Hello again and Happy August! As I mentioned last month, my birthday is July 3rd, and…well…I don’t know if I should read anything into this or not, but all the gifts I received had to do with entertaining, cocktails and imbibing of one sort or another. So, I thought I would use this theme as an excuse to get together with some friends, give the gifts a try and share them all with you, as well!
This gift from my friend Christopher Todd of Christopher Todd Design was the perfect inspiration for a garden cocktail get-together. It is a prepackaged, miniature herb garden meant to inspire gourmet drinking.
It comes complete with seeds, soil markers and even a book of recipes to get you started.
You sow the seeds right in the packaging, and my friends and I had fun getting them all planted. I’ll let you know next month how they turned out!
The herbs inspired me to serve up a variation of one of my favorite summertime cocktails: a classic gin and tonic. Cool and refreshing, a G and T is the perfect drink for relaxing in the garden. This time I decided to mix the drinks (in lovely glasses given to me by my parents) with San Pellegrino instead of tonic for an even lighter flavor and to accompany them with fresh herbs from the garden. Either muddled into the drink or used simply as a garnish, the herbs add flavor and a little gardening activity to the evening.
While I was in the veggie garden, I also harvested a couple bunches of the Arkansas native ‘Cynthiana’ grapes that grow along the fence. The grapes [they are the little green ones] aren’t really that tasty yet, as this is only their second season, but I am so excited to see them growing! I used them as a garnish to go along with a wonderful St. Andre cheese served on a beautiful stone platter that was another birthday gift.
While I was at the store getting the cheese, I also picked up this Pinot Grigio infused summer sausage, which I thought fit the evening’s theme just fine!
It all came together nicely. Friends and I set up a small buffet at one end of the courtyard and decorated the table with some hydrangea blossoms, cut fresh from the garden and placed in a vase that was yet another birthday gift.
The evening also let me make use of another gift from some close friends: silver mint julep cups. Instead of another cocktail, I simply served white wine out of them this time. I think mint julep cups are great for just about any drink, really. Their simple, shiny style is even good for decorating: I often use them as vases and votive holders, too!
And that was my little boozy-birthday-gift-inspired garden gathering, haha! As I was cleaning up, I enjoyed one last nightcap and one final birthday gift: a simple beer from a Yeti coozy, guaranteed to keep your suds super cold. Thanks, Sis!
Just so I am not the only one getting all the gifts around here, though, I want to leave you with a little gift from my friend, chef and entertainer extraordinaire Jen Lewis. Below is the recipe for her Spicy and Sweet Cocktail, sure to spice up any garden party! [check out more recipes here]
Muddled strawberries and jalapenos to taste
2 ounces Vodka
2 teaspoons basil and jalapeno simple syrup
Juice of 1 lime
Shake or stir over ice and top with club soda
See you next month!
Exterior designer Daniel Keeley is an Arkansas native and founder/principal of DK Design. His work has won numerous awards and accolades and is featured regularly in various publications. For more information visit dkdesignoutdoor.com.