Wine — Hey baby, stay cool

 

by Tim Protzman        tprotzman@hotmail.com

 

Look south and to the Far East for relief from the heat 

What happened to Spring? Did I oversleep and miss it? Or did it take a half season off so it could go to the dentist?

Whatever happened, we’re stuck with summer. And not just low summer; but a full-blown bake-oven summer with dust and dew points identical to Bush’s and Kerry’s grade point averages. In my 81-degree kitchen cooking’s stopped. Retreating into air conditioning, I read and work on the computer. What I really miss are those slightly cloudy afternoons where you can sit on the porch in the green afternoon light and watch the drizzle stop. Maybe there’ll be a rainbow.

Humanity’s always sought relief from the heat. Long before Willis Carrier patented “an apparatus for treating air,” we turned to swimming and cool drinks as a solution. Having spent many summers in the south I’ve gained a little knowledge on the technology of cold drinks, how a bit of alcohol and lots of ice cools a person down, physically and psychologically.

Down South they drink their iced tea very sweet. Like two heaping cups of sugar per gallon sweet. Try a little vodka with it. It helps disguise the fact that each sip brings you closer to diabetes. And the vodka keeps you from getting too hyper, like a five-year-old on Skittles. Whiskey works with sweet tea, too.

For Northern-style iced tea, without the sucrose, try some of the flavored vodkas. Lemon, orange and raspberry come to mind.

The ultimate iced tea drink is Long Island Iced Tea, and there’s no tea in it. It’s from Prohibition and was served in tea cups, in case of a raid.

1 part vodka

1 part tequila

1 part rum

1 part gin

1 part triple sec

1 1/2 parts sweet and sour mix (lemon and lime juice)

1 splash cola

Stir. Serve in a Collins glass.

 

Key West stays warm all year round. And they have great drinks. It’s humid, but you don’t notice because there’s always a breeze. Here’s their namesake cocktail, which is usually served in a to-go cup.

Key West Cocktail

1 1/2 oz bourbon

1 oz orange juice

1 oz pineapple juice

1 tsp lemon juice

several dashes Angostura bitters

sugar syrup to taste

Mix all ingredients in a shaker with cracked ice and serve.

 

Further south and east we come to the much in the news island of Aruba. It’s 15 miles off the coast of Venezuela and really hot. They make an excellent salmon with honey and onions and a very different Tropical Martini:

2 ounces amaretto almond liqueur

2 ounces Malibu coconut rum

Shake with ice. Simple, cold and sweet.

 

One of the most inquisitive people are the British. They left their green, rainy island and colonized the tropics. Most of the time they were horrible to the indigenous people, so they were eventually forced to leave. But they left us a treasure trove of hot-weather drinks. Here’s the Suffering Bastard (was the suffering heat-related? or was it a bartender’s lament because the drink is so complicated?) from Shepheard’s Hotel, Cairo, Egypt, Circa 1950.

1 tbsp Angostura bitters

2 shots gin

1½ shots brandy

½ shot lime juice

teaspoon simple syrup

ginger beer

Pour the bitters into a frosted Collins glass, swirl until the inside’s coated and dump the excess out. Half fill the glass with ice. Add gin, brandy, lime juice and simple syrup. Top off with ginger beer and stir.

 

Cairo’s hot, but at least it’s a dry heat. Further east the humidity’s so high you practically mildew. But if you’re a successful rubber baron in Singapore there’s a cocktail for you.

Here’s the classic Singapore Sling, invented at Raffles Hotel in 1915 by Ngiam Tong Boom, the head bartender.

1 part gin

½ part Cointreau

1 part lemon juice

splash of sugar syrup

½ part Heering Cherry Liqueur

splash of Benedictine

ginger ale

Shake, then strain over ice. Add ginger ale. Float cherry liqueur & Benedictine on top. Garnish with a lemon wedge and a cherry.

 

When the Sirocco winds blow hot air into Europe, it often ends as a high pressure system over Russia. And it gets hot. Kansas in August hot. Here’s how they beat the heat.

Na Zdrowie

1 1/2 oz Lemon Vodka, straight from the freezer compartment, served in a frozen shot glass.

1 paper thin wheel of lemon, one half dipped in ground espresso, the other half dipped in superfine sugar

Eat the lemon wheel and shoot the vodka.

 

Two ways to beat the New Hampshire heat with cool cocktails are:

A New Hampshire Bulldog

1 shot Cognac mixed with blueberry soda

or soda water and real blueberry syrup over ice.

 

And a Cucumber Cooler

Marinate six thinly sliced, medium pickling cucumbers in Sake for two weeks.

Strain the sake into a shaker, add a teaspoon simple syrup and the juice of one lime.

Fill a highball glass halfway and add soda water and ice.

Or just visit Café Momo at 1065 Hanover St., Manchester, and have Bhola make you one. Don’t forget the side order of Chicken Chhoila.

E-mail your drinking experiences to tprotzman@hotmail.com.

 
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