If you know me, whether personally or via this five-year-old blog (wow!), you know that very little makes me happier than entertaining, always in a homemade way or using items made independently and in small batches. Once I found my love for the hosted gathering, grandiose or intimate, it took me about five minutes to figure out where I got this gene, that “party” gene that keeps my pantry and fridge stocked for an impromptu antipasti plate any moment of the day…
When my Mother walks into a room, the party starts. It always did. It did when she was a young, svelte Honduran stunner and it does today, though she’s in her seventh decade, often in and out of doctor’s offices for various treatments, but always with a youthful smile. And among the various rules of this inadvertent event planner is to always, always put a drink in a guest’s hand the moment they walk in the door. It didn’t matter if it was ice water or champagne, though the latter always got the party started that much quicker.
I’m sipping a little something as I type this, indulging in the quiet before the storm that will be our third Eat Boutique Fall Market on Saturday, September 22. The “little something” is effortless and truly the perfect entrée into creating a homemade cocktail bar. The recipe for this simple, dark Amaretto comes directly from the pages of Alana Chernila’s new book, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making, a book that has remained in the heart of my kitchen since the moment it arrived.
Some cookbooks are read cover to cover, put through a recipe test and then gently placed into my cookbook room (what a friend has come to call my living room whose shelves overflow with 10 novels and 10 other shelves filled with you know what). Alana’s book brims with tempting vignettes and delightfully easy recipes that will make you feel like a superhero in the kitchen. Really, a superhero.
I use the Amaretto in a variety of ways, and remember the cocktail of choice when I first started sipping
guzzling spirits in my twenties: Amaretto Sours. They were easy, familiar and quite tasty. The photos below were 100% inspired by Not Without Salt’s post. We replaced the cherries with peaches and the Amaretto Sour revival is now in full swing around these parts.
Those of you in the Boston area will be able to buy Alana’s new book and meet her at the Fall Market. She’ll sign her book and chat about it this Saturday, so please do venture out to meet her. The Market is free (but RSVP) and we’ll have piles and piles of her book on hand to sell. My Mother will be around too, helping me get the party started. See you there!
From Alana Chernila’s The Homemade Pantry
Makes 4 cups
- 1 cup of packed light brown sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 3.5 cups vodka
- 4 tablespoons almond extract
- Combine the brown sugar with 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar is dissolved, then let cool.
- Use a pairing knife to split the vanilla bean from one end to the other to expose the sticky seeds inside.
- Pour the liquid into a bottle or jar, then add the split vanilla bean, vodka and almond extract. Top with the lid and shake to combine. The amaretto is ready to drink immediately but will get better with age.
All photos styled and taken by Michelle Martin.
Eat Boutique discovers the best small batch foods by boutique food makers. We share recipes, maker stories and city guides to eating boutique. We host tasting events and markets for food makers, cookbook authors and food fans. We craft seasonal, regional gift and tasting boxes and sell individual items that you can order today. Meet makers and small batch food fans in person at the Eat Boutique Fall Market on September 22, 2012 — the event is free but please RSVP so we can plan accordingly — thank you!