Strawberry Basil Liqueur Recipe

Remember how I said we were going to be posting regularly? I was supposed to post on Wednesday, but… well, I’m going to be honest, I forgot. To make amends, I’m posting a recipe for booze!

I’m back into liqueur infusions again. This was the second one I put in this summer, but it was the first I tasted since it took less time to infuse.

Take a four cup mason jar and fill it about 2/3 of the way with roughly chopped strawberries. Don’t pack them down, just put them in there. I sterilize my jars first (put in boiling water for 5 minutes) which is probably unnecessary, but there’s no harm in being overly cautious. Take maybe a cup of loosely packed basil leaves, then pack them into the jar. (In retrospect, I might have put them in first. I can’t remember.) Fill the jar with to the very tippy top with 100 proof vodka; close it tightly. Keep it in a cool dark place (I had mine in a paper sack on a bookshelf.) Let it sit there about a month (mine went an extra week because I was out of town) inverting it once a day to make sure it infuses well. Strain the vodka and mix it with simple syrup to taste (I used about a cup and a half of syrup). Enjoy!

What You Didn’t Know Your Outlet Mall was Missing

This year I went Black Friday shopping for the first time in my life. Not in any sort of insane way; roommate and I just went to the sort of nearby outlet mall. Rather than going at midnight we waited until after lunch so the crowds had thinned out a bit. Still there were crowds, which are not my favorite things. But then there were great deals, which are some of my favorite things.

But the best part of the trip was that this outlet mall had something every outlet mall I’ve visited in the past was missing. Something I didn’t even realize they needed, but I now know with absolute certainty every outlet mall should have: a winery.

Yup. I thought the name was a joke or something, but it turns out a local winery has a tasting room right there in the between the Rue 21 and Gap. Tastings are only $2 for five tastes, which isn’t bad for the wineries around here. The wine itself was nothing to write home about, though they had a nice Black Friday deal going, so we wound up leaving with several bottles. It was totally drinkable wine.

But it wasn’t the quality of the wine that was so great. It was that after dodging crowds and standing in line and being bumped into by strollers and darting in and out of the icy wind for hours, we got to stop, and chat, and drink some lovely wine. I suppose it helped that the winery wasn’t crowded. But it was the perfect way to distress before hitting the last couple of stores.

So word to the wise, wineries and outlet mall managers. Wineries. Booze. It will work out well for everyone.

On Idiotic Alcohol Laws

A while back Cammy threw out the idiocy of alcohol laws that prohibit store and restaurant employees under eighteen from even touching a closed container of alcohol. I’m quite familiar with these laws having worked at a restaurant that served beer when I was in high school. I hate these laws mostly because they make life suck for the poor employees. Yes, it might be a mild inconvenience for the patron who has to wait a few extra minutes for his/her tasty beverage, but for the employee, in my experience it all too often plays out like this: Ask older coworker to get the beer. Get snapped at by older coworker. Listen to sarcastic, totally unwitty comment from customer. Explain to customer you are under eighteen and don’t have $5000 lying around to pay the fine you could incur from handling it. Argue with customer who doesn’t believe you are under eighteen. Ask another older coworker since the first one hasn’t gotten the beer yet. Get snapped at by both older coworkers. Smile weakly at customer when he/she finally leaves with the beverage. (Rant about how many Americans find it acceptable to treat customer service employees like crap to come in another post.)

But beyond the emotional scars that these situations leave on hardworking teens, they’re also largely idiotic. The only justification I’ve ever heard for them came from a dorm mate who was active in SADD. She offered the scenario of a geeky sixteen-year-old working alone at a convenience store when some bigger kids from his school come in and try to buy alcohol. He knows they’re underage, but if he refuses to sell to them he risks getting beat up at school on Monday. Apparently, however, they will totally understand when he says, “Sorry dudes, I’m under eighteen.” Okay, I guess the idea is probably that it will keep businesses that sell alcohol from leaving sixteen-year-olds to run the place alone. Which… Seems a little backwards. I totally believe sixteen-year-olds should not be left alone in a business that sells alcohol, but if that’s the issue, why isn’t that the law?

This past week I learned of another idiotic alcohol law. I don’t know if this is local or federal or what. I was in a coffee shop and ordered a glass of malbec (because all the best coffee shops serve wine). The barrista took my money and poured my wine, then walked around outside of the counter to hand it to me. Seeing my raised eyebrow, she explained that although they have a liquor license, because they aren’t a bar, they can’t hand alcohol over the counter. So they can sell it and I can drink it, but it can’t pass over the counter. What the hell is the purpose of that? Seriously, someone explain the logic, because other than making the employees burn a couple extra calories, I can’t for the life of me figure out what that’s supposed to do.

I realize that there are reasons to make laws about the selling and handling of alcohol. I don’t agree with all of them, but I do get that they have a purpose. But can we at least try to make them make sense?