I know it’s autumn when I make the leap from summery gin cocktails to classic rye and gingers. If you don’t have Canadian rye whiskey available, you can go ahead and use regular whiskey; I prefer rye because it’s smoother than regular whiskey and I find that its golden honeyed taste goes down a lot easier. Bourbon is also delicious in this recipe, but I wouldn’t use scotch if given the option – too much bite overwhelms the subtle orange and ginger flavours from the simple syrup. The simple syrup is versatile and can be used to doctor up plain sparkling water and it adds a lovely warmth to a Moscow Mule with a squeeze of lime.
for the ginger and orange simple syrup:
2 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin pieces
About 2 inches of orange peel, I like to use mandarin orange peel
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup water
Combine the water and sugar with the orange peel and fresh ginger in a small sauce pan. Heat over medium-high heat until gently simmering and the sugar has dissolved. Remove the simple syrup from the heat and allow to sit for about 45 minutes before taking out the ginger and orange peel. Store the simple syrup in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
for the cocktail:
(makes one cocktail)
2 Tbsp. ginger and orange simple syrup
1 1/2 oz. rye whiskey
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the rye and simple syrup. Shake vigorously and pour into a glass filled with ice. Top with equal parts ginger beer and sparkling water; look out the window at the beautiful fall foliage and enjoy!
I’ve been working on an autumn playlist over the last few days they’re all a bit morose, making this song a perfect fit. I don’t really make playlists for other seasons (besides Christmas, because of course!) but I feel like October is more of an immersive experience than anything else. I just want to do everything possible to fully experience this time of year both inside and outside (and speaking of outside, I’m definitely not above making a rye and ginger for the road – nature is often best experienced with a cocktail in a travel mug!).
Lou Reed & John Cale – Slip Away (A Warning)
This immensely refreshing smoothie encompasses an entire gradient of pinks and reds, from lush azalea hued watermelon to deep crimson pomegranate. I always feel healthier when sipping this smoothie; I can’t be certain whether this is from the actual bounty of antioxidants found in the ingredient list or is simply a placebo effect enhanced by the knowledge that I’m consuming something chock full of vitamins. The heady combination of sweet and tart is permeated with a slight heat from the fresh ginger; I often add 3 times as much as I have specified here, begin with a modest amount and work your way upwards if you’re inclined. I usually have a pitcher of rotating fruit teas in the fridge and I have discovered that raspberry and blueberry teas are also excellent choices for this drink (a mild green tea is also lovely and pairs very well with the ginger.) I will often have at least 1 of the fruits listed below frozen, just add a handful or 2 of ice if your ingredients are coming straight from the counter or crisper.
pink and red smoothie:
1 heaping cup of watermelon, cut into chunks
1/2 cup of strawberries, hulled and cut in half
1/2 cup of raspberries
1 cup of cold cranberry herbal tea
1/4 cup of pomegranate juice
About a 1 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 4 pieces
1 cup of ice (optional)
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth. Pour into 2 glasses (0r 1 and save some for later) and enjoy!
More often than not I make this smoothie for myself first thing in the morning before work and such a happy beverage deserves some equally bright retro pop to accompany it. This is my favourite song by The Zombies, I love them all very much but this is my best play-it-all-the-time track (which is good, because if I listen to it in the morning I have the apartment to myself and can put it on 6 times in a row without fear of annoying other people.) The lyrics are inarguably melancholy but, as always, The Zombies have managed to set them to definitely sunny music.
The Zombies – Brief Candles
This is actually one of the easiest to prepare soups that I’ve ever made, it was so easy to make in fact that I was initially sceptical that this soup would taste the way I remembered it did the first time my sister made it for me when I was in high school. I shouldn’t have worried because this lovely marigold soup is bursting with sweetness and warmth. Arborio rice is puréed into the gorgeous carrot base, producing an almost impossibly velvety and vivid soup that tastes delicious on its own or with grilled cheese and a salad (or for reassuring work lunches on freezing cold days such as today.) This carrot and ginger soup boasts a mere 9 ingredient roster including the stock and 2 types of ginger – fresh and candied. By combining each of these types of ginger you’re lending the soup both fresh astringency and a gentle sweetness and heat. Ian and I are in full cosy mode right now, most of our evenings and dinners are spent on the couch with me watching Spaced and crocheting blankets while he plays video games; it feels so nice to have this little bubble of comfort and kindness to look forward to at the end of the day. When we enter into this quietened phase I like to have things like a pot of this carrot and ginger soup handy to be heated whenever we emerge from our own dreamlike world; I just keep it in the same pot to reheat and pop it back into the fridge when I’m done with it.
quick carrot and ginger soup:
1 Tbsp. salted butter
1 Tbsp. lightly flavoured oil such as grapeseed or canola
1 lb. young carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium-sized sweet onion, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
3 Tbsp. chopped candied ginger
3 Tbsp. arborio rice
3 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
Kosher salt to taste
1. Melt the oil and butter together in a large soup pot over medium heat; add the carrots and stir occasionally for 5 minutes. Add the onions and stir for a few minutes before adding both the fresh and candied ginger.
2. Stir in the arborio rice and turn the heat down to low. Put the lid on the pot and keep it covered on low heat for about half an hour in order to soften the carrots, onion and arborio rice. When they are completely soft add the stock and take off the heat. Using an immersion blender or regular stand up version purée the soup until smooth and serve immediately for instant happiness.
The best songs are the ones that stir up intense emotions, blissful or melancholic it doesn’t seem to matter. Ian put this song on a mixed CD for me almost 10 years ago, the first one he ever made me (and I have lots of subsequent mixes saved from over the course of our relationship, I treasure each and every one of them.) This song makes me feel the same sense of joy and enthralment that it did a decade ago, I feel so fortunate to have fallen into something that always feels like home.
The Ocean Blue – Ballerina Out of Control