Winter Happy Hour

Being pregnant has not stopped me from enjoying happy hour with Pat...and Helen too! At our house it's a family affair and we do it up right. 

On weekdays after Pat gets home from work, it's nice to sit down, unwind and enjoy a cocktail (or mocktail) together. Even Helen already knows when it's time to grab a glass and sip a drink. She loves being part of the ritual and we love spending an hour or two talking and catching up on our day. 

I've been into shrubs for a while and always have a batch in the fridge for mixing with seltzer. It makes an easy mocktail that is a tiny bit more special than just sparkly water. (my recipe for Dried Fig Shrub is at the end of the post)  Pat usually enjoys a craft beer and Helen is perfectly content with her little glass of water.

Here are my essentials for a pretty cocktail hour.

A pretty cheese plate is a must. I've been exploring the varieties of locally made cheese and so far loving all of it! We've also been really into banana bread lately so a few slices of that pair perfectly with a strong cheese.

Flowers are a bonus. Right now we have a flowering tree in our front yard! What!? I think it's a camellia tree. I just snipped off a few flowering branches for an instant (and free) arrangement. You can do this with any evergreen from outside. When I lived in the city I would occasionally snip a branch or two from a neighbors tree for an easy center piece.

Glassware, silverware, plates, etc really make everything feel special. I love collecting random glassware from flea markets and thrift stores. It feels less formal and they are so inexpensive I don't worry too much about them breaking.

Happy New Year to all of you! I'm sure there is a cocktail or two in your future. Enjoy!

Dried Fig Shrub

1 Cup Dried Figs ( I use....)

1 Cup Boiling Water

1/2 Cup Sugar

3/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

Sparkling Water and Ice for Serving (or go crazy and serve this with gin or vodka!)

Chop figs and cover with boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain. Add sugar and muddle until a coarse paste forms. Cover, refrigerate and let sit for 24 hours. Push macerated fruit through a fine mesh sieve getting as much liquid out as possible. Discard solids( or put them in muffins).

Put the liquid in a mason jar and in the fridge for up to a month.

To make the drink, add a few tablespoons to a glass, top with ice and sparkling water. Enjoy!