photo cred: Capital Area Food Bank & Union Kitchen
The Blue Jeans Ball w. Capital Area Food Bank
Every year, the Capital Area Food Bank throws a tasting gala called The Blue Jeans Ball to raise money to ‘take hunger off the map.’ This year, Union Kitchen hosted a pre-ball cocktail hour and asked us to join in. Since we’re fans of good causes and of galas (though we usually look at them as an occasion to dress up, rather than down); so we enthusiastically agreed.
That’s how we ended up at the Marriott Marquis’ fabulous mezzanine lounge, in our best denim, slinging spring cocktails side-by-side with our beverage buddies at Wild Roots Apothecary and Embitterment. I have to say that there are worse ways to spend an afternoon than serving drinks, in a great spot, with good people, for a good cause.
Their current campaign was ‘wellness’ and their offices have gardens that boast of rosemary, mint, cucumbers, raspberries, blackberries and lemon verbena. That was the inspiration for what became titled “Pick of the Garden.” Like so many of our drink ideas, this one is based on the Negroni. We re-tooled it as a celebration of spring and wellness, with a crisper palate, floral notes, and a pale blush color–oh, and fresh fruit and herbs that people could pick and choose and customize as they pleased. Some muddled berries? How about a cucumber? How about cucumber and mint? Anything was fair game.
The location was amazing, with a big, beautiful mezzanine that overlooked the lobby. It was bright, spacious, and still felt like it’s own place in the midst of a big spot. We loved getting to be part of an event for a good cause, let people try out different iterations of drinks, and getting to put on our classiest blue jeans is always a plus. Thanks Blue Jean Ball.
Make the Pick of the Garden for yourself below.
Pick of the Garden
We used Don Ciccio‘s hibiscus liqueur in place of the usual Campari. Like everything they make, it’s fresh and delicious, and ever more widely available. If you are sadly in one of those places where they haven’t arrived yet, St. Germain or Cocchi Americano will serve admirably in the Ibisco’s spot. They’ll both bring that same light, floral flavor, though unfortunately not the pretty blush color.
- 1 oz vodka (we use Svedka)
- 1 oz dry vermouth (we used Dolin)
- 1 oz Don Ciccio & Figli Ibisco (or substitute, see above)
- assorted herbs and fruit for muddling and garnish (we offered mint, cucumber, raspberries, and blackberries; people tried them and liked them individually and in every combination)
- muddle selected fruits and herbs in bottom of mixing glass
- add liquor and ice
- stir for 40 rotations and strain into a cocktail glass
- add a fresh piece of whatever you muddled for garnish