Columns Food Lifestyles

Naked Epicurean: Poolside sipping

(Disclaimer: Columns often contain opinions. Any opinion in this column belongs to its author.)

Arguably, one of the most satisfying things about summer is lazing away the days waterside, be it a pool, beach, lake, or slip-n-slide. The only thing that could outshine that lovely vision is imbibing über-refreshing cocktails whilst doing so. 

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Let us explore potations from some of the world’s most beautiful coastlines, made with a variety of spirits. You’ll be ready to dive right into these fresh + fruity chillers for indulgent relaxation at your own sun-soaked oasis. 

(DISCLOSURE: Sipping these drinks poolside is not obligatory, but it is highly recommended.)

No need to travel to the Amalfi Coast when you can bring its fragrant + zesty signature libation poolside. For this Limoncello Float, simply pour vibrant limoncello over a scoop of vanilla ice cream, then top it with some splashy Prosecco and you’ll take your taste buds on a tour of the Sorrentine Peninsula. This chilly sipper is part drink, part dessert, so it’s double the pleasure. Prego.

Limoncello float

▪︎limoncello 

▪︎vanilla ice cream

▪︎prosecco

▪︎garnish: fresh herbs, lemon 

Add one sizeable scoop of vanilla ice cream to each glass. Top with a couple glugs of limoncello, then fill almost to the brim with prosecco. Garnish with fresh herbs such as mint or basil and a lemon slice.

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You don’t know gin & tonics till you’ve tried Spanish Gin Tonics (without the &). They are not like the ones your mama used to drink, heavy on the gin and light on the garnish (usually a lonely wedge of lime).  Conversely, Spanish Gin Tonics are more refreshing than boozy. They’re loaded with ice, brimming with tonic, and enhanced with aromatics, elevating this drink to sultry sipper status. The key is using a copa de balon (balloon glass), as its wide mouth allows you to breathe in the aromatics. Sipping Spanish Gin Tonics poolside on a sunny afternoon sounds magical, no? Si, si, si!

Spanish Gin Tonics

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▪︎2 oz of London dry gin

▪︎5-6 oz high quality tonic water (extra fizzy, not too sweet)

▪︎loads of ice 

▪︎aromatics (citrus peel or fruit slices, cucumber slices, fresh herbs, spices, peppercorns, edible flowers, ginger root–anything that complements your gin)

Fill your glass with ice. Add aromatics of choice. Pour in gin; top with tonic. Stir gently.  

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These Easy Breezy Pineapple Margaritas jet-pack us to Mexico, where there is no dearth of sunshine nor sandy beaches nor tequila. These big-batch margs are PERFECTO when entertaining a crowd because they only require a handful of ingredients. Start with a base of frozen limeade, add tequila + triple sec, and pineapple (or your favorite fruit du jour). Rim your glasses with a lime wedge, then dip into salt or sugar or tajin (or ALL of them).  Your options are as limitless as the sunshine in the Yucatan. You are 7 minutes away from bliss. Don’t wait a second longer!  ¡Vamanos!

Easy Breezy Pineapple Margaritas

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▪︎1 12 oz can limeade (no need to thaw)

▪︎1 C tequila

▪︎1½ -2 C water

▪︎4 oz (2 Tbsp) triple sec

▪︎1 C fruit (can be frozen) 

▪︎lime juice, if you like your margaritas tart

▪︎garnish: fruit wedges, limes

Rim your glasses. Add ingredients to a blender. Blend to mix. Drink immediately. Enjoy!  

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What’s summer in the USA without watermelon? No one can deny the beauty of America’s beaches, so let’s close our eyes and imagine sitting waterside, sipping on this Summa-time Watermelon Punch. All you need is a few ingredients in a blender to spin this fruit into a dreamy dram. Cheers!

Summa-time Watermelon Punch

(12-15 drinks)

▪︎1 seedless watermelon (about 10 pounds), yielding approximately 6 C of juice

▪︎1 12 oz can frozen lemonade, thawed

▪︎1½ -2 C natural pineapple juice

▪︎2-3 C vodka

▪︎garnish: watermelon wedges or lemon slices

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1. Wash your watermelon. Cut a small slice off the bottom to stabilize it, then cut about ⅙ off the top. Scoop out the flesh. 

2. Place watermelon flesh in an electric blender; process until smooth. (You may have to do this in batches.) Strain through a fine-mesh strainer; discard solids. 

3. Return the watermelon to the blender. Add lemonade concentrate, pineapple juice, and vodka; blend well. Garnish and serve. This is best served fresh from the blender. 

*Alternatively, you could use store bought watermelon juice, such as the one made by Simply. But then you’d have to find yourself an equally awesome punch bowl.

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These lip- smacking, thirst quenching, smile-inducing bevvies are your key to sipping away your stress on sun-soaked afternoons. Your watery oasis is beckoning you! What are you waiting for?

Cheers! XXOO AB

#eatdrinkbemerryrepeat

Ann Beth Strelec is known around town as Naked Epicurean. This cocktail connoisseur also has mad skills in the kitchen and on the grill. Subscribe to the Augusta Good News newsletter here.

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