Summer Solstice Soiree: Kanpai!


Sunday morning’s Summer Solstice Soiree aftermath.

This past weekend my beau & I hosted our annual Summer Solstice Soiree, which is now in its sixth year. The first year, I didn’t really have a plan, party-wise, other than having everyone I knew over in the backyard to celebrate the first weekend of summer. Which was fun, so we’ve kept up with it. It’s morphed over the years into a themed cocktail party — aka my favorite kind of party.


As I’ve mentioned, I traveled to Japan for the first time this past spring, and as anyone who’s been there can attest, it was intoxicating in the best possible way. It was a business trip (I’ve gotten a lot of work out if it, with more to come), but I thought it would be fun to share the wealth. Good thing I had a boatload of sake.


(By the end of the night, we only had 5 bottles left — which is awesome.)

This year I made two cocktails: A lychee punch, and a kind of a twist on a mojito. I refilled both at least twice; the punch went down like water. The mojito was the biggest hit, though. I’m a big fan of mojitos, especially on super-duper hot days.


This recipe makes a pitcher’s worth. For an individual cocktail, divide by 500, sub oz for mL, and halve the shiso & limes required.

1000 mL light rum
750 mL lime juice
500 mL ginger syrup*
1 bunch shiso leaves, for muddling & garnish
3-4 limes, for muddling
300-500 mL soda water as needed

1. In a pitcher, gently muddle a handful of shiso leaves with limes until everything is beautifully bruised.
2. Fill the pitcher about 1/4 full with ice, then add rum, lime juice and ginger syrup. Stir to blend.
3. Top with soda water before serving.

* Ginger syrup
Makes approximately 500 mL

1 cup white cane sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup freshly grated ginger

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and water to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar.
2. Stir ginger into the saucepan and reduce heat. Let simmer 20 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and allow syrup to cool before storing in refrigerator in an air-tight container. Chill in refrigerator until cold, about 20 minutes. Can be left overnight.
4. Strain chilled ginger syrup before adding to mojito mix.

Until next year…