Years ago, my parents came to D.C. to visit me for the first time. Desperate to take them to all the best restaurants, we made the long trek to Alexandria for the Restaurant Eve tasting menu. One parking ticket, two detours, and a broken high heel shoe later, we arrived just in time to meet the restaurant’s mixologist, Todd Thrasher, for desperately needed cocktail (or four).
Thrasher is a genius (we’ll try to forget about Signatures), a cocktail craftsman who makes his own grenadine, bitters and liquers. Seriously, who makes their own grenadine? From scratch? An award winning bartender, that’s who.
The following cocktail is one of his recipes, so it’s a bit more work than our standard Happy Hour fare. But it is most assuredly worth it. I suggest you tuck this recipe away for the next time you have guests over cocktails and appetizers.
Any woman can make a decent hors d’oeuvres, but how many can make a killer cocktail from scratch?
2 ounces Hibiscus-Vanilla Liqueur (see related recipe)
1/2 ounce vanilla simple syrup (see NOTE)
5 ounces sparkling wine, such as prosecco
Lemon wheel, for garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add the hibiscus liqueur and vanilla simple syrup; shake well. Strain into champagne flute or coupe, then top with the sparkling wine. Garnish with the lemon wheel.
NOTE: To make vanilla simple syrup, combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and 1 split vanilla bean (or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract) in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a slow, rolling boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to a glass container and let cool to room temperature; discard the vanilla bean. Cover tightly and refrigerate until chilled through; store indefinitely.
Trust me, this cocktail is as refreshing as a cool South Pacific breeze.