After having spent the last week loafing in front of the fire and squatting on my haunches under the Christmas tree, rifling through unwrapped presents for chocolates, I’m back in Brooklyn, ready to start a new year.
And what a year it will be.
For those of you who might not follow my exploits on Instagram, you may not have heard through the internet grapevine that we’re expecting a very tiny addition to our very tiny apartment.
Yes, indeed. Coming to a New York City apartment near you there with be, god-willing, another tiny beating heart, not to mention a pair of itty hands and feet and a big ol’ brain. We’re having a real live baby. No cheap thrills around these tea leaves.
And oh, how we’ve been celebrating.
Except celebrating without popping a bottle of bubbly is, admittedly, just a bit of a let down. Mocktails is a hateful word for anyone with a brain in her head, so let’s agree to call this a non-alcoholic cocktail and get on with it.
My sister Cait and I worked out the proportions for a drink that’s graciously free of any of the cloying sweet stuff that’s usually served in the place of alcohol. (We’ll talk another time about the cruelty that is Christmas when one can neither indulge in a spirited drink, nor a creamy glass of egg nog).
Cait and I made a batch of rosemary infused simple syrup and used tart cherry juice and lime to cut the sweetness. This is a drink that’s perfect for sipping. We’re calling it the Cherry Tree (here’s Joanie singing, in case you need a musical interlude after all this good news).
Cherry Tree Cocktail (non-alcoholic for the abstainers among us)
1 ounce tart cherry juice
juice of 1/2 a lime (roughly 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon rosemary simple syrup
club soda (enough to fill the glass)
3 large sprigs rosemary, destemmed
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons sugar
The amount you make depends on the number of drinks you plan to serve. I used roughly 1/2 cup of water (enough for about three cocktails). Combine the leaves of at least 3 large stalks of rosemary with water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and add three tablespoons sugar (most simple syrup recipes call for equal parts water and sugar. I find this makes a syrup that’s too sweet, but…chacun à son goût. Lower the heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Let simmer until the syrup has a strong rosemary flavor.
For the cocktail:
Combine tart cherry juice, lime juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until cool, then strain into a glass, top off with club soda and garnish with a rosemary sprig. If you’re not “with child” add equal parts tequila and cherry juice before topping with soda water. The tequila brings out the woodsy notes of the rosemary… or so I’m told.
For the curious: I can’t find the exact flutes, but these champagne flutes are similar to the ones that we have (a wedding gift). I used R.W. Knudsen’s ‘Just Tart Cherry‘ juice and Q Club Soda to make the cocktails. Here’s a cocktail shaker that’s similar to the one we use, in case you’re in the market (though a good swirl in a glass with ice would also do the trick). This bottle opener/sealer is perfect for preserving bubbly things after single-serving pours.