Friday, October 26, 2012

Lavender Gin Fizz

It might not seem like the right season for this refreshing cocktail, but I want to take advantage of the fresh herbs growing my backyard before they succumb to the cold. After transplanting my lavender plant into the ground to help it weather the winter, I picked a handful of green leaves to simmer into a sweet and lightly aromatic syrup.

Evan asked for advice from his friend who he considers to be a cocktail expert, and within minutes had a text back recommending a lavender gin fizz. This is my kind of drink - light, sweet and a little bubbly. It tastes just fine until you add the the soda water at the end, which really jazzes it up. Make sure not to add too much lemon juice, which can overpower the lavender.

I was happy to have a use for a new gin that I picked up on a trip earlier this fall to the Tuthilltown Spirits* distillery upstate. Being a fan of their bourbon, I was excited to learn they are expanding their offerings to include this gin, which is made of apples and wheat and is much more affordable than their whiskey.

We shook up several glasses of this drink for a party I threw a couple weeks ago. It was intended to be an outdoor party, but fickle October kept us mostly indoors, where a cool drink in hand was welcome. Evan was nice enough to man the grill and build the first fire in our chiminea, so guests could wander outside as they pleased and enjoy the smoky smell that signals the change in seasons.

Lavender Gin Fizz
2 oz gin
1/2 oz lavender simple syrup (see below)
juice of a quarter of a lemon
splash of soda water or seltzer
optional lemon twist garnish

In a shaker, combine several ice cubes with the gin, syrup and lemon juice. (You can combine up to about three servings in the shaker at once). Shake and strain into glasses that have been prepared with two ice cubes. Add a splash of soda water, or a little bit more if you want it even more fizzy and a little less strong. Add a lemon twist for extra class.

Lavender Simple Syrup
handful of fresh lavender leaves
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Combine in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Let cool and strain into a glass jar. Store in the fridge for about a week or two, mixing into drinks as needed.

*I am not receiving anything in return for mentioning them - I just happen to like Tuthilltown.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Scenes from a Music Video Shoot

Last weekend my band Sexy Neighbors had a video shoot for our song "Breaking Walls." When I originally heard the concept was for us to play at a house party, I thought we would just shoot random shots of a party. But when I showed up I was extremely impressed at all the work that went into it -- from our guitarist who planned out all the shots, to our videographer who was on top of this game, and especially the generosity of the people at the Texas Firehouse, a live work space in Long Island City overlooking Roosevelt Island bridge, the Con Ed power plant, and a laundry factory. They helped our guitarist turn their art gallery into a fake living room, complete with hand-drawn electric outlets and windows and a fake wall to break by throwing a TV through it. They even cooked us all a healthy curry stew for dinner with hot peppers from their roof garden, before we drank a fridge full of forties. When I thanked them, they just said, "that's what the space is for." I can't wait to see the video and will be sure to share it here when it's ready.