I love this time of year. While you will hear me say this at every different turn of the season, it doesn’t abrogate the fact. I love the long, warm days and the sultry evenings. I love that I can both go to work AND come home in daylight. I love that the birds are out earlier, so I awake to their songs. I love sandals and seersucker and strawberries in season. Beaches, barbeques, road trips, linen capris, camping, salads, painted summer toenails, pony-tails, farmer’s markets, festivals, junk novels...all of it.
But, of course, what I love, as much if not more than the woefully incomplete list of happy above, are the summer beverages. The cornucopia of choices help make summer into Summer!!, to whit:
Imagine sitting on the front porch with your Grammy...it’s all just rocking and cataloguing of ailments without a big glass of Sweet Tea, freshly brewed and dripping lemony condensation onto the peeling wicker table.
Or under a beach umbrella in Charlotte Amalie ...just another day at the beach without a perfectly blended Fresh Passion Fruit & Mango Daiquiri. Then, it becomes ‘That Time We Were In St. Thomas and Had Those Amazing Daiquiris!’
Perhaps your fantasy is a big, ol’ hammock stretched between the palm trees of Anywhere Caribbean... A sassy, sloe-eyed local boy saunters out with a tray of fresh squeezed tangerine juice, a bottle of single barrel dark rum and a freshly picked orchid for you to tuck behind your sexy, tan ear while he pours the quixotic elixirs into a cool, tall glass, as he looks deeply into your eyes and then reaches out a sun-kissed hand.....
Whoa! Hold up! Whew!... is it warm in here? Dang, a chilled glass of Riesling would be good right about now. Or a fruity blush wine, poured over ice (yes.. I said it!...ICE!) with a splash of soda and a squeeze of lemon. Or a crisp Gin & Tonic, made interesting with a slice of blood orange instead of lime. Or that mainstay of Life, a perfectly, lightly chilled Pale Ale or Pilsener. Or (insert your favorite concoction here....)
We goddesses are headed to the mountains this weekend to escape the heat and ‘Amateurs with Explosives’ to do one of our many annual camping adventures. As Oenoli, Goddess of Beverage, you may feel free to surmise that I am in charge of All Things Liquid. As such, I will be packing my arsenal of summer booze and mixers to make the cocktails I am famous in my own set for.
We are not hardy campers, by the way, back-packing our way over harsh terrain into the high backcountry; nay, with advancing age, income and inertia, we are now camper-campers; thus, we will have a blender, so are able to make all manner of delish bevvies, which is a large part of the fun we have on these trips (Oenoli!! Make us sumpin’ yummy, will ya? Put down that boy and get shakin’....) *Sigh*..my friends are such rags....
One of our favorite traditions is not quite a ‘summer drink’, but holds a high place in our esteem. I always bring a bottle of 20 year old tawny port and a hunk of Very Expensive Chocolate. We build a bonfire and pull our chairs up around it, pass the chocolate around, followed by the port. We observe some rules about port...the ‘opener’ cannot drink first but must pour a few drops out of the bottle for the port faeries, then pass the bottle to the left, always to the left, no wiping the neck before hitting and no drinking from cups...it’s outa the bottle and keeps going around until it’s all gone...any interesting requirement when there are only 2-3 of us, but whatever...for us, this is a rite of summer, and as such, a summer drink.
There are so many summer sippers out there, it’s hard to pick which one serves the moment best. But don’t get stuck in a rut...try new things, make up fun cocktails to delight and amaze your friends...remember, since you are in the Beverage Biz, you are the expert to all your non-biz crowd.
But whatever your summer drinks of choice are, nothing beats whiling the day away in places you love, with people you love, with your hand wrapped around something long and cool, served to you by a sassy, sloe-eyed....OK, not goin’ there again. It’s hot enough in here already.
Happy Summer- Oenoli.