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Memorial Weekend Cocktail Party

When I planned the evening and as I sent out the invitations I imagined a late spring evening and, hopefully, the opportunity to start the party outdoors on the deck.  I had no illusions that it would be warm enough to spend the entire evening outside but the thought of being outside, enjoying the flowerpots spilling over with flowers and foliage, and the light scent from the climbing rose carrying across the yard  brought a smile to my face. 
Over the years, wine has become my standard beverage of choice for parties.  It’s easy, there’s no prep work other than the purchase and by selecting a few options I can generally find something to please everyone and normally at a decent price.  But I love cocktails!  So, for this party I decided to keep the group small, pick a couple of "signature drinks" for the evening, and make sure there were some interesting no-alcohol options for those who preferred.  It would be a true cocktail party!

Well, Sunday night, the night of the small, intimate cocktail party I’d planned didn’t resemble that original picturesque image in any way.  The flowers looked anemic as they had been struggling in our very wet, very cool spring weather.  The rosebush is blooming profusely and when outside the fragrance will wrap you in summer thoughts.  But Sunday was a (another!) cool and drizzly day.  Not fit for even a little time outside.  Disappointing, but only until the house was filled with friends, chatter and laughter. 

The dozen or so friends began arriving at the designated time.  I’d prepared and assembled ingredients for two cocktails, Tuscan Rosemary Lemon Drops and Poppy’s Margarita, a spicy rendition of the traditional drink, both from Kathy Casey’s recently published cookbook, Sips & Apps.  I’d printed out recipes (after pre-combining a few of the ingredients) so that each person could make their own cocktails, although T was drafted into making the first several for all the earliest arriving guests.  (Thank you, T!)
I chose the Lemon Drop recipe because 1) it used Limoncello in the recipe, which I think makes a really great Lemon Drop and 2) because I had several bottles of homemade Limoncello which were ready to be enjoyed.  Margaritas made the cut because they are, for me, the perfect summer drink even though I can’t drink them.  Tequila and I do not get along very well.  I’m always jealous of friends who can enjoy them, though.  That evening the Lemon Drops proved to be the most popular choice.  I’m currently polling my friends to see why that was as the little, tiny sip of Margarita that I had seemed very good.  I think it’s going to come down to the fact that several people tend to stay away from tequila for a variety of reasons. 
With a smaller group I was able to be a little more extravagant with some of the appetizers – both in terms of what was served and in preparation time needed to make them.  With smaller batches I can spend a little more time on more intricate recipes.  Still, most of these came together in a jiffy.  I did all the cooking (including making the cocktail sweet and sours) in one day. 
As usual, I had many new items on the menu.  Several were very good, a couple just okay.  Overall there was something for everyone and I was pleased with the evening.  With the smaller group I was able to really participate in the party, which was very nice. 
  • Tuscan Rosemary Lemon Drop (recipe to follow in another blog post)
  • Poppy’s Margarita 

I’m hoping to do a few of these smaller parties over the next few months.  And maybe next time the weather will cooperate, too!




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