Labor Day is just around the corner which unfortunately means the hot summer will soon fade into crisp fall days.  But before that happens, a few highlights of my summer imbibing.

Is that a lime skull-shaped garnish?   This summer the Children’s Museum hosted outdoor summer concerts (bands recruited by my friend and man-about-town Graham Wright).  To complement the great music, Drink bartenders crafted a cocktail for each event.  Scott Marshall took the opportunity to indulge his passion for Tiki drinks on the night that Waitiki 7 played.  He mixed up a big batch of Shrunken Heads–light and dark rums, lime juice and grenadine.  The drink was pretty tasty, but the garnish was phenomenal—yes, that is a skull carved from a lime peel.

Cocktail road trip   One Sunday afternoon in late July, I picked up a few fellow cocktail enthusiasts and we took a little road trip to Providence, RI.  Our destination was the Cocktail Culture: Ritual and Invention in American Fashion, 1920-1980 exhibit at the RISD Museum.  We take cocktail culture for granted—who doesn’t have a shaker, an ice bucket, various glasses and decanters?  But it wasn’t always that way for ordinary Americans.  It was neat to think about the influence that cocktails and their consumption had on fashion and home décor, and to see how those ideas came to fruition in the form of beautiful things.  Of course, you’d need “cruise-wear” for the original booze cruises because “Getting there is half the fun” (Cunard Cruiselines advertising campaign, early 1950s).  And how about flat-bottom purses? How else are you supposed to rest your purse on the bar while enjoying a few delicious drinks?  Now I totally want my own 1920s silver and enamel cocktail shaker manufactured by Charter Company, but I’d settle for Russell Wright’s 1957 Eclipse cocktail glass set.

Soon to be a new favorite—Erbaluce  A couple weeks ago, on assignment (more on that later) I visited the bar at Erbaluce for the first time.  Tucked into the quaint neighborhood of Bay Village, this place takes its responsibility to serve the best it can very seriously while maintaining the feel of a neighborhood place.  The bar program follows the kitchen’s local, seasonal, Italian-inspired philosophy and has the attitude of “if we can make it, we will.”  Why buy Pimm’s when you can make your own? My friend Holly’s sipped a Pimm’s Cup that featured loveage and tisane, while I enjoyed an old-fashioned with peach-infused bourbon (and lovingly gazed at the collection of 13 amari; perhaps the largest in the city, according to the charming bar manager Nick Korn).  The baked peaches filled with mascarpone, marzipan and honey that ended our meal just may have been one of the most delicious desserts I have ever eaten.  Erbaluce, you haven’t seen the last of me.

Happy Summer!  Cheers to a few more weeks of warm, sunny weather!

A beauty shot of where I spend my weekends. White Pond, NH