Herbed Lovelies

 I went to a fab party on Saturday, and the hosts, Brendan and Danielle, know how to put out amazing food– and an amazing bar.

I was warned ahead of time about Danielle’s love of botany inspired drinks. A friend said “she makes the best herbed lovelies.”  

Of course when Brendan offered a drink, I asked him to fix me up with one of the infamous lovelies.  I got simple syrup infused with basil, a splash of rosemary water, cucumber water, a bit of club soda, and vodka (gin was offered, too, but after a very bad college experience with gin and tonics, the thought of the stuff still makes me queasy 15 years later).

It was the best drink I’ve had in a long, long time.

I’m not a huge drinker.  I don’t drink at home and I generally don’t drink if I’m out for dinner.  Since my pregnancy, all wine gives me an instant migraine (bye bye to my delicious Pinot Noirs).  I’ve learned I love stouts and hate hoppy beers.  I’ve always loved a good dirty martini (vodka, of course), with an in and out vermouth and ice cold (I do judge you, restaurant and bartender, if you can deliver one of these with a thin layer of ice on top).

The other drink I will occasionally enjoy is what we refer to as an Aunt Jean Manhattan.  Aunt Jean was my great aunt who lived in Hanover NH, just adjacent to the Dartmouth campus.  We did semi annual girls trips up to see her.  In her eighties and nineties she was really a lot of fun to be with.  Her friends would come over for happy hour (they were old, so we’re talking 4pm), and they’d bring their jugs of liquor and have a drink before dinner.  I guess those long cold winters makes you want the hard stuff?
 I asked Aunt Jean once if she wanted me to make a Manhattan for her.  Surely she didn’t know.  She winked at me and said “let me make YOU a Manhattan.”  And she did.  Seagrams 7, lots of cherries and a generous dose of the juice.  Make a drink in a rocks glass, then pour into a pint glass.  Add ice to the top and fill all the way up with water.  Try it.  You’ll thank me.

Brendan and Danielle’s lovelies go down in my book on the AJ Manhattan level, or the ice film martini level.  They were that good.  

Maybe one day their daughter will be telling her friends, “my parents make the best lovelies….” and the cycle of a good drink and the associations with it will continue on to the next generation.

My workweek approved cucumber water, and a poor attempt to make concoctions like this look easy.

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