Happy first day of summer!!!! We even get a slight break in the temperatures to celebrate it. There are a handful of summer requirements I have in my bar every year that ensure I can get through the balmy days with ease. The fixings for a great Bloody Mary – spicy Mr. and Mrs. T Mix, Tabasco, jalapeno juice, Grey Goose, lime and lots of Worcestershire sauce; a plethora of Cava and Prosecco – bubbles are great all summer, but an ice cold sparkler on a hot day just hits the spot, especially when you add in a bit of Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, Cointreau, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur or the new Courvoisier Rose; Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka to mix with sparkling water and lots of fresh lemons; lighter reds and rose to enjoy with lighter summer fare like Grenache and Rose of Pinot Noir.
I asked a few friends around town what their favorite summer staples were. Sommelier and Co-Owner of Bijoux and Second Floor Restaurant, Gina Gottlich offered some easy basics that anyone can find including Ciroc Vodka, made from grapes instead of grain or potatoes; Chambord Liqueur; a good sparkling wine like a Cava; pineapple juice, the juice of summer and a great mixer with the Ciroc and Chambord for a tasty Flirtini; your favorite light beer; and white peach puree from Perfect Puree, mix with the Cava for a White Peach Bellini. Gina will introduce guests to some of her favorites bubbly at her July 15th tasting at Bijoux of great summer bubbles with pairings from Chef Scott Gottlich to match. This is their fifth of their wine tasting series and is sure to be a sparkling time. Reservations required -214.350.6100.
Sommelier/GM Courtney Luscher of The Grape summer is all about Rose and light, refreshing cocktails. They are featuring a few right now that are sure to cool you off and pair with summer menus, including Chateau Famaey Rose of Malbec from Cahors and Rose of Barbera/Freisa from Pink Maccario. Chef Brian also makes a Chef’s Pink Lemonade with house-made raspberry lemonade, with rum and a spring of mint over ice. Chef also just introduced his new summer menu and it is delightful. I stopped in the other night and enjoyed a chilled bowl of spicy summer gazpacho soup with heirloom tomatoes and chefs house-made silky fromage blanc. Intense purplish red hue with rich, fresh tomato, cucumber and beet flavors.
The Italian aficionado, Alfonso Cevola, offered suggestions that can transport you directly to the heart of Italy including Cardamara Amaro and the Rabarbaro Zucca Amaro. Amaro, Italian for bitter, are liqueurs made from herbs, flowers or fruit and usually enjoyed as an after dinner cocktail served neat or with a bit of ice or tonic water. The Cardamara is made in Piedmont from Cardoon, Blessed Thistle and botanicals. Rabarbaro Zucca is a blend of rhubarb, cardamom, orange peel and herbs was created in 1845, was served in the royal court of King Vittorio Emanuele and has been a symbol of sophistication in Milan since its inception.
What are your favorite summer staples?