Custom Cocktails

Robin recently moved from London to New York (I know. I hate her a little bit too.) She spent a chunk of her summer in Vancouver, though, so we were able to celebrate her birthday together (something we haven't been able to do for at least the last three years - we couldn't actually remember the last time we celebrated together because we are old and forgetful.)

Robin is a special kind of friend. We met when we were seven years old and even though we've both spent years living in different countries, we're as close today as we were when we were fourteen years old and spent our weekends watching Anne of Green Gables marathons and mourning our lack of love lives (which was possibly caused by things like, I don't know, Anne of Green Gables marathons?)

I wanted to find the perfect gift for her but my limited budget and her lack of suitcase space ruled out buying a gift. So I donned my thinking cap and came up with the idea to design a cocktail in her honour.

Robin is a bit of a lush (I say that with love) and we already had plans to celebrate her birthday with a cheese party on my patio. Serving a Robin-specific cocktail felt like the perfect way to let her know that I love her and I wanted her birthday to be special.

The easy part was choosing the booze. Robin is a fan of vodka, and she's been known to do her fair share of tequila shots, but I chose gin because it's a drink we both enjoy.

The next step was picking the accent flavours. Robin is not a fan of sweet drinks so I wanted to add a savoury element. I decided to make a rosemary simple syrup to play up the gin and add an herbal twist. Robin has beautiful blonde hair and a sunny smile so lemons felt like an obvious choice (and the perfect accompaniment to the rosemary.)

And so, the Lemon Dee was born. (Dee is her nickname. Robin is just her blog name. Anonymity and all that.) I know I'm not the first person to mix booze with other things to make tasty concoctions. And it's entirely possible that a gin / lemon / rosemary drink already exists and I've just "invented" it (emphasis on the quotation marks.) But it was a fun way to celebrate my dear friend so I'm calling it a birthday gift success. The weather was perfect for an evening on the patio. We drank Lemon Dees and ate copious amounts of cheese and celebrated the birthday of my oldest friend. It was a great night and something I'm holding onto now that she is back in New York and summer is long gone.

The Lemon Dee

Gin (I used Bombay)
Rosemary simple syrup
Soda water
Fresh lemons

Pour 1 ounce gin, 1 ounce limoncello, and 1/2 - 1 ounce rosemary simple syrup over ice in tall glass. Squeeze in a few fresh lemon wedges and drop wedges into glass (so you get that punch of fresh lemon flavour from the zest.) Top with soda water.

Rosemary simple syrup: I mixed together 1 cup water, 1 cup white sugar, and a handful of fresh rosemary (sorry - I have no idea how to measure fresh rosemary. It was four 4- to 6-inch sprigs and I didn't chop them or even remove them from the twig part) in a saucepan and brought it to a boil over medium-high heat. I let it boil for one minute and then turned off the heat. I let it sit for an hour and then drained it, discarding the rosemary. I kept it stored in the fridge and used the leftovers to sass up lemonade.