It is so quiet in La Buissonade that all I hear is my breath flowing in and out. We are at our cottage rental in the Luberon and Remi has taken the dogs to go mushroom-hunting. I am doing yoga on the floor of the bedroom next to the heater - salutations to the sun despite the steady drizzle of rain falling on the other side of the plate glass door in front of me. Swan-dive forward, lift my heart, back into a high lunge, hover in plank and lower to the floor. When I peel up into cobra I am stunned to see the rain has morphed into a loose wet snow that gathers force as I continue. When I finish, my seated meditation is simply watching the flakes fall fast and furious.
In the late afternoon, we pile into the Range Rover to go "see the snow" for on the upper hills it has stuck, stubborn. There is nothing to say as the car rolls along through villages illuminated by puffing smoke chimneys and not a soul to be seen. Nor as we pass the great oaks, the truffle trees sleeping. When we stop, it is for a reason. The moon has risen.
We know how special it is to see this icy dust on the lavender fields...
...the flowers warmed from yesterday clutch the snow like diamonds, jewels to the heart.
We stomp our feet and clap our hands to stay warm. Puffs of breath, that same in and out, escape like smoke through our grins. But it is beautiful. Finally, the bitter cold forces us to head back to the cottage but that moon is burned in my mind.
The following morning I awake with an idea for a cocktail. Now, not that I have the habit of imbibing with breakfast - ok, only in New Orleans - but I have had a theme hovering in my head, knowing that in the beginning of December, I would need to create one for the holidays for the By Invitation Only Series. Nothing could be more inspiring than the snow on the lavender fields under that bone hollow moon.
And so here it is, the Lavender Ice.
It is so simple as to barely merit the title of cocktail. To prepare your glass, line the rim with honey then coat it by turning it upside down in a plate sprinkled with powdered sugar. There is your snow. Then prepare your liquid with 3/4 cold vodka to 1/4 lavender syrup (if you have trouble finding some, it could be easily made with simple syrup and lavender flowers heated, strained then cooled). I prefer my martinis stirred not shaken - sorry Mr. Bond - but do as you please. A stalk to lavender flower is the perfect garnish.
The result is simply wonderful if I do say so myself. The lavender gives a fairly smoky finish so as to balance the sweetness of the honey, making it appropriate for both men and women, plus it is festive without being gimmicky, there are no bells and whistles here. None are needed.
For we all know that the finest moments of the Holiday Season are just that, moments. Of love, of giving, of being together with an open heart. I have already had a great gift in those few truly happy moments with Remi at our own little party of two. So perhaps I am good for Christmas this year...
...but tell me, what are you doing for New Year's Eve?
To join what I imagine will be a truly festive party this month at By Invitation Only, please visit Splenderosa by clicking here.