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Cold, Sweet, Refreshing

By Rob Christopher in Food on Jun 25, 2008 4:03PM

2008_6cooldrink.jpg We all know how nuts everyone is about grilling during the summertime. But for us the best part of season is consuming frosty beverages. What's more invigorating after a hard day's work than sitting down with an ice-cold bottle of something in your hand? Today's New York Times has a pair of articles on favorite summertime beverages, and wouldn't you know that Chicago-area people figure in both of 'em (because if there are two things we've mastered in this town, they're how to cope with frigid winters and wilting summers).

First up is a blind taste test of root beers (wish we could've sat in on that one). Their #1 choice is local fave Sprecher's, brewed up in Wisconsin. Certainly we've consumed many a bottle of Sprecher's at Frances' Deli, accompanying a gargantuan turkey club. Also in the top ten is Gale's from Riverwoods. Described as "spicy and sweet with pungent flavors of cinnamon and ginger," it's a creation of Gale Gand, known around these parts for her contributions to Osteria di Tramonto, Tramonto’s Steak & Seafood and Tru.

Like many NYT articles hailing a so-called resurgence of something that never went away to begin with, their piece on blender drinks is a bit lofty. Toby Maloney, owner of The Violet Hour, our local holy shrine to the cocktail, recounts the time that he and his fellow bartenders trashed their establishment's blender so that they wouldn't have to use it. For us however the blender drink has always been a reliable centerpiece for a summer gathering, a quick and easy way to cool down a gaggle of friends. The article has several great recipes we can't wait to try out. Just remember that when it comes to blender drinks the important thing is the ice. You need a lot of it. Have twice as much on hand as you think you'll need and you'll be fine.

What will you be drinking this summer to cool down?

Rangoon Fizz by josephp