I got a text from a girlfriend on Saturday, she was sitting poolside enjoying the last moments of a ten-day vacation at Disney’s new Hawaiian resort, the Aulani. When I think of beach vacations, I think lounge chairs, cabanas, beach reads, napping, sunscreen and cool summer drinks.
At the point that I got the text I was watching another set of thunderheads building over the mountains and silently marching into Reno after a harrowing afternoon spent at Costco, where I saw people actually running their carts into each others as they jockeyed for a place in the checkout line.
So, the thought of being poolside was intoxicating. So, I asked her to tell me what she had been drinking during her stay, so I could recreate the taste of vacation on my patio’s hammock. Her tropical drink menu: Mai Tais, Lava Flows and Cucumber Lychee Fizzes.
This summer give yourself and the kids a drink vacation, something a little out of the ordinary and refreshing. This can start first thing in the morning with cold brewed coffee for mom.
Cold Brew Coffee – Based on a recipe from Chow.com
- 1 cup of your favorite coffee beans, coarsely ground
- 1 quart of cold water
- A quart size mason jar
- A fine mesh sieve, coffee filter and Pyrex 4-cup measuring cup
Grind your coffee beans and pour the grounds in a quart-sized Mason jar. I like dark roast coffee. Add a cup of cold water to the jar and mix to wet all the grounds. Then, add the rest of the water to fill the jar and stir again. Screw on the lid and let sit in the refrigerator for about 8-12 hours.
Grab that Pyrex 4-cup measuring cup, the coffee filter and a fine mesh sieve. Place a coffee filter into the fine mesh sieve. Slowly pour the coffee mixture into the strainer into Pyrex measuring cup. Let the coffee slowly strain through the filter, leaving the solids at the bottom of the jar. Throw away the grounds and rinse out that jar.
Pour your cold coffee/elixir of the gods, into that handy Mason jar. Store in the refrigerator. Now you are free to pour that coffee an ice filled glass, with half and half, sugar or your favorite flavorings. I might think about pouring this over vanilla ice cream for a dessert treat. Add a straw, you are set. Makes a quart of coffee concentrate.
We know summer means cool drinks as we aim to manufacture our own air conditioning and breezes. When we were kids this might have meant a two-minute break from a game of tag as we got a drink from the hose, or, if we were lucky, a glass of Kool-Aid from a Tupperware pitcher in the fridge. Instead of the Kool-Aid of my youth, maybe serve the kids a Strawberry Agua Fresca for a refreshing, lightly sweet drink made with real fruit.
Strawberry Mint Agua Fresca – I modified the recipe from Food52
- 1 pound, hulled strawberries
- A handful of fresh mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice
- ½ cup sugar
- Six cups of cold water
- A blender and a fine mesh sieve
Add strawberries, mint and two cups of water into a blender. Blend until very smooth and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large pitcher. Add in the additional four cups of water, lime or lemon juice and sugar.
Stir and pour over glasses of ice. Makes about four glasses.
Now back to the those Mai Tais. For a little escape to the islands here in Reno, try the classic rum-based drink served at Café de Thai. I hear they make for a lovely evening, even if date night just means a trip to Target after dinner.