Thursday, May 12, 2016

Hamstertinis and Hamsteritas

I wrote to a friend, "introspection slays the sensitive" meaning there is only so much I can take, and I can take myself  seriously for only so long.
So while I'm not spending my ten to twenty minutes a day grieving or reflecting on grief (and now I'm in a grief-focused class so there is reading and more writing about grief), there is music. And eating out. And not gardening this year but I'm sure you don't want  to hear about that. And falling in love with children every day. And tons of good art. And panicking because it's the end of the school year while rejoicing that it's almost summer. And, of course, hamsters.

(It's been hard to get a good picture around here on account of the rain. This is Nutmeg,Champion hamster.)
Once upon a long time ago, I took my girls to Otter Creek. On a hike by the creek, we came across a man in one of those webbed aluminum chairs, cooler by his side, settled in the middle of the creek. He had a green aquarium net in one hand, and a beer in the other hand. He took a swig of beer, then hunched over and slowly turned over rocks. When the time came, he caught a crawdad, let it go, and sucked down more beer.
Now, I live half my life like a fiercely curious toddler, and impulsively went up to talk to him. It turned out that he was stationed at Ft. Knox and was from somewhere else and explained with a smile that he was just "catchin' crawdads."
Fast forward 16 years and I find myself at a hamster derby. That's right, a hamster derby. Hamster races are a "thing" at pet stores around the country. I had no idea until last year, when we entered our first hamster derby, and it was fun! Hamsters, safely in their running balls, are placed in chutes of some kind and expected to meet a finish line of some kind. If you go to a hamster derby, the big surprise is how funny it is when a hamster goes backwards. Or stops. Or doesn't go at all. Or sleeps. It has the same ambiance of useless activity that beer-slaked crawdad hunting does, only more refined and without the beer.
Without beer, yes. And more kids are present. Still, my mind could not help but think how fun a hamster derby would be with a special cocktail in hand, so the adults could laugh and enjoy the event as even more refined. Or for celebrating afterwards, because hamsters are cute and they make your kids happy. And if the Kentucky Derby can have mint juleps, surely hamster derbies can have their signature cocktails.

Here are your hamster cocktails for your after-hamster-derby celebration:

Hamstertini on the left, Hamsterita on the right
Hamstertinis:
equal parts gin and this Kombucha (GT's Multigreen), juice of half a lime, swizzle of agave, and a generous helping of Grapefruit LaCroix sparkling water

Hamsteritas
I blended about 1 cup of Tequila, 1/4 c frozen blueberries, 2 cups limeade, a knob of jalapeno, about 1/4 cup agave nectar, and a few sprigs of cilantro. Afterward, I strained the mixture and rimmed the  glass with pink sugar.



By the way, my kids made a clean sweep of the hamster derby. Youngest won first place, oldest won second place. They were beyond thrilled.





Cheers!

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