When our boys were younger, Alexi and I hired a sitter every Saturday night so we could go out on a ‘date’. The advent of children gave more ceremony to our time together than I ever felt when we were actually dating. I would look forward to it during the week, make a reservation somewhere. When the time came I'd dress up, and we'd hold hands as we walked from our car to our destination, a little giddy about being alone together. And eating food that someone else prepared. I tended to order a cocktail – something I never made at home, and something that elevated the evening to luxury status, given that at home meals were often rushed and included tired, sometimes cranky infants/toddlers. The drink felt symbolic of a completely unhurried occasion. Now, time and circumstances have changed such that we still go out, but not as often. We plan or are spontaneous with our time together at home, whether it be watching a movie after the kids are asleep Saturday night, or chatting while they're playing at a neighbor's, or having lunch out on a school day when Alexi's off. And unlike when the boys were really little we now live by the water, so just being at home itself often feels a little like being on vacation, if we stop and appreciate what’s in front of us.
Last weekend I made ginger sidecars from a recipe I saw in the October issue of Martha Stewart Living. I made them in a moment that epitomized the feeling of a perfect weekend: standing barefoot on a sun-drenched floor, hanging out in the kitchen shooting the breeze with Alexi, on no particular schedule. They went with the good life we have.
Slightly adapted from October 2010 Martha Stewart Living
Place sugar on a plate. Run an orange slice around the rim of a glass; rotate the rim in the sugar. In a cocktail shaker, mash two ¼ inch thick slices of peeled fresh ginger with a muddler or a wooden spoon. Add a 1-inch piece of orange zest, 2 ounces brandy, 1 ounce cointreau, 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 teaspoons maple syrup, and ice. Shake well, and strain into the prepared glass. Makes 1.