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Summer Sipping - alcohol & otherwise

What do you enjoy sipping when the sun is high in the sky, the breeze is taking a nap & the afternoon is lingering on?

I like to have a frozen Mason jar filled with icy cold gazpacho to perk me up until it is time to think about the next meal. Add a good book, some soft music & a comfortable chair & call it an afternoon delight!

Oh yes, maybe just a teeny weeny bit of something to munch on, not much you know. Oh heck, it is too hot to cook anyway, so just have a little bit more munchy.

So set the scene, share the recipe & call it good.

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  1. under the giant acacia tree in our backyard with a roasted chicken from the market, a fragrant muskmelon, and a chilled bottle of Rose. Noise ordinances prevent you from mowing the lawn, and most of the stores are closed (I'm in Europe) -- so Sunday afternoon frequently means you really have nothing else to do but laze around the back yard and read.

    Dinner will be a salad of tomatoes, cucumber, feta, mint, and couscous with a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.

    (looking out the window at the gloomy grey - not sure this is a good daydream or not!)

    1 Reply
    1. re: sunshine842

      Cucumber water
      Gin and tonic
      Tinto de verano
      Ginger beer

      1. re: ipsedixit

        ok. i miss cold sour plum juice. where to get (without getting on a plane) or how to make?

      2. When the weather gets warmer like to sip:

        Gin and Tonic
        Margarita on the rocks
        Dark rum and ginger juice
        Blended Chi-Chi (coconut pineapple & vodka)
        Fruit Punch (make strong Hawaiian Punch with syrup, Kool-Aid, from Frozen juice section, etc.)
        Ice Water
        Beer very cold (on ice long enough in a good cooler to get to perfect drinking temperature).

        I like ice after it melts and starts to get soft with little holes in it. Can chew it then without hurting my teeth when no one is around to bother. We call it holey ice.

        1 Reply
        1. re: smaki

          Ginger juice: one pound small fresh ginger pealed with a spoon sliced thin with a sharp knife in one part of sugar and three parts of rice vinegar (often use one cup rice vinegar with 1/3 cup sugar and 1 tsp of salt I sprinkle the sliced ginger in before cover in liquid). Put sliced salted ginger in a quart mason jar. I have an old plastic top that fits and will not drip sticky juice. Shake once a day. Good after a week. Eat the ginger on sushi or with whatever then make drinks with the left over juice. Dark rum is a favorite. Also do all kinds of things like: is also good with soda water, ginger ale, 7-up alone with ice no alcohol is enough often. For a little extra when in the mood add rum, bourbon, or Canadian whiskey with lots of holey ice out of the cooler. Dark rum and ginger juice over holey ice is a favorite so post here to better explain how to make so others can enjoy.

        2. Water. And for some reason, room temp to cool works better for me than icy cold. Perhaps because one can down a large glass quickly without blood vessels constricting in alarm. Little or no solid food in really hot weather. Yogurt, gelatin, soup....

          1. Non-alcoholic: ice water with a slice of cucumber and a squeeze of lime. Or iced green tea. Fizzy water with a glug of hibiscus or bitters and a squeeze of citrus.

            Alcoholic: gin and tonic, aviation,margarita, mojito, anything I can concoct with the herbs from my garden. Although now I have a sudden craving to spike a jar of gazpacho with some ice-cold vodka. ;)

            3 Replies
            1. re: Wahooty

              Have you ever tried cucumber & melon? I like to deseed the cuke & blend both in the blender.

              1. re: cstout

                I haven't, but only because I have dietary issues that make melons off-limits. It sounds absolutely lovely though. :)

                1. re: Wahooty

                  I read this today and thought immediately of this thread (Korean cold cucumber soup):


            2. Summers in the Yucatan are sultry. All motion is slow. The 13 miles of the Caribbean Sea separating Cozumel looks like glass. I alternate between my hammock and the pool, little veggo (good kitty) always following - he loves being stroked by a moist hand and the cool of the evaporation. My little green table by the hammock under the almond tree holds a lime squash (fresh squozen limes, honey, sparkling water), or agua de jamaica (hibiscus tea), or a chilada in a frosty mug. I plan 2 hours of chores for the following day, always expecting to save half for the day after. Guac and 'ritas are still a few hours off, when the green parrots start moving and screeching in the jungle, under roseate mackerel skies. I'll cook the fish after sunset. A little J.J. Cale wafts from the house - maybe "They call me the breeze". Tomorrow will be the same, thankfully.
              (This is the life I lived for years, and I'll be back to it)

              1 Reply
              1. re: Veggo

                Summers in Yucatan, I can only dream about those things, why in the world did you ever leave? Get back to where you belong.

              2. I like to make a cocktail from cucumber, lime, mint, simple syrup and a splash of seltzer. I just blend the lime juice, mint, cucumber, syrup; fancy people might make use of a strainer.

                1 Reply
                1. re: sweetpotater

                  No strainer for me....what a wonder "pick me upper"...thanks for sharing.

                2. Iced tea-lemonade made with a really good, fruit-flavoured black tea and either homemade lemonade, or the concentrated stuff you buy frozen in a cardboard tube.

                  Sparkling water with ice and a squeeze of lime.

                  Gin and tonic (also with ice and a squeeze of lime).

                  Fruit salad topped with yogurt and a bit of granola (for 3 meals a day, when it's really hot).

                  Maybe a salmon patty with tzaziki and salad if I'm hungry.


                  Grapefruit sorbet.

                  Vihno verde.

                  1. Aperol Spritz - Aperol liqueur, champagne/sparkling wine/prosecco and sparkling water, in whatever proportions you like. Chill them all before mixing!

                    1. Michelada. Mmmmm.
                      1 bottle of lager beer
                      1 5.5 oz can of clamato
                      Shot of Worcestershire sauce
                      Shot of Tabasco sauce
                      squeeze of lime
                      celery stick
                      serve in a salted, ice cold beer mug

                      Arnold Palmer
                      watermelon juice w/ a dash of salt
                      Perrier lime flavor
                      Smirinoff watermelon vodka with club soda
                      Three Olives grape vodka with club soda.

                      Mmmm. I need a michelada

                      1. Campari and soda
                        Pimm's Cup
                        Sauvignon blanc spritzer
                        Gin & tonic
                        Ginger beer
                        Grapefruit soda
                        Rosewater lemonade
                        Cucumber lemonade

                        I try to stay away from the stronger cocktails since I am less of a summer sipper and more of a hot weather guzzler, particularly with bright and fresh-tasting beverages. For long-term guzzling on my Manhattan fire escape, I usually do nothing stronger than a Pimm's cup with a bit of gin in the evening, but more often than not, it's rosewater lemonade for me all summer long.

                        1. Whole-lemonade or whole-limeade (or a mix) is wonderful, with or without booze added.

                          1. Some great ideas here already. I've been looking for non-alcoholic recipes for summer drinks lately. Here are some of the things I've been experimenting with:

                            Agua fresca (basically just fruit pulp, water, and sugar. I find it helps to steep the puree overnight then strain. I've only made strawberry agua so far, but this will be happening more often.

                            Shrubs (fruit muddled with vinegar for a few days then strained). I've done this once with cider vinegar and loquat. The concentrated syrup mixed with soda water is wonderfully refreshing, and I'm told that the vinegar is good for the hot weather. Will be trying this with summer berries soon.

                            Horchata (sweetened rice water). Very light and fresh. I steeped a puree of ground rice, cinnamon, and raw almonds in water, then strained, added a touch of vanilla and some simple syrup. This is nice like this right out of the fridge.

                            Ginger syrup, hibiscus syrup: both prepared by simmering large quantities in water, then using the strained liquid to make a simple syrup. Mixed with either fresh water or soda water.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: gilintx

                              Also good, Valencian horchata, which is made from tigernuts.

                              I haven't had a stash of ginger syrup to use in cool beverages for years. Thanks for the reminder.

                            2. A Radler. Half strong beer, half lemonade.

                              Gin and tonic. Lime wedge required.

                              Still a sucker for a wine spritzer.

                              1. Mojitos or an ice cold Corona with 2 lime wedges.

                                1. In addition to tall, cool drinks (iced tea and coffee, gin and tonic, etc.) and chilled rosé, I love a rosé pêche - like a kir, but rosé wine with a splash of crème de pêche liqueur. And Lillet Blanc with an orange twist.

                                  1. A Tropitini is my summer drink of choice:

                                    One ounce each of Bacardi Lemon, Absolute Citron and Blue Curacao
                                    Splash of pineapple juice
                                    Splash of 7-Up (I use diet)
                                    Spash of sweet and sour

                                    Fill a martini glass and a shaker with ice. Pour the above into the shaker and shake for at least 30 seconds. Pour the ice out of the martini glass and fill with the Tropitini.

                                    OMG is this stuff good! And when I order it in a lounge, all the women in the room want to order one because of its lovely blue color. Two's my limit, however. They're potent.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: pilotgirl210

                                      In 1975, we called them Curacao Coolers.

                                      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                        And all this time I'd thought the Sheraton at the Pointe had come up with something totally original. What is old is new again.......tee hee.

                                    2. Lots of mojitos with the amazing mint in my garden (I wish I knew if it was a specific variety, I would recommend it to everyone)

                                      cranberry juice with lime
                                      cucumber lemon water
                                      mint water
                                      sassy water (cucumber ginger lemon mint)
                                      lots of water kefir with either crystallized ginger or dried fruit in the second ferment (ginger being my favorite)

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: weezieduzzit

                                        water kefir? I've heard of dairy kefir - more information, please!

                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                          It ferments the sugar you put in it- the end result has very little sugar in it and is a probiotic drink. You can flavor it and make it carbonated by doing a second ferment without the "grains" in it but adding dried fruit for flavor. If you Google "water kefir" it you can learn lots about it.

                                          If you were close by I'd share some of my grains with you- they multiply like mad.

                                          1. re: weezieduzzit

                                            Interesting -- I did find a few articles - may have to try that one.

                                      2. All these drinks are sounding so good...I am writing them down so I can google what they are...I must say, I have never heard of over 60 per cent of them. Will be so interesting to search them out. Thanks to all for sharing. Liking all these "waters" you are talking about too!

                                        For alcohol, I just put a couple of Heinekens in the freezer until slushy, add some Clamato Picante juice, & a couple of slices of lime & some sea salt. Have never ventured into much else. Would like to sip on a really good wine, but have yet to find any that I can afford that taste good.

                                        You all have got me interested in trying some new things.

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: cstout

                                          You are probably going to get many many suggestions. Here's one. Turning Leaf pino grigio. Its not to sweet not to dry not okay. Just nice and light. I don't much care for wine and I like it alot. Under ten dollars. If you try it let me know

                                          1. re: suzigirl

                                            Not too sweet & not too dry, a hard combination to find indeed. I have Turning Leaf pino on my list...have heard that suggestion about Turning Leaf a long time ago, stating it was a good brand at a very good price. Thanks for jogging my memory.

                                            Yes indeedy, I will let you know & we shall share a toast.

                                            1. re: cstout

                                              I have turned a few white zin fans onto this and made them converts. My boyfriends family gave it a warm reception at Christmas two years ago and it was on the table again last year. Raise a glass and enjoy. :-)

                                              1. re: suzigirl

                                                Turning Leaf pino...have been to two places & could not find it. Have not been to a beverage store though. I do remember grocery stores carrying it, but not any more. Sure hope I can find it.

                                                Yes, don't make a toast until I get my bottle.

                                                1. re: cstout

                                                  I won't. I promise. I hope you can find it. And I hope you find it to your liking for all the trouble. I think you will.

                                            2. re: suzigirl

                                              Turning Leaf pino grigio...have not found it yet, but did purchase the Merlot, was very good & the price was darn good too. Still looking for the pino. Oh yes, the Cabernet was good too.

                                            3. re: cstout

                                              Summer is always time for a rose wine, which I find can be very affordable. I also learned years ago, from a neighbor who came from England, that you can find a much better $8 bottle of bubbly than an average $8 bottle of wine. Aim for a cava and you'll be in good shape. You can make a fantastic champagne spritzer with it, especially with a sprig of thyme as a stirrer.

                                              1. re: katecm

                                                Thank you so much for the suggestion of rose & the champagne spritzer sounds delish with a sprig of thyme, must try both of these.

                                            4. Does anyone drink Sangria any more?? If you have a great recipe, please come forth.

                                              5 Replies
                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                  do catch that the grapefruit should be pink -- I neglected to mention that, and the other poster's sangria was bitter as a result.

                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                    Yep, by the looks of that thread, folks are still drinking Sangria. Thanks for pointing me in that direction.

                                                  2. re: cstout

                                                    I love sangria - the classic with red wine and citrus will always be my go-to, but white sangria can also be lovely - white wine, summer fruits and a bit of Cointreau or other fruity liqueur. Yum.

                                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                                      Sounds like I might be making some Sangria soon....been many years since I've tasted it.

                                                    1. re: megjp

                                                      Wow - ginger beer & blackberry ginger sours...thanks a bunch for those 2 recipes. I have never tasted ginger beer, but I want some right now. Ginger is good in anything.

                                                      1. re: cstout

                                                        Ginger beer is heaven. And hey, rhubarb is in season here, which has me thinking of rhubarb syrup and ginger beer together. With or without vodka.

                                                        1. re: debbiel

                                                          Well, it is going to take some time to make my ginger beer, so what purchased beer is good to sip on while I am impatiently waiting?

                                                          My, my, rhubarb syrup....this is getting better & better.

                                                          1. re: cstout

                                                            Lots of ginger beer discussion in this ginger ale thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/388074

                                                            My favorite ginger ale is blenheims hot (tho, sadly, my local place in Illinois that once carried it has switched to Reeds). For ginger beer, I like Fever-Tree.

                                                            1. re: debbiel

                                                              +1 on the Blenheims. Can't handle the hot though. It has a serious kick

                                                      2. re: megjp

                                                        Blackberry ginger sours are in my near future. Thanks so much -- sounds fantastic.

                                                      3. For what it's worth, Bittman's got a piece on summer cocktails in the Times:

                                                        There is a recipe link on the page to an interactive "menu" that it seems would supplement this thread nicely.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                          Great site to visit, yes indeed, it supplements this thread well.

                                                          I can pop a top with the best of them, but when it comes to those sweet oozy drinks, it gets me to twirling around like a top & then settles like some dark swamp water in the pit of my stomach. So, in my wiser age, I choose to stay away from those & choose something very simple, Maker's Mark & water is what I will often choose or perhaps Antique Weller & water.

                                                          Had a Martini many years ago & thought I had arrived, but no one has been able to duplicate that taste for me. Perhaps it was the time, the place & the person that made the drink so good. Does anyone have a perfect recipe for a Martini????
                                                          Like they say, it must be five pm somewhere. I'll drink to that, for old times sake.

                                                          Thanks everyone, I wish I was sitting on the dock of the bay somewhere & we were all gathered 'round drinking our favorite drink.

                                                        2. vegetable juice cocktail (tomato juice based zinged with Worcestershire and hot pepper sauce)
                                                          bloody mary (made with above)
                                                          red beer (made with above)

                                                          Year round I like it garnished with celery, pickled green beans, pickled asparagus, or stuffed green olives. And especially combinations. I like a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Find about 6oz straight neat before a meal cleanses my palate. Or between even between meal courses similar to pickled ginger when eating sushi. Straight on the rocks is tasty also. Alcohol is not required to enjoy this one and in fact dilutes the taste so to is better without. While like with.

                                                          To make use a big can of V8 cold (V8 tastes good, while inexpensive generic vegetable juice can turn out fine). Poor in a glass container that seals with a top - I never keep tomato juice items in an open can as gets funky if look in with a flashlight. Add about five dashes habanero pepper sauce (I like habanero better if do not have about 15 dashes Franks or other cayenne based sauce), five to ten dashes of Worcestershire, and about 1.5 tsp of A1 steak sauce (Blazing Blends Worcestershire and Steak Sauce for $1 at the Dollar Store tastes decent if want to save a few bucks). Optionally add the juice of half a lime. Stir. Can settle in fridge, if does shake or stir before use.

                                                          Mixed with vodka as a Bloody Mary is tasty any time of day. Red beer made with this mixture is possibly better to me than straight beer with about one part vegetable juice cocktail to three parts of ice cold PBR or Miller Lite is a good combination (ice optional). Always like vegetable juice cocktails best garnished so have something flavorful with good texture to eat when drinking as find adds to the experience.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: smaki

                                                            Oh yes, V8 juice is a great starting point for so many refreshing ideas. Great "pick me up" anytime of the night or day.

                                                            I like lime or lemon or both. Be adventursome & try all kinds of pickled things. Find a pickled thing you like & learn how to make it...save some money & drink with the best of them.

                                                            Also, add different spices as you think of them...be careful with those though, can throw the whole taste off.

                                                          2. Non-alcoholic: Sweet tea frozen until it is slushy, with a bit of lemon...
                                                            or if I want it to have a wee bit of a kick: sweet tea slushy with a shot or two of homemade limoncello gently mixed in...oh so cool and relaxing. :-)

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: buzzardbreath

                                                              Limoncello - would you care to share the recipe?

                                                              1. re: cstout

                                                                I would be glad to! I don't know how to hyperlink to it but it is Claire Vath's recipe on suite101.com. Depending on your lemons and the type of alcohol you choose to use, it takes about 3 months for it to infuse and age and be really smooth. Definitely worth the time and effort though. It makes a good sized batch, about a gallon.

                                                            2. There is a farmer (Polly's) in our downtown (Town Square Park) farmer's market who makes an absolutely divine blueberry drink. It is absolutely wonderful and I have never had it anywhere else.