It’s Memorial Day weekend–the unofficial start to summer. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see summer arrive, especially after the long, cold winter we endured this year. I decided that I wanted to make a special cocktail sometime over the weekend, so that my family and I could raise our glasses and toast all that this season has to offer.
A toast requires a beverage, and not just any beverage, but something fitting for the occasion. For New Year’s there’s champagne, for Christmas there’s hot apple cider, and for our Memorial Day toast, I’m going to try a Blackberry Mint Mojito. Any recipe with blackberries in it is special to me, as I consider them to be a summer delicacy. Plus, I think they are a really pretty fruit–I love their deep, rich purple color.
Now, a disclaimer: I never planned to blog about these mojitos. If everything had gone as I planned, I would have made the mojitos, loved them, made another batch for my family over the weekend, and blogged about a set of beach-themed cards I made this past week. But these mojitos took on a life of their own and snowballed into something above and beyond a Memorial Day cocktail.
Here’s how it happened:
The first thing I did was make a mojito by cutting the recipe in half. I used a half-pint mason jar as my glass.
I was pleased with how it looked, but, before I tasted it, I decided I wanted to try making a non-alcoholic version as well. For this, I omitted the lime juice and the mint leaves, and substituted diet Sprite for the soda water, and made a blackberry spritzer of sorts. This picture shows the mojito on the left, and the spritzer on the right.
At this point, I was excited to taste each version, and I wasn’t disappointed. The rum and mint is a nice combination in the mojito, and I found the spritzer to be very refreshing.
Since I still had some puree left, I decided to try one more option. I made some Crystal Light lemonade from a packet, and added it to another half-pint mason jar that had already been filled with a jigger (1.5 oz) of the puree and ice. I stirred it up, took a sip, and decided that this was my favorite version so far.
I now had three really good options to use for the Memorial Day toast, which I was pleased about, but the presentation of each of the drinks left a lot to be desired. They were all just essentially a beverage in a mason jar, and left me asking “What’s so special about that”?
Here’s where the crafting comes in, as I decided that I needed to dress up the drinking glasses with paper products. I headed down to my studio to see what I could come up with. It’s amazing what a few simple paper products can do to change the look of something!
The first project I want to show you is what I did to dress up the glasses. Since the blackberry lemonade was my favorite option, I decided to go with a yellow and purple color scheme. I changed out the mason jars for milk bottle glasses, as I thought they added more charm. Look what cupcake liners, paper straws, and doilies can do to a plain milk bottle glass:
These glasses went from “drab to fab”, and even water would look fantastic served in them! As an added bonus, if our Memorial Day toast happens outside, the cupcake liners will protect the drinks from the bugs. It was all beginning to come together, and I could have stopped there, knowing that I had solved how to give the drinking glasses some pizzaz, but I was having too much fun.
I then thought about how the ingredients for the blackberry lemonade would make a fun hostess/thank you gift, so I challenged myself to come up with a some packaging. I love to design packaging for gifts, so I was in my element. I determined that if you were going to give the gift to one person, then you would need a small jar of the blackberry puree, a milk bottle glass with cupcake liner and straw, a bag with a packet of crystal light and doily in it, a card, and a gift tag.
This is such a cheerful gift ensemble, and it would be perfect for an end of the year teacher gift, a thank you gift, or just to brighten someone’s day. I packaged the ensemble in a purple, polka dot paper loaf pan (say that three times!) that I had found at Michael’s last week, wrapped it all in clear cellophane, tied it up with baker’s twine and a tag, and here’s what it looks like all ready to give to someone:
I have one more idea and picture for you. If you wanted to take the ingredients to a friend’s house and enjoy the blackberry lemonade together, you could use a cardboard beverage tray and include two dressed up milk bottle glasses tied up with tags, the small jar of blackberry puree, a bag with two packets of Crystal Light lemonade and two doilies in it, and a card, if appropriate. It could look something like this:
And that, my friends, is the story of how I started out with a recipe for a Blackberry Mint Mojito, and ended up with blackberry lemonade, gift ensembles, and a huge mess in both my kitchen and my studio. Such is the life of a paper crafter–you start with a project in mind, and before you know it, that project snowballs into something else, and what you end up with is nothing like what you started out to make!
I am looking forward to this weekend, and to toasting the summer season with blackberry lemonade served in dressed up milk bottle glasses. I hope that you enjoy your Memorial Day weekend as well, and, as always, remember:
“May the waves kiss your feet, / the sand be your seat, / and your friends out-number the stars.”