I found a reason for bubbly again this week.
One year ago, John and I became the very proud owners of a retro little number we named Betty. Within the last year, we have towed that 13-foot gem all over the western United States and made memories that will last a lifetime (partly due to my over-eager photo-documenting obsession.)
As we set out on our maiden voyage towing a trailer for the first time, the vibe was…tense. We’d never even hitched Betty up to the truck, let alone driven her around for 2 1/2 weeks.
As we pulled out of the dipping driveway, something scraped the asphalt and my hands clenched. I remained rigid for awhile, gasping at each bump, frantically checking the mirror to make sure the trailer was ok. I was like the parent of a newborn, over-anxious about every tiny thing, positive something must be wrong. But after a while, the smooth open road calmed me (to John’s relief). I enjoyed the drive into Southern Utah. We were really doing this!
We drove until we felt like stopping, and checked the map for the little ‘campground’ insignia in our vicinity. We were in the dry Utah desert in June, so a little bit of shade and perhaps some water nearby would be ideal. Quail Creek State Park near a town called Hurricane had campsites right on a lake. When we got there, the sites were barren and exposed, no trees. Disappointed, we took a chance and kept going. There was one last option- Red Cliffs Campground a few miles further up the road.
But before we could check out the campsite, we had to GET there. First, we encountered this (we squeezed through).
Then we were met with this (it was deeper than it looks).
But then we were rewarded with this.
Red Cliffs Campground was just what we were looking for, and we pulled into our stunning site just in time for sunset and happy hour. And happy it was.
It was the perfect place to end our first day on the road with Betty, and to kick off a summer full of adventure. We celebrated. (I’m sure you can guess where this is going.)
We popped open on a bottle of Cava and toasted to Betty. We kept the cork, marked with the date. We grilled delish burgers and sat around the campfire well into the night, wondering if the rest of our trip would be this good. It was.
To celebrate our Betty ‘anniversary,’ we tried a new cocktail recipe last night. A main ingredient is champagne, so it had be fabulous! The ingredients were gorgeous and fresh.
It was my first time making simple syrup- I usually substitute agave nectar. This version included slices of fresh peeled ginger root, simmered with sugar and water. My kitchen took on the vaguely spicy and yummy scent of ginger while the syrup steeped for 30 minutes.
Next, we muddled some plump fresh raspberries with mint leaves and lemon juice. Vibrant colors and the tart scent of the lemon were impossible to miss. This was getting good.
After adding the vodka (from High West Distillery), John poured the hot pink concoction into our glasses. I added the bubbly (Cava) and garnished our masterpieces with more raspberries and lemon.
Time for the moment of truth. I took a sip. My smile says it all.
The drinks were sweet, but not too sweet. The ginger added a snappy but subtle bite, and the flavor was brightened by the mint. And it is just about the prettiest drink I’ve ever made.
Was it a tad involved for a random evening at home? Yes. But each step added something to the overall product, and the results were worth the effort. (I had two.)
Besides, we were celebrating. Cheers to Betty!