In the restaurant world, Mother’s Day is right up there with Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve as far as high-stress dining situations go. “We often have husbands or dads come in on Mother’s Day and have a slight panic attack because they didn’t quite plan perfectly,” says Olimpia Mandoudis, beverage director at Mercantile in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Open only for breakfast and lunch, and specializing in elevated daytime dishes using local and seasonal ingredients like hash with house-made chorizo and roasted-poblano biscuits, Mercantile is a natural spot to celebrate Mother’s Day with brunch. That’s especially true when you consider Mandoudis’ light and refreshing cocktails, including the That’s My Jam, a simple easy-on-the-alcohol sipper.
The cocktail calls for Lillet Rosé, a delicate French aperitif made from rosé wine infused with fruit, citrus, and spices; a splash of gin (Mandoudis suggests a juniper-forward option, such as Beefeater or The Botanist); and homemade strawberry jam. “I wanted to add something to the drinks menu that encompassed our farm-to-table philosophy,” she says. The kitchen at Mercantile is always making jam from whatever fruit’s in season, and seeing a pot of fresh strawberries simmering on the stove all day long inspired Mandoudis’ recipe. “To make good jam can be difficult,” she says. “The keys are to not use too much lemon and to make sure it cooks low and slow. The consistency at the end should be ooey-gooey.” Mandoudis recommends cooking for at least four hours, but going a few hours longer (or even overnight in a slow-cooker) will only help make an even tastier jam.
Though you could certainly pick up a nice jar from the local farmer’s market and use that instead. That way, you could give Mom what she likely wants most—more time with you.