You don’t need to look at calendar to know it’s springtime in Colorado. This week’s manic weather (like Monday’s high 60s and Tuesday’s snow showers) has us pining for the flowers’ first full bloom. That’s why, when I recently headed to Session Kitchen for happy hour, my eyes were drawn to the bar menu’s “spring” section.
Most restaurants change their cocktail menu seasonally, but Session Kitchen’s is already tiered by the four seasons—making it easy to match your libation to your mood. I ordered the “I’ll Just Have a Salad,” a smooth, rum-based refreshment that comes out looking something like a dressed up Arnold Palmer. It’s an easy-going drink that got its name from the use of balsamic vinegar, rosemary, and basil. But that’s as close to a salad as you’ll get: the taste is somewhat reminiscent of a spiked iced tea. The cocktail is fitting for warm spring days meant for relaxing—just like the ones I’m seeing in Colorado’s near future.
To make the cocktail at home, you’ll need:
1½ ounces Havana Club rum
¾ ounce rosemary-lemongrass simple syrup
¾ ounce lime juice
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Combine 5 sprigs of basil and 1 slice of ginger in a glass. Muddle together. Add the remaining ingredients, and shake vigorously. Strain over fresh ice into a Collins glass (if you have one), and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a fresh basil leaf and slice of ginger.
Bonus: How to Make Rosemary-Lemongrass Simple Syrup
Combine 4 cups white cane sugar and 4 cups water with a handful of rosemary and 3 to 5 lemongrass stalks. (The stalks should be cut down the center and chopped into quarters.) Bring the ingredients to a boil, simmer for 15 to 30 minutes, and then let sit. Once the syrup is chilled, strain out the rosemary and lemongrass. It’s ready for use.
—Recipe courtesy of Session Kitchen barman Teddy Smith