Strawberry & Basil Infused Vodka

Michael Boeckmann /

Photo courtesy of Michael Boeckmann /

Eating great food with great friends always makes for a terrific evening, but when you add a totally new experience to the mix, it becomes an adventure! That was certainly the case when our friend Cynthia invited some friends to join her at the recent Pop-Up Dinner in White.

Never heard of it? I hadn’t either, but it’s a wonderful concept! The dinner organizers secure a secret location and provide tables, chairs and a band. That’s it. Attendees bring in everything else needed to enjoy a gourmet dinner under the stars.

The caveat? It’s an all-white event… our clothes, the table linens, plates and flowers were all to be white.

{Think “flash mob” but without the choreography.}

Our group of eight divided up responsibilities, and on the appointed day, we anxiously awaited to find out where we were to lug all this stuff with just a few hours notice. In the meantime, I made sure I had my assignments completed and ready.

The email came at 3:00. The event for several hundred guests would be on Boom Island  We were to arrive to set and decorate our table between 5:00 and 7:00pm.

Cynthia was taking care of flowers and linens, so she arrived first. We were thrilled to see the table she had chosen and decorated before we got there. It was gorgeous – a favorite of many of the other guests.

white dinner - table

And the view? The beautiful skyline of downtown Minneapolis.


There was plenty of time before the “Napkin Wave” {the official start of the event} to wander around and see how the other guests had approached the evening. We poured a beverage {recipe below} and strolled, taking in all the beautiful tables, and making new friends.

Several had gone all out – with fine china and crystal, elaborate candelabras, and even a few gowns and tuxes.

white dinner - guest

At the appointed time, the entire party waved our white napkins, signaling that dinner could be served.

Our menu included Proscuitto-Wrapped Asparagus, Fig & Chile-Glazed Pork Tenderloin, Summer Squash and Red Quinoa Salad, Garlic Green Beans and a wonderful Ginger Panacotta with Blueberry Compote for dessert.

As the sun sunk lower, the band kicked it up a notch and the dancing began. Soon, the only light left was from the hundreds of candles on the tables.  One group released lanterns that the breeze took right across the river and over the Minneapolis skyline. Another started a conga line.


Photo courtesy of Michael Boeckmann /


Eventually, it was time to pack up our things and find the {white} car we’d arranged to get us to and from the event.  Once we lugged everything back into the house and cleaned up, we collapsed on the couch and recapped the evening.

In a word?


white dinner2

Photo courtesy of Michael Boeckmann /

Our friend Jake had been over the night before for a gathering we hosted and brought this delicious Strawberry & Basil Infused Vodka. I was inspired to try making my own.

vodka triptich

Strawberry & Basil Infused Vodka
  • 1 bottle vodka
  • 6 large strawberries, sliced
  • 5 basil leaves
  1. Remove several ounces of vodka to make room for other ingredients in the bottle.
  2. Add berries and basil to vodka. Seal bottle and gently shake to mix ingredients. Let sit for 2-3 days. Liquid will "steal" the color from the berries and turn pink, while the berries fade.
  3. Strain vodka into another bottle and discard other ingredients.

It made a perfect summer cocktail to enjoy before our dinner.  Cheers!

Special thanks to Michael Boeckmann of Pixel Farm for taking some fantastic pics of the evening!

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