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Spring On the Mountain

I'm going to have to start this post with a disclaimer. I know almost nothing about making cocktails.

I like cocktails, you understand, but they always seem to require a cabinet full of various liquors, liqueurs, bitters, mixers, and special ice cube trays. It would be great to have all that, of course, but we're just not there yet. And really, we don't necessarily want to be.

We have simple desires when it comes to booze, you see. John takes his bourbon on the rocks (normal rocks, not giant ones or round ones or ones shaped like dolphins) and likes beer, and I adore nothing so much as a gin and tonic, perhaps with a cucumber slice and mint leaf thrown in.

But once in a while, I'll get an idea for something new. This usually happens at around 4 o'clock when I'm waiting, for decorum's sake, for 5 o'clock to roll around in that sluggish way it always does.

This week, my grand idea came from an over-full fridge with one crisper drawer packed to the gills with grapefruits. I really love grapefruit, but to a point. Those netted bags with charming vintage-looking labels, bulging with pretty pink fruit always look so enticing. I mean, come on, it's a pink fruit that you get to eat with a special spoon.

But once you get them home, they have to go somewhere. I've discovered that if I leave them out in the fruit bowl, they shrivel, so crisper drawer it is. There they stay, monopolizing space that should really be saved for the wilty vegetables like salad greens and parsley and such.

And so my latest cocktail was born. Grapefruit, mint, gin, pinch of salt, lime peel. The lime peel is about as optional as it gets, and was a total afterthought, but I love the aromatic spiciness it adds. This drink is shaken. If you don't have a cocktail shaker (we still don't, even after hours of ogling them on Etsy), use a Mason jar. Add cocktail shaker to the million and one things you can do with a Mason jar.

To muddle: they make special tools called muddlers that you can use. Or use the handle end of a wooden spoon or even a wooden pestle. You don't want to beat whatever it is you're trying to muddle. Press down and twist, press down and twist. In the case of this drink, you're trying to get the mint leaves to release their lovely essential oils, not beat them into submission.

Other articles you might enjoy: Rosa de Jamaica, Canteloupe Agua Fresca

Spring On the Mountain
Serves 1

In the bottom of a cocktail shaker or Mason jar, muddle:
            2 mint leaves
            Tiny pinch salt
            1 1/2 ounces (1 jigger OR 3 tablespoons) gin (I used Hendricks)
            3 ounces fresh grapefruit juice, strained
Add several ice cubes, put the lid firmly on your cocktail shaker, and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. Strain into your favorite glass. Add an ice cube and garnish with:
            (One 2-inch section of lime peel)
If you like, rub the lime peel to release some essential oils and add it to your drink.

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This recipe is easily scaled up and down. Just figure on 4-6 ounces of protein, 3 ounces of dried rice noodles (slightly more if they are “fresh”), and a heaping cup of greens and sliced...