My husband and I went to a mixed-drink competition Memorial Day party on Monday at our neighbors' house. They are from New Jersey and way more fun than us, because no way I'd let a bunch of people drinking liquor into my house on a Monday evening. Not only did they do just that, but they put lots of tasty food out. It was like they wanted us to hang around for a good while.
Anywho, Jake and I aren't big drinkers. Jake, because he is constantly training for an Ironman and even glancing at a beer derails his whole hydration plan for weeks. I can only imagine what a little tequila would do. I don't drink very often because my children are constantly trying to confuse me with phrases like "But you promised" and "But you said we could, remember?" They are as wily as a couple of politicians, and have the persuasion and negotiation skills of a tiny defense attorney. As you can imagine, a glass of wine could easily land me signing a contract to purchase them a fancy car, or to finally install that slide from our upstairs to our kitchen. Tipsy will not end well for me.
So back to the competition. Each couple had to bring a mixed drink for party attendees to taste, then everyone voted on their favorite. Since I was making the drink, I sent Jake to the store for the ingredients (that, and I hate to go to the grocery store.) Here's a transcription of what happened next:
"Amy, bad news. There is absolutely no mint at this grocery store."
"Jake, worse news. You'll be hitting every grocery store between here and Macon before you can come home without mint."
Four grocery store trips later, Jake arrives with the mint, but now we're running about an hour late. I don't like to be late, but this drink has to fester. And speaking of festering, at this late point in the day I haven't had a shower.
We finally arrive at the party only to discover part of the competition is to DECORATE THE AREA AROUND YOUR DRINK. Short of shucking my earrings and necklace, I had nothing with which to decorate. So, I did what any of you would have done -- I pulled a few decorative items from my friends' shelves in her living room and migrated a few items from my competition's drink areas. At this point, they'd all been drinking for a while and were unlikely to notice I'd moved a giant (and heavy) horse statue to hang out by my drink. There now, looking lovely.
And guess what? Our drink won! So here's the moral: persistence pays, be prepared to improvise to carry out your vision, and make sure you know the parameters of a competition BEFORE you start drinking. And, always watch your competition for dirty tricks like stealing your stuff.
Here's that recipe, just in case y'all are looking for a tasty drink:
1/3 cups sugar (I used more - approx. ½ cup)
· 1 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves
· 2 lemons, sliced into rounds
· 1/2 small cucumber, sliced
· 2 cups fresh lemon juice ( I may or may not have had a lemon shortage and used a grapefruit. So you may or may not want to adjust to 1.5 c fresh lemon juice plus the juice of one grapefruit)
· 2 cups vodka
· 1 ½ cups water
· 3 cups ice cubes
Mix sugar, mint, and lemon slices in pitcher, mashing slightly with back of spoon. Mix in cucumber. Let stand 30 minutes. Add lemon juice, vodka, and water; stir to dissolve sugar. Chill at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Mix in ice and serve.
Whew. I feel much better now that the story has been told. Back to regular, business and writing advice for next time.
Xo-- Amy Mac