by Nafeisa Shukair-Farley
Since I mastered the making of the Big Mac, the next logical assignment for this CraveDFW reporter is to learn how to make the Mudhen Meat and Greens signature cocktail, “Squeeze My Lemon.” Why logical you ask? Well, I don’t eat Big Macs (that is my son’s expertise) and I am not a drinker (all my friends love to partake of the spirits) so not only am I getting out of my comfort zone (I admit, am a bit nervous), I am learning the fine art of the shaking not stirring concept. Note, I found out that bringing someone a bottle of beer does not count as making a cocktail.
Before I detail how I learned to Squeeze My Lemon, let me set the scene for you… walking into the Mudhen, we were welcomed with amazing smells of good food cooking, faint whispers of patrons talking, familiar background music and the sound of glasses clinking at the bar. The environment was welcoming and all of this including meeting my teacher/bartender Tatiana helped to ease my nervousness of making my first cocktail.
Tatiana creates most of the drinks at Mudhen including the Squeeze My Lemon cocktail and I quickly learned I was in good hands with her. Before we started, she explained the ingredients: lavender-infused sugar, lavender-infused vodka, Earl Grey honey syrup, lemon juice and bubbly. Can I tell you that I had to start eating the lavender-infused sugar? I only stopped because we needed some for the drink.
Now that I am infused with lavender sugar, we started the cocktail making process. First up, dip the rim of the glass in lemon juice, tap off the excess and then dip into the lavender-infused sugar. Tip: don’t try to lick the glass at this point as you need the rim to have sugar on it, plus it looks bad to have lick marks on the glass.
Next up is the mixing of the liquids into the shaker filled with ice and Tatiana told me to grab the “jigger.” What the heck is a jigger I asked myself? Thank goodness I kept that question and my impulse to call the jigger a measuring cup to myself. I had to keep up the façade of knowing what I was doing at least a lil’ bit with Tatiana and the couple of audience members watching. As I was slowly and methodically measuring the liquids into the jigger I learned that the fun part of doing this is to pour fast and let the liquid flow over while pouring into shaker. It was fun getting vodka, honey and lemon juice on the bar, floor, ice, etc. However, I did manage to keep the lavender-sugar dry.
With all the ingredients in the shaker, it was time to shake but since I am a shimmy kinda lady, the shaking process was not as easy as it looks. You have to put the shaker over your shoulder and shake hard, not shimmy. Tatiana had to take over this part but I had a front row view of watching a master at her craft.
As I poured the cocktail into the glass with the protective rim of lavender-infused sugar, I was thrilled with the beautiful-yellow-almost-gold color of the cocktail. I poured a bit of bubbly in the glass and watched the drink come to life. Added a lemon rind made into a curly-q and poof, my first-ever cocktail was completed. I accomplished making the Squeeze My Lemon and it was beautiful!
As I took a sip of my drink, the mixture of the ingredients with the lavender-sugar on the rim was refreshing and I have two snaps to Tatiana for the recipe. Even though I wanted to lick the rim clean of the lavender-sugar, I did share with my hubby and he loved the drink.
My first experience making a cocktail was amazing due mainly in part to the hospitality of Mudhen, Tatiana’s (God bless her) patience and the lavender-sugar container I got to take home.
Mudhen Meat and Greens is located 900 S Harwood at the Dallas Farmers Market. We take an exciting took at the food later this week.