Spring has sprung. The flowers are in bloom. It’s still early enough in the baseball season for Cubs’ fans to think they have a chance. It is a time of hope and renewed energy. It is also a time for changed habits and exercise regiments. We spend more time outside, taking advantage of one of the rare moderate temperature opportunities Oklahoma affords. As you merge into your spring routine, here are some drink options to compliment your increased Vitamin D intake.
Let’s start with beer. I think warmer weather begs for a more refreshing brew – something quick and crisp on your palette. I always make the move to Pilsner Urquell during the warmer months. Pilsner Urquell is the original golden colored beer (Pilsner Urquell is a genericized trademark, we call other golden beers Pilsners because of this beer). It provides a quick punch on the back of the tongue thanks to the Saaz hops, and it has an incredibly soft mouth feel for a style that has become over-carbonated through the years.
image via Cigar Aficionado
If you want to stay domestic, or if you require a canned product, I encourage you to revisit some American classics this spring. One of my favorite things to do is blind taste test people on American macro-brews against historic American brands – Stroh’s, Schlitz, Pabst and Hamm’s. Due to their reluctance to enter the light beer market and spend billions of dollars on TV ads, those brands have been relegated in the minds of most Americans to value status. However, a quick taste will reveal a more full-flavored beer, with better hop profile and less forced carbonation. This summer impress your friends by drinking “The beer that made Milwaukee famous” – Schlitz. A couple of years ago they went back to the original recipe and the change is obvious. Plus, since you aren’t underwriting a lot of TV ads and sports sponsorships, it’s usually available at a good price.
image via PintLog
If you’re more of a wine drinker, we’re now entering rosé season – which is good news by the way. Pink wine, much like classic American beer brands, does not have the best reputation to most people. We’re not talking about White Zinfandel here, we’re talking about a classic Rhone style that is great served cold and offers a summer refuge for the red wine drinker. The Charles and Charles Rosé from Washington is a great option and is readily available. I’ll refer you to their website for more information, and maybe some motivation, too – http://bielerandsmith.com/
image via Swirl and Savor
Spring also has great potential for the cocktail drinker. The temperature seems to add another level of satisfaction to old standbys like the gin gimlet or margarita. Also, we’re only 3 weeks away from the one excuse we have every year to drink mint juleps – the Kentucky Derby. I would go for a good, but not overly expensive Bourbon – Maker’s Mark is always a good choice. Steep mint leaves in the Bourbon overnight so the flavors have a chance to fuse together. Next, take about 2 ½ oz. of your mint-infused Bourbon and muddle a couple of fresh mint leaves with it. Add 2 oz. of simple syrup and pour it over crushed ice in a silver mint julep cups. I always like to sprinkle powdered sugar over the top of the ice and serve it with a straw and a mint sprig. Even if your horse doesn’t come in, you’ll still feel like a winner after a couple of these.
image via The Chic Brûlée
And finally, maybe my favorite outside drink of all, Pimm’s Cocktail. Pimm’s No. 1 Cup is a gin-based liqueur from England. It’s relatively low in alcohol and when mixed into a cocktail, it makes for a refreshing drink that won’t get away from you. Start with Pimm’s, and mix it in a pitcher about 50-50 (do this to taste) with a carbonated lemonade – think Squirt or 7-Up. From there, add sliced cucumber and any number of other fruits – lemons, oranges, apples, strawberries, it’s a great way to burn through fruit that my be going bad in the fridge – pour over ice, and you’re done. The Pimm’s Cup, or Pimm’s Cocktail, is the official drink of Wimbledon, and my backyard for the spring. Enjoy it over a good croquet match with friends and enjoy the weather while we have it. We’ll see you back inside in July.