Summer is in full swing – well not today – today it’s cool, cloudy, and spitting little rain drops (thanks New England). But in general, the apex of the warm weather is upon us! Today’s post recaps my recent trip with Carolyn to one of her family’s favorite seaside resorts – now one of my favorites too – as well as one of the best mixology events of the year – the annual Faith Middleton Food Schmooze Martini Competition. But first – a preview of fun things to come:
I met this lovely lady – Caitlin – and her penguin friend – at the Travelers Championship mini-golf tourney for charity. She and I will be connecting this summer to bring Penelope to the Mystic Aquarium for a behind the scenes tour of the fishies. Very exciting.
Penelope and I also enjoyed a lovely Farm to Table brunch over the weekend Clark Hill Farms in Granby! We will be returning shortly to pick blueberries, and I’ll be recapping our experience – along with the the upcoming Scales, Shells & Steak dinner by renowned Chef Billy Grant at Rose’s Berry Farm on July 17th! Tickets are available here.
‘Tis truly the season to eat local.
‘Tis also the season to take mini trips to the Cape! The beauty of Connecticut is that it’s really, really tiny – and easy to drive from one state to the other. Carolyn and I took off for the Sea Crest Beach Hotel on a whim several weeks ago, when we realized that our only chances for a girls’ vacation lay in taking our trip ASAP, before the summer became any busier:
Yes, we changed into vintage swimsuits just for cocktail hour. We’re ridiculous like that.
The Sea Crest is not your typical Cape Cod resort, and that’s a good thing. For starters, it’s not embedded in rustic woods – just straight up waterfront, powdery white sands, and of course, the glassy smooth perfection of Cape Cod oceanfront. In addition, it’s located on an inlet, which means that you can watch the sunset over the water – a rare treat on the East coast. They also feature onsite dining:
Sometimes I’ll order something other than raw oysters. But – actually, no that never happens
As well as beach side drinks service:
Drinks on the deck!
Drinks to go with your dino mag!
Drinks for everyone! No movement required! Side note: both of my swim suits are from Venom Vintage
I’m looking forward to returning to the Sea Crest this fall for my first ever half marathon – The Zooma Cape Cod -which I agreed to in a moment of manhattan infused madness at the Glastonbury Strawberry Moon Festival with Caitlin! My training is under way – very slowly this week as I’m recovering from illness, but slowly but surely picking up. At least the gorgeous ocean front setting is a good motivation to stick with it!
So, off the beach and on to the cocktail competition! As aforementioned, the Faith Middleton Food Schmooze Martini Competition is one of my very favorite events of the year. Faith’s cooking show on WNPR is a must listen whilst zipping around the city on weekday afternoons – she combines thoughtful repartee on all things food related (often joined by the talented and funny Chris Prosperi) as well as a variety of eclectic topics. But, if food is King of the Food Schmooze show, the martini is Queen – and the annual martini competition showcases some of the finest mixology from around the state:
Let’s start with my personal favorite libation, from personal favorite mixologist David Brogan, aka @signaturedavid. He combined Wild Moon Chai Spice Liqueur, Blanco Tequila, RIPE Agave Margarita Bar Mix, Strawberry rhubarb simple syrup and Cointreau for his “Summer Spice” cocktail. It was a perfect balance of bitter, spicy, and saucy – truly refreshing and definitely worth recreating at home!
Other notable favorites included:
“Sunshine and London” courtesy of On20 – a very berry blend of Strawberry Shrub, gin, watermelon, and basil. Side note: shrubs are ridiculously easy to make at home and a great way to use up local, seasonal fruit.
I’m subbing the picture of the Plan B cocktail with this ridiculously cute image from their Marketing Manager, Rachel’s Instagram account – but they made a “Cherry Picker” Bench Mark Bourbon infused with cherries – naturally – egg white foam, and vinegar. Like the shrub in On20, the vinegar adds a nice sour touch to what could otherwise be an overly sweet libation. That’s how you know you’re dealing with cocktail experts
Never failing to please, Max Burger‘s cocktail, the “BRB” was a summery mix of: agave nectar, fresh basil, muddled raspberries, sour mix, bourbon, and black walnut bitters
A “Luscious Garden” courtesy of the Half Door: Jameson, sage, and blackberry infused syrup, lemon juice, and bitters
“Cucumber Honeyrita-tini” courtesy of Flipside: Cucumber, triple sec, tequila, honey, and lime juice
A very beachy libation from the Doubletree by Hilton in Bristol, the “Slim Shady:” Grapefruit vodka, white lemon juice, grapefruit bitters, and St Germain
My favorite presentation of the evening: a smoked blueberry infused moonshine with honey bacon spiced rim courtesy of Bear’s Smokehouse. They currently only serve beer and wine, but if this is what we have to look forward to for future cocktails, well dang. Just another reason to go there…. often
A spicy cocktail and cookie combo from Firebox, the “High Cooler:” St George Green Chile Vodka, fresh pressed watermelon juice, lime juice, and lime zest, with a pistachio chipotle meringue
Diner style presentation and flair (naturally) from Blue Plate Kitchen, who presented the “Honey Green Tea-ni:” Rime organic vodka, infused meyer lemon simple syrup, and green tea
Many, many thanks to WNPR for hooking myself and a guest up with two passes to this awesome event:
Pictured here hand modeling a very yummy shrimp and frozen gazpacho amuse bouche from Tisane (who also killed the cocktail game with their Hendricks Gin (yum), yellow watermelon juice, cucumber, lime, and ginger simple syrup cocktail
One of the notable pitfalls with this type of an evening is that it’s virtually impossible (for me, at least) to sample everything. So although I did vote for my favorite:
And received my sticker, thank you very much
I ultimately did NOT try the winner cocktail (shucks) – but congrats to Infinity Hall and Bistro for their “Lime in the Coconut” cocktail which took first place! And kudos to the DoubleTree and Max Burger for their respective second and their place wins. I have so much inspiration for summer cocktails now – starting with making a local blueberry shrub, once Penelope and I go blueberry picking next week.