Quenching A Summer Thirst  

The sun's hot summertime rays create a challenge to wetting your whistle. Satisfying taste buds in the process can be equally difficult. Everyone has their favorite list of libations. I thought I'd share a few of mine.

Sun Tea

Powdered ice tea mix will simply not do in my house. Tea, freshly brewed by sitting in the sun for several hours, has a great taste, and it's healthy to boot. It's been a Southern tradition for years. It couldn't be simpler to brew - no matter where you live.

Take a large clear pitcher, jar or jug and fill it with cold water. Add several tea bags (I prefer decaf) proportionately to the amount of water and place the container in the sun for several hours. When the tea has turned a nice dark color, remove the tea bags and chill. The tea will keep in the refrigerator for a week or so. 

To serve just fill a tall glass with ice and add a slice of lemon, lime or orange. Pour the tea over the ice. I find that there's no real need to add sugar or sweetener. The fresh citrus injects enough zip to satisfy my taste buds and keeps the calorie count very low. It's a great alternative to carbonated beverages.

Fruit Smoothies

Fruit juice is one of the best ways to give your body its needed dose of natural sugar. I love to put fresh fruit in the blender and add a little sparkling water (or club soda) and a few ice cubes. The result is a wonderful concoction that young, and old alike, adore.

I use whatever fruit is available at my local produce stand. My favorites include peaches and strawberries. And, on the days when I can't get to the market or "the pickins" are slim, orange juice concentrate and a splash of milk, instead of the fruit, makes a great substitute.

Rosé Wine

Accept no impostors. A real ros
é is a dry, crisp, refreshing mouthful of flavor that has a hint of fruitiness. Some years ago California wineries began producing something they called White Zinfandel. Although it became an enormously popular drink for a few years, it did much to malign true rosés. "White Zin's," as they're called are very sweet, in comparison, and much less versatile.

The best ros
és, at least in my opinion, are the varieties produced in the Mediterranean regions of Spain, France and Italy. Rosés get their pink color because the skins of red grapes are exposed briefly to the juice during the first stage of fermenting. 

Quite simply, they make great drinking wines. Ros
és should be drunk young. They're refreshing and pair wonderfully with summer fare such as grilled chicken and vegetables and even burgers and brats.

A decent bottle should cost no more than about $12. Pick one up today and chill it to accompany your next grilled meal.

Ice Cold Beer

Cold beer has become synonymous with cottage country and summertime in North America. Spend a moment before you stock your refrigerator. Think about the choices available to you today. 

You're no longer limited to the Canadian duopoly or the three U.S. macro breweries. There are many outstanding choices from micro breweries. 

Micro breweries are producers of distinctive beer styles in limited quantities. They typically only produce a few thousand barrels a year.

Stick to the lighter side of the spectrum and buy ales and lagers. Stay away from "lawnmower" beers. Make sure that your taste buds meet the hops and grain.

Summertime favorites in our house include Creemore Springs Premium Lager, Wellington County Arkell Best Bitter, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Goose Island IPA.