Cocktail Friday: The White Thyme
As I write this, I'm listening to melting snow dripping loudly outside. The snow that showered down on us Tuesday is disappearing, revealing tender green grass that is defying the odds and growing quickly despite the cold weather. For some reason, Mother Nature just doesn't want to let us get on with Spring this year. She seems to think this isn't the time. I'm not complaining for two reasons: first, I love a good snow storm, and second, we need precipitation of any kind here Colorado. My husband jokingly called me the "drought expert" the other day because I have been so focused on how much moisture we have (or haven't, as the case may be) been getting. What can I say? I'm a little bit of a worrier. But like everyone else who has been moaning and groaning over the wintery weather, I'm looking forward to when whoever is in charge decides it is, in fact, the right time for spring.
It may not be the right time just yet, but this White Thyme cocktail (I hope you've caught on to the joke here) will be perfect whether Spring decides to come back and stay a while or not. Although, I think it would be best enjoyed outside while wearing sandals and sunglasses rather than in the middle of a snow storm. Wine cocktails, specifically white wine cocktails or spritzers, are not usually something I drink and/or make. However, I had been thinking a lot lately about taking the leap and mixing something up with a vino base. After seeing this Blackberry on Ryecocktail from Honestly YUM, I knew it was a sign that I should go ahead and give it a shot.
I kept things simple this time around, not wanting to turn this into some scary, sugary drink that would surely mask the wonderful flavor of my unoaked Chardonnay. Instead, I kept the ingredients simple and few, using things that made me think of the flavors already present in the wine. Rather than using sugar or simple syrup, I added wildflower honey which gives a subtle, smooth sweetness. To the honey, I added some lemon juice and thyme, then muddled it all together in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. I added the wine and 3 dashes of Angostura bitters and stirred everything together very well until the honey became fully incorporated. Then, I poured it over crushed ice, added a splash of club soda, and a sprig of thyme for garnish.
If it isn't the right time, make the White Thyme. (Sorry, I had to...)
Some additional notes:
I used an unoaked Chardonnay here, but you could easily use a Sauvignon Blanc or even a dry Rosé. If your wine is naturally sweet, hold back on the honey until you've tasted it. You may not need it. The thyme was the perfect pairing, but you could get creative and use whatever fresh herbs you have around. Just try not to overpower your wine. Thyme and rosemary are quite potent, for example, and all you want is the hint of the herb in your cocktail. Other choices that would work nicely might be fennel fronds, tarragon, or lavender.
Have you used Angostura bitters before? I hadn't until recently and I must say that I'm glad I have it around. There are numerous classic cocktails that call for bitters (Old Fashioned or Manhattan, anyone?) and it is fun to use in new concoctions as well. Bitters are an interesting ingredient and it turns out they are not as bitter as you might imagine. That is the case with Angostura bitters, anyway. Instead, it seems that they help all the ingredients in a cocktail come together.