Happy New Year! I am excited about 2021. I always feel that way at the beginning of the new year. To be honest, however, I struggled to write this column over the holidays. I was feeling so festive and it was lovely to be unplugged from work and to just spend time with my little family here in Whitehorse. It was difficult to think of what to write for January, knowing that most people feel like lightening things up after the holidays, trimming things down and perhaps making healthy resolutions for the new year. I, myself, am not one for resolutions, preferring instead to attempt moderation most of the time and to set goals when I need to set goals.

This month, you may wish to make a wee cocktail. Perhaps you feel the need to go for something light. With that goal in mind, I bring you just one simple recipe for January. I shall call it a “Vodka & Soda That Doesn’t Suck.”

If you’re really feeling ambitious, you can just omit the vodka and have some really nice sparkling water. Bitters are, in fact, a flavourful, zero-calorie addition to your water bottle. Always shake bitters before use, then add an entire dropper-full to your water bottle or glass.

Vodka & Soda That Doesn’t Suck

Vodka & Soda That Doesn’t Suck

A touch of sweetness from the homemade honey syrup adds balance to the bitters. The rosemary adds an enticing aroma as you take a sip. There are less than 90 calories in this cocktail.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 1/2 oz honey syrup (see NOTES)
  • 4 oz soda water
  • 1/4 tsp FPJ Fireweed Bitters
  • Small sprig of rosemary

Instructions

  1. Chill all ingredients. Add ice to a double old-fashioned or a Collins glass.
  2. Add the liquid ingredients and stir gently to blend.
  3. Garnish with a rosemary sprig. If you have a tiny clothespin, it’s fun to attach it to the rim of the glass. That way, you can smell the rosemary, but it does not overwhelm the delicate flavours in the cocktail.

Notes

Honey Syrup

This syrup recipe was also published in my last column. It’s a versatile cocktail ingredient. Use it in a Penicillin (also published in December) or in the Prohibition-era classic, Bee’s Knees cocktail.

Ingredients
1/2 cup local honey (I like Yukon Raw Honey)
1/2 cup water

Instructions
Combine honey and water in a small saucepan and place over medium heat.
Stir until blended.
Pour into a clean jar and let cool. Label before storing in refrigerator. Syrup will keep for up to 2 weeks.


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A few notes on alcohol consumption: these cocktails are strong, and they should be consumed in moderation; one serving of spirits is 1 1/2 oz. A good rule of thumb is to have a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage. Cheers!

Cheers to a new year