Since we've become empty-nesters, my husband and I have started going to happy hour in West Chester. We like to start at Kooma (http://koomasushibar.com/) for their excellent happy hour deal of 30% off sushi rolls and martinis and then stroll through town, stopping at D'Ascenzo's (http://dascenzosgelato.com/) for a gelato, Limoncello (http://www.limoncellowc.com/) to people watch (it's fun to see the people who have been there since 4pm drinking...by 8pm it's not a pretty picture) and then Sidebar(http://sidebarandrestaurant.com/) for a great beer and maybe some plantain chips. Needless to say this isn't great for my waistline but oh well...
Sometimes its nice to enjoy happy hour at home with a special cocktail. After we dropped my youngest off at Pitt, we went to the William Penn Hotel's Speakeasy Bar to toast his success and our empty nest. I had a most delicious cocktail. I need to clarify that I am not a fan of sweet drinks; I prefer slightly herbal, woodsy ones instead and the "Apple Gin Mule" fit the bill. What a drink...made of gin, ginger beer and chopped up apples with muddled mint in the bottom and a sprig of rosemary served in a copper "moscow mule" mug. I was hooked. The waitress said one of the keys was having a good ginger beer so when I wanted to make this at home, I, of course, decided to make my own ginger beer.
It was relatively simple: a half pound of roughly chopped ginger (not peeled), 2 quarts of boiling water, 2 cups of sugar, juice of two lemons and 1 teaspoon of yeast. I put the resulting liquid in a beer growler and every day, open it to let the gas escape. The weird thing is that it is rapidly evaporating! I feel like it is a science experiment gone awry! The ginger beer is quite good, though I'm not sure it is worth the effort or the potential explosion waiting to happen in my frig.
However the cocktail is excellent. I chopped up some apples (leave the skin on), muddled some mint and put them both in the mug, then added a shot of gin, added the ginger beer and rosemary sprig and voila: