By Elizabeth Speth
This won’t take long.
I was at the grocery store today, wandering listlessly through the produce aisle. I saw masses of dusky purple winter grapes. On sale.
My first thought: Make jewelry out of them. They are that beautiful.
My second, more practical thought: Cocktails.
I adopted a bunch — the sweetest, darkest, most mysterious and sexy cluster in the whole store — and brought it home. I chilled it within an inch of its life, and I coaxed every gorgeous, ripe, ruby orb off the stem (they did not require much convincing) and plopped them into the blender.
I added a thick, amber rope of local honey. Made by rosemary- and lavender-obsessed bees in my neighborhood. Pouring, it flirted shamelessly with the afternoon sun coming through the French doors in the kitchen. Fair enough, I thought, dazzled by the slow-flowing chemistry between sweet and light. It’s cocktail hour. There can be some flirting.
I poured in enough vodka to cover the grapes and the honey. I am protective that way.
I flicked on the blender and whirled it around. It made a joyous pink froth with purple flecks of tannic confetti.
At this point, I was confronted with a choice. I could strain the vodka grape juice and remove the pulverized skins. It would have made my cocktail clear, pristine — prettier.
I didn’t. I think those little bits of skin are the cocktail equivalent of caviar. I poured it into a champagne glass until the glass was half full. (I’m an optimist!)
I filled the glass the rest of the way with (very) cold champagne.
And then I shared it with you. Immediately. This is me, virtually pouring you a drink. A lovely one. You’ve likely had a tedious week. You deserve it.