Hot Weather, Cool Drinks

Let’s face it: it’s stinkin’ hot out. At times, it even seems too hot to eat (well, almost). And nothing is better in this brutal weather than a cool drink in your hand- well, besides hiding in the air conditioning and sitting in your kid’s baby pool all day. In honor of all this, I’ve decided to post some of the more interesting finds that we’ve been drinking lately, to help you get by, too. We live to serve…

The biggest kick we’ve been on is exploring rosé wine. As I mentioned in our post on Passion Vines, I originally had this idea that I was “beyond’ them, that they were really just another version of a White Zinfandel. Here are some we’ve had that we recommend trying:

* Any rose from the Cote Du Rhone region. I say this because 1) We had a marvelous one fro about $11 that I can’t for the life of me remember what it was and 2) many are priced at less than $15 a bottle and are amazing.

* Propriet`a Sperino Rosa Del Rosa Because of the 65% Nebbiola grapes, it has body and goes beyond the usual “lightweight” grandma wine. Priced around $14, it’s a nice informal get-together-on-a-hot-night crowd pleaser.

* Blackbird Vineyards 2009 Arriviste. Marketed as “Everyone loves an upstart…” it will absolutely change the way you view roses forever.Don’t be fooled by it’s a cute, pink color and innocent, sweet nose- the first taste comes on strong, but also completely sophisticated and dry experience (but still includes notes of pear and strawberry) that finishes with a tannin end. Priced at $22, it’s for a more special (and perhaps adventurous) occasion.

Summer, with its barbecues, also screams beer. For desperately hot weather, we find these refreshing:

* Blue Point Blueberry Ale- Aw, c’mon: it’s NJ and it’s Blueberry season! It is far from being sweet- a crisp American Ale that just happens to have the essence of blueberries. Trust us, it works.

* Flying Fish’s Exit 4 (American Trippel)- they’ve released it in 6-pack 12 oz. bottles, and if you can find it, get it. Citrusy, banana-clove esters- ahhh, light, fruity, refreshing and crisp (but not wimpy).

* Smuttynose Summer Weizen- the ultimate in crisp summer brews.A cross between the wheat hefeweizen style and the fruity esters of a Belgian yeast…light, but still has tons going on with flavor.Yummy.

To end the list, I’ve chosen what I think is the very best after-dinner cordial for a sultry summer night. Tart but mildly sweet, refreshing when served ice cold in a cute glass, it seduces the senses. I’m talking, of course, of limoncello. unsure which brand is the highest quality? The make your own. We did, and found it to be screamingly easy and so much brighter and delicious than anything in the liquor store. You’ll need a few weeks of patience, but it’s worth it. Just be sure to use organic lemons, and make lemonade afterwards ( you’ll only use the zest, and the chemical spray on the skins can cause off flavors).

Limoncello

one bottle (750 ml) of good vodka (Grey Goose to Absolut)
20 lemons
2 cups sugar
2 cups water

Grate the zest of the lemons (I use a microplane grater, easy and quick), being careful to avoid any of the white pith (any bits of the pithy in your mixture will make it bitter and nasty). Place all zest in the bottle with the vodka. Seal it and shake it once a day, letting it soak a minimum of 2 weeks, maybe even up to 4 weeks or beyond (the longer you leave it, the more yellow and lemony it will be, just be sure to remove it before the zest starts to break down completely). After the steeping period, strain out the zest. Heat a saucepan filled with the sugar and the water, and stir until all the sugar is dissolved and you have a simple syrup. Cool, then slowly add to your lemon vodka mixture, and adjust to your taste (you can use all the syrup or just some). Pour into a nice liquor bottle and place in the freezer. When cold, enjoy!

-Lisa

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5 thoughts on “Hot Weather, Cool Drinks

  1. Is the Cotes Du Rhone one the bottle you brought to our house? I took a picture of it with my iPhone so I could easily find it in a store. Wanna know what it is?

  2. I love a nice dry blush of Cabernet Sauvignon with a burger. Anakena (http://www.anakenawines.cl/) makes an inexpensive one, and we got a really good one from Valenzano last year. I have to disagree with you on the vodka quality for the Limoncello, using GG or Absolute isn't necessary (Absolute is horrible, but that's another discussion). I've infused vodka with Smirnoff, Kettel One, and Stoli, and I can't tell the difference. Smirnoff is fine and much cheaper. You should, however use 100 proof vodka for proper limoncello.

  3. Kym: You know, I've got some great recipes for non-alcoholic coolers…another post idea!Robin: Yes, I couldn't find it anywhere,and I was anxious to post something yesterday. Thanks! Hope you enjoyed it, too!Bill: Actually, I just disagree with using Everclear, which some recipes call for- not as smooth, too harsh. I used Absolute because I thought it put the gift bottle I got to good use (I was right,lol)…and I will have to try the Valenzano blush this summer!-Lisa

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