cantaloupe cooler: an end of summer cocktail

Last night we got to see the moon and stars shining in the night sky. It's something we don't get to enjoy quite the same way living in New York City. The girls even got to see Jupiter, glittering brightly above Provincetown before tucking into bed.

Here in North Truro, there comes a point when the moon floats over the bay, illuminating it like a flashlight is being held from above. The view is so lovely and still. It is forever frozen in my memory.

The rain is gone, at least for now. The sun shining so fiercely, it almost requires sunglasses indoors. What better way to say cheers, than this with refreshing cocktail—it's the closest I've come to capturing summer in all its glory.

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Key Lime Spritzer

I don't keep soda in the house, and every now and again, the urge for a sweet burst of carbonation hits me. This usually happens while the baby is napping or at midnight—both times when running out to the market aren't an option. About two months ago, such a craving arose and I approached it as I would any cooking challenge and decided to see I could do with the ingredients I had on hand.

A quick survery showed some seltzer, and tucked away in the back of the fridge was a bottle of Nellie & Joe's Famous Key West Lime Juice. I also had some simple syrup in there. A few minutes later, an icy cold rocks glass was filled with a spash of this and spritz of that, and I was sipping a citrusy drink with a hint of coconut flavor. Add it to this weekend's festivities and kick it up with a shot of bourbon or tequila for a head start on the fireworks.

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Don Draper Special

Before you Mad Men fans attack, yes, I imagine Don Draper wouldn't be caught dead drinking a cocktail with maraschino juice. But we are both spending out lunch hour with a rocks glass in hand all in the name of work. Some days my test kitchen may as well be the commissary at Sterling Cooper. It was just a few weeks ago I was testing margaritas while the baby napped (the babysitter was on duty, so please stop dialing the authorities).

Today, I'm tweaking a drink recipe I started on this weekend. Thankfully the Mr. enjoys a good post kid-bedtime cocktail as much as I do. My first pass started with some bourbon, maraschino juice (straight from the jar), orange juice, triple sec and splash of vermouth and seltzer. It was an interesting start and reminded me of what would happen if an old-fashioned loosened it's necktie.

The first fix was homemade maraschino cherries. After making them a few years back from Nick Mautone's Raising the Bar, its a crime I keep the jarred stuff in the fridge. It's ridiculously easy…to overcook them that is, so keep an eye. I lost track of time while making them yesterday and mine came out too soggy instead of plump and firm (new batch being made this afternoon and I'll post recipe when there are more respectable pics to accompany). That said, the taste is incomparable.

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Here's a sneak peek at the next Cuisinart Stand Mixer blog post. For my standmixer-less friends, don't fret. It's a great machine but don't let the lack of equipment stop you from indulging. You can use a food processor or regular blender to puree the watermelon. And you can easily get away with a fork to hand squeeze the limes (it'll qualify as upper body toning too).


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Cocktail Hour

This week welcomes the debut of guest blogger, Ilina over at Dirt&Noise. Every Friday she concocts a TGIF drink to whisk away the craziness of the week. Check back every Friday for her latest


Thin Mint Orgasm
by Ilina

I have an unhealthy desire for Thin Mints. You know the ones. You stash them in your freezer too and silently pray that there's just one more sleeve tucked behind the nine month old box of baking soda when you've crumbled that last tasty morsel over some vanilla ice cream. The Girl Scouts would be a rich bunch if they'd smarten up and sell those chocolately minty marvels year round. And Mac Daddy would be one lucky guy more than just on March 14 if I could use him as a dipstick into some Thin Mint sauce. Yeah, I love Thin Mints that much.

Ready to mix up a cocktail? Click here for Ilina's recipe.

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