21 July 2010

Summer Cocktails

Over here in Orange County, it's been mostly grey and cool with a flash of heat this past week.  This morning, we're back to drizzly grey and cool breezes.  It's lovely actually.  I'm a sucker for grey weather...although I've found that this is only true when I'm in California because it's such a novelty.  The sun comes out by the afternoon and in the evening, it's balmy enough for shorts and dinner by the grill.

J., with his epicurean tastes, has taken to making cocktails in the evenings.  Throughout the year, wine is our aperitivo of choice but in the summer, two strong contenders emerge:  Campari and Pimms.

We first had Campari in the Venetian Spritz on our trip to Venice, Italy this past year.  It's a sweet, citrusy, bitter, and salty drink, served with ice, green olives, and a wedge of orange.  In Venice, it was served to us in big glass goblets with a basket of salty potato chips.  Our host told us that the Venetian Spritz was a must have to cooling down in the heat of the summer and experiencing Venice.  He was right.  Our jet lag slid right off into the sweet and briny drink and the crunch of potato chips and we felt the afternoon slow down into a wonderful people watching pool of relaxation.

Pimms is a cocktail from England.  The last time I was in London, my friend Reshma suggested I order it at an open air bar by the Thames, and it was delightful.  A cooling treat to sit and shoot the breeze with and watch the boats go by.  Mint, lemonade, and cucumber combine with liquor for something that feels like quintessential summer.  Cucumber can be cut into spears or slices and eaten along with the drink.  And according to other sources, other fruits can be added such as strawberries, apples, and oranges.  Last night, J. and I enjoyed our Pimms cocktails with a simple dinner of grilled salmon and steamed broccoli drizzled with our very best olive oil and fresh-squeezed lemon juice.

What is your summer cocktail?  I'm interested to know.

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