The world of holidays was kind of demanding that we take a drink today. Usually these national days of celebrations offer different kind of things to celebrate. Food, events, phenomenas – it runs the gamut. Every once and a while there’s a beverage in the mix which, as a guy who tries to celebrate every day, is a welcome break because celebrating a beverage is usually pretty easy. Perhaps the holiday gods knew that this day would be a particularly warm day, the warmest Saturday we have had in a while, and that’s why they piled on the beverages to celebrate today. I had my choice of celebrating three kinds today because it was National Iced Tea Day, National Rosé Day and World Gin Day. As I tend to do, I went with gin.
I suppose you could say that I celebrated National Rosé Day too because I certainly participated in the enjoyment of it. I was pouring it all day at the Vineyard. In fact, we went through about 30 bottles of it. I was surprised to see that some people actually new it was National Rosé Day too. I shared that info as best I could, but a lot of guests already knew it when they came through the doors and that pushed them towards the rosé. My brother and sister-in-law were actually there today too, stopping by to watch the performer that was playing outside – someone they have known about since college. I gave my brother a small taste of the rosé (which he pronounced as ‘rose’, like the flower) and I suspect it was his first taste of a rosé. He didn’t much care for it, but I thought that fitting that I had my first ever discussion of rosé with my brother on National Rosé Day. Apart from Mark, there was a lot of pink liquid in glasses today by people that really enjoyed it, and I was part of the machine that was making it happen. That’s a celebration. I thought about bringing a bottle home to keep the celebration going, but I was already thinking about the gin. The gin was coming.
I celebrated Gin and Tonic Day back in October as Cleveland was clinching the American League pennant. I shared with you how I have always had a hankering for gin. That was the first time Lola had ever really tried a gin and tonic and she actually liked it. I didn’t think she would because gin has a pretty boozy smell and taste, but Lola enjoyed it. She said she wanted to enjoy it when the summer rolled around, and now that the summer is rolling around, there will probably be more gin cocktails around here. About a month ago when we were in Watch Hill, we had a Gin Lime Rickey and it was a drink we instantly fell in love with. Now that it was World Gin Day, I knew the Lime Rickey would be the perfect way too celebrate. That was the plan – to enjoy some after work. And as my day moved along and I was slinging up the rosé for hours, I was really looking forward to a relaxing adult beverage when I got home.
According to Serious Eats.com, the Gin Rickey was created in a Washington, D.C., bar called Shoemaker’s during an especially brutal heat wave in the 1890s. It was invented as a way to cool down in the warm sun. The name Rickey purportedly comes from Colonel Joe Rickey who was a distinguished guest at Shoemaker’s and who enjoyed a morning cocktail of bourbon and mineral water. Someone added a lime to his special beverage and that’s when the Rickey was born. Eventually one of the bartenders made the drink with gin instead of bourbon and that’s where we are today. The ingredients of the recipe are still basically the same: gin, soda water, fresh lime and a little simple syrup for sweetness. While I was at work, Lola was nice enough to make the simple syrup (basically you add a cup of sugar to a cup of water and heat until the sugar dissolves) so I had everything I needed when I came home – except Lola. Lola had gone out for her nightly walk and wasn’t there when I came through the doors with my slippers and pipe as our wedding contract demands. I like when Lola gets a walk in at the end of her day because it’s a way for her to transition from the depths of her work to enduring the follies of her bungling sidekick. My only problem was I couldn’t wait for her to have a drink. I needed one now. So I went to work. It was super easy to throw together and when it was ready, I took it outside to our deck along with a bag of chips and I put my feet up after a long day.
I still can’t believe I’m only discovering this drink now. It’s incredibly refreshing with the lime juice and that hint of sweetness from the syrup. The taste of gin is present as it should be, but it’s not overwhelming. It’s just a well-balanced drink and the effervescence of the soda water adds to the refreshment level. It’s just good. I sat on our deck and sipped it looking out at the fading daylight and the always changing river. I heard neighbors down the block having a little get-together. Birds were chirping and I could see the swallows diving after bugs in the air. It was serene and just what I needed to transition from work guy to home guy. The chips were fantastic too (I was hungry). It was my own little decompression chamber with no walls, warm air in the breeze and my new favorite cocktail in my hand.
When Lola got home I was excited to see her. I had just made my second cocktail and I offered to make her one too. She wasn’t in the mood but she did have a sip of mine and she was excited. She said I had nailed the recreation of our Watch Hill Gin Rickey. I’m sure we will be enjoying this drink again in the very near future. We chatted for a little bit. We tried to stay outside but at a certain moment the mosquitos came out all at once and we had to duck back inside. We made some dinner and then just chilled for the rest of the night. It was a pretty nice Saturday night if I do say so myself.
I felt like I should have watched a Law & Order SVU marathon as my final celebration of the day – a way to celebrate National Iced Tea Day by watching Detective Fin Tutuola (aka Ice-T). But we stuck with House of Cards instead. I did enough celebrating today between the rosé and the gin. I really am super-excited to have discovered the Gin Rickey. It’s definitely my official summer drink now (I’ve filed the appropriate paperwork). Plus I celebrated it in the way a good drink should be – as an earned respite from the hustle and bustle of the day. I enjoyed every sip. Not only did I enjoy the taste but I also looked around and took in the whole scenario and savored that as well. There are few things more enjoyable than sitting in the peace of your neighborhood as you toast to it all with a cold beverage in your hand. That’s what today was and I was grateful. Cheers!
Next Up: National Corn on the Cob Day