Sunday, June 26, 2011

Here's to Julie

A few months ago, we reshuffled desks at work. Julie from account services moved into the cube behind me. "I don't want a new neighbor," I grumbled. "She'll talk to me. She'll try to have conversations."

Well, I found that I like sitting by Julie. She has an ear out for stray remarks that might fly over the cubicle wall; she'll volley right back. It's fun.

Like the day two weeks ago when it went from 50 degrees to 103 degrees overnight and the air conditioning wasn't on. We were sitting in the cube farm, panting slightly and trying to concentrate on work. I was thinking about how nice it would be to go home and have something icy cold... something refreshing... something like...

"Lavender-infused vodka tonic on crushed ice," I announced to the air around me.

"Yes!" Julie exclaimed without missing a beat. "And we could have those here? Now?"

No. Just thinking about booze doesn't make it appear. (Plus we'd like to keep our jobs.) But I did try making my daydream a reality when I got home.

I have two Munstead lavender plants in my yard. They're from Dehn's Garden by way of the Minneapolis Farmers Market. I learned they are winter-hardy one year when we had a long, warm fall and I didn't get around to cleaning out the herb garden. The following spring, to my surprise and delight, the lavender was not dead. It put out new shoots. Who knew?!

"Who knows if this'll work," I thought to myself. I popped some sprigs in a jar, sloshed in some vodka, and left it alone for a few days.

It did work! The lavender imparts a lovely pale green color to the vodka, which pulls perfumey and minerally notes out of the herbs. This may edge out gin and tonic for my favorite summer drink.
I'll bring Julie some lavender sprigs on Monday. I just know she's going to like this.

Lavender-Infused Vodka Tonic

4-6 sprigs lavender
1 pint vodka
Tonic water

Wash the lavender and stuff it in a pint jar. Fill the jar with vodka and screw on the lid. Leave in a cool, dark place for 3 or 4 days (you can taste and see if the vodka is flavorful enough). Remove the sprigs and pour the vodka in a bottle if you have one.

Make yourself a nice drink with vodka, ice, and tonic!

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