Friday, April 6, 2012

Read a Book, Sip a Cocktail No. 16

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I could have sworn I was embroiled in a Mexican telenovela as I read The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly.  You have your poor, pheasant girl.  She's feisty, she's beautiful, she's down to earth, and everybody loves her.  Then you have a handsome young chap who is in love with her and wants to give her the world.  But tragedy strikes.  The heroine falls on hard times and her beau is tricked into a relationship with her evil enemy (insert spoiled rich girl here).  But all is not lost for our beautiful heroine.  Somehow, someway she perseveres and with revenge in her heart, she rises above it all.  But the passionate love that exists between her and her beau will not be extinguished.  Will they meet again?  Or will the rich, evil people get in their way?  OK, so this was not exactly how the story went, but it was pretty darn similar.  Of course the writing is much, much better and a bit less sappy than most soap operas, so that was much appreciated as the book is extremely long (675 pages!).  I also loved the suspense that was thrown in as this takes place around the time of the Jack the Ripper murders in the Whitechapel district of London.  The aspects of tea are nicely woven into the story and I could just picture the charming grocers, tea rooms, and old streets of turn-of-the-century New York and London.  Which brings me to the cocktail I made for The Tea Rose.  It is a Cup of Tea-tini made with vodka, hibiscus tea infused simple syrup, and rose petal infused water.  Not too strong with just a hint of the rose water, I really enjoyed the sweet hibiscus flavor.  It's definitely not like any cup of tea I've had, but for a martini, it's quite lovely, so I would hope that Fiona could appreciate it, as she did with tea, tea roses and her Joe.

A Cup of Tea-tini
1 1/2 oz. vodka
2 oz. Hibiscus tea infused simple syrup*
2 oz. Rose infused water*
A fresh, clean rose petal for garnish

How to: Prep your martini glass by sticking it in the freezer for about 5 minutes. In a cocktail shaker mix ice, vodka, hibiscus simple syrup, and rose water. Shake for at least 20 seconds. Serve in your ice cold martini glass and garnish with one or two rose petals. *To make your own simple syrup, take 1/2 a cup of sugar to 1 cup of water and cook over medium heat (watching it and stirring every so often). When the sugar has dissolved, take the syrup off the heat and let it cool. To infuse it, soak dried hibiscus tea or leaves in the syrup overnight and drain them out before you use it.  You can do this with simple syrup you make or you can buy the simple syrup on its own and just infuse it yourself. To make your own rose water, see these great recipes: How to make rose water: 4 recipes

Here are the rose petals before I placed them on the stove to prepare the rose water
The hibiscus gave the drink it's beautiful pink hue, and of course the wonderful taste

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