An Oregon Gal’s guide to Palm Springs: AKA Snowbirding

 

photo cred: Amber Nobe

photo cred: Amber Nobe

A few weeks before Christmas I randomly texted two of my college roommates and said “Do you want to go to Palm Springs in January?”  The answer was an overwhelming yes. Though we all adore living in the Pacific Northwest (yes, we are the crazies who actually kind of like the rain) we were all ready for a little burst of sunshine and a break from reality. So we searched for some flights, booked ourselves a condo and headed south for a Vitamin D infused weekend.

Obligatory PDX Carpet shot

Obligatory PDX Carpet shot

Reading and Tomato Juice on the flight

Reading and Tomato Juice on the flight

 

Amber ready to take CA by storm

Amber ready to take CA by storm

After waiting in the worlds slowest rental car line, we were ready to take California by storm. We drove around for a few minutes getting the lay of the land ( Palm Springs is ridiculously easy to navigate, FYI) and after getting a feel for where we were staying and what was in our neighborhood we ventured out for food. My only real requirement of the weekend was that we stop at In-N-Out burger… I had never been before, and getting a “double double animal style” seemed like the perfect way to kick off a girls weekend.  There isn’t actually an In-N-Out in Palm Springs Proper, so we did have to drive about 20 minutes… (we later discovered that there is an In-N-Out right next to our destination for the next day… oh well.) It was everything I dreamed it would be.
My first ever "Double Double Animal Style"

My first ever “Double Double Animal Style”

Since we still had a few hours to kill before checking into our condo, we decided to ride the Aerial Tramway, which was awesome/ terrifying.  We stopped at the Visitors center first (because it’s a cool building, and also we wanted commemorative shot glasses) and then headed towards the Mountain (or as I referred to it all weekend “Mordor” I know I know, technically it should’ve been Mount Doom.. but it’s way more fun to say “On to Mordor!” as you thrust your fist into the air… ) At first you sort of see something that looks like power lines and you think to yourself “definitely power lines, because they go straight up the mountain” and then you realize, that no, this is in-fact, the tram and you may or may not be riding to your death. (I mean you know in the back of your mind that it is safe, BUT….) We did survive the ascent to the top of the mountain, but were very ready for cocktails upon our arrival. Thankfully there is a restaurant and full bar at the top, so we were in luck. Moscow Mules, and a little girl time at the top of the mountain were just what we needed. (FYI, the tram, well it swings… fairly aggressively… and for someone who grew up suffering from motion sickness, I had a few fleeting thoughts of  “should I have grabbed the puke bag from the seat pocket on the airplane?”) This being a warm winter getaway, we were not equipped to go hiking (and it was only 38 degrees at the top.) but there were lots of great trails we most definetly would have explored had it been warmer and earlier in the day. The views are incredible, and we had a great time bopping around the top of the mountain for an hour or so.

We arrived in Palm Springs on a Thursday, and we were delighted to discover that the Palm Springs Art Museum offers complimentary admission on Thursday nights! Yay! So after we checked into our condo and changed our clothes we ventured out into the evening for a little culture. We browsed the museum for about an hour and a half, and the i-phone photo shoot that took place was pretty epic. It was fun to see some art and be a little silly. Also there was an amazing glass exhibit happening, and though we weren’t allowed to take pictures, the work was really stunning.
At this point we decided to venture out in search of food, and though some of us were really on the hunt for a “Crisp salad” we ended up wandering into this outdoor Greek restaurant. After being seated for about 30 seconds, we discovered that the waiter was actually our kindred spirit, because he took one look at us, and suggested we order a pitcher of sangria, a platter of various dips, a tray of flaming cheese, and kebabs with lemon potatoes. ITS LIKE HE WAS INSIDE OUR HEADS! What more could we ever want in a meal? It was late, and outside, so there are sadly no real photos of this meal, but the flaming cheese will live on forever in our memories and in our hearts.
These two, being all cute

these two, being all cute

Me, Being all Awkward

me, being all awkward

Our condo was a little quirky, but overall it was pretty perfect for us. (our only real complaint was that the only mirror was in the bathroom… which is a challenge for 3 ladies who like to be fancy.) Originally we thought we would eat in a lot more, however once we arrived we decided to splurge, and our only real “cooking” involved mixing cocktails. The condo itself was in an ideal location, walking distance to all the restaurants we were interested in, had some great local shops close by, and the best part was that it was right above a coffee shop that served Stumptown! It was the perfect level of hipster, and all felt right at home having bearded tattooed men make us coffee every morning. The best part was that at 4PM the coffee shop turns into a wine/cheese/ charcuterie bar… oh yeah, and did I mention it’s also connected to a Tiki bar? Location Jackpot. It was great to wander downstairs to grab coffee before heading pool-side, and was a great place to spend happy hour in the evening.
We had a private patio, and there weren’t tons of other people staying on site, so we basically had the pool to ourselves most of the time. Overall, I would recommend staying at The Twist… though it had its own quirks and charms, it was kind of ideal for our girls getaway.
Friday morning we decided to sleep in and then head to Brunch at Cheeky’s. Everyone we had talked to/ all the blogs we had read said this was a must stop, and we figured the brunch lines would be shorter on Friday morning. We didn’t have to wait at all, and our biggest problem was trying to decide what to order! We of course shared the bacon flight (why don’t more restaurants do this?) and after much deliberation we each ended up deciding on an amazing brunch option. My only minor disappointment was that the blood orange mimosa was a bit on the small side… but lets be honest, I’m a sucker for mimosas of all varieties, and I’m also a sucker for blood oranges, and overall it was delicious.  (though those of us who ordered mimosas were jealous that the Bloody Mary’s were served in this awesome giant boot)
coco with her bloody mary boot

coco with her bloody mary boot

Bacon Flight

bacon flight

decisions decisions

decisions decisions

breakfast

breakfast

tiny mimosas giant bloody mary

tiny mimosas giant bloody mary

After brunch we meandered the streets, stopping in at a few of the vintage shops and lusting over all the Mid-century Modern inspired furniture. We each found some amazing vintage necklaces at a cool little boutique called Bon Vivant and we also admired their amazing collection of Vases and interesting MCM pieces.  The two men who owned the store were so sweet, and very helpful, and also very tolerant of us trying to decide which necklaces to get as we “ooohed” and “ahhhhhhed” and tried on countless pieces. I found this amazing brass cuff necklace that I was instantly drawn to, and upon polling my friends it was decided that “yes it was in fact SO my style!”
bon vivant

bon vivant

Next up we mosied back towards our place ( stopped back at Ernest for iced coffee) and then headed out towards Cabazon to see the Dinos. It seemed a little too weird and kitschy to pass up, plus several years ago on one of our last girls weekends we ended up taking a series of epic photo-booth photos that clearly state “We Dig Dinos”  So it seemed like a must stop. We didn’t actually go into the museum, but we did take quite a few pictures, and had a pretty awesome time.
We (ok, mostly I) wanted to stop at Hadley’s Fruit Stand to get a date milkshake, and also stock up on tourist souvenirs for my almost 3 year old niece, who just happens to be named Hadley.  I’d always heard stories about my parents stopping at Hadley’s to get date milkshakes before my brother and I were born, so it was a little nostalgia pit stop.  But it was only about a 15 minute drive, and we got to drive out past the iconic windmills.  And lets just take a moment to talk about the windmills. I know we have them in the PNW as well, but there is something so graceful about seeing all the windmills out in the dessert against the backdrop of the mountain. They really were beautiful.  (I have no photos besides a few snapped from the back seat of a moving car…)
date shakes at hadley's

date shakes at hadley’s

When we got back to the condo we decided to host our own happy hour down by the pool. We mixed cocktails in plastic water bottles, rolled up our pants and sat with our feet in the hot tub. This was maybe the most perfect part about our vacation, 3 girlfriends sitting around chatting and laughing. I know it feels really cliche to say something like “we picked up right where we left of” or “it felt like no time had passed” but it was just so refreshing to laugh at inside jokes, to be completely unfiltered, to share stories and spastically dance around.  These are the women I shared my first apartment with, the women who bribed me to clean up my office space by buying me an R2D2 glue stick. These are the women would read Harry Potter out loud to me on Sunday mornings when we were hungover (because I hadn’t read them, which was a requirement for living in the apartment… a technicality which I avoided since I was the first one to move in.)
This is the part of the trip when we realized that we should’ve hired a photographer, or brought one of the significant others along… because its really really hard to take good group selfies, and all three of us are infamous for making “puppycat” faces… what is a puppycat face you might ask? well just look through most of our photos… We did ask a few random strangers/ waiters/ passerbyers to take out picture, however, you don’t want to be the annoying group who hands a stranger 3 cell phones and makes them take nine billion photos… So its still undetermined if we got a really good group shot… but we tried our hardest.
For Dinner on Friday night we went to Workshop: Kitchen + Bar.   we were drawn in by the industrial look and also by a cocktail called “The Palm Springer” which promised to be tangy and sweet like an ex-lover’s kiss without all the residual awkwardness.  My new life goal is officially to write awesome cocktail descriptions for cool restaurants (I know, dream big!) (also, side note… the only picture that my father liked on instagram from my entire trip, was the picture I posted of the description of this cocktail. Dad obviously gets bonus creeper points. It’s ok, because he is really awesome.) We shared these amazing vegetable filled enchiladas with green sauce and an egg on top, Duck confit pizza,  fries (cooked in duck fat, duh) , and some sort of delicious salad. I really cannot say enough good things about the enchiliadas and the pizza (for weeks now my girlfriends and I have been texting “remember that duck pizza?” YUM!) But for me, the real star of the meal was the butter. I know! I mean, I’ve always loved butter, but sort of went through this conversion to olive oil snobbery, so I didn’t use butter for a really long time, and at home almost always use olive oil even though I really do love butter, but THIS BUTTER! It was filled with toasted cumin and paprika, and all of these wonderful warm earthy spices, and I literally considered just eating the butter after all the bread was gone, but was worried my friends would yell at me (though by now, they understand that this is not atypical behavior for me, so they probably would have just rolled their eyes and started telling stories about one of my weird/ embarrassing food moments) Anyway… the duck pizza was amazing… but seriously, the butter, you want to go to there.
palm springer

palm springer

these two at dinner

these two at dinner

duck confit pizza and veggie enchiladas

duck confit pizza and veggie enchiladas

drinks

drinks

for reals, this butter

for reals, this butter

puppycat face

puppycat face

Next we walked down the street to Birba for a nightcap. At this point, I got completely distracted by this rather handsome French Bulldog who was sitting at the bar (no its not a metaphor… there really was dog at the bar) and after about 45 minutes of me making intense and very creepy eye contact with dog the owner finally brought him over and was like “oh I think Frankie wants to meet you!” In reality he was probably thinking “who is this psycho lady who is staring down my dog and kinda making buggy eyes?” My one pet hating friend was not amused by this entire experience, but I was missing #trollbaby just a little bit, and this weird little bat dog at the bar was a perfect distraction.
scoundrel... like han solo

scoundrel… like han solo

Saturday was mostly spent lounging by the pool, trying to take group selfies, and refusing to acknowledge that it was the last day of vacation. We had a late lunch at the Colony Palms, which included the best Old Fashioned I’ve ever had (it had smoked rosemary!) , an amazing shrimp cocktail, and the most perfect “Salad” that has ever existed called “Skirts on Fire” (Its a steak salad… but it comes with a quesadilla covered in bbq sauce… WHAT???? I Know. Its genius. Because its called a salad, but really its the quesadilla of your dreams with an awesome salad next to it… still kicking myself for not ordering this… I ordered the Southwestern Green salad, and it was good… but it was not the Skirts on Fire.)
We also spent about 30 seconds in the parking lot of The Ace... I mean, we hail from the land of Hipsters, BUT this was  a little too much. We snapped a quick photo and ran away pretty quickly. Hipster overload… (who knew it was even possible? It is.)
a for amber

a for amber

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The evening was spent back at Ernest and Bootlegger Tiki.… Hipster music, charcuterie, sparkling wine, and tiki drinks for all!  (I would highly reccomend the Pod Thai, or of course the dangerously delicious cocktail for two that comes in a giant skull mug, and is, in fact, on fire.)
And that mostly concludes our 3 day antics in Palm Springs. Sadly we ran out of time/ motivation to see the giant Marilyn Monroe statue, and we didn’t get to see much of the famous architecture…but now that we know our way around, I have a feeling it’s only a matter of time before we all head back to sunny Palm Springs for another winter getaway.
all packed up and ready to head home

all packed up and ready to head home

last attempt at a group selfie before hitting the road

last attempt at a group selfie before hitting the road

adding essential oils to our pre-flight drinks

adding essential oils to our pre-flight drinks, you know for health and things

Where to Stay: The Twist
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It’s too hot for this…

You guys. It’s 100 degrees outside. My head tells me I should be writing, but my heart says that really I should be filling up Toby’s kiddie pool, making a giant icy cocktail and laying in front of the AC. I promise I will write about adventures and things like salsa verde in the upcoming days… But in the meantime, stay cool, get off your computer and, most importantly, make sure you have enough ice to make yourself a cocktail.

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Watermelon sparklers and a shout out to fake summer.

 

watermelon juice

Since real summer starts tomorrow, let me just give a quick shout out to this  fake summer we’ve been having in Oregon. I’m still a little confused by what month it actually is, and why there has been this golden sphere hanging in the sky over the past few weeks producing 80-degree, but I will take it! We’ve had a few “typical” June-ish days this month and on one of them my mom was like “OH MY GOD IT FEELS LIKE WINTER!!!!” I stopped and said “no, actually, it feels like June.” Maybe just because the last few springs have felt a little extra long, or because as Oregonians we really are not used to any sort of consistent sunshine until after July…but either way, I’m not complaining! My tomato plants are happy, I have something resembling a tan, and I have been pretty much eating my body weight in watermelon. Tonight’s pre-dinner consisted of me leaning over the kitchen sink as I took a huge bite of melon and slurped the juice to keep it from running down my face and arms. It was pretty glorious. Thank you fake summer… you are kind of ok.

Back in October when I was researching which juicer I should buy, I was focused mainly on leafy greens. I had visions of juicing kale and spinach, and chard, and beets, and pretty much everything earthy (which I did.) but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I started to think about the summer juicing potential. Really, I wasn’t being narrow minded when I purchased my juicer, more ,I was living in the moment and trying to embrace the whole seasonal eating thing. =) (at least that is what I’m telling myself.) So last week when it finally dawned on me that watermelon + juicer= happiness and summer bliss, I was pretty stoked. And really, why had I not thought of it before? I know one of the dangers with at home juicing is sugar… you juice all the sugary fruits in all the land and then chug them, (because they are delicious) So I do appreciate that fruit juice should be consumed in moderation… but just stop for a minute and think about all the cocktail potential.

Even if cocktails aren’t your thing, Agua Fresca has already established itself as a seasonal staple on my back patio. Sort of….  Upon looking up Agua Fresca recipes I’ve found essentially ALL of them include super sweet fruits, sugar, and water… This is where I’m going to rant about sugar a little bit.  No, I’m not one of those crazy no sugar in anything ever, people. In fact, I had a raspberry brownie for lunch today, I put sugar in my coffee every morning, and I think that there is a time and a place for sugar (like gumdrops, hello.) That being said, just about every time I try to bake something sweet I have to run to the store, because for some reason I never seem to have sugar in my pantry… I just don’t use it that often (Sugar scrub, mojitos, lemon curd… these are the only thing that I make on a semi-regular basis that actually require sugar.)  I do try to read labels and make a conscious effort to try and cut back on sugar in processed foods… it just seems unnecessary a lot of the time, but I try not to get all nutty about it…BUT it absolutely boggles my mind as to why you need to add additional sugar to a refreshing summer fruit drink! When was the last time you sprinkled sugar over a slice of watermelon? The answer is never. (salt on the other hand… is there anything better at a picnic than I giant wedge of watermelon lightly sprinkled with Jacobsen Sea Salt? No, there isn’t. Seriously, try it with the pinot blanc salt… game changer!)  Don’t even get me started with honeydew melon… I mean for reals… you add sugar to that? It makes my teeth hurt just thinking about it.

SO I guess technically what I’ve been drinking on the patio is not Agua Fresca… it’s better. (I’m not about to call this here concoction sugar free agua fresca… doesn’t that just sound like an aspartame filled powdery diet drink mix or something? … Ok I’ll hop off the snarky train now… BUT really, if you even think about putting more sugar with your honeydew melon, just know that I am judging you.)

 

Lately I’ve been making a strawberry/watermelon “spritzer” sometimes there is vodka in it… sometimes not. (for example, when I take it to work… NO vodka. ) It’s not very often that Oregon strawberry season overlaps with watermelon season, and it’s a shame because this combo is fantastic.   Throw some mint, lime, strawberries and 1/4 of a watermelon in your juicer or blender and out comes this sweet nectar of the gods. You can drink it straight, add some sparkling water, or one of my favorite things to do is mix it with a Cucumber Dry Soda (scrumptious.)

 

Mint

watermelon strawberry

 

phonto-6

 

watermelon juice

Other ideas/ variations

  • Substitute Basil, cilantro, or lavender for the mint
  • Try with a cucumber (or some other delicious thing) instead of strawberries
  • Make into popsicles
  • freeze in ice cube trays to add to sparkling water
  • Add it to lemonade
  • Mix with any variety of booze to come up with a delicious cocktail.
  • blend it with coconut water

 

Get creative!

Anchors Away: An engagement Party for the Ages

At long last, I have a new computer, my internet is working, and I finally figured out how to install Word onto my Mac (giant learning curve/ why are things so fancy?)

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Earlier this spring my BFF got engaged. It’s a little bit Sex and the Cityesque, as they have been dating for roughly seven years, and no one really expected Jason to pop the question. Well kudos to Jason, because he planned a surprise engagement in Thailand, and the wedding planning is now commencing. Kudos to Amber, who has decided that after all the weddings we have attended/ been in/ helped with, that she A) is not having a bridal party, and B) is not asking any of her friends to help with the planning execution of the event.  (what are we real grown ups or something?) *Side note, I planned weddings for a living, and I was absolutely ecstatic to be in/ help execute all the weddings of my friends that I have been in and helped execute. That being said, I am also ecstatic to know that come next August, I will have a mini-reunion with all of my college friends and will not be responsible for anything besides tackling anyone who might try to make an awkward/inappropriate toast at the wedding. Mainly, because I volunteered for that duty, because if anyone is going to be awkward, it might as well be me tackling them.

Anyway, the point to this story, is that since I am not in the wedding, nor will I be asked to help with it, I figured the least I could do was throw a beautiful engagement party celebrating my friends. The theme was easy peasy  (actually the Theme was “They are Tying the Knot”  but it was easy peasy for me to come up with… Jason owns a sail boat… Amber likes to sail on it. Done.) and everything else somewhat fell into place. I have been working a ton of hours lately, so thankfully I had a little bit of help getting the yard and garden in order,  My mother helped me make the table runner and napkins, my dear friend Janet made the granola for the parfait cups, and Laura swooped in from Seattle for the weekend, and helped me run errands, cut up fruit, and entertain the dog whilst I ran around like a crazy person putting the last minute details together.  I couldn’t have been happier with the results. I had this vision in my head of how I wanted everything to look, but most of my DIY projects usually end up slightly south of that vision. Maybe I’m getting better at crafting/ maybe I’m starting to lower my expectations, but everything turned out beautifully!

So here is to Amber and Jason. Thank You for letting me throw a party in your honor.  Thanks for making the trek out to McMinnville, And thank you for helping me drink the last bottle of prosecco. And Jason, thank you for not getting mad when I accidentally tried to make out with your fiancée during a very awkward end of party photo shoot.

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The Stripy Straws

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The Bubbly Drinks

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The Fruit Skewers with Raspberry Berets

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The Lemon Curd Parfait Cups

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The Bride & Groom

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The Table Spread

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The Lemonade Jars

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The Lemonade

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Anchors Away

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The Menu

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Napkins and Things

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Flowers and Table Scape

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Wild Flowers Tamed

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The Pre Party Scene

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A and J

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Greens Number 1/ Sparkle Squad

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Look, Boys came too

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The Katy and Katie Show

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All the Things

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Guest of Honor and Hostess

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The Far away buddies

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Matching Ladies

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Then this happened…

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Bunting!

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We really like each other

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Cause we are besties

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and we accidentally almost made out, so then we laughed and cried

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But then we got this precious photo, so it was all worth it.

Birthday traditions

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28 years ago today, I was harvested from my mother’s womb ( I say harvested because I was a C section baby, and my birthday was picked off a calendar, they opened her up & out I was pulled… Is that technically a birth? I was picked like a ripe cherry… ) I’m actually eternally grateful to my parents for picking the 21st as the day I would be extracted into the world… A good odd numbered day, the summer solstice, and longest day of the year, they clearly knew what they were doing.

Oddly enough I do feel a fairly deep connection with the solstice. Nothing pagan or anything (don’t freak out mom) I always do sun salutations on my birthday that correspond with the number of years I am, and it seems even more meaningful to celebrate this tradition on the solstice.

Over the past few years I’ve come up with some other birthday rules/ traditions that I would highly suggest following. Or you, know, just find and follow your own bliss.

1) indulge a little (sometimes a lot) I always take myself shopping for my birthday. I know what I like and what I want/ need and it feels nice to splurge. Plus it’s a good time of year to get some necessities ( summer sandals, shorts, new makeup. etc.) it’s true that this year I might have gone a little overboard, which is always the danger. I hadn’t been shopping in a while and truth be told I’d probably be better off splurging on smaller items once a month than an epic day long birthday shopping spree… But a least I’m great a scoping out bargains.

Two things I ALWAYS buy myself for my birthday are alcohol and lingerie ( which sounds kind of like a scandalous combination… If only that were my life!) you always need a good bottle of booze around, and as for the other, even if I don’t have anyone in my life who appreciates the lingerie ( minus the dog, who would probably enjoy munching on it) it makes me feel sexy and confidant, and that is half the battle right there. Even if no one knows what I’m wearing in the privacy of my own home ( well ok, I guess everyone knows now…) I think every woman should buy herself something that makes her feel sexy and pretty, even if there is no one else to appreciate it. Don’t get me wrong, there are still a lot of evenings spent in sweat pants. But it’s nice to have options. Pretty options. PLUS I really do need to restock on unmentionables every year because my troll pet tends to eat all the cute skivvies ( I’ve tried to feed him the ugly granny panties, and he is un-interested… Which in itself should probably be a sign. But come on, we a have those underwear for running, or whatever, and inevitably they will be the underwear you happen to be wearing on the day you get hit by a bus or get your skirt tucked into your underwear… And it will be embarrassing and traumatic, and you will think ” why do I even own this tragic pair of underwear in the first place” and the answer to that is: it is really really uncomfortable to teach/ take a yoga class in cute/ sexy underwear. Either way, Toby will not eat the ugly ones, even if they are left on the bathroom floor… However he will eat anything remotely lacy… Pervert). Anyway, what I’m getting at, is that is usually a good idea to buy yourself new underwear once a year anyway, and why not spice it up a bit for good measure?

2) have low expectations. Birthdays are birthdays and they come and go, and people forget, and the world doesn’t stop. I think it’s important to do something special for yourself, ad maybe plan something with friends, but overall I’m done with the expectations, and so the day always turns out to be just perfect. I usually plan a dinner or something with friends either before or after the actual day, so the day itself can just be lazy and spontaneous. ( though this year I did a pre dinner with one group of friends, and real dinner with another, and it was just delightful… Minus the birthday hat that was forced upon me by the restaurant staff… I mean it was fine, but it was absolutely against my will.)

3) eat whatever the hell you want. Today for breakfast I made a tower of meat & cheese. Enough said. ( especially if there is a foam hat involved… You earned it!)

There are other tried and true birthday rules and traditions that I have, but I’m full of food and wine, I am writing this from my phone, and I have to get up and go back to work tomorrow. So instead, I will say goodnight, and spend the last few minutes of the solstice out basking in the moonlight, sans birthday crown. 🙂

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Rhubarb Rosemary Gin and Tonics

 

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One of the most fun things about my house, is discovering the things that are coming up in the garden. This is my first spring here, so there are a number of surprises. One of my favorite things thus far, has been the two huge rhubarb plants in the back yard. I have no idea how old they are, and if they have a story (I’m sure they do, but it isn’t mine) and I’ve spent the last few weeks, harvesting, and prepping the rhubarb for some delicious thing. It isn’t the “best” rhubarb in the world, the stalks are a little gangly and woody, and they are mostly green-ish, but I still managed to get quite a harvest, and have put quite a bit in the freezer for future jams, bread, and pies.

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Yesterday I was feeling like I needed a domestic project though, and so I wandered out to the garden to see if there was anything interesting to harvest. I ended up picking a handful of rhubarb, and immediately came inside to start on a simple syrup. I wanted to create something fresh, and herbal, and decided that rosemary would pair wonderfully with the tartness of the rhubarb. I tend to lean away from using rosemary in conventional ways, because the flavor can be really overpowering, and generally speaking I think it gets overused… but give me a rosemary pairing that is a little outside of the box, and I’m all over it (rosemary thyme sugar cookies are my favorite things on the planet). Rhubarb rosemary gin and tonic anyone?

My  favorite part (or one of my favorite parts)  of my new job is playing bar tender, and coming up with new and unusual cocktails that have a fresh market flair to them. The lemon-basil vodka tonics have been a smashing success, and have a permanent home on the menu, and the Cucumber rosemary gin and tonics have had great reviews as well… Now if only the summer weather would stick around. Hello Oregon, we are ready for the refreshing cocktails!

As I simmered the rhubarb with sugar, water, rosemary and lemon I started to scheme all the tasty things I could do with the concoction. My immediate thought was of course the gin and tonic (because it sounds delicious, right?) but there was also a bottle of Prosecco in my fridge staring me down, and what better to pair with a bit of bubbles than a wonderfully pink and herbaceous syrup? (I’m actually drinking this right now, hello-wine Wednesday! its fabulous. I don’t usually drink in the middle of the day, but I had to take some photos for this post, and when in Rome/ when it is your weekend you drink the rhubarb rosemary bubbles for lunch).

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For those of you who have not cooked with rhubarb, it disintegrates into a stringy mush of swamp water fairly quickly. Don’t let this deter you… the end product is totally worth it. Once the syrup was fully infused with the rhubarb and rosemary flavor, I strained off solids, and the result was a beautiful pale pink liquid. No more swamp water, hello cocktail possibilities. (plus the rhubarb mush is totally delicious, and I would highly recommend eating it by the spoonful, spreading it on toast, or putting it in a crepe.)

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I’m totally obsessed with the blush color of the syrup, something about it just makes me feel very lady like… perfect for brunches, bridal showers, or just a Wednesday afternoon. The party-thrower/ hostess in me wanted to add a little more flair to the cocktails, so I froze some rosemary in my ice cubes. It is so simple, and presents amazingly, and can be done with any herb or edible flower. I love adding mint or lavender to ice cubes for lemonade, and borage blossoms and rose petals make a beautiful addition to any punch.

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Rhubarb Rosemary Simple Syrup:
Equal parts sugar and water (I used 2 cups of each)
roughly two cups of diced rhubarb
juice from 1/2 a lemon
4-5 small sprigs of rosemary.

Combine water, sugar, rosemary, rhubarb and lemon juice in a sauce pan. Slowly bring to a boil, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Strain out solids and save for some delicious snack.

I’d love to see what other delicious ideas people have for this syrup, and highly encourage you to share them here!

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Rhubarb Rosemary Gin and tonic:

2 oz gin (I used Ransom gin, my absolute favorite)
1 oz rhubarb rosemary simple syrup
tonic water to taste
garnish with lime wedge & sprig of rosemary.

Rhubarb Rosemary Prosecco Sparkler
1-2 oz of rhubarb rosemary simple syrup (or to taste)
top off with prosecco & a rosemary garnish.