Ciao'd with chips and guac. 

Food trends, especially those that hang on for dear life, give me a food coma. I’m talking to you, kale. You’re like a guest who won’t leave the party even after the dishes have been cleared (loudly) and the bar glasses have been loaded (overtly) into the dishwasher.

Kale has walked the celebrity green carpet since Bon Appétit crowned 2011 the year of kale. Sure, kale had its moment in the sun, most notably in the blockbuster called kale chips. But now, six years later, does anybody else agree that it's overexposed? When the Y in the Yale logo is co-opted for a K = Kale, (you've seen the tees), kale is no longer kool. 

In a spring frenzy at the nursery a month or so ago, I decided to include Lacinato kale in my greens garden. This morning, noticing that the kale was about to bolt because I had ignored it in preference for chard and lettuces, I harvested it. The kale sports pretty, smoky green frilly leaves, I’ll give it that. What I couldn’t give into was another round of kale chips, kale salad, or a kale sauté.  Why not give the bunch to my neighbor or another friend? This was my plan until - wait for it - the notion of a kale cocktail popped into my mind. I know, right? What’s better than getting your super greens with a kick?

So this. A Kale Kooler. It’s fresh and herbaceous with a ginger spark and yes, a vodka halo. Just right for spring!

If you want to pretend your body is a temple regardless of alcohol intake, this is the sip for you.  A caveat though. If you aren’t a fan of herbal, green flavors (think Chartreuse or Cynar, the Italian artichoke digestif), chances are you will grimace and carry on to a vodka tonic. No judgment.  Okay, judgment. Give it a go. Next thing you know, you'll be telling your yoga partner about it during Shavasana. Hey, liquid Namaste!

Okay, spoiler alert. This is a drink for people who like green juices and the flavors therein. This drink's flavor profile skirts herbs and bitters with a subtly sweet ginger kick. I find it fresh, raw, and new. 

Makes 2 cocktails

Ginger Syrup
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh ginger
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Cocktail Base
2 cups tightly packed kale leaves
10 basil leaves
1 cup water
3 limes, juiced
1/4 cup vodka
3 tablespoons ginger syrup 

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the ginger, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and chill. 

In a powerful blender (I use Vitamix), combine the kale, basil, and water. Blend until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lime juice, vodka, and ginger syrup and pulse a few times to mix. Serve over ice.