Friday, September 28, 2012

Sam's Simple Mint Juleps

I don't know about you, but I could use a drink right about now. Here to help us out in that department is . . . my Dad! Apparently, he and my Mom have been enjoying a nightcap in the evenings this summer, using mint from his own garden. Take advantage of Indian Summer, mix up a pitcher of delicious Juleps, and get thee to a veranda, post haste.

Mint Juleps

4 cups of water
1 cup of sugar
1 hand full of mint leaves with stems (save a few leaves for a garnish)
Bourbon or blended whisky
Add water and sugar to a sauce pan.  Heat and stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from the heat and add the mint.  When the pan has cooled to near room temperature, remove and discard the mint.  The mint syrup can be refrigerated for several days.
To make the julep:
Add 1-2oz of Bourbon to a tall tumbler.  Add 4oz of the mint syrup and fill with ice and add the mint garnish.
Makes 8 servings

Monday, September 10, 2012

Turf War

Dear Bashionista,

What happens if you throw a party and invite friends who recently broke up - and then they both show up, bringing their respective posses. How are you supposed to keep the peace?

- Kristen B

The dreaded dance posse
Girrrrrl, get yourself a time machine, because that's about the only thing that'll help. The fact is, once you're in the middle of a turf war, there's not a lot you can do about it.

Now as a host, I hate choosing between friends who have unchosen each other. Typically, I don't; I invite them both on evite (or the social networking venue du jour) so that everyone knows ahead of time who's coming. I trust people to be grown-ups and manage their own messes; if they shouldn't be in the same room together, no one knows that better than the two of them.

Of course, there are moments during the grieving/loathing process when people do not exercise their best judgement, and there are times when a man or woman scorned might start to see your living room as the perfect place to try their case before a jury of their peers, at high volume and with a maximum of hair pulling. Here are some ways that you  can avoid throwing a party that requires police intervention:

1) Monitor your evite

Keep tabs on who's planning on showing up. If you happen to notice that two sworn enemies are in the mix, consider dropping one of them a note - something along the lines of, "Hey Nancy, I noticed that you and Sid are both planning on coming on Saturday. Of course I would *love* to see both of you, but I just wanted to give you a heads up so you aren't uncomfortable."

2) Attempt some light intervention

Let's say you dropped Nancy a line, and her response was, "If I have to see that lying bastard cavorting around with his new girlfriend I will just DIE," or, "When I see that lying bastard cavorting around with his new girlfriend I will just MURDER HIM." Looks like it's time to check in with your old pal, Sid. Let him know you aren't picking sides but that you would encourage him to either smooth things over before Saturday night, or wear a bullet-proof vest, as the situation requires.

3) Run interference

If the worst happens, and both sides show up armed to the teeth do what you can to subtly keep the peace. Try keeping the posses separated as much as you can. Asking members of the militant entourage for some emergency help in the kitchen is a good way to divide and conquer. If things are seriously tense, don't be shy about pulling aside a few of your most discrete, assertive, or physically imposing friends, let them know the situation, and ask them to help you keep an eye on things. If anything starts to get out of hand, they should have your back.