In Northern California, we often think of the end of August as the end of summer. It isn’t, summer truly ends on September 22 (or the 21st depending), it just feels like summer ends in August. Maybe it is because of Labor Day, technically the first Monday in September (this year on September 7th), or because everyone goes back to school around this time. And maybe, just maybe it is because summer fruits begin to lose their vibrancy right around this time.
We are spoiled here when it comes to fresh fruit. Almost everything imaginable is available here, and much of it is available year round. Kiwis? Got em! Buddhas Hand citrus? Got it! But remember, even though you may be able to get fresh orange juice year around, it only truly sings in the middle of summer. And that is true of many other summer fruits as well. Right now, at this moment, there is a bounty of fresh summer fruit, and many are at their very peak of ripeness. So, with that in mind, we bid the weirdest summer in modern memory adieu, and usher her out with some of the summer’s best cocktails, all localized, and simplified, for your consumption.
1 ½ ounces Santo Tequila Blanco (the new tequila by Marin’s own Sammy Hagar)
¾ ounce triple sec
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce fresh watermelon puree*
½ ounce aqua fava**
Pinch black sesame seeds
Dry shake first five ingredients until stiff foam occurs. Pour into an ice filled glass and garnish foamy head with sesame seeds.
*Made by cutting the rind from a seedless watermelon and then blending just the red flesh until liquified (just a few seconds).
**The flavorless liquid that canned garbanzo beans (or canned white beans) are stored in
¾ ounces fresh pureed peach*
3 ounces dry sparkling wine (such as AT Roca Clàssic Penedès Reserva Brut Nature**)
¼ ounce Sonoma Syrup Co. real grenadine
1 Tillen Farms all natural Merry Maraschino cherry
Mix puree and half the sparkling wine in a mixing glass until well combined. Add the rest of the sparkling wine, stir, and let foam subside**. Pour into chilled champagne flute, sink grenadine to bottom and drop in cherry.
*To make puree, peel and pit peach and then blend on high for a few seconds until smooth. Do not omit this step, peach skin will ruin your Bellini, both flavor and appearance wise.
**A Spanish cava imported by Jose Pastor Selections, a company with a Marin address, recently written up in the New York Times
**Fresh juice when combined with freshly opened bubbly tends to create quite a lot of long lasting foam. Combining them first, before pouring them into a serving glass is a great way to mitigate this problem, whether making Bellini’s or mimosas.
Spiced Blackberry Mojito
1 ½ ounces Batiste gold rhum* (founded by Marin native Tristan Mermin and aged in rye barrels originally used to make Moylan’s whiskey**)
1 ounce fresh lime juice
¾ ounce simple syrup
6 fresh blackberries
Several sprigs fresh mint
2 red sliced jalapeno rounds
Splash soda water
Muddle jalapeno, lime juice, simple syrup, and blackberries lightly in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add ice and rum. Tear mint into dime size pieces and place on top. Shake until combined. Pour entire mixture into a serving glass and top with soda. Stir.
*Typically, rhum (the French spelling) is made from sugar cane juice and not molasses, so it tends to be lighter and fresher tasting than rum (the English spelling).
**Moylan’s Whiskey is made by Stillwater Spirits in Petaluma and is owned by Marin native Brendan Moylan who also owns Moylan’s Brewery and Restaurant in Novato.