As craft cocktail aficionados, we heartily believe that every bride deserves to have a splendid signature cocktail served at her wedding. On that note, we’re thrilled to introduce a new bimonthly cocktail series contributed by the lovely Carlene Thomas. A registered dietitian and the media and public relations chair of the Virginia Dietetic Association, Carlene specializes in wedding wellness and helping brides to live healthfully ever after—no dreadful dieting required. You can find her on her daily blog, Carlene’s Figments, which serves up lifestyle inspiration and the freshest tips on how to lead a healthful life. Carlene believes that food and drink should be nutritious, delicious, and packed with flavor, and this ethos will be reflected in her original cocktail creations. Without further ado, here she is to share her first concoction, a bright and bubbly wintertime pick-me-up with seasonal fennel and orange juice.
A cocktail that plays on winter flavors, such as citrus and licorice-like fennel, and has a dash of pure bubbles is the perfect brunch reception drink. While many cocktails rely on sticky-sweet liquors and cocktail juices to achieve flavor, we prefer a clean, bright, and simple beverage. One of the best ways to accomplish a clean cocktail is by creating infused alcohols or simple syrups. A drink light on calories but filled with flavor? We’ll drink to that!
- 1 ounce of fennel simple syrup
- 2 ounces of orange juice
- 2 ounces of vodka
- Seltzer to fill glass
- Garnishes: Fennel stalks and orange peel
To create a flavored simple syrup:
Slice desired flavoring agent (roughly 1/2 cup fennel) and add to a small saucepan. Add equal parts water and sugar to the saucepan and bring to a simmer for several minutes until the liquid becomes thick. Strain the fennel from the syrup. This method can be used for nearly any flavor!
To mix cocktail:
In a tumbler, add chilled vodka, fennel syrup, and cold orange juice. Stir to combine. Add chilled seltzer to the glass to fill. Stir lightly to keep the drink carbonated.
Photos and recipe by Carlene Thomas