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, MarthaStewart.com, 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.