I really love the look of a well stocked home bar, the tall shiny bottles and sparkly glassware arranged in a pretty little cluster. There is something about this display that looks and even feels indulgent, celebratory, and satisfactorily fancy. I've been scouring local antique shops looking for great bar pieces for my home bar and I've happily found some gems including a crystal ice bucket with teak and silver tongs, and colorful glass decanters. I have no trouble at all collecting beautiful things, so adding these pieces to my collection was hardly a challenge. What is a challenge though is stocking those vintage decanters with alcohol and keeping them stocked. Admittedly I've learned that we're much better at drinking the alcohol than storing it. What begin as a plan to have several different types of alcohol on hand ready to share with friends when they drop in, or to mix into our own evening cocktails has evolved into a slightly different, simpler reality. Instead of the many bottles I envisioned we now keep a single decanter filled with gin, store club soda beneath the bar set-up in our teak credenza, and keep fresh herbs, and a bowl of seasonal fruit in the kitchen which we use in varying combinations to create new concoctions.
This latest cocktail completely satisfies my winter wantings. It it brightly colored providing a much wanted visual escape from the drab grays of the cold landscape out my window. The flavors are sweet, tart, and subtly herbal; a flavor combination that makes my tastebuds hopeful for the spring months ahead dreaming of those first little tree buds and leafy stems that'll soon be emerging. The club soda adds a subtle bubble to the drink reminiscent of champagne, which of course makes the drink feel special and party worthy, even if I am only sipping it from my couch curled up in my many cold weather layers, huddled beneath a thick throw. And if you do the same I won't tell. Why not feel fabulous and cozy at the same time.
Blood Orange and Thyme Cocktail:
Makes one serving (serve in a glass that can hold 6-8 ounces).
Syrup must steep for 45 minutes for full flavor.
1 ounce Thyme Simple Syrup*
Juice from half a lemon
Juice from half a blood orange
1 ounce grapefruit juice
1.5 ounces club soda
1.5 ounces gin
*To make the Thyme Simple Syrup separate 12 individual sprigs of thyme from the larger branch. Do not remove leaves from the stems. Rinse under cold water and set aside. Boil 1 cup of water. Once water has reached a boil pour into a wide rimmed bowl and add 1/2 cup of sugar, stirring until dissolved. Add the sprigs of thyme to the sweetened water gently submerging as many of the leaves as possible, using a spoon or fork to push the sprigs down if needed. Allow to steep for 45 minutes. Remove sprigs, straining if needed. Pour one ounce into each serving glass once syrup is fully steeped. Garnish with thyme sprigs or even a brightly colored slice of blood orange, or a curled lemon peel.