Since childhood, the end of summer has always made me a little sad. I grew up in Los Angeles, so it wasn't so much about the weather since the weather wouldn't shift much after Labor Day the way it does here in New York. Rather, it was about the change of the feeling in the air--that other definition of atmosphere. The end of summer signaled the end of a feeling I am still not eloquent enough to accurately describe.
As a child, it was knowing that despite what my parents would tell me, my only true responsibility was to have fun, the potential for which appeared endless. Would it be Sallie Jessie Rafael featuring transsexual hermaphrodites on TV in the afternoon while multiple pepperoni Hot Pockets filled my belly? Or would the homies come over for a marathon set of our favorite videogame Contra? Perhaps the great outdoors would be the calling, and we'd all head out with our bikes and see who could take on the bravest (stupidest) dare, such as riding your bike down a flight of stairs next to an overpass that led directly onto a street with oncoming vehicles (yeah, I did that, and have the scars to prove it).
Even after childhood, summer's allure did not wane, and still hasn't to this day. Though the summertime recreational activities I now look forward to are different than those of my childhood, the feeling that endless fun awaits remains unchanged.
But of course it must end at some point, and this truth lies at the heart of summer's magic--that it must take up residence in the imagination until the next go-around. In this sense, the imagination is summer's incubator, bottling up all the good memories and mixing them with a healthy dash of anticipation of what might be in store next summer.
These musings were the inspiration for this week's cocktail, the Endless Summer.
1 oz anejo rum (I used Ron Abuelo Anejo)
1 oz Absolut Los Angeles (substitute cherry, pomegranate, blueberry flavored, or simply regular vodka)
1 oz cherry juice
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
3/4 oz orgeat (here's a recipe to make it at home)
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 tsp absinthe (I used Lucid)
4 dashes Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters
Luxardo cherry or ripe cherry (when in season) for garnish
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: collins or other tall glass
Place ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake like there ain't no mo' summer. Strain into a collins or other tall glass filled 3/4 with crushed ice. Garnish with the cherry and serve with a straw.
I think this is a drink that can be enjoyed year-round, and in colder temperatures you can simply shake and strain it into a cocktail glass as opposed to bothering with crushed ice that may seem unpleasant and frostbite-inducing in the winter.
I chose cherry as the base flavor of this drink because they remind of the middle of summer, when you've gotten a taste of the good life but you know the best is yet to come. I also think a nice (but inexpensive) anejo rum like Ron Abuelo works well with ingredients like cherry and orgeat; and the Absolut LA, in addition to being a nice multiflavored vodka (flavored with acai, acerola cherries, pomegranate, and blueberries), represents the place where the idea of the endless summer takes on new meaning. Since the vodka is a limited edition that may be hard to come by, just substitute with either a plain or flavored vodka of your choice (remember the $30 rule: no bottle over $30), or you can even make a flavored infusion of your own. Of course the taste may differ slightly from this recipe--but like planning your summer vacation, this drink begs for your personal input.
Here's to the never-ending summer of our imagination. Cheers!
*Got a cocktail question? Hit me on twitter @paystyle, email me at payman(at)lifesacocktail(dot)com, or simply drop me a comment below!
Paystyle was born in Tehran and grew up in Los Angeles (aka Tehrangeles) before moving to Brooklyn with his wife and co-pilot Vanessa Bahmani who provides the stunning photography of Pay's cocktail concoctions. Return every Wednesday for his weekly Happy Hour column.