Monday, March 28, 2011

Suddenly it was Spring

As the clocks of Europe collectively sprung forward last night, fourteen days after those in the America had done the same, in some kind of cross-global conspiracy to subvert the scheduling of my inter-continental conference calls, it was 1 a.m., a mere sixty-one seconds after being 11.59 p.m., and suddenly it was Spring, and six months since I had written here.

And like every Saturday I found myself falling into the familiar cadence of pint pouring, glass washing, Milky Mint eating, coffee grinding and skirmishes with the bottle bins. Unlike recent Saturdays though, leaving the pub I didn’t have to wear mittens, the breeze was warm, and it felt like this time last year, March 2010 B.P. (Before Pub).

The plum blossom in my back garden early evening.
 Spring. Where Autumn is my favourite, a portrait in sepia, with its rust toned vegetables and elegant creeping twilight, Spring is slowly growing on me, its soft tangle of ice cream, swingy skirts and the colours of Mr Kipling's French Fancies.

In three days time the pub will be nine months old, and life is starting to calm down, we have a routine, processes, nine staff and time off (those last two words should be read as though they are sky-written by a SNJ-2  using Corvus oil), time off I plan to spend accompanied by Angostura Bitters and homemade cordials in the sun. I am easing back in. To life, to my masters, to cooking, to here .

I will be back later in the week, I have wild garlic, smokey whiskey, farmhouse butter, an amazing dinner I had at the SchoolhouseInishfood to wax lyrical about and time off. Cue skywriter.

In the meantime, I will be drinking cordial and bitters.

Orange and Mint Spritzers

There are so many options for flavouring homemade cordial. I plan to make a lemon and lemongrass version for mixing with gin. It probably goes without saying that the cordials would be lovely as part of a mixed drink, but are perfect on their own with soda water. Angostura bitters is truly a marvel. Its bitterness tastes like sunshine to me, likely born of summers drinking Lemon Lime and Bitters back home. Its pink hue is perfect for Spring.

Cordial Ingredients
400g caster sugar
2L boiling water
Two un-waxed oranges, chopped into rounds
Handful of mint leaves

Angostura Bitters (available at the Celtic Whiskey Shop or the Drink Store)

Soda Water, chilled (I put in the freezer)

Large Pot
Mason Jar or large sealable jug

Waiting patiently, a little wonky.

To make the cordial.
Dissolve the sugar into the boiling water in a large pot.
Bring back to the boil.
Place oranges in water and reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove from boil and allow to cool for 10 minutes or so.
Remove oranges from syrup with a slotted spoon and place with mint leaves in clean mason jar.
Pour warm cordial over the top, seal and leave in a cool (but not cold) place.
After about a week take out the oranges and mint or it will become over-extracted. (I plan to use the oranges in a cake)
Use within a month (though the sugar will likely ensure it stays fresh longer)

To make the spritzer
Coat a glass with a few drops of Angostura bitters, and top one part cordial to six or eight parts soda water and top with a mint sprig.


Kristin said...

Great to see you back on the blog!

Catherine said...

Hooray for spring! Welcome back.

'NEEN at 9 BEAN ROW said...

Thanks. It is nice to be back.

Imen McDonnell said...

I would love some of that right about now! Lovely post Neen, happy spring and welcome back xx

Aoife Mc said...

Welcome back! This spritzer looks so beautiful. Will be trying it asap.

Hester Casey - Alchemy said...

A lovely, lovely drink to toast the Springtime.

red dave said...

Great to see you back blogging

Bionic Laura said...

Welcome back to the blog. It's great to hear you have days off, I look forward to more adventures this spring and summer.

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