Dining » Vol. 4

Summer Sipping

By Matt Shaw

The mercury’s risin’, Big Papi’s swingin’, and the livin’ is easy. It must be summer. And what better way to fend off the ominous shimmers of an early-summer heat wave than with a refreshing beverage? Here are a few tips to help you whet your whistle.

Yellow, Fizzy and Delicious

Summer means cold beer. If you’re like me, you’re looking to pack as much punch into a pint as possible. With their pale golden color and sweet banana-and-clove kick, you’ll do well to pick up a wheat beer this season.

The American beer industry seems to recognize the summer months as the time to play around with wheat. Shining examples of excellent American white ales include Allagash White, Victory Whirlwind and Dogfish Head’s Red and White. Locally, Berkshire Brewing Company releases its excellent hefeweizen at the end of May, just in time to cool you off.

Of course, our European brethren have been brewing wheat beers for quite some time, and many imported hefe-weizens and witbiers display a wonderfully refreshing maturity that could only come from centuries of brewing tradition. Among the international must-haves this season are the hefe-weizens from Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr, and Schneider; St. Bernardus Wit; and Struise Witte.

You’re Drinking What?!

For every drink that pairs well with a bathing suit and sunscreen, you can probably think of two drinks that don’t. But must we entirely give up our favorite cold-weather beverages? Not at all.

Let’s talk Guinness. Normally the deep black of the iconic Irish brew is enough to scare a summer socialite into sobriety. But fear not; in point of fact, Guinness is a lighter beer than many, and in terms of body, one of the lightest stouts on the market. Beer gains body from the amount of malted barley that a brewer uses. Compared to most American craft stout makers, the brewers of Guinness use fewer pounds of malt per barrel. The end result is a surprisingly light beer that’s packed full of roasted goodness, perfect with grilled meat on a hot summer afternoon.

In the summer, wine usually falls into one of two categories: white or inappropriate. Standard red wines give way to pinot grigios, chardonnays, and sauvignon blancs. But reds have their place in the dog days, too. “In fact,” says Joe Fisher of Julio’s Liquors in Westborough, “I drink more red wine during the summer. I do a lot of grilling, and if I’m grilling a steak, I’m not going to drink a white wine. I’ll have a cab or a malbec.” Just make sure it’s served at the right temperature, Fisher warns. A good red is best served at 55 to 60 degrees, which is just cool enough to refresh without being too cold to mask the wine’s full flavor profile; too warm and the wine will overwhelm the palate. And of course, a nice red wine sure beats downing yet another pitcher of your neighbor’s oversweetened sangria. You can thank me later.

No Country for Parched Men

In a world of fruity, umbrella-topped drinks named after Elvis movies, it’s often difficult to look like a real man worthy of a true woman’s attention while you’re sipping a pink drink that looks and tastes like Hawaiian Punch. Here are a few alternatives to consider.

Mexican Ice Cream
1 oz. Reposado Tequila
1 oz. Anejo Rum
4 oz. Sour Mix
Directions: Combine ingredients with ice, shake well, and serve in a highball glass.

1 oz. Dark Rum
fi oz. Cointreau
fi oz. White Port
Directions: Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, and strain into a martini glass.

The Sophistocrat
1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
fi oz. Sloe Gin
fi oz. Muscatel Wine
Directions: Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with two cloves.

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