Owner and operator of The Blind Monk, Ben Lubin offers up some creative DIY hostess gifts for the cocktail party.
When Lubin couldn’t find a neighborhood bar he loved, he opened his own. West Palm Beach’s The Blind Monk (561-833-3605) offers more than 300 bottles of wine along with an array of craft beer—so it’s safe to say Lubin knows a thing or two about the art and science of imbibing.
A bottle of wine. It’s often a rushed liquor store purchase on the way to the party, but that rarely makes for a carefully selected bottle.
Lubin recommends a creative take on cocktail cadeaux.
“The key is to put a little thought into the gift, plan ahead and allocate a little time before the party,” he says. “Here is an idea: Make a simple syrup. Bring two parts sugar and one part water to a simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Let it cool, and pour the syrup into a nice glass jar.”
On the jar, attach a tag with a cocktail recipe, such as:
- 2 oz. citrus vodka
- 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 oz. fresh pomegranate juice
- 1 oz. simple syrup
Shake all ingredients with ice, and strain into a chilled martini glass.
“If you want to bring alcohol, infuse it,” Lubin says. “As many days prior to the party that you can—but at least the day before—pour some gin or vodka into an airtight glass jar or bottle, and add dried lavender flowers, rosemary or any other spice or fruit you like to infuse the alcohol. For an added touch, create a personalized label for the bottle.”
- Glass bottles, $6.95. Crate and Barrel, Boca Raton (561-395-1060)
- Glass jars, prices vary. Michaels locations
- Personalized labels and tags with the help of a professional stationer, prices vary. Stationer on Sunrise, Palm Beach (561-833-7971)