the apricot stinger cocktail | hello, spring

I won’t apologize for my excitement that spring is finally here. All I see are sunny days ahead on my weather app, and I am taking full advantage of this string of good luck. Like March, April is oftentimes a volatile month here in Colorado, where you’ll be wearing flops and shorts at noon and donning a full-on winter coat and battling an onslaught of wet snow by sunset. Here’s hoping for the best.

Our garden is overflowing with tulips, daffodils, crocuses, miniature irises, and crabapple blossoms. Even our mosses and creeping thyme plants are greening out and filling in the gaps on our flagstone path. This is such a beautiful time of year. Bulbs are waking from their winter dormancy, and grasses are hastily shooting up to meet the sun’s warmth. This well-rehearsed symphony of color and fragrance is a fleeting performance, however. Sure, summer is beautiful and bountiful, but there is something special about this time of transformation from winter’s dull, brown landscape to the vibrant, bright-green newness of spring. The season is simply invigorating and holds such promise for life and change and progress.

Change is in the air!


“Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.”

– Robert Frost


I am taking every moment possible to note the changes happening in our garden. I love sitting outside, underneath our crabapple tree, my favorite spot, with a cup of coffee and just listening to the growth. It is almost audible at times, and the energy is palpable. I find myself planning for the summer’s crops and dreaming up ways to preserve them later on, when I should be just soaking up this beautiful and short metamorphic season.

So, I couldn’t resist photographing this cocktail outside in the garden. Parts of the garden have yet to wake up, but this little, shady corner feels like another world.

the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora


“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river, and he’s not the same man.”

– Heraclitus


So, I have to say that photographing this white, frothy cocktail was rather tricky. Have you had the same challenge? It is almost like the tiny, pale bubbles got lost in their brightness, and I was unable to capture the dimension of the cocktail. It washed out. I think it is good to stretch your photography skills and place yourself in different lighting situations, but it is frustrating, all at the same time.

I’ve also had difficulty photographing other similar subjects, like ice cream, and making them “pop” in a low-light situation. Do you have any tips for a lighting and texture situation like this? The subject is in focus, since you can see the gold rim of the cocktail coupe in detail, but getting those fine bubbles to show up was challenging. I finally threw in the towel and did the best with the knowledge I had and the variables I was presented.

the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora

The flavor profile in this cocktail is straight-up creamsicle. The rich, frothy influence of the whipped egg whites pairs perfectly with the lemon juice, apricot liqueur, and the subtle notes of honey in the vodka. Usually, I am not a flavored vodka gal, but I am in love with Spring44’s Gin, so I had to give their honey vodka a go. Spring44’s award-winning Honey Vodka is handcrafted in Colorado and uses Rocky Mountain artesian spring water in its distillation process. The result is a pure, clean, clear spirit, made without any additives whatsoever. This aromatic, floral vodka boasts bright notes of lavender, rich honey, vanilla, and toasted nuts. And it is also great served by itself, on the rocks.

I’ve long been a fan of Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Liqueur. This liqueur marries perfectly with bourbon and paired magically {I know I overuse that adjective, but it completely applies here} with Teeling small-batch whiskey and steeped black tea in another cocktail I recently made, the Irish Breakfast. Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot has just the right amount of sweetness, without being cloyingly so. Its eau-de-vie base shines through and imparts a richness that complements the vibrant, fresh fruit component. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the notes of honey in the vodka. Like springtime in a glass. A frothy, rich, meringue-like expression of spring.

the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora

I actually hadn’t tried an egg white-based cocktail until about 2011. I know. I was late to the party. What do egg whites do to an already delicious cocktail? Think about a lemon meringue pie. It is tart, sweet, and silky in texture. Integrating perfectly whipped egg whites into a cocktail results in a cohesive, balanced, velvety drink.

And there is no need to worry about any food illness issues. If you source organic, pastured, fresh eggs, preferably from a local source, you’ll be guaranteed a safe product.


the apricot stinger


  1. In a mixing tin, combine the vodka, apricot liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white. Without adding any ice, “dry shake” for at least one minute. Don’t cheat.
  2. After the minute has passed, add ice and continue shaking for at least another minute. This is the “wet shake” stage. Shaking for two minutes is optimal. You jest, but the froth you’ll get from this vigorous shaking is remarkable. Texture is what you’re after in this recipe.
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a lemon peel, mint sprig, or an edible flower {note: my miniature daffodils in the photos are not tasty and were only present for decoration, since my violas hadn’t bloomed quite yet}.
  • Always choose fresh, organic, pastured eggs.
  • The cooler the egg, the easier it is to separate the white from the yolk.
  • The easiest way to separate the white from the yolk is to simply crack the shell and pass the yolk from one half of the shell to the other. You may also crack the whole egg over a slotted spoon or a julep strainer. Just do this over a bowl or directly into the cocktail tin.
  • Don’t overlook the dry shaking step. Shaking the ingredients without the presence of ice lets the mixture emulsify and bond together. If you want to speed up or accentuate the process, you can add the spring from a Hawthorne shaker or a blender ball {whisking ball} to the tin.
  • Don’t slack on shaking the cocktail, once you’ve added the ice. This last step slightly dilutes the cocktail and chills it down, without destroying the fine mousse you developed during the dry shake.

the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & floraSo, yeah, spring. I’m seriously having a little trouble jumping right in with gusto, as far as my personal life is concerned. I can’t seem to find my writing groove, and I have fallen off the running wagon and haven’t trained in over a week. Did I mention that I am registered for a half marathon in a little over a month? Eek.

Like I mentioned above, spring is such a fleeting moment of intense growth. I feel invigorated from the life and movement of the season, but it is almost overwhelming, when I try to actually put my dreams and aspirations to work. Despite this busy season, and my laundry list of aspirations, it is important to slow down and seriously enjoy the changes that are happening. They don’t happen overnight in nature, so why should I place the same pressure upon myself?

My aunt told me a story over the weekend that helped place all of this into proper perspective. She likened our experiences in life to a ride on a train. If we hustle along, only thinking about our destination, crossing off our to-dos, never slowing down, we make it to the end, and it’s done. We have met the end of our life and haven’t even enjoyed the stops along the way. Seriously, what is the rush? Why can’t we just pause and let ourselves enjoy the path we’re on, instead of trampling the flowers and ignoring the potential friends along the way?

the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & floraI am definitely not alone in the quest for the perfect, frothy, egg white-based cocktail. If you are ever in New York, I hear that the Alabaster Crowley cocktail, an egg white-based cocktail that mashes up Old Tom Gin and Amaro Montenegro, at the Garret is pretty much earth-shaking. My friend, Renée, just took the plunge and moved to NYC to work as a fashion assistant. Apparently, this particular cocktail is so good, she’s ordered it in succession. Here are a few unique recipes to try, along with a couple of classics.


other egg white-based cocktails to try


  • The Clover Club, a classic, citrus-y, gin-based fizz, accentuated with raspberry jam, via Oh So Beautiful Paper
  • Rhubarb and Rose Ramos Gin Fizz, this twist on the classic calls for rhubarb syrup and rose water, brightening up this creamy, gin-based cocktail, by way of Food 52
  • White Lady, a classic cocktail, featured in the 1930s classic, Savoy Cocktail Book, which features dry gin, lemon juice, Cointreau, and, of course, egg whites, found on PUNCH
  • Cotogna’s Aperol Fizz, showcases one of my favorite spirits, Aperol, and adds a creamier twist to the classic Aperol Spritz, via Serious Eats
  • Meyer Lemon Gin Fizz, a simple cocktail that lets seasonally available Meyer lemons take center stage, via Spirited Alchemy

the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora


“Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.”

– W. Somerset Maugham


There is no doubt that I will make that last cocktail on the list, the Meyer Lemon Gin Fizz, when my Meyer lemons ripen. I mentioned in an earlier post that I had about 13 little lemons ripening on my dwarf Meyer lemon tree, which I over-wintered this past cold season. During the first five years of a Meyer lemon tree’s life, it is very unlikely that fruit will actually set. I am surprised that I have three, rather large, yellowing Meyer lemons! I am beyond excited! I don’t care if I get only one out of the deal. Whatever I make with that one, perfect lemon will be decadent. IMG_2940 IMG_2938

I’m closing with some photos I took, while prepping the garden soil this past week. As far as the garden edibles go, mint, tarragon, chives, thyme, and sorrel have all made their perennial appearances over the past few days. We even discovered some potatoes from this past fall that were absolutely delicious and sweet. The onions we planted last summer were ready, as well.

My friend, Ashlae, recently dropped by for breakfast and helped sow the early-spring seeds with me. She is my local supplier of vanilla crack, better known to all as the Real Deal vanilla extract. She is also a pretty fun person to hang around. We have both agreed that we are grandmas, since we cherish being at home, enjoy good books, dabble in the DIY department, and enjoy getting our hands dirty and gardening. I’m proud of the label. I think we ended up talking way more than we did actually planting. We managed to plant buttercrunch lettuce in succession, and we sowed several varieties of Swiss chard, some kale, and a few rows of beets.

The buttercrunch lettuce is already popping up!

IMG_2967 IMG_2968 IMG_2945 IMG_2948 IMG_2950 IMG_2951 IMG_2952


“If nothing lasts, then everything has meaning. If everything dies, that means we actually live.”

– Chris Matakas


So, which egg white-based cocktails have you made? Do you have any other recipes where honey vodka would be a great component? Also, if you have any advice on photographing ice cream or other frothy-textured foods, lay it on me!

Cheers to a wonderful rest-of-the-week! And happy spring cocktail-making!

XO,

Jayme

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8 thoughts on “the apricot stinger cocktail | hello, spring

  1. Julia Sforza

    Everything looks beautiful, Jayme. You are capturing the greens just perfectly! I admire your desire to get better at everything you do, even though you are already so talented. Spring is such a tonic!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Jayme Henderson Post author

      Spring is such a tonic for the body and the soul. I was in need of some serious revival. Your tomato toast looks spectacular. We didn’t do much oven-roasting last year; we will have to change that this upcoming season. And your words absolutely made my day, Julia. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. paulathomas2015

    Hi Jayme!
    Back doing some reading. Spring is definitely a busy time! I can’t imagine having a garden as big as yours to care for, I’m just getting started with our giant lot of grass and stone. not much for inspiration here! Seeds have sprouted and i find it to be a miracle since i have no clue what i’m doing. The Mr. built another box for herbs and such. It takes us a while to get an idea going when it comes to gardening. Hope all is well 🙂
    Great post as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Jayme Henderson Post author

      Paula – it was so nice catching up with you a little this morning over our various social media channels. I hope you get to feeling better soon. I am off to read your latest post. Hooray for Scott!! I am happy to hear that you’ll have more boxes for gardening. And, man, it takes us a lot of planning to get an idea going, too. It seems like it is always a work in progress. Steve is outside re-purposing some old garden timbers and making a front yard bed. I’m excited about that project – our front yard has been neglected for years! :-/ And happy spring!

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      Reply
  3. Bridget

    Jayme, once again you capture the excitement and joy of and rebirth of this season. I love your style and appreciate that you share it with us. You have a wonderful way of transporting us every time you share your posts. There is truly something wonderful about springtime and the realization and appreciation that we made it thru another winter. Thank you for sharing your words/talent/passion with us. We are fortunate!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  4. Erin (@bbburrow)

    I have always felt like a Grandma trapped in a young woman’s body. I love your posts, they always get me inspired to try new things. This cocktail looks delicious. Good luck on your half-marathon, we are rooting for you!

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  5. Pingback: Of Pests and Pathogens: The Rose Slug | Blackberry Burrow

  6. fauxgetit

    This looks so lovely, and has actually made me excited for spring. Even now, here in 2016. I’m at University so reading about your lifestyle and large garden makes me very jealous of how you can spend Spring! But I suppose, this is a drink you can enjoy no matter where you are to make spring extra special!

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