Thank heavens it is finally Friday! What a hellish week it has been, and I don’t mean just all the roiling news from Helsinki and Washington. Anxiety, stress, deadlines, spilled ink, clogged pens, heat rash, dying geraniums, mosquitoes and an overrun tomato patch have been my first world problems this week.
And how about you? Has everything gone smoothly at work? How’s that commute? Is your car’s air conditioning working? Are you enjoying re-reading Howard’s End? Or are you thinking about dipping your figurative toes into Daniel Silva’s latest potboiler?
And just how many editions of Slate’s Trumpcast are they going to produce this week? The dog is getting way too much exercise while I listen to all those podcasts. I’m going to take the weekend off from political dramas and have a nice, cool summer cocktail. Maybe I will even have two.
As folks celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the first broadcast of Sex and the City it seems appropriate to have a Cosmopolitan, which was the potent and extravagant pink drink of the four fictional friends on the show. I came late to SATC, and only binge-watched it last year. I feel lucky that I never wanted their expensive shoes, and as much as I would have liked a chance to live in New York City when it was perpetually spring, I think a Cosmo will manage to assuage my tormented soul.
1 ounce Citron Vodka
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce cranberry juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
Shake all ingredients in cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a large cocktail glass. Garnish with lime slice. (I use a straw because a Martini glass is just too tippy.)
During this overwhelming summer we are all about simplicity and relaxation at home. I do not want to fly out to the store to buy an expensive ingredient that I might only use once a year. No elderberry cordial for us. Our bottle of Cointreau is probably two years old, which shows how many Cosmos we drink every year. Although that number is more than the pairs of Jimmy Chou shoes in my closet, for sure.
We are fond of Prosecco, raspberries, and mint, however. Our raspberries are store-bought (although you can probably keep a supply in the freezer in case you get an unexpected hankering for one of these drinks) and our mint is from the garden. We bought a clump of mint for Kentucky Derby Juleps, and now it is threatening to take over the aforementioned tomato patch.
Raspberry, Prosecco and Mint Cocktail
2 ounces simple syrup (you can buy this now, you lazy git)
1/2 pint raspberries
2 ounces vodka
Handful of mint leaves, artfully torn
Pinch of red chili flakes
4 ounces Prosecco
Purée the raspberries in a food processor or blender until smooth. Fill a cocktail shaker half way with ice, and add the vodka, mint leaves, chili flakes, raspberry purée and the simple syrup. Shake these well. Strain into cooled glasses and top with Prosecco. Garnish with a speared raspberry. If you must. Add a pool, beach ball or an Adirondack chair. Relax.
Sometimes I long for cocktails that aren’t sweet. I am raiding the garden again for this drink I am going to try this out on Mr. Friday, because he doesn’t drink Cosmos. He and Mr. Big. This drink calls for robust heirloom tomatoes, aromatic basil and lots of vodka.
Fresh Tomato Martini
this makes 5 drinks, which is a lot. But it is much lighter than Bloody Marys. It is a perfect summer cocktail, while also dealing with the bumper tomato crop.
1 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut into large chunks
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
10 ounces vodka
5 medium basil leaves
5 lemon twists
• Place the tomatoes and measured salt in a medium bowl and smash with a potato masher until the skins separate from the flesh and seeds.
• Place the mixture in a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl. Using the potato masher, firmly press out as much juice as possible (be careful not to break the strainer). Switch to a rubber spatula and continue to press until only solids remain. Scrape the bottom of the strainer and discard the solids. You should have almost 1 cup of juice; set aside.
• Place 5 martini glasses in the freezer to chill.
• To make 1 drink, place 2 ounces of the vodka, 1 1/2 ounces of the tomato juice, and 1 basil leaf in a cocktail shaker. Muddle until the basil is just crushed and fragrant. Add ice to fill the shaker halfway and shake until the outside is frosted, about 30 seconds.
• Strain into 1 of the chilled glasses and garnish with a lemon twist and a pinch of salt. Repeat to make 4 more drinks.
Out on the back porch, the sun has set as we swat away the mosquitoes. The air is cooling and we are enchanted once again by the emerging fireflies. Breathe.
“Again and again, the cicada’s untiring cry pierced the sultry summer air like a needle at work on thick cotton cloth.”
― Yukio Mishima