Flowers in your bubbly: A little something different

Wild Hibiscus in Champagne

Wild hibiscus flowers liven up a glass of bubbly!

One of my favorite things to do is host parties, and over the years, I’ve learned it’s usually the small things that make a get-together memorable. Whether it’s creative party invitations, fun party snacks or curiously carbonated cocktails, it seems like it’s often the little details that will stick in someone’s mind for days afterward. Therefore I’m constantly on the hunt for the strange and unusual, little things — generally of the culinary persuasion — to bring out at my next party to surprise guests with.

So when I heard about these Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup a few years ago, I was immediately obsessed with them. Unable to find them in town, I went online and ordered six or seven jars at once. A few I gifted to friends who also share a love for interesting treasures and the rest I hoarded in my pantry to break out whenever the mood hit.

While they aren’t a new trend by any stretch, these hibiscus flowers are certainly still fun to experiment with. They add a festive detail to any party, and are particularly perfect as an ice breaker during aperitifs. (That sentence made me feel like I just channeled Martha Stewart!) But honestly, even if you’ve grown accustomed to these flowers like I have, they never lose their luster.

And the best part is that they require no more effort than this:

Start with a hibiscus flower from the jar. They feel like a gummy candy crossed with a fruit leather, and they kind of remind me of these piranha plants from Super Mario Bros.

Wild Hibiscus Flowers

Wild Hibiscus Flowers

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Recreating the best gin fizz ever

Every once in a while I’ve ordered a drink having a good idea of what it will be like, only to be totally shocked when it arrives at my table. I had this happen to me last month while on my husband and I were on vacation. We had taken a catamaran to St. Barth’s for the day and stopped in the first bar we found at the Gustavia Marina.

Having been on a steady diet of rum-based cocktails for three days prior, I decided to branch out and order a gin fizz.

This is what was set in front of me:

Gin Fizz in St. Barth's

Gin Fizz in St. Barth’s — note the empty space between the lime slice and the gin

The top part was almost like a lime sorbet, as opposed to the more traditional frothed egg white. But what really caught my eye was the placement of the lime slice. It was perfectly positioned in the center of the glass, keeping the contents of the cocktail separate.

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