The summer cocktail hour …January 9, 2010
Well hello again, and happy new year to you all.
I am finally emerging from Christmas / New Year chaos and family visits galore alternating with some beachside lazing. But as of next week, being visitor (and fun-) free, it’s back to work with a vengeance. My resolutions are the usual – work harder, write more, drink less, ease up on the gluttony, you know the drill. Gotta get a book written this year if it kills me.
But it ain’t Monday yet, and here in Sydney it’s a stinker of a day, hot and humid. So I think it’s appropriate for us to think about weekend summer afternoon drinks, don’t you?
A few weeks before Christmas we had a little progressive do here, starting with drinks at my friend Mr Pimm’s around the corner. I haven’t had Pimm’s for years and years, so when he suggested it, I leapt at the idea. At his beautiful house we sat lawnside with Pimm’s and lemonade, plus a little plateful of matching retro canapes, the devil you know. It raised my memory of the first time I was introduced to Pimm’s No. 1 Cup many years ago, at a Gatsbyesque lawn party in the homestead garden of an otherwise droughtbaked farm at Nimmitabel outside Cooma, where I grew up. The garden of this party was large and elegant, with cool green lawns and enormous weeping willow trees, and we lounged on the grass while others played tennis. I was an unworldly young woman, to put it mildly (as I recall, my drink of choice at the time was gin and squash – eww), so I was tres impressed when my sophisticated friend Bridget handed me a tall glass of Pimm’s and dry ginger ale with a curl of cucumber peel spiralled inside the glass. It was possibly the most refreshing thing I’d ever drunk. I still love it. The cucumber peel, I have discovered, is essential in cooling off the sweetness.
This holidays we’ve been indulging in my other favourite summer arvo drink, the Americano. Its stunning crimson colour and the slight bitterness of the Campari makes it a winner in my book – refreshing and zingy, with as much or as little kick as you like, depending on the amount of soda you add at the end (when Senor is mixing, for example, it’s best sit down time).
An Americano is simple – chuck into a glass equal parts Campari & sweet Vermouth, a few cubes of ice and a wedge of orange – and top up with as much soda water as you like. If you add a slug of gin, it’s a Negroni.
So there you have it – a Saturday arvo summer drink to quench your thirst and cool your brow.
Here’s to a fab 2010 for you all, filled with good food and fine experience. And what might be your favourite summer cooling drink?