I’m not usually so bitter towards winter.
We live in a city that inevitably gets 200cm (78”) or more of snowfall each season but come March, when we tend to get a day or two of teasing above zero weather, anger and frustration starts to set in after that warmth is quickly gusted away by yet another city-entombing snowfall. The boots, the shoveling, the digging and pushing and digging and pushing of a stuck car, the dirty, snowy dog paws, and the stirring restlessness that happens after months of dusty heater-breezes where crisp, sun-drenched breezes used to hang.
I want the sun badly. I want to feel my cheeks flush and toasty under it’s rays. I want to spend the weekend on the balcony, catching up on reading, my toes glowing in the late afternoon sun that only manages to hit one corner of the tiny wooden box. I want to muddle Farmer’s Market berries and herbs, drown them in soda water and gin, and invite friends over to gab late into the night, our conversation tangled with the sound of crickets and the swooping sounds of the bats we get in late summer. I want it all, but all there is is more snow. More ice. Heavy coats and sweaty toque-hair.
I made these Thai-inspired margarita’s last week after feeling particularly run down by winter. They have a bright, spicy & aromatic flavour that muddles the spicy Thai ingredients that I’ve become so familiar with in the long winter months, with the bright, icy cold tartness I miss so dearly from the summer. If you’re missing summer, or heck, even if you’re in the midst of it (which I say with only the slightest bit of disdain), I hope you’ll enjoy one of these. Close your eyes and try to remember that it’s just around the corner; all that sun, the informal outdoor parties, bike rides and patios.
I love cilantro in this margarita, but if you’re not one for cilantro (which is an absurd thought for me) you can use Thai basil (preferably) or regular basil. As well, I use a generous amount of ginger both in the syrup and the cocktail itself here. If you want it a touch less kicky, forgo adding the grated ginger into the cocktail.
Ginger Simple Syrup
1/4 cup fresh ginger, cut into thin rounds
1/4 cup sugar, less if you prefer it tart
1 cup water
In a small sauce pot, add the three ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, pour into heatproof jar and cool.
6 sprigs cilantro plus extra leaves for garnish
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated fine
juice from 3 whole limes
4 oz white tequila
2 oz triple sec, optional
1 1/2 oz ginger syrup
2 cups still or sparkling water
In a cocktail shaker, add the cilantro and ginger and muddle a bit to bruise the cilantro leaves. Add the lime juice, tequila, triple sec (if using) 6 ice cubes and water. Taste and adjust any ingredients if needed (more syrup if it’s too tart, more lime if it’s too sweet) Shake and divide into glasses filled with ice and garnished with cilantro leaves.