Stormy Weather Gardening.


No I didn’t take the above picture. I found it on a Canadian Science blog.  I do more than just make drinks  🙂    Sadly, I was not able to find the photographer to give credit.

This week has been the week of super storms. I have been lucky enough to just have plain ol’ thunder and lighting and a little hail. My thoughts and best wishes go out to all of the people who have suffered and luckily survived the storms.

It is pretty dreary here when I look out my window. Grey skies, muggy dampness. I really want to crawl into bed and watch shows on Hulu. But no,  I think if I go to the plant nursery I can talk to all the  people who work there.  (Of course this is the moment the Hail starts)  I decide to quickly assemble dinner.

Rainboots on . Check.   Off I go.

My main reason for growing herbs is that I like to have interesting fresh things around when I create my drinks.  I love being able to wander out my door and cut a few stalks and muddle them or soak them in a liquor to get the flavors out. So if you want to follow and plant along I hope this to be an guide.  It will make it easier to make my drinks if you have the same basics growing around as well.

I didn’t find all the plants I was looking for.  I am still on the hunt for a lemongrass and a lemon verbena. I learned at the nursery that this spring  the plants are a month behind where they normally are. So there is still plenty of time for you to get your herbs in the dirt.

I like to plant on rainy days. I figure the cooler weather keeps the plants from going through shock and I don’t have to water for a few days.   Here are the new additions  to my pots.

English thyme
English thyme

Thyme. I  normally use this on  roast chicken and in stews but I have great hopes for it in cocktails this summer.

Sweet Basil and Spicy Basil
Sweet Basil and Spicy Basil

I also picked up 2 types of Basil. The sweet basil is great for pesto and fresh mozzarella and tomatoes.  The Spicy  Basil isn’t spicy but a more intense basil flavor.  It has a woodier stem,  I think it will be hardier outside. I haven’t grown it before  so I am curious to see what my preference will be. Side note: See how the Sage in the picture is coming back? The stems are purple and green leaves are forming.. YEA!!

Sweet mint and spearmint.
Sweet mint and spearmint.

The spearmint is sweeter and sharper than the sweet mint. We will have to  experiment to see how much of a difference  there is when we make a drink.  Soon as the rain stops. I need to spray paint my pots again. They were a plain brown and that was too boring so one can of silver  spray paint later. Ta da  beauty.. This pot has sat outside  for 2 years. The paint lasts awhile.

Get your hands dirty planting!! Great things will grow.

keep an eye out for Stormy weather the drink!!






Black and Blue

Black and Blue

It’s only been one year since the cowardly teens bombed the Boston Marathon.  I remember my horror watching the news unfold. I lived in Boston three  years ago and worked right off Boylston street.  That street was my old stomping ground.   I watched the hunt. I felt the fears of those who lived in that area.

I was so proud to see all the victory stories. Those great service men who brought milk to the families with kids.    For all of the pain I felt, I felt pride in the people who made it better.   I ended up going back to Boston  a week  after the attack. I saw the closed streets. I saw a man in a suit stand on the curb with tears running down his face.  I had a very heavy heart for the people of Boston. Yet, I felt the spirit of the people I had met when I was there.

I am not one to dwell on the bad things that happen in life. I believe you need to learn from the experience. I also feel that there is  inner strength to be discovered in difficult times.  When I got off the airport I saw all the buses with the message  Boston Strong  across the banner.  A stranger on the T asked me where I was the week  before. I told him I was in Chicago getting ready to  go coach a Girls on the Run meeting.   I told him how challenging it was to explain such a thing to my daughter.   He said he was lucky he didn’t know anyone injured , but it took him hours to get home out of the city. I was still in shock. How did this happen to a place I considered home? The outrage of my old stomping grounds being defiled.   But yet, I was blessed enough to be on my way for a job interview in the city I had come to consider home.

When I lived in Boston I lived right on the marathon route between the 23rd and the 24th mile.  The first year, I walked down to Beacon street  to watch the Runners,  I  was unsure and it was a new environment. I had a 4 yr old in tow.  I met my neighbor who lived above me. He was a russian emigre who had watched this race from the same spot for the past 28 years. He was so proud to be so close to this great American tradition.  He and I and my daughter stood together with the hundreds of other folks and watched the wheelchairs, then the runners.  I didn’t comprehend what 26+ miles really entailed.  The commitment to training your body and your mind.

I watched from the same spot over the next couple of years.  I had the opportunity to see the  situation  from anothers perspective. This time  I had a  born and bred texan with me.  I  learned to set up chairs. Had  a morning cocktail with the rest of the crowd. I think we had hot grilled cheese and gin and tonics. (  The texans idea of Miller lite did not seem to fit. )  Imagine a polite not too raucous tailgate party, that was the  mood  for the crowd at our mile marker spot. I was so proud to show this part of Boston to a Texan. I loved my corner. I loved the people. I could never imagine that something catastrophic could happen 3 miles down.

A mom in Em’s old class had the most amazing story about her husband and her child missing the bombing by a few minutes.


How does all of this apply to Black and Blue?

Black and Blue is one of my favorite beers.  After the bombing I felt Black and Blue. I couldn’t wrap my head around how it all could have happened.   When I went back the week after, my favorite bar was still closed from the blast. The Pour House on Boylston  was  and is my favorite bar. I would have one on one’s with my staff there. We would walk across the street from our store.  I would buy a round for us and a side of chicken wings. The thai peanut were my favorite.  The Pour House is a very colorful place. The dwellers there are either in business casual preppies or tattooed and pierced leather wearing folk. Loud music and a  roll of paper towels on the table kind of place.  I learned so much from every person I met there.  For many of them it was their first Black and Blue.  I raise my glass to them and to the citizens of Boston.  The horrors of last year have left many Black and Blue , but the bruises and hurt will fade.


Black and Blue


1 Glass


1 Guinness

1 Blue Moon.

Pour Blue moon into glass. A quick pour. You want a little bit of a head on this part of the beer. Take a spoon turn so rounded side it up pour Guinness slowly on top of spoon and over beer. A nice layer will occur.



Lime shortage.. How will we survive?

images             I am worried.

This is the year of the dreaded lime shortage.  This will put a cramp in my margarita consumption.  I can’t imagine putting a lemon in a Corona. What is a gal to do?

One of my most memorable stories involving limes was a  work trip to Hawaii in the late 90’s.   I was young ,on a budget and staying a few extra days. I knew I couldn’t afford to have the amount of cocktails a twenty something year old would need. I decided the easiest drink to bring with me was the Fresca splash.  I packed a 12 pack of fresca, a bottle of tequila and 6 limes. Again this was 1990 something and you could bring these things in a carry on.  I threw a few post event cocktails party in my room. Price of admission, something to contribute. Either a snack or some other type of mixer.  It was a really big bottle of tequila.

My attorney says I need to put this disclaimer in case of this blog getting popular and some government agency tries to fine me $50,000 for bringing in unclaimed produce.    ” I cannot clearly remember that there were actually limes.”

So let’s for the sake of arguments say there was a bottle of maraschino cherries.

Hey look at that!!!    One lime associated memory, the fear of being fined and look I solved  our lime crisis for at least one drink..


photo (5)

What you need.

1 can of Fresca.

1-2 shots of tequila  ( don’t skimp on the quality it will bite you later)

One lime

A jar of maraschino cherries.

Use a tall glass filled with ice. Pour your tequila over the ice.  Squeeze your quarter lime over it. Toss the piece of lime  Maraschino cherry  into the glass. Pour a little extra of the juice into the glass. Top off with Fresca.  Stir with a stirrer or I found a Twizzler ( red liquorice)  and stirred with that and left in for garnish. You can also cut the ends off and drink use the liquorice as a straw.

Necessity is the mother of all inventions. I will continue to monitor the status of limes. I am thinking of inventing a fresh strawberry lemon margarita type drink tomorrow.  I’ll let you know how it turned  out.