Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Beat the Heat - a Cocktail Treat

Here in Northern California we're blessed to have a wide range of meteorological variation. People laugh sometimes when I tell them we have both redwoods and palm trees on the same street. Are we tropical or rainforest, desert or swamp? Actually we're right on the edge of the weather-maps, which is why we get such rich possibilities. Personally, I could never live full-time in a high-humidity climate--it just drives me nuts. I get claustrophobic. But here in the Bay Area, even on hot days, a mediating fog often rolls in during the night, cooling things down and allowing for a restful sleep.

Still, I like the occasional tropical vacation as much as anyone. I love the sand--whether it's beaches, or dunes--and palm trees are so evocative. Bring on your tropical rainstorms! They don't last long, and there's always the hour or so of refreshing electric clarity that follows.

In the spirit of which, let's get the Summer started early with a new concoction from the cabinet of spirits.

I tend to prefer drinks served up, since throwing combinations into a glass of ice-cubes can often mask flavors, and make it hard to "see" the stuff too. Swirled around vigorously and poured up into a chilled cocktail glass.

Three parts white rum
1 part creme de bananae
Two parts canned or fresh pineapple juice
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 part rye

The combination of pineapple, banana and lemon is a natural synergy, but the addition of the rye is the secret. Great cocktails may consist of simple combinations, or of densely layered flavors, or the addition of one mysterious little ingredient. Without knowing about this one, you'd be hard-pressed to figure it out. Subtle taste is one of the most illusive of senses.

Dust off that old bathing-suit and head for the beach!

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