Ahhhh summer...the season when we are most likely to experience the world through rose-colored glasses and savor the sweeter things in life. Lately, I've been working on cultivating a little more sweetness and a little more softness to my every day--which is, frankly, a lot harder than it sounds. As much as I love simple pleasures and self-care, I am inherently a creature of discipline, focus, and routine which is great...up to a point.
It makes me highly productive and able to relish the day-in-day-out of my teaching and writing life. There's so much to be excited about, especially in my writing world (but I'm not telling about what yet, winky face). And yet when summer comes, I am always reminded of the importance of cultivating my life beyond the page and the classroom, much as I love both. Too much routine and you risk its dark side: stagnation.
Summer keeps me playful, adventurous, and bold. Summer is for saying yes to new experiences and keeping your heart open to adventures. It is a season for relearning the value of being deliciously unproductive--or rather, recognizing that staying out all night dancing is just as important for your soul as your weekly workout routine is for your health. Of course, summer is also for those sweep-you-off-your-feet novels that encourage you to find the romance in every situation.
Laura Florand's Once Upon a Rose (which, you'll remember, I recommended back in April) is the perfect example of this kind of breezy, warm read that asks us--no, demands that we acknowledge the healing power of pleasure. It's not a perk in this book but a necessity for the well-being and creative life of the heroine, a burned out indie musician, and the overly responsible hero, heir to a family business in Provance (cultivating--you guessed it!--roses for high-end perfume companies). Their romance unfolds in a series of delicious scenes that saturate the senses and leave the lingering scent of roses in its wake. In short, it's a story about the sweetness of finding your happily ever after--and the work it takes, especially for the more work-focused among us--to allow yourself to enjoy it.
Long after I finished the book, in fact, I thought of roses. Big bold bouquets of them. The gentle kiss of rose water splashed on the inside of my wrists. The bushes lining neighborhood homes begging to me to stop and take in their splendor. And the desire to indulge in all things rosy...including cocktails.
Thus my La Vie en Rose Cocktail was born. It was inspired by three things: Florand's book, a bottle of rose liquor I stumbled upon, and Smart Bitches Trashy Books' Covers & Cocktails, in which readers concoct adult beverages based on various books they've read. The results are always yummy and not unlike imbibing the liquid essence of the stories they are based on (how's that for everyday magic and kitchen conjuring?). The drink is tart like a gimlet, soft like rose perfume, and sweet like a long summer night. Gin adds a nice herbacous boquet, but if you prefure vodka, by all means, follow your heart. And--who knows?--drinking this heady elixir just might make you bold enough to seek out your rose-colored happily ever after.
2 oz gin (or vodka)
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz rose liquor
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake vigorously for thirty seconds. Pour into martini glass. Serves one, so find someone who makes you see the world through rose-colored glasses, double the recipe, and make a night of it.
Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational collection of musings touching on life’s simple pleasures, everyday enchantments, and delectable recipes that will guarantee to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is the everyday, subscribe here.