentucky Bourbon

2-3 oz. minted simple syrup

“Spank” a sprig of mint between your hands (as if you are clapping), place in the bottom of a chilled silver Julep cup.  Fill the cup to the rim with crushed ice.  Slowly pour over the ice at the same time 2 oz. Kentucky Bourbon and 2-3 oz. minted syrup.  Spank another mint sprig and add as a garnish.  Gently stir the cocktail with a long handled stirrer until combined.

*Julep purists look away now.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you! 

I love making Juleps with Rye whiskey, too.  It gives them a little more bite, and is a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the mint.

How pretty is that?!  The Strawberry Julep is perfect cocktail for a dinner by the grill, backyard bash, or lazy afternoon.

How pretty is that?! The Strawberry Julep is perfect cocktail for a dinner by the grill, backyard bash, or lazy afternoon.

An “Improper” Strawberry Julep

I made this cocktail for my girlfriends who complained that a traditional julep was too strong.  Meaning, they don’t like the taste of bourbon.  Sigh.  Convinced that I could make a bourbon-based cocktail they’d like, I threw this baby together.  Now everybody’s happy.

2 sprigs fresh mint

2 very ripe strawberries (plus an additional one for garnish)

1 ½ oz. bourbon

2 oz. minted simple syrup

Splash of club soda

In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle two small very ripe strawberries until they are smooshy.  Add bourbon and mint syrup, one sprig of mint, and 2-3 cubes of ice.  Shake about 5-6 seconds.  Strain cocktail into a highball glass or Mason jar filled with ice.  Garnish with a sprig of “spanked” mint, a strawberry sliced almost in half to perch on the rim of your glass, and a splash of club soda if desired.

Superlative Slope-side Bloody Mary*:

Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary

Spring brings along with it the dubious refined culture of the mid-day cocktail.  Think mint juleps, Planter’s punch, mojitos, and of course the hangover brunch standards:  Mimosas and Bloody Marys.  In my Memphis-based undergraduate days, we trained during much of the year to get ready for  studied diligently, then barely survived enjoyed a series of late semester parties, culminating in a music festival called “Rites of Spring.”  Awfully pagan for a church affiliated private liberal arts school, hmmm?  Good times.

I’ve moderated my own daytime drinking propensity in the decades years since in response to semi-responsible adulthood: graduate school, keeping a job, parenthood, PTA meetings, those goddamn pesky “empty” alcohol calories that every fascist nutritional resource tells you will haunt you and your belly fat thighs ass liver and muffin top mid-section forever.  And they do, my friends, they do.

But there are certain events in one’s life that call out for the return of day drinking an occasional mid-afternoon cocktail in its inherent subversive naughty splendor:  Super Bowl Sunday.  Mardi Gras.  The Kentucky Derby.   Volunteering at your kids’ school for “Pioneer Week” field trips.  Independence Day.

And, here in my adopted mountain home:  Spring Skiing.

Thanks to Brighton Ski Team for this great photo of the racers!

Thanks to Brighton Ski Team for this great photo of the racers!

Case in point.  Our family unit ventured to Grand Targhee, WY last weekend for an extended ‘Spring Fling’ two-day ski race event in which our older son, Tim Collins, competed.  We met up with about 10 other families from our home mountain and awesome guests.  We arrived at the mountain at 8:30 am each day to get our kids outfitted with their race speed suits, their racing bibs, their surly attitudes, and their appropriately-waxed skis.  Then the parents took turns trudging up the slope to set up a ‘base camp’ at the race finish—a good 200 yards straight uphill.  My man The Macallan valiantly delivered tent poles, coolers, and backpacks.  I mercilessly nagged supervised, and tried to finish my coffee before it cooled.

Waiting at the tent each morning after a couple of runs by noon, were the combined efforts of a few but mighty genius minds:  Gallons (yes, gallons!!) a pitcher of super-peppery homemade Bloody Mary mix,  several quarts of hooch hidden in duffle bags a bottle of Five Wives Vodka (Utah’s own artisan spirit), and some jalapeño-stuffed green olives for garnish.   Served in red Solo cups  non-breakable slope-side beverage containers, this was, my friends, the nectar of the ski gods.  Ullr and Loki were undoubtedly looking after us in their own pagan fashion:  Rites of Spring, now all grown up.  Kinda.

Slope-side Bloody Mary (makes 1, multiply as needed for your crowd) 

When I’m at home, I add a bacon-salt rim to the glass, just ‘cause you can and it’s delicious (Hello?  Bacon + salt !?).  Also great with Old Bay Seasoning.

In a cocktail shaker with 3-4 cubes ice add:

2 oz. vodka

One 5.5 oz. can original V8 juice

½  tsp. fresh lemon juice

¼ tsp. prepared horseradish

2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

2 dashes hot sauce (I like Crystal)

1 tsp. Okra pickle juice or green olive juice

A couple of generous cranks of fresh-ground coarse black peppercorns

A generous shake of bacon salt or Old Bay Seasoning

Shake until combined.  Pour the whole shaker into a heavy glass or red Solo cup.  Garnish with pickled okra and/or several skewered green olives.

Until next ski season, SKOL and Slainté, my friends! 

*Please imbibe responsibly, and for cripes sake watch your sodium levels.  We’re not getting any younger, you know.  Geez.