I’m suffering from serious vacation withdrawal. The good news is that it’s absolutely gorgeous in Portland right now and I can sit in my backyard with a beer and a book and pretend I’m still in the Caribbean (kind of). And, in my travels, I discovered two delicious things that I can’t wait to indulge in again, this time on domestic soil.
1. A Mojito Royale. All the minty goodness of a rum-filled mojito…copiously topped with Champagne. Yes please!
Mojito Royale from the Rainbow Club in Grand Case, St Martin
2. Johnny Cakes. How have I never eaten these before?? They are the stuff dreams are made of!
Shrimp Skewer and Johnny Cakes, Talk of the Town, Grand Case, St. Martin
I love having a signature cocktail when I throw a party. Last year at my honey-themed birthday party I had a station set up where guests could make a Honey Badger (St. Germain, honey syrup and sparkling wine). So when I hosted my harvest-themed dinner party, I decided to come up with something fun to drink besides wine.
Since I had just made my own home-pressed apple cider, I used that as a base. I heated it up with some mulling spices to give it more flavor, letting it simmer for about 10 minutes with a cinnamon stick, cloves, allspice and dried orange peel. Once the spices were strained out, I contemplated my liquor cabinet.
It’s been a while since I’ve added anything to my boozy experiment, but don’t worry — I haven’t forgotten it! I’ve got some plums that are almost ready but in the meantime, I just added some perfectly ripe pears. It’s looking quite delightful — can’t wait to get to drink it! (Rumtopf is traditionally eaten around Christmas, so thankfully I don’t have much longer to go.)
Did you catch a hint of John Irving in that title? If you did, we must be kindred spirits. The Cider House Rules is one of my favorite books, and every time I started typing anything about cider, it kept popping into my head. I couldn’t shake it.
Anyways, if it were required of me to make rules for a cider press party, it would be a simple task.
Buy apples (basically so many apples that it’s overwhelming)
Invite friends (think like Tom Sawyer, more people=less work for you!)
Make good food (this way your friends can’t blame you when they feel used)
Spend the afternoon drinking beer and making delicious fresh-pressed cider
It’s that easy! And, when you see all of the glorious fresh cider come pouring out, it’s also pretty damn exciting.
Here’s some scenes from my first cider press party, which took place the weekend before Halloween.