Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pink Drinks

The brief Seattle summer is in full, luxuriant swing. We're late starters out here- summer weather doesn't usually start in earnest out here until somewhere between the 4th of July and Bastille Day, and it doesn't really go on for longer than anyone else's summer. But when it's in swing, it is the most marvelous, sunlit-sapphire sort of summer you could possibly imagine, with perfect days piling up in an impossibly beautiful string.

Yesterday, it was downright hot (for Seattle. Again, keep in mind that few people out here have air conditioning, and many natives are babies when the temperature rises above 80), with temperatures hitting 90. Old-fashioned heat-beating techniques were put into play: sprinkler play, lemonade with plenty of ice, a dinner that involved virtually no heat and generous amounts of ice cream, cold showers before bed, and for the grown-ups:Pink drinks. I love a pink drink. They aren't sophisticated, macho or tasteful (it may taste good but is probably not tasteful, especially if it looks like a little paper umbrella would be right at home in it), but they can be so, so good, as long as they're not too sweet. I love apertif-style drinks, which often do have a hint of sweetness or bitterness (kirs, biancos, most anything with Campari), and so I adapted Tom Douglas's recipe for Biancos to make... Pinkos (yes, I'm sure there's another drink out there called a pinko, but it was too hot to spend much time thinking of a better name). Regardless of the laziness of the adaptation or of the naming, it's a delicious drink, whether you use a little or a lot of sparkling water (on a hot day, I go with a lot).

Pinkos, adapted from Tom Douglas's Big Dinners
enough for about 4 drinks, depending how much club soda you use (I tend to use quite a bit when it's hot - in which case it makes substantially more)

2 cups rosé wine

sprig of two of lemon balm (Use a light hand with the lemon balm. Lemon balm has lovely fragrance, but too much can impart a soapy flavor)

about half a dozen lemon verbena leaves

zest of two lemon (in a twist, not grated)

sparkling water/club soda


1. Mix the rosé, lemon balm, lemon verbena and zested twist of lemon from one lemon together. Let sit for an hour or two.
2. Put ice and club soda as desired in a glass with a bit of the lemon peel. Add rosé mixture, stir and serve.

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