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Cocktail Testing 101: Recipes and Friends

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Instead of doing a traditional open bar at our wedding, and instead of opting to do just beer and wine, Rob and I decided that we'd have beer, wine, champagne, two signature cocktails, and a frozen lemonade station with empty shot glasses along the side, waiting to be filled with booze if hard lemonade is your thing. 

Rob chose the Old Fashioned as his signature drink, a bourbon-heavy cocktail; so I was tasked with finding the perfect vodka drink. Because if you're going to spike your frozen lemonade at our wedding, it's going to be with either bourbon or vodka, right? Right. So the real question is this: Rosemary Pear, Lavender, or Cucumber Mint? Last weekend, I made a shopping list, waited for Melissa to arrive, and invited a few other friends over for a cocktail testing/tasting party.

Note: the recipes you are about to encounter are not even a little bit Paleo. I'm not even a little bit sorry.

The Rosemary Pear Martini

I thought this one was going to be my favorite, and it ended up being my least favorite. It felt more autumnal than springy to me, which is fine, but probably not for our May wedding. Melissa made some pear puree from scratch and it was delicious, but then I tried the cocktail again the next day with store-bought pear puree and I liked it a bit better. It was a little lighter and sweeter, which made it less Christmas-y. Either way was good, it just depends on the event and the time of year, I think. Regardless, it made a damn beautiful drink, and I do love rosemary.


For the Rosemary Pear Martini:
(Recipe Inspiration)
Two ounces of vodka
Two stems of fresh rosemary
1/4 ounce simple syrup
(We made our own--just mix equal parts sugar and hot water)
1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
3/4 ounce pear puree



The Cucumber Mint Martini


Now this is a springy drink. It was light and fresh and I drank it in about three gulps. Probably a little dangerous to be serving all night, but it just felt right! There's a lot of stuff in it once you drink all the liquid, but since I'm someone who prefers her cocktails to come with more of a snack than a simple garnish, it worked for me. And everyone loved it. We had some more.

For the Cucumber Mint Martini:
(Recipe Inspiration)
Two ounces of vodka
One ounce simple syrup
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
Three slices of fresh cucumber, muddled
A couple of leaves of fresh mint


The Lavender Collins

This was a favorite--it was delicious and just beautiful, but I don't think it's going to work for the wedding because it's just really expensive to make. First of all, you have to make lavender simple syrup, which totally delighted me on a small scale, but I don't think it's feasible in any way to make for 150+ people. Melissa and I decided that it would be perfect for a bridal shower, so we won't have to totally abandon the recipe.

For the Lavender Collins:
(Recipe Inspiration)
One and a half ounces vodka
3/4 ounce lavender simple syrup
(Just add a few sprigs of fresh lavender or two tablespoons of dried to your simple syrup on the stove)
1/4 ounce Chambord
3/4 ounce lemon juice
Soda water to top it off 


I mentioned that I invited some friends over. There were a lot of cocktails to be drunk.


Tony is one of the most handsome men I know, and I had the pleasure of becoming friends with him after meeting him through his boyfriend Matt, my former coworker. He's hilarious and genuine and I felt honored to become more than just an acquaintance of his over the last year. It's good to have a friend like Tony.


Matt is smart and handy and literally knows something about everything without being a know-it-all. When I said, "Where the hell am I supposed to find lavender in Roanoke?" he said, "I have some." Because he grew it. Because gardening and building fences and driving trucks and motorcycles are things that he does when he's not fixing things and cooking delicious food or making me laugh until I cry. I definitely miss seeing him every day at work. It's good to have a friend like Matt.




So, what do you think? I'm going to make them all for Rob soon and find out his favorites.
If you were at my wedding next spring, which one of these cocktails would you want to drink?

Check out Melissa's post on our cocktail adventures here.

19 comments:

  1. The lavender collins looks simply delicious!

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  2. YES for the Lavender Collins at the Shower! That's so smart. You ladies did such a great job, obviously I'm just jealous I wasn't there.

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  3. Love this blog! They all look so pretty! Lavender is so pretty and yummy but I think that cucumber one sounds the most refreshing on a warm May day! by the way we really miss seeing your smiling face every day at work!

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  4. i wish we were back at your house drinking these again! with Tony, OBVI!

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  5. The cucumber mint martini strikes me as the kind of drink that captures that wonderful late-spring-nearly-summer vibe for which May is known. I, too, love snacky drinks, but if you're worried, you could always forego the mint leaves in favor of a mint simple syrup (which would be sad, because the leaves are a lovely garnish). But all of the beverages look so yummy!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! I love the leaves, too. I think it'll be fine!

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  6. The cucumber mint martini strikes me as the kind of drink that captures that wonderful late-spring-nearly-summer vibe for which May is known. I, too, love snacky drinks, but if you're worried, you could always forego the mint leaves in favor of a mint simple syrup (which would be sad, because the leaves are a lovely garnish). But all of the beverages look so yummy!!

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  7. I love the look/recipe of the lavender collins and would run right for it, but I totally understand about the expense of it. I'm not a huge cucumber fan and can't get into the whole cucumber water trend, but it looks nice. I imagine it would be popular. Besides, if I was at the wedding, I would probably just go for the wine anyway. :) I think the frozen lemonade station sounds like a fabulous idea too!

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  8. I would totally love the cucumber mint martini!

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  9. Love the way that lavinder collins looks!!! Still I'm with you...There is such a thing as too much to accomplish and the wrong season for a certain drink. The cucumber mint martini sounds like it's your best bet!

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  10. I would drink the frozen lemonade and spike it with vodka! But I would definitely admire the pretty cocktails!

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  11. i think i would like the lavender collins :)

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  12. Ohmygosh what beautiful cocktails! The rosemary pear sounds amazing.

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