This post, brought to you by Pearl Vodka, is inspired by my recent adventure of heading out solo.
Traveling alone isn’t something I’ve ever been totally comfortable with. Seeing new sights but having nobody to share them with.
Being the single soul at the table built for two, head bent down in pretend immersion in that totally engrossing book you just happened to pick up last minute at the airport’s Hudson News.
Taking selfies that are the true definition of selfies. By yourself. Until a yet-to-be-discovered, wanna-be-oh-so-suave boy band photobombs your monumental selfie.
But I’ve discovered traveling solo provides a bigger opportunity to see and hear what’s going on around me.
I’m not immersed in being a tour guide making sure everyone else I’m with is happy. Instead, traveling alone is the opportunity to do exactly what I want to do with no other opinion seekers along for the ride. To see what I want to see.
I’m not absent mindedly running into others, ignoring cues, flashing lights or missing out on the subtle nuances of the heartbeat of a city. Instead I’m in tune. I’m totally aware. And I see others and hear their conversations.
Eavesdropping? I prefer to call it politely observing.
This spring I was in Washington DC where I spoke at the IACP Conference, aka International Association of Culinary Professionals. The day before the conference started I lit out on my own to explore this nation’s Capital. No family. No blogging friends. Just me and my earbuds walking around DC as I listened to the final episodes of this podcast in hopes of a chance sighting of Michelle Obama with her watering can in the garden or a presidential motorcade.
Unfamiliar with the local eats, it only took a quick web search and a survey of Yelp recommends to land me at the counter of Founding Farmers for lunch. Somehow I wiggled my way to the last seat at the counter and avoided the 1 1/2 hour wait for a table. This is one place you are willing to wait.
Being Thirsty Thursday and just a smidge past noon, I promptly perused their cocktail menu and landed on the Cucumber Delight Cocktail.
You are so happy I did.
Founding Fathers totally delivered on the eats with my order of the deviled egg sampler and the most amazingly smokey shrimp and grits I’ve ever tasted. But the cucumber cocktail is what got me going.
I did indeed order all of that food for one and didn’t have to share one measly bite. That is, until I made friends with my fellow counter surfers Brian and Charmaine, a Canadian chef and his wife who were there with the plans of eating their way through DC. Hey, I couldn’t eat ALL of those eggs by myself. Or could I?
Would I have made those lunch counter friends sharing samples of one another’s lunch had I been with my own traveling companion?
If you know me, its a distinct possibility, but not a foregone conclusion.
I committed the cocktail’s bright, light, summery flavor to mouth memory (the sister to muscle memory) and brought it home with the happy anticipation of sipping it with friends as the warmth of summer days seep from our bones. And what do you know? I already have!
I’ve adapted the original recipe to create a simpler version with Pearl Cucumber Flavored Vodka so I could skip the muddling of cucumbers because the cucumber flavor comes ready to pour straight from the imported vodka’s bottle.
A simple syrup of equal parts super fine sugar and boiling water sweeten the cocktail to counter the punch of spice from a high quality ginger ale. If you prefer even more of a bite, ginger beer works well too. It’s just a bit more pungent.
A splash of sparkling water adds another layer of fizzy bubbles with a slice of cucumber and ball of cantaloupe that add color and a little something to much on. It’s an appetizing drink for sure. And one that’s made it’s way to my home to be shared.
- 2 ounces Pearl Cucumber Flavored Vodka
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- ½ ounce quality ginger ale or ginger beer
- ½ ounce lemon juice
- 1 ounce sparkling water
- 1 slice cucumber
- 1 cantaloupe ball
- Add Pearl Cucumber Flavored Vodka, simple syrup, ginger ale and lemon juice to a shaker. Add ice cubes, cover and shake vigorously. Strain into an old fashion glass, add ice, top with the sparkling water and garnish with a cucumber slice and cantaloupe.
This post is in partnership with Pearl Vodka. As always, thank you for reading and for supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.
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