Rose-colored Glass(es)

As far as general life outlook goes, I consider myself a (realistic) optimist. I strive to find excitement, gratitude and passion to counteract stress and worry. In a way, cocktails are one source of my optimism as they bring me an outlet for creative expression and the joy of sharing a craft with others. A delicious, memorable cocktail can brighten the way I see the events of the past day and improve my outlook. Hence the happy in happy hour.

You see where this is going?

exciting cocktails = very effective rose-colored glasses

This floral creation, which substantially lifted my mood after a long workday, consists of rose elixir, brandy and Meyer lemon. The rose elixir was another exciting find at my favorite Polish grocery store (more on this in my previous post). I didn't know exactly what to expect (in other words, I was weary of drinking something that tasted like potpourri), but I was extremely intrigued. Unlike rose water, this elixir came in a reasonably sized carton and contained no artificial coloring or fragrance. Oh, and it also cost under $2.

If you don't have imported Eastern European goods easily accessible, consider using a rose syrup like this one by Monin or making your own by boiling washed rose petals, water and sugar to taste. Adjust the recipe amount based on your desired overall sweetness as these alternatives are likely to contain more sugar.

And don't worry, this cocktail definitely does not taste like drinking potpourri. The light acidity of the Meyer lemon and the soft sweetness of the brandy dominate the flavor, while the essence of rose lingers on the palette. 

The Rose-colored Glass(es)

  • 2 oz brandy
  • 2 oz rose elixir
  • 1 Meyer lemon

Cut a slice from the Meyer lemon for garnish and juice the rest into a shaker over a few ice cubes. Add the brandy and rose elixir, then shake vigorously until the shaker is frosted. Strain into a coupe glass and top with the slice you had set aside for garnish. Ideally, enjoy while singing "everything is awesome" (Lego movie reference).

Emerald Elixir

Companionship is important when you are a hobby mixologist. Companions allow you to test your creations and enable your craft with new and exciting ingredients. In one such situation, my husband, Will, surprised me with a liqueur after I finished a grueling written actuarial exam (and several months of no social life). I had been dreaming of this liqueur for months and was overjoyed to receive as part of my cocktail arsenal. Did I mention Will has excellent powers of observation (for which he is often rewarded in Valcohol)?

That liqueur was green Chartreuse - a magical herbal concoction originally created by French monks in the 1700s from over 130 different plants and flowers. You may have seen it on the menus at fancy cocktail bars and wondered what to expect from an ingredient you can't pronounce ("shar-troose"). Having tried it on its own, I've found it packs a punch of herbal, sweet and slightly bitter flavors. This means a little bit goes a long way and the price tag is more than justified for the concentrated complexity you'll get out of it. I chose to pair it with one of my favorite gins (Terroir by St. George), green apple shrub, ginger liqueur and lemon juice. The result was slightly sweet, deliciously herbal and greater than the sum of its parts.

The Emerald Elixir

  • 2 oz gin (I recommend a more complex gin - something with more than just juniper flavor)
  • 1 tbsp each of:
    • Green Chartreuse
    • Ginger liqueur
    • Lemon juice
    • Green apple shrub
  • 2 oz filtered water (alternatively, you can top this cocktail with sparkling wine after shaking the above ingredients with ice and straining into a glass)

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with a couple of ice cubes per cocktail and shake vigorously until frosted. Strain into a small stemmed glass and enjoy while discussing the awesomeness of French monks (optional).