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Talisman of the Traveler Cocktail

Ah, the mysteries of space and time… especially time. Perhaps a physicist could explain why it passes so quickly. Another year is almost over for me, since my birthday is this month. This is also the second anniversary of The Purple Prose Room. Last year, I celebrated with a cake, whose recipe is included in the 2021 Tea with Friends recipe collection. This year, I decided a cocktail might be in order, after my husband, Karl, recently brought a special Indigo Gin to my attention. You know what they say about timing. Getting it right is everything, and if you listened to my most recent podcast, Inner Peace, you’re also aware there are no accidents.

September is a special month for me, not only because of a birthday and business anniversary. My first published novel, Heart of a Star, has a version of my birthstone on the cover. I may have first published it in early 2020, but it continues to provide inspiration for a variety of projects. The following cocktail recipe is the fourth one I’ve created with ties to that book.

Of course, you can’t enjoy a cocktail without a tasty snack. Since the drink is lightly sweet, a savory companion seemed the most appropriate. I didn’t originally plan to include one, until I was seeking ingredients for the cocktail. Imagine my delight, when I discovered the butterfly shaped party crackers at the grocery store. It occurred to me shortly before I started writing this post, that the Monarch Butterfly migration will be underway very soon.

During a four-month drought which began in May, the local butterflies disappeared. We finally started receiving rain about two weeks ago. I pulled up any purple bind-weed which wasn’t growing on the flowerbed fence in the spring, then crossed my fingers when the weather continued to stay hot and dry. The remaining plants managed to survive the summer with very conservative growth. They’re making up for lost time and starting to bloom a bit. Never under-estimate an aggressive, viny weed. I made peace with it last year after I noticed it’s a pollinator super-attracter; including the hummingbirds who started visiting my feeder in August. I wasn’t certain they would show up this year, if food sources were lacking. Now, I have some hope I’ll start to see some butterflies soon, too.

Like the migrating critters, or Pokémon Legends Arceus (a nod to my daughters, who are longtime Pokémon fans), this post is also fleeting in the spacetime continuum. It will be available until September 30, 2022; then I will be removing it. That doesn’t mean the following recipes will be gone forever. They will become part of the Tea with Friends 2022 recipe collection bundle, which will be available in December.

By the way, this book is now available as a special-order 3-ring binder print edition. This is a hand-crafted item, created in-house, and only available here. Whether you’re seeking a unique gift, or something special for yourself, I would be happy to create a copy for you. Please plan accordingly for gift-giving, especially for the upcoming holidays. If the item is in stock without a pre-order, I have one completed edition which is ready to ship; otherwise, I will not have a lot of pre-printed inventory on hand. I work from home and don’t stock a warehouse.

Talisman of the Traveler Cocktail

1 jigger Blueberry Ginger Syrup

2 jiggers Indigo Gin (Empress 1908)

1 jigger Limoncello

6 oz. Blueberry Acai Seltzer (Kroger Simple Truth)

Star-shaped Ice Cubes

Place the ingredients, except ice, in a cocktail shaker to combine, then pour into your favorite Gin Fizz glass. I like to use the fancy punch cup because it resembles a tea cup. It’s also a nod to the historic Canadian hotel who developed Empress 1908 Gin with the distiller. (They’re well-known for their tea service.) Since I keep the blueberry syrup and at least one can of the seltzer in my refrigerator, the drink already begins chilled. My star-shaped ice-cube tray makes cubes which are approximately 1 inch across at the points. If they’re placed in the shaker, they will lose their shape and dilute the drink too quickly.

This recipe, as written, makes one drink. The seltzer comes in 12 oz. cans. Double the first three ingredients for two drinks. If you’re having a party, it could probably be scaled up to make a self-serve punch; but I would recommend making a cocktail first, to become familiar with the flavor profile. Yes, I’m aware the gin used in this recipe is a small batch premium product. I still don’t recommend using something less expensive for this recipe. Part of Indigo Gin’s charm is the deeper violet color. This is a special occasion drink after all, and you have my blessing to create a special occasion any time you need one. If you can’t find Empress 1908, Henderson’s Indigo Gin might make a good substitute. They’re in the same price range.

Blueberry Ginger Syrup

18 oz. Blueberries (fresh or frozen)

1 c. Sugar

4-5 Large Chunks of Crystalized Ginger, diced to ¼” pieces

Place blueberries in a sauce pan over low heat. Stir the fruit to prevent bottom burning and promote even cooking. Once the berries start releasing liquid, you can add the sugar and ginger. Cook until the sugar is dissolved. Rather than muddling the fruit in a drink, and throwing away the solids, I drain off some of the syrup instead. The fruit can be used on other things like pancakes, waffles and ice cream. Here’s a note on the crystallized ginger. I buy it in the organic snack isle. It’s less expensive than buying it from the spice isle. If you’re using fresh, grated ginger, use no more than a tablespoon.

A purchased syrup, like Torani’s, would probably be a better option for a party punch. Just swap ginger ale for the seltzer.

Ham Salad

1 (16 oz.) pkg. Diced Ham

3 Hard-boiled Eggs

1 c. Mayonnaise

½ c. Multi-color Diced Bell Pepper

1 tbsp. Fresh Italian Parsley, minced

1 tbsp. Dry, Minced Onion

1 tsp. Celery Seeds

Place ingredients in a storage container which has a tight lid and combine together. The finished salad can be used for both small appetizers and sandwiches. For deviled eggs, increase the number of eggs according to your serving requirements and use the yolks in the salad. Diced frozen bell pepper is fine for this recipe, though most of the time, store-bought versions are green peppers; unless it’s a mixed veggie product. Pictsweet makes a recipe starter blend which contains onions, peppers and parsley. If you use it, 1 cup should be enough. I would recommend defrosting it first and draining the excess liquid before adding to the salad. I buy fresh red, orange and yellow peppers when they’re on sale, and dice them before storing them in the freezer.