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Cocktail Hour in the Leitrim hills

Monday, 16 April 2012


A few weeks ago, I was watching Oprah during my lunch break. Apparently, the news that she has finished making the talk show has yet to hit Ireland - we're still getting it every day, a little behind, but happy nonetheless.

By the way, I think I'm the last person remaining in the world who still takes a lunch hour. Yes, a whole hour. When I was working in London a few weeks ago it took me a few days to realise that I was the only one who would leave the office, sit in the park and not return for an hour. I don't see this as a luxury, but a necessity. I see sitting at a desk with a sandwich as downright upsetting. You need an hour to eat lunch, people! Get outside, away from your computer or you'll slowly wither away to nothing.

But back to Oprah.
On this occasion, she was camping in Yosemite with her friend Gayle. I won't relay the whole episode here, though I will tell you that Yosemite looked stunning. But that's not what caught my eye.

Oprah was making cocktails for the campers, for reasons I didn't quite catch, and she rustled up a Moscow Mule. "Hmmm..." I thought, as she talked me through the ingredients. That sounds mighty fine.

I managed to restrain myself and not make one with my lunch that day, but last week my friend was visiting, so I decided we would have a cocktail hour. My friend Dee came round after work, I set up the butcher block with a dizzying array of bottles and we relished in the glory of cocktail making.

The Travel Pennies Moscow Mule
  • 1 shot vodka
  • Sprigs of mint
  • Tiny bit of sugar
  • Lots of lime juice
  • Ginger beer (the hotter the better)
Mix it all up with ice. Man, is it good.

When you run out of ginger beer and crave some more, do as I did and create this amazing ginger vodka. I'm hoping that I invented this all by myself, but I'm sure someone has done it before.

Travel Pennies Gindka
  • Grate a lot of ginger into a jar
  • Pour vodka on top
  • Shake. With the lid on, obviously
You can either strain and drink immediately, or leave it for a day or so to get a vodka with a real kick. Then mix with mint, lime and apple juice for an amazing end of the day cocktail.

You'll instantly be on a little holiday.

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