Libations 101: La Bella Donna, vol. 1

Lauren:  And so it was.  Two girls met mid-morning at a coffee shop.  They talked blogs, travel (Halley had just returned from Italy), neighborhoods, backgrounds.  They went to lunch.  They talked love lives, jobs, plans.  Now after many dinner parties (1,2,3) and wardrobe exchanges, it’s been a year.  The girls are good friends.  They decided to begin a joint blog post, encouraging both community and the littlest bit of indulgence.  The column was named Libations 101.

Halley:  For our first cocktail we wanted to do something fresh and clean. Italy being a strong influence for both Lauren and I, we chose to include Mediterranean ingredients. Currants, lemon, and basil (all native to the Mediterranean), came to mind. Playing on “Belladonna,” the herbaceous plant that is part of the nightshade family, and the Italian words for pretty woman, La Bella Donna was born.

Hendrick’s Gin, Q Tonic, Currant Berries, Basil & Lemon

When making cocktails, flavor becomes very concentrated. Cold beverages tend to show their true colors, and this is where the importance of ingredients comes into play. We used the best gin (Hendrick’s) the best tonic (Q-tonic: Hand-picked quinine from the Peruvian Andes and organic agave as the sweetener), and a special black currant sauce procured overtime by our friend Rio in Taos.  Yes, his name is Rio- which means river, and yes he is a man of the earth.  This cocktail speaks to our personalities, our friends, and our lifestyle.  Salud.

Add basil, then ice cubes, then gin.

 Vintage shot glasses from Halley’s grandmother came in handy for measurements, and looks.

Vibrant colors

The basil adds depth, the currants – punch, the lemon – zest.

Savor each sip.

Whether it’s a twist, a wedge or a slice, you can do no harm with a lemon garnish.  Personalize La Bella Donna to your liking.

A specialty cocktail indeed.

Black currants defined the cocktail, proving that collaboration is key in creative endeavors.  Thanks Rio.  This cocktail and post (i.e. photos, layouts, love) were made from scratch.  Look for our monthly “Libations 101” post on both Serendipping and Food Chanel.  In late September we’ll feature our ‘Farewell to Summer’ beverage, hint – Tequila.

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