Well, this recent WordPress Daily Post certainly got me thinking: “Captain Picard was into Earl Grey Tea: mention the Dude and we think: White Russians. What’s your signature beverage — and how did it achieve that status?”
Fact is, I don’t have a signature beverage. Never did. I’m an equal opportunity drinker.
Although having said that, if I was going to have a signature drink it would be Lillet.
It’s a French aperitif and it’s delicious — at least I think so. It’s wonderful on the rocks, with a twist of lemon. I was introduced to it back in Montreal, at a French restaurant (Chez Georges) I used to frequent. It’s unfortunately very difficult to get here, in Toronto. I’ve ever only found it at one restaurant, Le Paradis, and they don’t have it all the time because it’s constantly being delisted at the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario).
So alas, it can’t be a signature if I can hardly ever drink it, can it?
Merde, alors! An excellent reason to move to France.
There was a time when I stuck to rum and coke with a wedge of lime. Had to be dark rum and I was partial to Mount Gay. But I don’t drink it as much anymore because like everyone else, I try to stay away from soft drinks. Some rum and coke enthusiasts have switched to diet cola in an effort to be ‘healthier’. Personally I dislike diet soft drinks, so this particular cocktail is one I now very rarely order. A good rum punch, on the other hand …
Years ago in Venice I just had to go to Harry’s Bar and order one of Hemingway’s favourites — a Bellini. Peach nectar and champagne. Or Proseco, or Asti Spumanti, anything ‘sparkly’. I’m not a lover of champagne, to be honest. It usually gives me a headache. I think it’s the high sugar content. A friend of mine used to say it was the bubbles and she had this little gizmo she used, to stir the bubbles, which made it go flat. It looked like a toothpick with prongs coming out of it. Didn’t work for me, but I did love Bellinis. Tried making them when I got back home but they just weren’t the same. Somehow the mass-produced stuff you pour out of a jar is nothing like pureed freshly-picked peaches that still taste of the sun.
I did go through a Bloody Caesar phase. The spicier the better. But I don’t think anyone would associate me with them. For my American friends, a Caesar is the same as a Bloody Mary, except you use Clamato juice instead of tomato juice. At the risk of being too technical, it’s essentially reconstituted tomato juice concentrate flavoured with spices and clam broth. It’s not as thick as tomato juice and much more flavourful and piquant. I much prefer it.
My recipe? Rub a cut lime along the rim of your glass to moisten it. Then dip it (the rim) into a combination of salt, celery salt and cracked black pepper. Lots of ice. Good vodka. Some Tabasco. Some Worcestershire. A few shakes of salt, celery salt and pepper. The Clamato juice. Several squeezes of fresh lime. Celery. A hot banana pepper. A fresh wedge of lime. Stir and enjoy!
Just so you know, some people also put in some horseradish. I find it makes it too bitter. Spicy, “yes”. Bitter, “no”. But chaque un, as they say.
In the fall and winter, when it’s cold outside, there’s nothing I like better than sitting in front of a roaring fire sipping on a nice glass of Port. Very nice and mellow. Nothing wrong with a brandy, either, for that matter. You can keep all the really posh, expensive stuff. I like Metaxa. It’s a Greek brandy and it’s very good.
A morning isn’t a morning without a good hot cup of coffee. I like a robust, yet smooth, flavour. And it has to be steaming hot. I really like a bowl of cafe au lait but I haven’t got the patience to boil the milk. It’s such a gentle way to start the day. I save it for when I go out for breakfast.
When I’m sick, I turn to tea. And yes, like Captain Picard, I like Earl Grey. Not too strong, definitely not weak. With honey and lemon. I also like it with a bit of fresh ginger. Very good. Actually, it’s so good, why wait until you’re sick? I thoroughly enjoyed tea when I was in India. I found the chai a bit too sweet, but I adored the ginger tea. I can still taste it! The Oprah Chai Latte at Starbucks is actually quite good. I like the iced version a lot.
Speaking of cold drinks, a good glass of plain, old regular iced tea is very enjoyable in hot weather. Not too sweet, with just enough lemon or lime to give it a little kick. Fresh lemonade — again not too sweet — garnished with fresh mint is a real thirst quencher; and so is Shandy. I used to love a big glass of it after a golf game. I liked mine made with ginger beer, although you can use a variety of carbonated drinks. Don’t gulp it, though. There is beer in it and it’s surprising how tipsy you can get — pretty quickly, too.
Yes, I speak from experience.
Grapefruit juice is definitely my breakfast favourite. It used to be fresh orange juice, but I prefer the bitter/sweet/sour of grapefruit. Definitely a good waker-upper. But I only like it when it’s made from pink grapefruits. What can I say? I’m picky.
But you know, when all is said and done, nothing is as refreshing, as good, as good for you and as thirst quenching as an ice cold class of water. With a slice of lemon or lime. It’s fabulous with some thin slices of cucumber in it, as well. It smells and tastes of summer. It’s also good with berries in it and it’s pretty to look at, as well. I’ve even seen it with slices of red and green apples. I’m a bit iffy on that one.
Don’t know about you, but suddenly I’m feeling quite parched.