’tis the season

I tend to not have favorites. Favorite color? They’re all pretty in their own way. Favorite food? Don’t even make me begin tackling that one. But favorite season? That’s a no-brainer.

Spring.

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When I decided to go home for the months of March and April I was hit with a pang of sadness, regretful that I’d be missing those first green buds that pop out from wintry, wiry branches and the surprising pale pinks, electric lilacs, and soft yellows that burst from trees that laid dormant for months. But, much to the chagrin of my friends who endured a cold and rainy couple of months, Chicago decided to forestall spring a bit this year, . I’d like to think it was waiting for my return. All I can say is I am eternally grateful for the beautiful tulips, blossoms, and verdancy that envelop the city right now.

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In honor of spring, this weekend Kate and I cooked up a seasonal dinner. On the menu was an asparagus filled twist on pasta carbonara, carrot harissa salad, kale salad with pickled onion, pear, and radish, and to round it all out, a special cocktail. Inspired by a brunch cocktail I enjoyed a few months back at Nana, I set sprigs of rosemary aflame and dropped them into glasses of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, gin, and simple syrup.

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Although my diners and I were skeptical as rosemary smoke wafted over the stove, the cocktails turned out great. The rosemary added a subtle woodiness to to the otherwise sweet and bright drink. I’m already imagining igniting more herbs on fire and experimenting with fun drinks as spring continues to bloom. ‘Tis the season—my favorite season.

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Grapefruit Rosemary Cocktails

Serves 4

4 grapefruits

Gin (about a cup)

⅓ cup granualted sugar

⅓ cup water

Ice cubes

Boil ⅓ cup sugar and ⅓ cup water until sugar is dissolved. Set aside or place in the fridge to cool.

Squeeze juice from 4 grapefruits, discarding any seeds. Place juice in a large pitcher. Add gin. The ratio should be about 3:1 juice:gin. Add simple syrup and stir until combined. Place ice cubes into 4 glasses and divide drink evenly.

Using an open flame on a stove or grill, lightly torch sprigs of rosemary and drop one sprig into each glass.

Cheers!

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