“Drink Flowers”: FAIL
Gird yourself, people. We are about to embark on another post about wedding woes; this here is the “Signature Cocktail” chapter in my dark tome of event planning despair.
I thought that choosing a signature cocktail would be easy enough to do. After all, if there is one thing that Mike and I enjoy more than anything, it is creating and sampling cocktails. When it comes to creating a signature cocktail for the wedding, I had a few considerations. For example, it had to be:
1. Delicious and not to challenging for the less adventurous palates
2. Light on the alcohol, because we want people awake at least until the end of dinner
3. “Theme appropriate” for our venue, which is 1930’s Hollywood
2. Coordinated with the wedding color palette, which is primarily eggplant and ivory with accents of crimson, pewter and black
3. Affordable…which means no martini bar or top shelf liqueur
We tossed around a few ideas for old fashioned cocktails with a modern twist (too boozy), champagne and brandy cocktails (too pricey), herbal elixirs (too challenging) and at one point even the horrifying option of Grape Crush made it into the discussion (too…no, never mind; I have too much dignity to respond to this suggestion). At this point, I just want a drink. Any drink. My considerations were rapidly getting pared down to:
1. Must be wet
2. Must be hooch
Then I remembered a white wine cocktail I had years before, which was simplicity itself: a well chilled white wine spritzer poured over a dried hibiscus flower. The hibiscus flower blooms in the bottom of the glass, waving it’s petals seductively out from the sunset blush of the drink. Moreover, dried hibiscus flowers are cheap, cheerful, and readily available.
Yeah…maybe not so much.
Text from Mike: “Where are you? You were home, now you’re not…again.”
Text from Tina: “Busy! Buying drink flowers!”
Text from Mike: “Did you say…drink flowers?”
Text from Tina: “YES, DRINK FLOWERS. For the drinks.”
Oh yes, of course. The drink flowers.
After scouring our local grocery and health food stores without success, we reached out to the handful of unquestionably fine people who follow our Facebook fan page (yes, that was a barely concealed plug) and halted mid-stride, changing the direction of this fruitless, ehrm, “flowerless”, search towards Jamaican and Persian markets. I went to Rexdale, Lawrence Heights and even Jane and Finch. I took my engagement ring off and considered swallowing it before that last little journey into hell and high-tops. Then I went down Bayview, up Yonge Street, across and north on Bathurst before eventually coming to terms with the fact that dried hibiscus just wasn’t in the cards for me.
However, I’ve never been one to abandon hope that quickly, despite every evidence suggesting that I should. At the last Persian market I picked up a variety of dried herbs and petals that I thought could make an adequate substitute. Oh, and I bought two magnums of white wine in the interest of experimentation, and all that.
First up was the marsh mallow. I actually really enjoy the soft, subtly sweet flavor of the marsh mallow herb, and aren’t those delicate heliotrope colored blossoms just divine?
Well, let me tell you, they don’t stay purple for long. Within minutes I had a wan weed in the glass. It looked for all the world like Poison Ivy sneezed a bit too close to the bar. As for the flavor, it tasted… like white wine.
Onwards and upwards, we moved to the borage. I’ve never actually consumed borage, at least to my knowledge, so I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting. What we got, however, was a whole lot of nothing.
The borage had the right color at least, quickly settling on top of the wine in a smattering of vibrant eggplant hued petals. However, other than that, they added absolutely nothing to the drink other than a vague sense of foreboding that our guests would think we ransacked an abandoned florist before inviting them to drink.
Ah, the rose. What’s the old saying, again? “A rose by any other name is just as bourgeois.” I really, really struggled with the rose. I’m just not a roses and romance kind of a gal. It was pretty, albeit in a sort of dessicated way, but…still a bit too cliché for my taste.
I tried hopping it up with a few drops of rosewater and Mike instantly gagged and ran for a toothbrush. Perhaps I overdid it.
I also tried sweetening the mix with pale blush of cassis to mimic one of my favorite cocktails, the classic French kir. This was pretty and palatable, but still…..ROSES.
For the final ‘drink flowers’ experiment, I actually had high hopes. I don’t know why. At this point, I should have been used to the bitter taste of disappointment and dried petals, but the last bag was intriguingly labeled as ‘Sour Tea’.
So…it looked a bit like hibiscus. I asked the gruff gentleman stocking shelves if perhaps this was dried hibiscus, just by a different name, because it looked an awful lot like hibiscus and I’ve been looking just everywhere and —
He grunted and walked away. I took this to be agreement.
Note: Sour tea might be a euphemism for hibiscus, but this was most definitely NOT what I was expecting, or what I had previously experienced. The jagged hunks of flower floated forlornly on top of the wine. The flowers refused to rehydrate, even after a half hour soak. The color changed nary a bit. The flavor, as always, tasted….like wine.
The verdict? “Drink Flowers” were all, without exception, an unequivocal FAIL.
Maybe vodka with diet grape crush isn’t looking so bad after all.