Porch Cocktails: Homemade Tonic Syrup

G&T with Homemade Tonic

In my first porch cocktails post, I professed my love for a refreshing G&T. I also mentioned that I was in the midst of crafting some homemade tonic syrup in an effort to spruce up my go-to summer indulgence. Even with memories of this hilarious, disastrous saga in the back of my mind, I was itching to make my own tonic. I’m not one to be scared off by horror stories of DIY gone wrong. In fact, anecdotes like these have been known to encourage me. So, I found a recipe through David Lebovitz’ blog, and hunted down my ingredients, adapting the recipe to suit my needs.

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Except to Me

Hosta flower

I don’t particularly like Hostas. They just scream ordinariness. Their leaves, arguably their main feature, display a profusion of ordinarily-shaped leaves in a spectrum of ordinary leaf colors. I’m sure there are interesting and unique varieties out there, as there are with other popular plants, but I simply don’t get their appeal. When they do flower, the flowers are tiny, pale things whose delicate proportions are dwarfed by the plant’s bulky foliage. That is, until you see them without the other 90% of the plant.

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Porch Cocktails No. 2

Elderflower Cordial

Lest you fear that I’m indulging too often, I’m here to share the lovely non-alcoholic cocktail I’ve been enjoying at least as frequently as my go-to G&T. A dash of elderflower cordial in a tall glass of soda water is a great midday refresher. Concocting this delicious “mocktail” is as simple as drizzling some elderflower cordial over a glass of iced soda water, and stirring to distribute the cordial evenly. Each sip is sweet, zesty and floral–bursting with the bright, crisp flavors of summer–and finishes with a pleasantly yeasty aroma.

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Looking Up

UNGE sunset

I’ve never been so enamored of a daily sight as I was of this one. During the quarter that I spend studying abroad, I regularly watched fleeting, equatorial sunsets from the lawn of the Universidad Nacional de Guinea Ecuatorial. My classmates and I had a daily break from late afternoon to early evening. In those hours, the sun and the heat retreated just enough to make the stifling, soupy air feel fresh again. It was the perfect time to sprawl on the grass and take in the play of burning light on the fluffy, dense clouds that perpetually threatened rain.

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Serious Coffee

Black Coffee

I’m not here to talk about the half-hearted brownish beverage that comes from a standard pot. I enjoy bold, black coffee, and I prefer to make it in a device as straightforward and aggressive as the brew it produces. That’s where the Bialetti Moka Express comes in. Its sharp, geometric lines and no-nonsense style encapsulate everything that it embodies. It’s the most simple and aesthetically pleasing way to make a shockingly strong cup of coffee.

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