As the temperatures in August continue to rise, the best relief to beat the heat, is a cool refreshing libation, either sipped in your air-conditioned abode or while floating in a pool of sparkling water-sea, lake, pool or a bathtub qualifies. It is just what the doctor ordered (or your friendly flight attendant prescribes) for keeping cool and hydrated…
The art of making cocktails, is one part inspiration, and 2 parts quality ingredients and the proper bar ware will complete the mix. Don’t you remember as a child getting a Shirley Temple with that wonderful Maraschino cherry and orange slice, and if you were lucky enough, the little paper umbrella? It has got to look as good as it tastes.
With all of the ripe, juicy, seasonal fresh fruit and herbs available in the summertime, it’s easy to get creative. Muddling fresh herbs, with a pinch of sugar and citrus (lemon, lime or grapefruit) can bring your vodka, rum or gin drink to new, exhilarating heights, and if you ask me, add a fruit serving to your diet! Whether your favorite cool drink is a tangy margarita, a dry martini (with an olive), a beer (yes, you can add fruit, lime or an orange slice), a Mimosa or Bloody Mary (now that drink is off the charts healthy with fruit and vegetables in it) remember you are what you drink!
“I drink too much. The last time I gave a urine sample it had an olive in it.” Rodney Dangerfield
One of my favorite cocktails is the Pimm’s Cup, a thirst quenching, summery drink originating in England, enjoyed at cricket matches and Wimbledon. Because of its low alcohol content, 25%, you can feel free to have more than one! It was originally created in the mid 18th century, by James Pimm, an English oyster bar owner. He offered the tonic (a gin-based drink containing a secret mixture of herbs and liqueurs) as an aid to digestion. The recipe is still a secret (only 6 people supposedly have the original recipe), however, no worries, there are plenty of variations. The addition of a cucumber slice, makes it a health food addition in my diet! Originally served in a tankard, if you don’t have one handy, I think it is lovely served in a tall glass. I have plenty for sale in my shop.
Another drink, enjoyed by me, is a Moscow Mule, also known as a Vodka Buck, made with vodka (my favorite happens to be Stolichnaya), spicy Ginger Beer and lime juice served in a copper mug. Created in 1941, by restaurateur Jack Morgan, who owned The Cock and Bull in LA serving Hollywood’s elite, he and two friends ( a food and spirits distributor and a ginger beer producer) came up with the concoction while “quaffing a slug, nibbling an hors d’ oeuvre and shoving toward inventive genius.” I have read that ginger beer also offers health benefits reducing inflammation, aiding digestion and pain relief (is that after the vodka is added perhaps?)! Needless to say, my husband is presently brewing a batch in my dining room. I can’t wait for it to ferment (up to 4 weeks), since it’s for my “pain management”.
Another way to get more fruit in the diet, is Sangria…white or red wine can be used with just 6 ingredients (and a lovely pitcher of course). Fresh fruit (apples, oranges, strawberries, get creative here), orange juice (fresh squeezed is best), a sweetener (brown or cane sugar, honey) a liquor (brandy, rum, triple sec or amaretto) and wine (again experiment with dry vs robust, etc.). Drink, repeat and experiment with what you like…Sangria has existed in various forms for over 2000 years, it proves that some things just keep getting better with time.
“Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.” Louis Pasteur
A Bloody Mary is a cocktail containing vodka, tomato juice (Canadian’s use Clamato and call it a Bloody Caesar), and combinations of other spices and flavorings including Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, piri-piri sauce, beef consomme or bouillon, horseradish, celery, olives, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon or lime juice and celery salt. It has been called “the world’s most complex cocktail”. I happened to have one in Detroit last weekend that had a shrimp, bacon, olive, lime and celery garnish…! I think I have proven my case, that this cocktail contains all of the four food groups.
I hope I have inspired you to share in my philosophy of getting more fruit, vegetables and of course more alcohol in your diet this summer. So let your imagination run wild, get creative, stay cool and of course, very hydrated!
you can find lots of wonderful bar ware here (it’s my blog and all about me, so I can add a plug):