With summer underway I wanted to talk about cocktails. I don’t know about you but I am looking forward to chilled, refreshing libations with friends, especially when they’re served outdoors to truly make the most of the lovely warm days.
When the bartender comes around for orders, it can be a difficult decision. I have a few favorites and I’ve learned them from dear friends. So now you can learn them from me.
For when I want a flavorful cocktail
I go for a pisco sour. I bet you’ve never heard of it. I hadn’t either until I took a sip of one from a friend and since then I’ve been hooked. It’s a Peruvian drink and the alcohol is called “pisco.” Not every bar will have it, so this is a treat for when you’re someplace where they have an extensive liquor menu and a more experienced bartender who can handle the egg whites and draw the flower design that usually adorns the top.
If you like margaritas, you’ll probably like this beverage, so don’t let the “sour” fool you. In addition to a fabulous cocktail, you’ll get a bonus in the surprised reaction of anyone you let have a sip. Because it’s delicious.
For when I want an aperitif
Being a Francophile, I adore an aperitif, which is a beverage served to spark the appetite. The word aperitif comes from the Latin “aperire” which means “to open.” They allow you to slow down and enjoy the dining experience in a leisurely way.
Campari is my very favorite aperitif. It has a gorgeous pink color and complex, somewhat bitter flavor. You can have it in a Negroni or an Americano which both mesh perfectly with the summer season. I learned to appreciate Campari from a sophisticated and elegant French friend of mine.
Many cultured women have savored Campari. In fact, when she was First Lady Jackie Kennedy loved Negronis, and now her former secret service agent Clint Hill, who is 87 years old and living in Florida, has a partnership with the brand to promote his own concoction he calls “The Clint.” It has 2 shots of Campari, 1 shot of vodka, a slice of orange and soda water in a tall glass with ice. It sounds good. I am definitely going to try one one day soon.
For when I don’t want alcohol
Sometimes because I need to drive myself places I need to have a non-alcoholic go to beverage. While many bars offer unique mocktails, I like having a something that any bar can whip up. One of my New York City friends introduced me to a clever concoction that’s simply water and bitters. I usually ask for a twist of lemon, and you can choose flat or sparkling water, whichever you prefer. Bitters are flavoring agents that used to be used as medicine. Just a few drops in a glass can turn the whole drink a very pretty color. They’re also very aromatic and flavorful. You can ask the bartender to go heavy or light, depending upon how much flavor you like best.
So there you have it! Three dear friends, three summer libations. Cheers to whatever you’ll be drinking this season.
Barbara Wayman, APR