The Spy does not have an annual Summer Strut feature like Slate Magazine’s Culture Gabfest. Every year (except during COVIDtimes) the podcast hosts solicit the listeners to submit their favorite Song for the Summer, for listening to while strutting along merrily through the summertime heat. These are zeitgeist songs we hear blaring out from passing cars, or wafting over the hedge from the neighbor’s cookout, or from a dance floor. We listen to all these songs of summer as we walk the dog, walk to the ice cream shop, mow the lawn, and drive to the beach.
It’s a way to feel good in all of this sweltering heat. The Slate folks have compiled the list for more than ten years. It is a great reminder of how much popular music there is out there, and how hard it is to keep up. So you should liven up your playlist, and try something new. https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2oc68EJC3OyLUi1Honhxlw?si=44ec68203e8d47a9&nd=1
Here in the much vaunted Spy test kitchens, we will be listening to the Summer Strut songs while testing perfect summer cocktails. Something to sip after a long day at the drawing table. After walking on the melted sidewalks with Luke the wonder dog. Something cool and delicious to remind us of summers past: vacations, sojourns, by the lake, by the ocean, in a hammock. Won’t you join us? Next year we will solicit Spy readers for their favorite drinks of summer: the Summer Sips 2023.
A classic, bubbly vodka and tonic immediately brings to mind the thrill of trailing your hand through the water while idling in a lazy canoe. But that was then, this is now. How about a Dirty Shirley? It’s been suggested by the New York Times that this is the drink of Summer 2022.
2 ounces vodka
1 ounce grenadine
8 ounces Sprite or 7-Up
1 maraschino cherry
Fill a tall glass with ice. Add the vodka and grenadine to the glass. Add Sprite and top with the cherry. Yumsters.
Here is a classic that’s not so sweet: Aperol Spritz
2 parts Aperol
2 parts Prosecco
1 part club soda
Combine over ice in a wine glass or any glass you’d like. Garnish with an orange wedge.
My mis-spent youth: Cape Codder
2 ounces vodka
2 ounces cranberry juice
Juice of half a lime
Use a tall glass and combine vodka and cranberry juice, lime juice and some ice. Stir. Top with club soda. Garnish with a lime wedge.
We’ve missed Wimbledon, but surely there is a croquet game in our future before school starts again? In which case, Pimm’s Cups are in order:
One of my favorite Saturday evening indulgences: https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a21085218/frozen-prosecco-recipe/
Not every drink has to be alcoholic. There are plenty of non-boozy ways to cool off this summer, too. Mr. Sanders is very fond of an Arnold Palmer – simple, thirst quenching, IG-ready:
This is as refreshing and cool as sticking your feet in a pool: Cucumber Lime Mocktail
All those blueberries in your freezer can now be pressed into service for something other than pancake and muffins: Blueberry Ginger Coolers: https://www.cookwithmanali.com/blueberry-ginger-cooler/
To celebrate summer winding down, you need to plan ahead a little bit, and make your own homemade Limoncello. It takes a week or so. You can pretend to be in Italy, sitting out on the piazza with the rest of the village, groaning with pizza and pasta. A cool digestif is just the thing while finishing a nice indulgent evening meal, with the sun going down, feeling the ancient cobbles that are still warm under your weary, sandal-shod feet: https://food52.com/recipes/76746-limoncello-e-pepe Now that is a dream summer vacation.
“Dandelion wine. The words were summer on the tongue. The wine was summer caught and stoppered…sealed away for opening on a January day with snow falling fast and the sun unseen for weeks…”
― Ray Bradbury