On recent post-work playdates with the kids, my wife and I have been favoring a no-name cocktail made of gin, campari, and soda water (1 ounce gin and a 1/2 ounce campari poured over rocks, topped with soda water). A lemon peel generally suffices as garnish. But a few days ago my 2 year old son Desmond expanded my notion of what an acceptable garnish can be. Emboldened by a recent goat-feeding session at a petting zoo (in which little pellets of compressed barley were fed willy-nilly to semi-timid livestock), Des grabbed a handful of Trader Joe’s Cheerio-style cereal and threw it into my cocktail.
Rather than try to fish out 20 rapidly pickling pieces of cereal, I took a sip. It honestly wasn’t half bad: the fruit flavor of the campari infused the cereal, turning the little Os into boozy, looped Fruit Loops. After a few sips the crunch was gone, and I spooned the rest of them out.But I do see some promise here for enterprising mixologists. If pearl onions, pickled ramps, and oysters have all passed muster as cocktail garnish in the fancy bars of the big cities, why not breakfast cereal? Think of the possibilities: Irish coffee garnished with lucky charms. Corn mash with corn flakes. A vanilla vodka martini and frosted mini wheats? Need I say adults only? There, I said it. But if you do develop any cocktails along these lines, give a shout out to Des. And let us know how they turn out.