Whew! Been on break for a couple of months, but not slacking off. We reverted back to the first love – wine – the the last of the cold months this past season.  Many bottles consumed and many discoveries (good and bad) made. Aside from that, there’s a lot going on to occupy us. Scouts for the little ones, irritating issues with the new house for the big ones, trying to get more outdoor activities going, work, blah, blah, blah.

The past few weeks have been occupied digging a deep hole in the back yard to try out and old cooking method. Seemed like something fun to play with over the summer. It is quite a chore, but at this stage in my life I think of it as exercise and actually enjoyed working up the sweat. pitKeeping the proper pace is key. No back issues and much dirt moved over three sessions. If the hole doesn’t flood during the current downpour, we’re going to rediscover true pit barbecuing next weekend. The pit is sized to accommodate a small pig / goat/ lamb carcass. We’ll get some practice during the summer with butts, shoulders and other hunks of meat, then see if we’re up to the whole hog by the fall.

This past weekend was a wet one. Not the best timing as we had a Cub Scout family camping trip. We had intermittent rain, but it didn’t spoil a hike up Hemphill Bald in Catalochee with a return through the edge of the Smokey Mountain Park. Really beautiful and a ringing endorsement for the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy who helped the land owners set aside the area. Talk about wild pigs and moonshining came up during the  hike. Both are endemic in the area.  Seemed like one more subtle hint to get back to the blog. Cocktail recipes have been building up in the To Do Box. Time to shake one up.

Eric Felten had what looked like a good one in last week’s Wall Street Journal. A resposado tequila based citrus drink with pepper. I had most of a bottle of the tequila left from Christmas. Another sign that I needed to get busy with the shaker. Ingredients were gathered and the drink assembled tonight.

Pink Panther
from Aisha Sharpe

1-1/2 oz resposado tequila
3/4 oz fresh ruby red grapefruit juice
1/4 oz fresh lime juice
1/4 oz agave syrup
2 dozen pink peppercorns

Muddle half the peppercorns in a shaker together with the lime juice. Add the other liquids, shake with ice, and strain into a stemmed cocktail glass. Float the other pink peppercorns on the drink for garnish.

Definitely a keeper. Mine turned out a little less pink due to a slightly color-anemic grapefruit. I also cheated on the peppercorns and went with the black ones I had here at the house. There is an herbal earthiness to the drink that is pleasant and a bite on the finish from the crush pepper. I skipped the pepper garnish, it seemed like something you’d have to fish out of your mouth. Nice thing about being an amateur – nobody’s looking.

I like. I’m going to have another. Hate to waste the extra grapefruit juice, plus I need something to hold me while I watch the camping gear dry out. Cheers.