I do apologize for missing last week’s AlcoHOLidays installment. It was a combination of an expected sponsored post falling through and me falling ill Thursday afternoon. It was, however, Cinco de Mayo last Sunday and I trust I’ve “trained” you well enough to know margaritas were in order, yes? Good!
This weekend, however, we are celebrating dear old (or not so old) Mom, as this Sunday, May 12, is the US observance of Mother’s Day.
While the Mother’s Day that is celebrated as a formal holiday the second Sunday in May was started by Anna Jarvis in 1909, there was another Mother’s Day that never really got off the ground. Back in 1870, after the American Civil War, Julia Ward Howe tried to start a Mother’s Day for Peace on June 2, though it was more about stopping the wars that were robbing mothers of their husbands and sons and promoting pacifism than it was honoring the institution of motherhood.
They say Jarvis was rather disgusted by the commercialism of Mother’s Day by the time the 1920s came around. Frankly, I can see her point. I will be glad when this weekend is over so that the incessant ads for flowers, cards, jewelry, dinners out, and anything else that could remotely please a mom. Do you know that Mother’s Day is the busiest restaurant day of the year? The automatic assumption is that Mom shouldn’t have to cook on Mother’s Day and heaven forbid someone else take her place in the kitchen.
But I digress…
The funny (read as: coincidental) thing about the post-Civil War Mother’s Day is that my favorite literary mother is Ellen O’Hara, from Gone with the Wind. And indelibly printing on my memory, just as it was Scarlett’s, is that she always smelled of Lemon Verbena.
Now, as I first read GWTW when I was very young, possibly single digits-young, (and way before the Internet was commonplace in business, much less the home) my mind figured that lemon verbena must be some sort of perfume combining the scent of lemons and whateverthehell verbena was–probably a flower of some sort, I reasoned, and lavender somehow made it’s way into my mental estimation of the scent. Now, of course, I know that lemon verbena is a stand-alone plant in it’s own right, and that it smells like lemon and is used for its lemony oils, can be found in some teas, and does actually have small purple and white flowers.
Which is a very roundabout way of explaining the inspiration that went into today’s cocktail: lemon and lavender and all things lovely. Lemon and lavender are not exactly strangers to cocktails, as I’ve had a wonderful martini with those notes in the past. But I wanted less of a sweet, syrupy martini and more of a refreshing tall drink, one that would be at home on the back porch with a picnic or barbecue spread. Something that tasted like spring, and renewal–but without the bugs and dirt.
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 barspoon dried Lavender
1 tsp Rosewater
1 oz Pisco
6 oz Sparkling Lemon Soda
In the bottom of a tall glass, muddle the syrup and lavender–you don’t need to crush the flowers into oblivion, you just want them to release some of their heady oils. Add the rosewater, Pisco, and enough ice to make the glass 3/4 full and give it a few stirs with the aforementioned barspoon, then stir in the lemon soda until chilled. Because the lavender will float on the top of the drink, I suggest serving this one with a straw!
I was debating base spirits on this one between rum and vodka, briefly considered cachaca for something a little different before I was reminded of the wonderful floral notes in KAPPA Pisco and there was suddenly no more deliberating! Pisco was the perfect choice for this cocktail but for those mom’s who are still expecting, I’m willing to bet that just using a bit more of the lemon soda (mine was California Juice Company Sparkling Meyer Lemon from Cost Plus/World Market) to make up for the missing Pisco would result in a lovely, all-ages sipper. If you’re short of sparkling lemon soda, I’d say some Lemon Perrier, the juice of one lemon, and a little extra simple syrup would do the trick.
Granted, I won’t be serving this to my own mother this weekend as she doesn’t drink any alcohol and overly-floral things give her a headache. Our tradition over the last several years has been to tour the local Parade of Homes on the Saturday before Mother’s Day and then go for a late lunch/early supper somewhere. It works for us.