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The M Dash

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Office Tested, Cocktail Party-Approved

August 03, 2018 | Filed in: Your Closet

We’ll never say no to a glass of rosé, but there’s something about this time of year—hot, sweaty, and sticky—that makes us especially crave a refreshing end-of-day cocktail. So we threw ourselves a party! To make the occasion even sweeter, we enlisted the help of Willa Van Nostrand, owner of Little Bitte Artisanal Cocktails, a craft cocktail catering company that specializes in edible blossoms. She whipped up a few signature drinks (taking inspiration from our floral collection, The Wild Card) for us to enjoy at our new favorite NYC bar, Due West

summer cocktail party

Willa wears the Masha dress in wildflowers, the Fine belt in hunter green, and the Phoebe earrings.

Willa’s company is centered on the idea of “garden-to-glass”—meaning she builds her recipes around what’s fresh and local. “These cocktails are inspired by the seasons,” she says. “I pick the best fruit and blossoms I can get that day, and source other ingredients from local farmers.” Willa aims to inspire people to think of cocktails as an art form: to encourage people to give more thought to what they’re drinking and how they’re drinking it.

“I’m completely head over heels for blossoms,” she says. “One of my missions in life is to get people to eat more flowers.” Let these three MM-inspired recipes serve as inspiration for your next happy hour.

“The Remarkable Woman”

summer cocktail party

Vodka, prosecco, lemon juice, and blueberry-honey syrup. Garnished with fresh mint and magic lime feverfew.

Willa’s take: “This cocktail tastes like summer. When I created it, blueberries were just coming into season in New England, so I used the first pints I could get my hands on to make a blueberry-honey syrup for a touch of sweetness. The base is vodka, and I added Cava and fresh lemon juice. The Cava adds a bit of fizz.”

Order if: You’ve got something to celebrate.

“The Perfectionist”

summer cocktail party

Mezcal, lime juice, dry curaçao, and chili liqueur. Rim is lined with a mixture of pink sea salt, black Hawaiian salt, chipotle powder, cinnamon, and sugar. Garnished with cosmos, coriander blossoms, and dill.

Willa’s take: “My favorite cocktail has always been the margarita. For this version, I used mezcal instead of standard tequila to bring in a delicious, smoked agave flavor. I think of mezcal as the more flavorful cousin of tequila. Combining it with fresh citrus makes for a simple, clean cocktail. You get a lick of smoke and sensual nuances from the mezcal.”

Order if: You want something powerful to end the day.

“Paid Leave”

summer cocktail party

Gin, Campari, elderflower liqueur, and lemon juice. Garnished with lemon slice, sunflower petal, lemon-scented geranium, and clary sage.

Willa’s take: “This one was inspired by my time living in Italy, when I was studying at a food and beverage school in Florence. In Florence, Negronis are everywhere: They’re the special, five-euro drink on every menu. I found them way too sweet and syrupy, but took it as a challenge to create a Negroni-inspired drink I could fall in love with. This drink combines gin and Campari (as does the traditional Negroni) and I added fresh lemon juice and swapped out the sweet vermouth for elderflower liquer. It became this kind of bright, liquid sunshine.”

Order if: You need a vacation (preferably an Italian one).

summer cocktail party

Measuring and assembling in the Masha dress in wildflowers, the Fine belt in hunter green, and the Phoebe earrings.

summer cocktail party

Carefully garnishing in the Masha dress in wildflowers, the Fine belt in hunter green, and the Phoebe earrings.

summer cocktail party

Emalis (left) wears the Antonia top in cypress, the Greenpoint skirt in black, and the Aradia necklace. Chell (right) wears the Suzanne dress in morse code and the Williamina earrings.

Emalis (left): “I love anything with elderflower, so the Paid Leave cocktail was right up my alley. Mixed with the lemon juice, it’s refreshing enough that sipping it feels like going on a mini-getaway.”

Chell (right): “My favorite drinks of all time are Tequila Sunrises and Blue Hawaiians—basically, anything that makes me feel like I’m at the beach. The fruity notes and purple undertones of The Remarkable Woman come pretty close to feeling like a vacation in a glass.”

summer cocktail party

Cynthia (left) wears the Nejvi top in dash print, the Chester pant in navy, and the Williamina earrings. Allie (right) wears the Gayle dress in fig and the Crossover belt in mahogany.

Cynthia (left): “I’m not a beer girl; I’m not a wine girl; I’m a cocktail girl! I chose The Perfectionist because it felt the most summer-y, and it was such a refreshing treat on a very hot day in the city. Also, I never knew sunflower petals could taste so good.”

Allie (right): “Growing up, I spent a lot of time in Maine, where blueberries are everything. If you can’t pick them fresh off the vine, The Remarkable Woman is the next-best thing.”

summer cocktail party

Our three cocktails in action.

Makenna (right): “When I ordered the Paid Leave, it felt meant to be—my favorite summertime drink is an Aperol spritz, and this twist on it is perfect for a hot New York day. I immediately envisioned myself transported to Italy, and the delicate floral touches made me feel quite fabulous.”

Feeling inspired? Shop these cocktail party-ready outfits here. Cheers!

Photographs by Christine Han.

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Alexandra Johnson is the brand manager at MM.LaFleur, where she started out as a summer intern. Her happy place is the room housing Monet's Water Lilies at MoMA. Read more of Alexandra's posts.

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