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.

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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.