looking back, looking forward, and a cocktail recipe: the st. honoré 75

I’ve washed my hands more times that I can count today, but they still smell of smoke and onions and garlic. I began the morning by chopping vegetables, preparing my mise en place for braised beef short ribs (tomorrow night’s dinner) and for barbecue baked beans (part of tonight’s dinner). While the short ribs were braising, releasing meaty aromas into the kitchen, I kept an eye on the temperature of the Big Green Egg, opening and closing the vents in the top to keep the pork butts inside smoking at a steady 300 degrees.

Tonight we’ll gather with my parents, my grandmother, my aunt and uncle and cousins, and we’ll dine on pulled pork with vinegar sauce (thanks to this book for the recipes), barbecue baked beans, and potato salad.  We’ll have the short ribs tomorrow, served over creamy grits. And we’ll have champagne, too.

We’ll drink the bubbly to celebrate the end of 2011 and the beginning of the new year. And gosh, I am so ready for a new year.

I have mixed emotions about 2011. I’ve had some wonderful experiences throughout the year, but everything has been overshadowed by my father’s health. Since January 29th, our lives have revolved around a series of emergency room visits, hospitalizations, rehab stays, and doctors appointments. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, but I’ve been trying to focus my efforts on getting used to the new Dad.

I’m having a hard time with that, but I’ll keep trying.

It will be good to see 2011 growing smaller in the rear-view mirror of life.  My hopes for 2012 are not tremendously high — I’m a realist, after all — but I’m pretty sure it will be a better year than 2011 was.

I’d like 2012 to be the year that my dad uses his walker comfortably, and without a fear of falling.

In 2012, I’ll get to hug my brother again.

In 2012, we’re taking our kids on two pretty cool family vacations – a Disney cruise to start, and then a trip to California next summer.

In 2012, I turn 40. My husband and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. My daughter will start 3rd grade and my son will be in kindergarten. Lots of milestones with happy potential there.

I want 2012 to be the year that I write more – and more often. Fiction is a dream for me, but it’s never going to happen if I don’t start writing it. And maybe I won’t be very good at it, but at least I will have tried.

I would love to be healthier in 2012. And I will be.

To ring in the new year, and bid goodbye to that stinker of a year, 2011, here’s a cocktail for you. I raise my glass to you, dear readers, and toast to your health and happiness and peacefulness in 2012.

Cheers to a more beautiful 2012.

*   *   *   *   *

Because I think it would be good for me, I’m going to take a couple of weeks off from regular posting here at the merry gourmet. It’s always hard for me to stay completely away, but I’m going to try. See you again in January!

Yield: 1 drink

St. Honoré 75


1 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1/2 ounce Meyer lemon juice
Champagne or other bubbly (cava, prosecco, sparkling wine)
Lemon twist, for garnish


In a chilled champagne flute, add St. Germain and lemon juice. Top with the bubbly and garnish with a lemon twist.

Tweaked from the recipe from St. Germain's website.

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20 Responses to “looking back, looking forward, and a cocktail recipe: the st. honoré 75”

  1. 1
    Aimee @ Simple Bites — December 30, 2011 @ 3:50 pm

    Happy New Year, MJ, all the best to you in 2012. Enjoy the break…. xox

  2. 2
    Jennifer Hess — December 30, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

    Getting to finally meet you in person was a definite highlight of my 2011. Here’s hoping that your highs far surpass your lows in 2012, and that I get to hug you again real soon. xxoo

  3. 3
    Winnie — December 30, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

    Happy New Year and enjoy your blogging break MJ! Hope I get to see you again (and again) in 2012 🙂

  4. 4
    Winnie — December 30, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

    Oh, forgot to say the cocktail is gorgeous…cheers!

  5. 5
    Michelle Ledesma — December 30, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

    Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2012, MJ. Here’s hoping 2012 far exceeds your expectations. Enjoy your break. We’ll be here when you return. Cheers!

  6. 6
    Melanie Flinn — December 31, 2011 @ 9:07 am

    Great post. Looks like you have an exciting 2012 to look forward to. Wishing you the best for the New Year!

  7. 7
    Lynda — December 31, 2011 @ 11:06 am

    Happy New Year MJ! I too look forward to leaving this year behind and the start of a new year. May all of your wishes come true!

  8. 8
    Macaroni Mama — December 31, 2011 @ 10:01 pm

    Your chidren have been wonderful. Happy New Year, Merry Jennifer!

  9. 9
    Kim — January 1, 2012 @ 12:34 am

    It’s great to see you so optimistic about 2012, after the year you’ve been through. Hang in there, I agree that there are many milestones to look forward to.

    Cheers –


  10. 10
    Paula — January 1, 2012 @ 10:58 am

    Lovely cocktail Merry Jennifer! You are certainly starting off the New Year right by being hopeful and by taking some time to rest and recharge. May 2012 bless you by bringing all your hopes to a full reality.

  11. 11
    DessertForTwo — January 1, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

    I echo your sentiments about 2011.
    I hope lots of lots & happiness (and health!) flood your life in 2012 & beyond.


  12. 12
    Diane {Created by Diane} — January 3, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

    looks delicious, Happy New Year, looks like a wonderful set of plans for 2012!

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  14. 13
    Tickled Red — January 4, 2012 @ 1:50 pm

    Happy New Year to you and your lovely family darlin’! I hope that the new year brings you all that you long for, and if by chance it throws you some curves know that you have a shoulder and hand to hold you up. xoxo

  15. 14
    Robyn | Add a Pinch — January 6, 2012 @ 9:24 am

    Happy New Year, MJ! I hope you are enjoying a much deserved break!!!

  16. 15
    Elizabeth — January 6, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

    What a nice way to say goodbye to 2011. Cheers to making your dreams happen and enjoying the heck out of 2012!

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  18. 16
    Rose Rini — January 14, 2012 @ 10:44 am

    Hi Merry! I haven’t checked here in awhile love the post! Is that a cia knife i see in that photo? 🙂 loving my set as well. I decided to use my husband’s gift card “prize” to order some cookware from cia and have been having so much fun cooking. I’m hoping to take a weekend course in the spring. I embraced the champagne cocktail myself this season but used blood orange liquor and a raw sugar cube..heavenly. I hope all your new year dreams come true. Keep us posted!

    • 16.1
      Merry-Jennifer — January 14, 2012 @ 6:50 pm

      Rose – it IS a CIA knife. 🙂
      So glad you stopped by, and I’m so excited for your weekend CIA course in the spring. I’d love to get back up there again.

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