Our good friend Eric Nabler recently brought up the not-yet-pressing-in-Cauckistan-where-it-is-still-snowing question of beverages which are both appropriate and practical for consumption al fresco in the heat of high summer. We have to draw a line in the sand and say that Martinis, as delightful as they are, are (along with roulette) really an indoor activity.
For sitting outside in the heat of summer, we offer the following. But first, the world’s greatest booze commercial (note: I have never seen this product in Canada, and wouldn’t buy it if I did, but the commercial is pure awesomenosity).
Secondly, we offer this book, The Tropical Bar Bookthe greatest Drinks to Be Consumed Outdoors book in the history of all literature.
In case you’re tempted to doubt my word for it, this book is not simply a work of art stuffed with entertaining literary excerpts interspersed with wonderful, historically accurate recipes. It was also published by Martha Stewart’s ex-husband, which lends a Schadenfreudean sweetness to each and every sip you enjoy of every drink whose recipe you read here. All of the recipes are good, and so are the stories from the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene. I am serious: all of the recipes. You literally cannot go wrong with this book.
Thirdly, we will suggest sticking to beverages in which juice, tea or carbonation feature prominently, as becoming “dehydrated” and napping in direct sunshine is very bad for the skin. Tea has almost mystical cooling properties, which is why they drink so much tea in the tropics.
Beverages served on the rocks, as previously discussed, are what’s called for here. Also acceptable are chilled beverages served in their individual containers: beer, wine coolers, hard lemonade, etc. For keeping them cool, we are not entirely opposed to “sleeves” of one kind or another, although we prefer the Chuggie to match the Thuggie rather than just advertise Billy Bob’s Fried Chicken Shack or whatever.
There is nothing the least bit Gatsbyesque about that, is there?
We will pointedly NOT be discussing blender drinks, for lo, we are over thirty, and our eardrums are delicate.
For more formal occasions where neither your Chuggie nor your Thuggie are welcome, we recommend a large, flawless pitcher, some tall glasses, and a great deal of ice. Thusly:
“Flawless” is a good word. You can’t go wrong with an utterly plain, high-quality crystal pitcher as long as it has straight sides. “Bulbous” is not a look that works for this. It works for Sangria: it doesn’t work with anything more refined. This classic is indoor/outdoor and shows off any colourful beverage to great advantage. Remember, though, carbonated drinks don’t go in pitchers. It is, however, both permissible and practical to premix the non-carbonated ingredients in a pitcher and then pour an ounce of the mix into each glass and top with bubbly that you keep on ice. It lets you pretend to be a bartender without doing any heavy lifting, and is to be recommended if you’re serving a crowd.
“Gorgeous” is also a good word. This isn’t a classic, and it sure isn’t cheap, but it is stunningly beautiful and unusual. The curves are restrained yet sexy, and I guarantee this isn’t something that you see in every pub and den around town. I am very much liking this new, creative style.
I have nothing against this very naked pitcher on principle, but just try getting a steady grip on the damn thing once it’s nicely coated with condensation. That’s why this handle-less number should be kept for drinks that are mixed without and then poured over ice. I’m thinking Manhattans, specifically, and I’m thinking I’ll get some argument on that one…
I really do like this Quanttro, and it’s on sale at a wicked price, but am on the fence because there’s just something about a pitcher that is wider at the top than the bottom which reminds me of this:
and that is just NOT the look you’re going for, unless you’re a 20-year-old waitress at a roadhouse. And if you are, you have my condolences. That said, I have one of these which I use for making Sun Tea, but let’s be honest here: it looks awfully trailer park.
We’ve discussed why not these glasses, and as for why not this pitcher, again with the Bulbous. And again with the No Handle. If you’re stirring a drink with ice, you need a handle, it’s just that simple. And if you bought this set you would be buying Those Glasses, and you wouldn’t do that, would you?
Seriously, do we have to discuss this? The Martini is not The Jagerbomb. A little respect is called for. And since it says “Martini” right there on the side, it’d be practically illegal to mix something else in it. Actually, owning this should get you a stay at Gitmo.
You do not mix a cocktail in a container you cannot see through. I’m sorry, people, I don’t make up these rules, I just report them. You do not mix a cocktail in an opaque container and that’s just the way it is in this space-time continuum.
And somehow this has turned into a pitcher post, which I had not intended. Okay, recipes and “booze theory” post coming next, I promise.