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- Not in L.A. but looking for a place to drink on Cinco de Mayo? Check these bars out.
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- We turn again to Jim Meehan as he tells us what’s in a well-stocked home bar.
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- Looking for a challenge? Try these cocktails at home today from a few top bartenders.
- Some helpful tips on how to choose which Beer Festival you’re attending this summer.
Do you ever look over a cocktail recipe and think to yourself, this is too intimidating? Or maybe, I have no idea what any of these ingredients are! Sorry, I’m sure looking through this site some of you may have had those exact reactions. Although I like to challenge myself, because challenges build character or whatever, sometimes I just want something I can throw together and still think it looks delicious but wasn’t a hassle to make.
Sometimes I need to stop over-thinking these recipes.
This past weekend I challenged myself waaaaaay out of my comfort zone and went away for a few days to a food blogger conference (Big Traveling Potluck). Just so all of you cocktail bloggers know, we are under the vast umbrella that is food blogging (so if you get the chance, GO). Also, when you attend these things, chances are there isn’t another one of you around; you get to feel special in this weird, incestuous, high school-like cliquish group. I may be overstating that sentiment, but it’s close.
After getting over the initial I-don’t-know-anyone-here anxiety, people will just inherently feel pity on you and strike up a conversation. But the following day you can get over yourself and start having real conversations with people who all share the same passion and business questions you do. You can talk about blogging without wondering if the other person thinks you’re a hack or ask questions about CPCs and other acronyms that you’ve already forgotten what they stand for. What struck me as funny, was that there was this underlying anxiety everyone wanted to share: to slow down, give yourself some air to not feel in competition with the THOUSANDS of other people vying for the same internet space; but no one had any kind of answer. Regardless of what you were blogging about, there is always someone else you think you need to beat. Thinking about this sucks the fun out of creating for your site (at least for me…maybe you dig it).
After 3 days there I abruptly felt like I had been given my own answer: get out of your headspace and just make a damn drink. If your content speaks to people, they will read it regardless of whether it’s complicated or not. And if you’re not happy with what you did, don’t publish it. Move on to something else.
This conference may have been a tad more personal than some of the larger ones out there. There was probably way more crying (in public) and more opportunities to talk one-on-one with everyone, but for me, it helped clear out some mental blocks that I had been dealing with lately. I’m not seeking out challenges with any regularity, but I find that conquering one at least every once in awhile gets me motivated again.
Also, I appreciate you guys for visiting this site.
So, onto the drink. Basil and blueberries are not an uncommon flavor duo, and frankly, you could probably do an internet search and find some similar recipes. However, today this is what I felt like sharing with you all and what I wanted to make with ingredients not uncommon, and definitely readily available. I also wanted to make a good-looking garnish; I can never leave well-enough alone.
4-6 basil leaves
small handful of blueberries (like, 10 or so)
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 ounce simple syrup (more or less to taste)
3 ounces gin, Citadelle Reserve used here*
Garnish: 3 blueberries, 2 basil leaves, lemon zest
- In the bottom of a double rocks glass, muddle basil, blueberries, lemon juice and simple syrup. Add about an inch of ice, stir, and add gin. Fill glass with more crushed ice. Zest lemon on top of ice and garnish with blueberries and basil leaves on a cocktail pick. Straw is optional.
Basil and lemons florals for the initial aroma. There’s a nice sourness to this that is picked up from the lemon and blueberries. The basil is subtle, but present, adding earthy, vegetal qualities while the gin adds a kick of flavor from the barrel aging. The rich, spicy gin brings the “lightness” of the other ingredients down a bit making the cocktail more robust.
*Items generously given gratis and appear here because I like them. For more info on sponsored products, affiliate links, and gifted booze, please visit the About page.
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- And lastly, congrats to the winners of Saveur’s Best Cocktail Blogs! You guys are awesome!
- WEDNESDAY is the last day you can vote Stir & Strain for Saveur’s Best Cocktail Blog. If you’ve enjoyed the site, please vote!
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- And speaking of umbrella drinks, here’s a concise guide to TIKI for anyone new to the genre.
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- This week’s weird shaped bottle of booze comes from Russia and is shaped like a missile. No one is shocked.
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- I’ve already pre-ordered my copy of Morgenthaler’s cocktail book.
- Craft Beverage Expo is coming to San Jose in May.
- And here’s 32 Craft Distillers that should be on your radar.
- Lastly, Monday’s big news for THIS website is Stir & Strain’s nomination for Saveur’s Best Cocktail Blog! If you’re a fan, please take a moment to vote for us. We love you.
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- I’m kinda in love with all these wine products.