To start, we invited our friends Laura and Scott over for mojitos. We know Laura through the community garden, so we met them at the garden and showed off our plots and talked about vegetables. Then we all came back and enjoyed Laura’s first radish harvest and other snacks. We made mojitos with Laura’s mint (my balcony mint wasn’t big enough at the time) and sat outside on the balcony.
The next week the temperatures dropped and the cooler weather called for a cozy cocktail. I found a recipe for Pendergast cocktails (bourbon, Benedictine, vermouth and bitters) and they fit the bill. They are a new favorite, more fitting for the fall and winter though under normal circumstances. Finally, last week when Naoto got home, I made us Mai Tais…real Mai Tais, not the sickly sweet ones tiki bars try to pass off as cocktails. The real version isn’t sweet at all, it’s more tart and rummy with a hint of almond. I used this Mai Tai recipe from the New York Times. There are a few different versions of “original Mai Tai recipes” but this one used both dark and light rums and it was well-balanced, so tropical and so delicious.
For the Mai Tais (and some other cocktails I’ve been researching), I made my own orgeat syrup. There are slightly more complicated recipes for making your own orgeat syrup, but most of them made too much for my use. It only lasts a couple of weeks in the refrigerator and I didn’t want to waste anything, so I found this easy orgeat recipe from Craft Cocktails at Home and tried it instead. It worked like a dream and tasted delicious. I’d like to try making my own the “hard way” with whole almonds eventually, but to start, the Craft Cocktails at Home recipe is easy experimentation.
Easy Orgeat Syrup (barely modified from Craft Cocktails at Home)
6.5 ounces plain almond milk (Pacific brand is recommended, and brand matters. See Craft Cocktails at Home for more details.)
~6 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) almond extract
1/16 teaspoon (or 4 drops) orange blossom water
Add ingredients to a jar with a tight fitting lid. It works best if the almond milk is at room temperature (as in, a new carton fresh from the grocery store) so the sugar dissolves easily. Shake vigorously to combine and dissolve the sugar. Mine kept in the refrigerator for a little over two weeks without any problems.
You can use orgeat syrup in many different cocktails. So far I’ve made Mai Tais and Japanese cocktails and I have a few more up my sleeve in July.
For now, I’m trying to dream up something festive for Independence Day on Friday.
For more Hasegawa Happy Hours, go here.