New House Cocktail. Or Mom-Tail.

IMAG6741_1I won’t fight in anymore. I will bore you with more new mom discoveries. This discovery will make anyone’s late summer afternoon or evening happier, whether you are a new mom or not. I promise.

I’m a gin lover from way back. Summer evenings at my grandparents’s house in Connecticut smelled like Ritz crackers, white cheddar cheese, and gin and tonic. Drinking a gin and tonic makes me feel warmer and sunnier even here in Dublin. The combination is one I rarely enjoy from October-May because it’s too summery. I’m a seasonal drinker. I like to look forward to a summer beverage.

Gin has obviously been off menu all summer for me this year. I am not overly strict with wine or beer intake, but I stayed away from the hard stuff. I miss gin. I miss it more now that the sun is out and the summer days are fading. The desire for gin has nothing to do with my lack of sleep. Then again, I wouldn’t swear to that.

I found some tonic in the ‘fridge left over from a house party a few weeks ago. I had two spare limes and one lemon that had seen better days. Waste not, want not. I had also just picked up one of those annoying mint pots from Lidl. Why can’t they sell mint as sprigs and not the full plant? I had all the pieces of a perfect gin and tonic puzzle.

However, I still feel that a full cocktail while I’m breastfeeding might be a bridge too far. So I challenged myself to see if I could trick myself into imagining that I was enjoying a delicious late summer gin and tonic.

I succeeded, and I didn’t even need to use my imagination that much. My new gin-free house cocktail is delicious. It’s too simple. Make one for yourself this afternoon!

MOM’S HOUSE COCKTAIL

Serves 1

Half a Lime, sliced in two.

Quarter of a Lemon.

Fresh Mint

Tonic

Ice

-Step One: squeeze all citrus and drop in a tall glass.

-Step Two: add mint

-Step Three: Muddle mint and citrus. A lot.

-Step Four: Pour tonic over. Muddle some more.

-Step Five: Add ice. And a straw if you’re feeling fancy.

ENJOY! Happy end of summer.

 

 

 

 

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New House Cocktail. Or Mom-Tail.

Union 8

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When we moved to Dublin 8, we knew what we’d miss most about Rathmines was the plethora of dining choices right at our finger tips. Dublin 8 has some great cafés and lunch spots but not many nice dinner options. Union 8 saves the day.

On the crossroads in Kilmainham, Union 8 doesn’t seem like the ideal place to stop. Located at a busy intersection that most people fly through on a bus, in a car or astride their bikes, it catches attention. The busy intersection is actually made a feature by the restaurant: the giant windows allow you to watch the world go by from the simply, classy interior.

For a restaurant pretty far out of town by Dublin standards, I was slightly surprised at how pricey the menu is. The quality would have to be pretty high to demand those prices, I thought.

The early bird menu, though, does provide a great deal. The early bird menu is also perfect for parents of small children. Apologies if this blog is getting a bit child centric.  It’s my life at the moment. And Union 8 makes this baby moment of my life feel slightly more grown up.

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We went for the early bird, four adults and one tiny baby. We were all treated with respect and a full welcome. I appreciated that the early bird menu is the same as the normal menu just for a different price: 23.50 for two courses. There is a seven euro supplement for the steak, which two of us had, but that is fair enough. The steak was a lovely fillet and the pepper sauce was thick and spicy. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.

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Each of us had a different appetizer. My nettle soup with chorizo oil was heavenly. Summery yet warm. My mother had beautiful beets with fluffy goat’s cheese. We all agreed the smoked salmon wasn’t quite salty enough, and the scallops, though delicious, were overshadowed by the black pudding lump next to them. We were all satisfied with the openers, though. No complaints.

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My husband drank a really delicious house cocktail that tasted to me like Christmas morning. It came in a gorgeous, huge, glass. That’s what you want in a cocktail. It lasted until just before his steak arrived.

So, yes, then steaks arrived and the fish special for the other two. The fish portions were large and after the well portioned starters, almost hard to finish. That’s another thing I appreciate about Union 8: the early bird’s well-sized portions. It means a lot to hungry, tired new parents like us (there I go again . . .).

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We went back earlier this week with friends who also have children. The restaurant managed all of us and our three babes very well. We were out by 7.30. Home for baths and bed.

Ok, I’ll stop now. About babies and kids. Union 8 is obviously great for that, but I suspect it is great for date nights, meet-the-parents nights, or simply a treat yourself evening. It’s worth the trip “out” of town.

Union 8

Camden Exchange

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Clock themed graffiti

Camden Exchange has just opened on Camden Street in what has been a long-empty building. It was used for exterior shots on the TV show Raw, and I wondered what, if anything would go into it.

Fun new places have been opening on Camden Street steadily for the past few years. There is something for everyone: tapas (Tapas de Lola), Burgers (Bunsen), Burritos (Burritos and Blues), Craft Beers (Against The Grain), Asian Street Food (neon), Middle Eastern (Jerusalem), Fancy Irish (Delahunt and Camden Kitchen), Cheap and Cheerful and Cocktails (Green 19). Camden Street is Dublin’s Hell’s Kitchen!

Camden Exchange has opened right in the middle of this dining foray. The interior is modern and hip if a bit schizophrenic. I don’t think there was a “design theme” for this space. The mood board was just all the “hip restaurant elements”: subway tiles, naked lightbulbs, wood floors, bronze grates, some graffiti, an old truck. The Guinness taps are like, “wait, what is this place? Don’t we belong in a pub?”

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Having said that, it is laid out well, there is a garden space in the back and plenty of cozy dark nooks to cuddle up in with a cocktail. The staff are very friendly and obliging. The cocktail list is extensive and includes many “mantails” that involve bacon infused bourbon. Obviously C had to try one. He opted for the one with a chili infusion as well. Because where there is bacon there should be chili? On ice?! Who knows . . . It was strong and tasty, and I believe C felt more manly drinking it. Even if it did come in a cute jar.

Those are chillies. Not raspberries.
Those are chillies. Not raspberries.

I had just come off a full day of work and my brain was in no mood to make decisions as important as “what would I like to drink?”, so I decided to try the new Guinness craft brew: Hope House 13. C had told me he was unimpressed with it. The kind bar staff at Camden Exchange allowed me to sample it before I jumped into a full pint. I thought it was crisp and light and perfect for a sunny evening. So I did take the plunge. It was good all the way down, if not knock-your-socks-off amazing. It’s lighter than other craft beers which, depending on your beer mood, could be wonderful. It hit the spot after a long day at work, that’s for sure.

C, My beer, a truck.
C, My beer, a truck.

Camden Exchange does food: Pig, Cow, Chicken or Fish. There is one dish per animal. There are also a few starters that are vegetarian. The dishes live somewhere between the American south and TexMex. We didn’t have any food, so I can’t comment, but it looked (and smelled) good.* And it all comes out of the little truck that is inside the bar, so, you know, that’s cool.

The alcohol is kept in a cage.
The alcohol is kept in a cage.

We’ll go back. I love a cocktail place close to home. More options on Camden Street can only be a good thing for everyone.

*For a full review of drinks and food, have a lookie at: http://lovindublin.com/reviews/hipster/camden-exchange-is-the-newest-kid-in-the-class-so-whats-it-like

Camden Exchange