• Christopher Bronke

Blissful Beach Ballin': Week 10 Drinks of the Week

Week nine was a salute to and support for Sonoma with our theme of “Savoring Sonoma”. I truly hope you not only learned a bit about Sonoma, but also tried some of the wines and/or drinks, and donated to the relief funds! You can find last week’s suggestions here, and as a reminder, you can follow my food/wine/beverage Twitter space @ChristopherB070.

Last week officially brought snow to many places around the country; for some, the first snow of the year, and for others, sadly, a second or third wave in this early November. It’s a bunch of bull shit, and we all know it. And while I wish I could pack your bags for you and send you to the beach of your choice; I am a school teacher who is still trying to pay off his student loans (and paying for my classes as I work on my doctorate). So instead, I present to you a week 10 Drinks of the Week theme: Blissful Beach Ballin’--food and drink pairings designed to wash away your cold-weather blues and make you feel you are anywhere else other than stuck inside (unless you live on a beach, and if that is the case, we all hate you with deep levels of you can stop reading now—-but please come back to this column next week. It’s temporary hatred; you understand, right?).

I don’t know about you, but when I think of beaches and drinks, I don’t often think of beer. Tropical flavors, fresh fruit, and beautiful colors are the sorts of special sips for this week. To that end, I bring you two cocktails and one wine this week and forgo the sharing of a beer of the week (but if you really need a’s Red Stripe...duh--and if you try it with a lime as you would in a Corona, you won’t be disappointed.).

**Always remember, these drinks are listed in a suggested order of drinking in the event you plan on trying all three.

Week 10 Theme: Blissful Beach Ballin’

Breakfast: Sunrise Serenity

Let’s be honest, when we think of a beach vacation, one of the best parts of it is how universally accepted it is to have a morning cocktail as you watch the sunrise over and sparkle across the water. So to that end, this week’s first cocktail is designed to mirror the serenity of the sunrise in color with a flavor light enough to pour a second without feeling guilty! Fresh fruit, mint, and tequila come together in this beautiful concoction and will remind you more of boldly flavored water than a stiff beach cocktail--you’re welcome for that.

Fresh watermelon glows like the morning sunrise in this drink.

6-7 cubes fresh watermelon

2 cubes fresh cantaloupe

8 mint leaves

¾ of a fresh lime juiced

3 oz. clear tequila

¼-½ oz simple syrup (depending on how sweet you want it--also great without it at all)

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the watermelon, cantaloupe. Once done, add tequila, lime juice, and simple syrup with ice. Shake very vigorously for 20-30 seconds. Double strain (one ice strainer and one fine-mesh kitchen strainer to get seeds and pulp out) into a Collin’s glass that is filled with fresh ice. Garish with a lime wheel and a mint leave.

Suggested food pairings: A fresh fruit and yogurt parfait, or if you feel like cooking, pineapple pancakes (dice up pineapple and add to the batter).

Lunch/Dinner: Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc

This wine will forever hold a special place in my wine-drinking heart. It was the first wine I ever took with me to the beach early in my time as a wine drinker. I still fondly recall the delicate tropical fruits of the wine playing peacefully with the salty sun-kissed summer breeze as I lazily laid in the beach-side hammock just swaying and sipping. So, for this week, I will simply close my eyes and let my story with this wine envelop the afternoon, transporting me back to that fantastic flashback.

Huli Huli Chicken with a tropical Geyser Peak Sauv Blanc

Pair this wine with Huli Huli teriyaki and sesame chicken, grilled pineapple slices (you see a theme with the pineapple developing), and roasted (or wok-fried if you have one) cabbage and carrots, and you will be instantly whisked away to a culinary paradise guaranteed to help you forget about the cold and the bad football.

Suggested food pairings: Huli Huli teriyaki and sesame chicken, grilled pineapple, and wok-fried cabbage and carrots (or roasted if no wok).

Dessert (or just all damned day):

There is one fruit that screams beach to me more than any other: pineapple. That is why you have seen it appear, in one form or another, in breakfast and in lunch/dinner, so it wouldn’t make any sense for me to finish off the day/evening with anything other than more fresh pineapple. Consider this a fresh-fruit and extra boozy version of the classic Mai Tai. Muddling the pineapple, as opposed to using pineapple juice, gives this a fresher flavor and bolder bad-ass nose that just screams Blissful Beach Ballin’! Fire this up after your big meal or just all day long, and hell, if you are feeling a bit crazy, turn off the sound on the football and turn up some Jimmy Buffet or Zac Brown Band or Bob Marley and enjoy!

5-6 cubes fresh pineapple

3 oz dark/spiced rum

.5 oz freshly squeezed orange juice

.5 oz freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

.5 oz simple syrup

Muddle the pineapple in a cocktail shaker. Add everything else along with ice and shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds. Once one, double strain (cocktail strainer for the ice and fine-mesh kitchen strainer for the pulp) into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with pineapple.

Suggested food pairings: If sipping these throughout the day, they are perfect with chips and salsa (especially a pineapple salsa), but if using it for dessert, you can drink it as dessert or pair with bourbon, brown sugar, and butter-fried bananas.

Drink and eat your way to this blissful beach ballin'!

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