They have it figured out, I thought.
The last time we went to the beach was a bit rough. As my family walked (or, depending on age, was carried) down the stairs that led to the sand, an older woman looked at me, and said, "Oh, now that's a brave mommy."
Uh-oh. Grandmas aren't supposed to be scared of anything.
The day actually went pretty well, meaning that nobody drowned.
Sitting next to us was a couple who looked to be in their late 50s. They were clearly regulars. They chatted with us and made knowing comments about our kids. After returning from a swim, they reached into their cooler and opened two ice-filled Nalgene bottles.
That's when the unmistakable smell of vodka hit me. That wasn't ice water in those Nalgenes. Those were adult beverages.
I was impressed. That's the way to enjoy the beach.
Now, I am fully aware that beaches, young kids, and alcohol don't mix. But summer still provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy an adult beverage, from barbecues to a lovely hour on the porch after the kids are in bed. I drink wine and even port in the winter, but I save mixed drinks for summer. Here are three that may make your summer a bit more relaxing.
Grapefruit Gin and Tonic
You can order this at a bar, of course, but if you don't try it with fresh grapefruit juice, you're really missing out.
2 ounces of gin
5 ounces of tonic water
2 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
one lime wedge
Pour the gin, tonic water and grapefruit juice into a glass almost filled with ice. Add a twist of lime and stir.
I had forgotten all about Pimms until a friend of mine, married to an Englishman, reminded me. It's a fruit-based liquor, similar to gin, that is popular in Britain and often used for mixed drinks there.
Mix one part Pimms Cup #1 with three parts cold Sprite (which the British refer to as lemonade). Pour over ice into a tall glass or into a pitcher. Add some sliced strawberries, mint, or orange or cucumber slices, and pretend you're at a polo match.
Okay, I admit it – this recipe is complicated, especially if you don't have simple syrup on hand. It also is totally worth it if you're entertaining, because you can make the simple syrup and watermelon juice ahead of time. If not, don't worry – we've got a simpler version at the end.
6 cups seedless watermelon, cut into two-inch cubes
8 ounces soju (If you can't find soju at an Asian specialty store, vodka is a decent substitute.)
2 ounces ginger liqueur, such as Domaine de Canton
juice from 2 limes
2 ounces simple syrup
1. Chill six tall glasses (if you don't like ice in your drinks.)
2. Make the simple syrup. Combine half a cup of sugar and half a cup of water in a small saucepan and let it boil for about two minutes, stirring carefully. Turn off the heat and let it cool. Be VERY careful with melted sugar – it can burn very badly, very quickly, so you definitely don't want to do this after drinking either of the two cocktails above.
3. Make the watermelon juice. Put the watermelon cubes in a blender, a few at a time, and blend on high until smooth. Then strain the mixture through a sieve into a pitcher. You should have about 3 cups of juice.
4. Mix it up. Add the soju, ginger liquor, 2 ounces of simple syrup, and the lime juice to the watermelon juice. Stir well, then pour into chilled glasses.
Serves 6 happy people.
If all this is too complicated for you, then your life is probably a lot like mine. So just muddle some watermelon cubes in a glass, then add the soju, a dash of the ginger liquor, a twist of lime, and some tonic (or ginger ale if you like a little sweetness). Enjoy. — KW
If you liked this story, you might also like:
20 Great Wines to Bring to a Party (Or, Inexpensive Wines That Taste Better Than They Should)
Cheat Sheet: How to Order Wine in a Restaurant. Painlessly.
Eat Fresh, Eat Local, All Summer Long
Image courtesy of flickr user daveybot