Earlier this week the husband eyed two pots of simple syrup bubbling on the stove, one composed of sugar, water and ginger, the other sugar, water, vanilla bean and pear, and asked suspiciously, “What’s that?” When I told him they represented components of two prosecco-based cocktails I would be mixing on Friday evening he perked up. I then had to break the bad news that he would not like one of the cocktails as it was gin based. He grimaced. Gin lover his is not. Not even a liker.
Did I cast aside the gin beverage? Absolutely not. It just meant that I had to scamper home from work this evening and mix (and drink) the Silk Road Grapefruit Martini before he arrived so I could be ready to transition to the Vanilla Pear Prosecco when he got home. How’s that for thoughtfulness? A+ for me!
This evening is a two-cocktail evening (though not a two-post evening) because, well, prosecco does not stay crisp and bubbly if left open overnight. One must be committed to the entire bottle the evening of opening. Twist my arm. Moderation, however, is somewhat required because tomorrow we tromp out to Tallman Tree Farm to cut down the Lien Family Christmas Tree (said with a Clark Griswold lisp). It is, after all, the most wonderful time of the year.
Just how big will this year’s tree be? Well, the ceiling in the living room is eleven feet tall. Or is it thirteen? The husband always cautions me that the tree must fit through the front door. I reply that if brought in trunk-first that the limbs will fold like an umbrella, thus allowing for a magnificently wide (and tall) tree to enter our sweet domain. That being said, if you come over this holiday season I would not recommend looking too closely at the front door frame as it may be a little scratched from prior trees. Nothing a little paint won’t fix! Actually, I will confess that I am considering maybe only a 7 ½-8 footer this year. There have been those years where I have teetered on a chair only to require a slightly taller ladder only to require a slightly taller, taller ladder. I have decorations aplenty, but, good grief, it’s a lot of work.
And the cat? Does he fling himself into the tree with abandon? In a word? No. Colby Jack celebrated his four year cativersary/adoptaversary with us in September. Each year he has stared with disbelief as the tree is hauled into the living room. Trees, apparently, do not belong in the house. He usually sniffs it once and that is that. Though, I do believe he enjoyed sleeping under it on year two. He does find the ornaments somewhat fascinating as they’re unwrapped, but lucky for me he does not swat them once they’re on the tree. Though, there was that small plush one, also on year two, that kept “mysteriously” ending up on the floor.
You’re probably quite thirsty by now. I will report back on the size of the tree when I share the Vanilla Pear Prosecco (which I am jazzed about), but for now let’s turn our attention to the Silk Road Grapefruit Martini, compliments of Cooks With Cocktails. How’s that for a blog name? I could be friends with them. This, like the Limoncello Vodka Collins, is a non-traditional holiday cocktail. Sometimes you just have to shake things up a bit. Though, I do think the addition of star anise and prosecco makes it holiday-worthy.
So, what did I think? I wish I could tell you that I loved it. Here’s the thing: I tried it after I put all of the ingredients together except for the prosecco and it was quite tasty. I should have stopped there. Once I added the sparkly it lost something. My recommendation would be that you mix the cocktail and taste it. Then put a snidge in a second glass and add the prosecco. If the prosecco version doesn’t float your boat, stick with the un-prosecco’d version. That’s what I’ll do next time.
Ginger infused simple syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1-2 inch chunk of fresh ginger cut into smaller chunks
FOR THE COCKTAIL
2 oz gin
4 oz grapefruit juice (about 1 whole grapefruit)
2 tsp ginger infused simple syrup
juice of half a lime
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger (I used the ginger that had floated in the simple syrup for two days)
1 star anise (I think this is really just for looks…but it is good lookin’)
top with prosecco, 3-4 oz….or not
Add all the ingredients to a small pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the mixture thickens slightly. Just until it coats the back of a spoon. About 10 – 15 mins. Turn off the heat and let it cool completely.
Store in an airtight container until you are ready to use it. Strain the syrup before you use it in a cocktail.
MAKE THE COCKTAIL
Add all the ingredients except the prosecco, into a cocktail shaker. Shake it well to combine and pour into a martini glass or other similar size cocktail glass (you’re going to need a bigger glass than a martini glass–as detailed in the photos).
Top with the prosecco (or not) and enjoy!