Saturday was a day full of firsts. It was the first day of fall for one, and about as hot as it's felt in weeks. While the mornings last week felt crisp and cool, the 22nd of September was nothing like that. The last thoughts on our minds were pumpkin lattes and changing leaves. Summer revisited us in full swing. We were all sweating bullets but happy that the sun was out. We were full of joy and gratitude to be spending time together.
It was also our first visit to Chapel Hill with our two kids. I can't fully express to y'all what a big deal this was! You see, Josh and I met when we were seniors at Carolina. Our love story began there. We love UNC and Chapel Hill itself down to the deepest depths of our hearts. Nothing would make us happier than for our kids to fall in love with Chapel Hill like we did. We hope they decide to spend their college years traipsing through campus and strolling down Franklin Street (and of course earning a fantastic degree!). It is important to us to foster a love of this picturesque North Carolina town in Ben and Laura's hearts.
So we spent their first day tailgating, catching up with old friends, and cheering on the Tarheels in Kenan Memorial Stadium. I want to remember forever the sound of our son yelling "Stop! Go Heels!", waving his Carolina blue and white pom pom, and the look in his eyes when the marching band walked right down the aisle beside us playing "Ra Ra Carolina!". He was was completely captivated and dazzled by the energy on display. Our daughter laughed, smiled, and greeted everyone she met while toddling around. It was a wonderful day.
Sunday met us with similar weather, and especially after a long, fun Saturday, we thought it would be a good idea to cool off with a refreshing drink. With all the basil and Meyer lemons laying around, and the temperatures well into the 90's, I thought it would be appropriate to create my very first drink recipe to share with you. It's a refreshing Meyer lemon basil martini. I sipped mine on the front porch and talked with Josh about how great it was to watch our Tarheels beat the pants off ECU, and about how special it was to watch a football game with our kids in our college town on the first day of fall.
Meyer Lemon Basil Martini
- Meyer lemon simple syrup (recipe below)
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice (about 3 Meyer lemons)
- 4 oz basil infused vodka
- candied Meyer lemon slices and basil leaves for garnish
Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup:
- 2 oz (1/4 cup) filtered water
- 2 oz (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of Meyer lemon zest (about one Meyer lemon)
To make the Myer Lemon Simple Syrup bring the water, granulated sugar, and Meyer lemon zest to a boil in a small sauce pan. Simmer a few minutes, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved. I don't know why, but I've always shied away from drink recipes that require simple syrup. It's just boiling water and sugar in a sauce pan for a few minutes - it's quite easy! Promise! Strain out the larger rind bits.
In a shaker with lots of ice pour in the Meyer lemon juice, basil infused vodka, and the Meyer lemon simple syrup. Now shake, shake, shake! Pour the strained liquid into two martini glasses, garnish with your candied Meyer lemon slices and fresh basil.