Before we hop into today’s post, I just wanted to let everyone know I’m working on our monthly E-Newsletter, An Extra Helping, which will be going out next week for the month of May! It’s going to be totally awesome with content you won’t find on the blog, so be sure to sign up! You can do so by submitting your email in the field to the right. And of course, I’d NEVER share your information with anyone!
These past two weeks I had the pleasure of spending time with my family in Montana. The trip itself was instigated by the birth of my niece, Marlee, back in January; and while it was good for my soul to see everyone in my little family, she was most definitely the star of the trip. Although she’s only 3 months old, you can already see kindness and love in her eyes. She is the happiest baby I’ve ever met, which certainly helped in overlooking her Mt. Vesuvius-like trait of throwing up almost every 20 minutes she’s awake.
The trip was not so much a vacation, but more of a family reunion. We stayed at my sister’s house, and my Mom even came into town for a few days. Most our activities revolved around my 3-year-old nephew, Connor, who is as incredibly funny as he is sweet. We went on a hike where he held my hand all the way up the mountain (except for the times we were racing.) We visited the city’s indoor pool, where I showed him how to float on a noodle. And, we threw handfuls of snow at each other on our walk the day after it snowed 4-inches. It was the best type of quality time, and I miss him already.
My sister and her husband did a great job of picking out some foodie activities for us to do around the Missoula area. The first day we drove to this remote town of Philipsburg to visit this old timey candy shop. It was something out of a Willy Wanka movie, buckets and jars lining the walls overflowing with every type of candy you can think off. They made their own fudge and taffy in-house too. My favorite treat was the Grizzly Claw, a chocolate covered caramel with cashews as sharp “claws”.
For dinner one night we hit up a local pizza joint, Biga Pizza. They use local and fresh ingredients making some of the most innovative and tasty combinations on pizza I’ve ever had. I tried their Flathead Cherry Pizza, which featured a Cherry Chutney made from local cherries. Don’t worry; I’m working diligently to bring this recipe to you testing chutneys and all, as I’ve never tasted anything like it in my life.
Thankfully though, there is one recipe I can share with you immediately. The Montgomery Distillery is a craft vodka and gin maker in Missoula that uses ingredients, such as wheat and juniper, found locally in Montana. We visited their tasting room, testing every intoxifying drink on the menu, but the Honeybee Highball was everyone’s favorite hands down.
Lucky for you and me, the waitress was a total doll and shared the recipe with me. This is the perfect drink for summer porch sitting, which I intend to do a lot of these next few weeks now that I’m back home enjoying some warmer weather. It has a complex taste, most certainly attributed to the honey shrub and rosemary used to make it. If you’re not familiar with shrub (I wasn’t), here’s a great site with more information. This shrub is made with honey, not fruit; though I’m thinking about mixing up some fruit varieties to keep on hand too since they are super easy to make. I hope you all enjoy this cocktail as much as we did. It’s nice to have a little taste of Montana at home. Now to get working on that Flathead Cherry Pizza… Cheers!
- 1 Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Cup of Sugar
- 1 Cup of Honey
- 1 Ounce of Vodka
- 1 Ounce of Honey Shrub
- 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Lemon Juice
- Soda Water
- Start first by making the Honey Shrub syrup. In a large pot, heat the Apple Cider Vinegar, Sugar, and Honey until the syrup thickens and the sugar is dissolved. Don’t boil or ever simmer the liquid. You just want it hot enough to melt the sugar. Use a whisk to stir everything up while it is being heated. It should take about 10-15 minutes. Once everything has combined, remove the Shrub from the heat and let it cool. Store the shurb in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
- To mix the cocktail, pour the Vodka, 1 ounce of your prepared Honey Shrub, and the Lemon Juice into a shaker and toss in a sprig of Rosemary. Using a muddler, press down lightly on the Rosemary giving it a few gentle twists. Fill the shaker with Ice and twist the lid on tight. Shake the drink for 30 seconds, and then pour it into a highball glass. Toss in a fresh sprig of Rosemary into the glass and top the drink with Soda Water. This will make one drink. Repeat to make another.
- Also, if you really like the Rosemary flavor in the drink, I suggest soaking sprigs of the herb in the vodka overnight to get the best flavor. When the vodka takes on a light green color, you know it's good to go.