The Honeybadger

Smash came over last week and asked if she could make me a cocktail. I’m a really good friend, so all I asked in return is that she write a guest post so that you could recreate this wonder for yourself at home.

P.S. You don’t have to serve it in a hipster-friendly mason jar, but it helps.

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Welcome to my first guest post!  I’m honored to be here.

I have been blessed with rather accurate taste buds and a knack for guessing right about which flavors, in what amounts, will be complementary.  The most fun and popular use of this talent takes form inside a cocktail shaker.

Last week I had a rather fabulous girls’ night in with J at her humble abode.  Armed with snacks, nesting materials, and a double feature, we were almost ready for action.  She had recently read a recipe for lemonade on one of her favorite treat-centered blogs, so we decided that would be the inspiration for our cocktails for the night.  I squeezed the daylights out of three lemons, emptied the ice trays into the ice bucket and refilled them, and asked J where to find the remaining ingredients for the lemonade.  Sugar?  No sugar.  This is a Paleo household.  But we have honey!  So, the actual lemonade recipe was hung up for another day.  J mentioned that she had seen somewhere a drink with rosemary, and asked if I wanted to dabble with some of the fresh basil we’d gotten, or perhaps with some rosemary.  Brilliant.

I poured a tiny splash of gin into the mortar, added about 8 healthy shakes worth of rosemary, and ground (I love that they have a mortar and pestle!)*  After a few minutes, I poured in a little more gin so I could swirl it around the mortar and pour all the precious ginny ground rosemary into the shaker.  Next came ice, 4 tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice, a healthy pour of gin (a count of 4, probably around 3 shots worth), and two strong squeezes of clover honey (approximately 3tbsp).  Shake vigorously and pour over one massive ice cube, with the slightest little champagne float, and you will have about two deliciously well-balanced, flavorful, and rather strong cocktails!

This drink is not only a treat for the taste buds (and for your date when you are just squiffy enough that you can’t stop kissing him), it’s also aesthetically pleasing in color and has charming flecks of rosemary and the occasional bead of lemon pulp. I’ve named this delicious blend of honey, spice, gin and tart, “The Honeybadger.”  Make it, drink it, love it, share it.

(After completing the first batch of Honeybadgers, grind your next round’s gin-rosemary concoction and let stand in about an ounce of gin while you imbibe your first round.  This will bring that delightful rosemary flavor forward even more, but you don’t have to sit and stare at sad booze you can’t consume for 20 minutes!  It’s just there waiting patiently for you when you’re ready for round two.)

*Don’t have a mortar and pestle?  Yeah, that’s normal.  Neither do I.  At home I use a shot glass and the rounded butt of a kitchen knife to grind spices… just be careful with your hands, hmm?  Don’t have a shot glass?  That’s not normal.  Go get shot glasses, and a mortar and pestle while you’re at it.

-Smash

It Was The Best of Times, The End.

So, Friendfest felt mostly like this during the day…

…and more like this at night…

…and it should be recorded for posterity that a floating beer pong table was mostly responsible for the transition from the former to the latter. Well, the table and these little things, though some people did protest that they contained “too much tequila,” which, huh? I don’t understand those words.

Palm Springs greeted us warmly (110 in the shade, baby), which meant the pool was essentially a giant bathtub. Most of us found creative ways to stay cool, though.

And when we couldn’t, we just reveled in the fact that we were all together. Honestly, that was my favorite part of my wedding weekend (other than the whole marriage part), just handing in my bride card and in exchange getting the people I love all in one place. Getting to do it again a year later feels like cheating…if the correct response to cheating is a total lack of guilt and a desire to repeat your conduct as soon as possible. Seriously, I love these humans in a way I can only express to you in blurry Instagram photos.

So yes, these people and their antics. (Most adorably, the adoption of a “talk like Scooby Doo” rule during King’s Cup, which resulted in our poor new addition being hailed as “RAAANNNE!” all weekend.) Add to that mix an amazing chef for whom “cooking is my vacation,”* and you have created the weekend about which I dreamt during bar study. (Actual dreams were had about eating Salpy’s garlic paste while sitting by a pool. And I am not ashamed.)

Cliff Notes: It was the best collective idea possible, and may it be repeated forever and ever, amen.

*This is a direct quote.

Homecoming

Well, we did it. All the hours of staring at a computer screen and massaging out flashcard-induced hand cramps did finally culminate in 18 hours spent here:

Add in about 1,600 clacket-y laptops and their owners (nearly vomitous* with fear) and that should pretty much give you the accurate emotional picture. There’s more to elaborate on here, but this entire experience has been stored in a lock box in my brain marked “Do Not Open Until November 16th,” which is the day I will know whether I can look back on this episode with amusement or deep-seated horror. So.

The days since then have basically been the two of us wandering around Long Beach, saying, “We live here now!” to each other in various shades of wonder and disbelief. I knew that our time on the East Coast was making me nostalgic for California, but it’s so great to discover that (now that we’re back) it was real nostalgia. By which I mean, the beach air about which we had been rhapsodizing really does smell that wonderful, and does lower your blood pressure by about 10 points. All our crazy 2nd Street denizens are alive and well, including the leathery shirtless drug dealer prowling the streets in broad daylight with his enormous St. Bernard. I guess I had been subconsciously worried that we “couldn’t go home again,” and it turns out we totally can.

Of course, you can go home as much as you want, but you can’t really stay there until you actually find an apartment. Which we just did. And I am crazy about it. I told M last night that I loved it like an actual person, and saw myself waking up in the middle of the night and padding down the stairs with our little in my arms, really quietly so as not to wake him, and nursing on the couch with the door to the deck open and letting in the breeze from the beach. He…didn’t quite know what to do with that information, but he likes the apartment too!

It currently resembles a natural disaster zone immediately after all the packages of aid have arrived (rubble + everything is there if you have an hour to look for, say, salt), so it’s not in the most photogenic state. Still, this part looks amazing, and I am constantly pinching myself over the fact that we actually get to live here.

It’s already being used for its highest purpose, as you can see…

…which is to have intense bro debates over beers. (The other highest purpose is reading fashion magazines under floppy hats, but you saw that picture already).

So, open invitation! Who wants to ignore the disaster going on in the actual apartment and come have cocktails on the roof?

*According to Dani, who was sitting in the front row near the bathrooms, “nearly” became “actually” more than once. Not sure how to even talk about that.

Last Thoughts

On the bar, that is. Unless this experience repeats itself, in which case being a mommy blogger will have presented itself as option número uno.

1. I’ve finally pinpointed the physical feeling studying for this way gives me: that sensation when you’ve been up for hours past any normal bedtime, and you viciously want to take your contacts out…but here your contacts = your brain.

2. You know how people always say, “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy”? After a lot of thought, I’ve decided that I would wish exactly this experience on my worst enemy. You know, it’s not like the life altering horror of losing a family member or something, but it’s just really terrible and soul draining.

The end.

Cucumber Basil Bruiser

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Dirty martinis are my favorite libation because they’re a snack and a drink in one package. (Those who ask for extra olives stave off hangovers, my friends.) But this little guy might be the dark horse in that competition…the chunks of cucumber give it a fun texture and they’re even healthy. So basically this is extremely good for you and you should make it immediately.

Cucumber Basil Bruiser
-Bruise a handful of basil leaves and finely chop half a large cucumber.

-Throw both ingredients into a glass filled with the amount of gin needed for two drinks (or however many you plan to have tonight. Life is stressful sometimes). Stick the glass in the freezer so the greenery can “infuse” the gin.

-Wait a painfully long half hour.

-Remove gin from freezer, pour out a shot’s worth into a glass, and scoop out accompanying greens. (If I  call them “greens” enough times, you’ll  start believing me that this is a health food.)

-Top off with fizz of choice (tonic water, if you live here).

-Imbibe and forget for an hour that you’re still studying for the bar. STILL.

Two Little Things

…that are currently helping me stay afloat.

1. Genius, genius idea that I just discovered: you can get a pedicure and study at the same time. Yesterday, I just felt gross and wanted to do anything else in the world except sit in my chair in Starbucks (it just feels like it’s time to move your lurking elsewhere when the baristas know you by name), when I realized I was walking past this cute nail place on Charles Street. Turns out it’s just as easy to do multiple choice questions out of a book while becoming slightly more groomed and less caffeinated. Win.

2. Tuesday night tradition: Bachelorette and sushi. Let’s be real…to say that sushi is a little thing is actually a complete lie. M says my seafood predilections have convinced him that I was a polar bear in a previous life. Um, totally uninterested in having been a giant shaggy thing that eats its own young and lives in the Artic, but thanks for the suggestion.

Despite his sadly misguided thoughts on reincarnation, he is a stellar fellow Bachelorette watcher. This is seriously one of the things I love most about this guy…not his willingness to watch terrible reality TV per se, but the full-on commitment shown to the process once he’s decided it’s on. There’s a lot of hilarious, truly male commentary (“Obviously you want to “go on a journey with her,” she’s hot!”) but the really fantastic part is when he physically cannot take the awkwardness of a particular “we have a connection” conversation, and has to get off the couch and assume the fetal position. I couldn’t get a picture of it because he kept scooting into different contortions with each new horribly, sensationally contrived sentence, and my laughing kept shaking the camera. I guess I really shouldn’t judge, since when she kicked The Hawk off last week and he cried and cried, I had to go wait in the bedroom until it was over.

Also, I think we can all agree that if someone asked you to pick anyone in the world to switch jobs with, the ONLY correct answer is: Chris Harrison. The man suits up to travel the globe and delivers literally two lines an episode, one of which is meant to be helpful, I’m sure, but…Chris, we can all count to one.

Those of us who are able to stay in the room, at least.

Preemptive Nostalgia

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I’m leafing through the stacks of law I’ve brought to the coffee shop to learn to give me an excuse to drink an almond milk latte, and I happen to look up. Such a perfect view…this crumbly old warehouse that, against that crazy sky, somehow looks like even its graffiti is art. It’s not a view I ever would have had before this whole experience…just so very “city.” So, so going to miss vistas like this when we’ve touched back down in the land of big-box stores.

And yet as I type this, some quintessentially Boston machismo has asserted itself in the street behind me. Incessant honking and shouts to “Move yeh ass!” are scoring this scene, so…yes. There are always trade-offs.

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