Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Snake Baby

There is an unwritten rule, drinks are not served at baby showers; unless you happen to be my group of friends.   No offense to the genre of party that is a shower, but it is called a shower and not a party.  Showers are duty, not recreation, hence the lack of social lubricant. Not that I’m bitter about it but potato salad, finger sandwiches, iced tea and silly games do not a party make. When my friends started divvying up the dishes for an upcoming shower we were all co-hosting I was awarded the “signature cocktail.”  What the hell?  Not even just a few bottles of Vinho Verde; these ladies were going for a signature cocktail?  Bold move.  No arguments here, just confusion.

I’m not drink crafty.  I have about a dozen cocktails I can call up on command.  Many of them are as exotic and complicated as “gin and tonic” or “martini.”  Now that I had been assigned a dish, where to start?  Well, the oracle of all things entertaining,, had nothing that referenced “baby shower booze.”  I could even hear her admonishing me in the back of my head.  I pulled my ace in the hole and emailed a colleague from college who writes a very popular drink column, but she was busy with the publication of her first book.  I could have dared to have consulted the trusted resources of my aunt or step-mom but I could hear the responses:  “Why, I’ve never heard of such a thing” or  “Isn’t that different?.”  I was alone in the world for this one.  Obviously, I could have punted with a bellini or a mimosa but, not to sound jaded; those have been done to death.  Luckily, a Chinese Lunar New Year theme emerged.  Now, there was a structure to work within.

One day Jim and I were at the fancy liquor store.  By fancy, I mean it has things like shorties of St. Germain.  The average liquor store in the inner city of Atlanta does not give real estate to such frivolity.  A few dusty bottles of Campari and a White Star end cap is as poofy as it gets around these parts.  While cruising the wall of esoteric liquors I found a bottle of ginger flavored cognac.  Surely that fit bill.  After the initial taste test the bottle sat around untouched for weeks.  I was intimidated and rising to the challenge by ignoring it. 

Jim and I spent Christmas in New Orleans.  One day we were headed from a walk in Audubon Park (which included a James Carville jogging sighting!) to a show in Treme.  As kismet would have it, we had some time to kill so we stopped in to The Hotel Modern for a drink.  I saw the ginger liqueur on the bottle display.  The bartendress was holding court:  she was a little bawdy, very outspoken and she had a captive audience listening to her tales, one of which, included James Carville.  I explained my predicament to the her and she very generously and patiently helped me with my drink for the baby shower.  

I didn’t catch her name but she deserves credit.  I had to adjust the proportions for a large format but this is essentially what she gave me.  If you are making just one, the proportions of sugar and soda are increased; no clue why.  The baby shower punch bowl was certainly more exotic.  

Snake Baby Punch - Makes many

1 Bottle Domaine Canton Ginger liqueur
3/4 cup simple syrup
2 cups lime juice
1.25 cups soda water
Cilantro springs - for garnish

Combine the ginger liqueur, simple syrup and lime juice, just prior to serving top with soda water and garnish with cilantro and lime slices.

Note:  I have not tried this but I suspect infusing the cilantro into the simple syrup would elevate the drink.

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