In July, we were wandering around the Old Port area of Portland Maine when we stumbled upon a shop that looked intriguing. The sandwich board on the sidewalk said Vena’s Fizz House, Natural Soda Bar & Mixology Shop. So we went in. The shop was newly opened, just that week.
The shelves were stocked with anything you might need for a fun home bar. There were interesting mixers for cocktails, glasses, shakers, swizzle sticks, straws, books, you name it.
My purchase for the day was a bottle of Jack Rudy’s Small Batch Tonic.. This elixir provides the tonic flavor without the high fructose corn syrup of commercial tonic water. You add the gin and soda water; the tonic syrup adds the requisite quinine flavoring as well as orange peel and lemongrass, giving it a refreshing citrus burst.
Finally, we got around to opening the bottle and making cocktails. I loved Howard’s verdict: “I could get used having one of these, everyday”.
If you don’t live near Vena’s Fizz House, you can order the tonic online from Jack Rudy Cocktail Company. It’s definitely worth checking out.
Small Batch Gin & Tonic
Fill a tall glass with ice. Pour in ¾ ounce of Jack Rudy’s Small Batch Tonic and 1½ ounces of your favorite gin. Add seltzer to fill the glass (about 4 ounces). Stir. Garnish with a slice of lime. Sip and enjoy!
Things went back to normal today, but for nearly a week, it was in the 80s, hardly normal for a New England spring.
Monday was one of my favorite holidays. Patriot’s Day, while significant to the entire United States, is celebrated only in Massachusetts and Maine, which was part of Massachusetts back when there were thirteen colonies. Patriot’s Day marks the beginning of the American Revolution. The actual date was April 19th 1775. The night before was when Paul Revere’s famous ride took place. Now it’s celebrated on the third Monday of April.
Here in Lexington, where I live, we celebrate in full force. I usually take the day off, and this year was no exception. The day starts with a early morning reenactment of the original skirmish. On the Lexington Green, Minuteman wait for the Redcoats (officially known as British Regulars) as they march up the main street on their way from Boston to Concord, where they planned to confiscate the militia’s store of weapons and ammunition. Later in the morning is a 5K road race, which I watch from in front of my house, vowing to be a runner “next year”. (At the same time, the better known Boston Marathon is being run in the city.)
To me, the best part of the day is in the afternoon: there’s a good old-fashioned parade. The day was a scorcher, temperatures up near 90 degrees. I walked the mile or so into the center of town because there isn’t any close parking because of all the road closures for the festivities. I made the right judgment call and went alone, leaving Bella, with her heavy fur coat, at home. It would have been too hot for her.
There are lots of Minutemen, the high school marching band, local officials, and civic groups marching. There are a few floats and civic award winners riding in top-down convertibles. To celebrate last year’s Stanley Cup win, even the head coach of the Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, and his family, who live here in town, were part of the parade. The crowd is enthusiastic and it’s fun to watch. The two highlights of this year’s parade were the L.L. Bean Bootmobile and a group of impressive military equipment from the Massachusetts Military History Museum.
The Bootmobile was especially amusing! It’s large pickup truck shaped like the famous L.L. Bean hunting boot. Apparently, L.L. Bean named Lexington the Beanest Town in America. That means we spend the most per household at L.L. Bean than anywhere else in the country. I don’t know whether we should feel proud or embarrassed. In any case, we were honored with the boot in our parade. What fun!
A refreshing cocktail was the perfect ending to the day. Inspired by Christy at Confessions of a Culinary Diva, I tried her recipe for Meyer Lemon Aide. Fresh-squeezed Meyer lemon juice mixed with gin and a rosemary-bay infused simple syrup was a great pick-me-up. I highly recommend it. And cheers to you, Christy!
The recent summer preview has passed, and spring is back for a while. I’ll take it.