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Spirits: Drink-making that won't break a sweat

The Paloma: refreshing and simple. (Julia Ewan -- The Washington Post)

Ugh. I was not made for this type of hot and humid weather. On weeks like this, I believe I should really be living in Reykjavik or Helsinki or maybe Barrow, Alaska. But alas, I do not. To make matters worse, my air conditioner recently died. And so I do my best to cope with the sweaty and the steamy and the sticky — perhaps by sitting quietly in a cool, dark room, listening to Bjork or watching re-runs of the Iditarod.

I do, however, save what motivation I can for making drinks. This weather calls for a special kind of drink. Obviously, yes, something cool and refreshing. But more than that. This is not weather for a cocktail glass and too much fussiness. I mean, I realize that even shaking might be asking too much. So we want something that's also fairly straightforward, and preferably something with lots of ice, and possibly topped with something fizzy like soda or mineral water.

With that in mind, here are my top four (that's right, I couldn't muster enough energy for five) drinks for painfully hot weather. I've also included shortcuts for the heat-stricken.

1) Paloma. Some people think margaritas when the weather gets sweltering. Not me. Grapefruit, to me, mixes a little better than lime with tequila. And if the heat has truly overtaken you, and you have absolutely no motivation, there is always the E-Z Paloma: Just pour tequila and grapefruit soda into an ice-filled glass.

2) Antibes. Sticking with the grapefruit theme, this was one of the first cocktails I ever suggested in my column, and it's still one of my favorites. For me, it's the most sublime use of Benedictine. And if you don't have Benedictine on hand, no worries. Just salt the rim and call it a Salty Dog.

3) Sloe Gin Fizz. Ah, so simple. Just make sure you squeeze your own lemons and also be sure to use real sloe gin; look for Plymouth. And if it's too much of a hassle to get sloe gin, just use regular old gin like Beefeater's or Tanqueray. Regardless of motivation level, however, always juice those lemons and stay away from the dreaded sour mix.

4) Rum and Tonic. Seriously, it doesn't get easier than this. And if you have good rum on hand, it doesn't get any better. And what's best of all is that good rum doesn't have to break the bank. Get Chairman's Reserve from St. Lucia or Appleton Estates VX from Jamaica or Barbancourt 8-year-old from Haiti; all can be found for $20 to $25.

-- Jason Wilson
(Follow me on Twitter.)

By The Food Section  |  June 4, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Spirits  | Tags: Jason Wilson, Spirits, cocktails  
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Watching the Iditarod makes my blood boil. For the dogs, the Iditarod is a bottomless pit of suffering. Six dogs died in the 2009 race, including two dogs on a doctor's team who froze to death in the brutally cold winds. What happens to the dogs during the Iditarod includes death, paralysis, frostbite (where it hurts the most!), bleeding ulcers, bloody diarrhea, lung damage, pneumonia, ruptured discs, viral diseases, broken bones, torn muscles and tendons and sprains. At least 142 dogs have died in the race.

Posted by: SledDogAction | June 4, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Oh, no,-not watching reruns of the Iditarod! Any other sporting event where all the participants have a choice and none die.

The average number of dog deaths a year in the Iditarod is nearly 4. The Iditarod's 37 out of 38 races routinely kills young, healthy dogs and it has to stop.

These dogs are among the best-conditioned dogs in the world due to their training year-round, yet, of the 1136 dogs who started this year, 586 dogs did not finish (330 belonging to the mushers who finished, and 256 from the 16 mushers who scratched). Mushers start with 16 dogs, but during the last 8 years less than half of the dogs made it to the finish line.

So many dropped dogs, due to exhaustion, injuries, illnesses, and just not wanting to go, should indicate to sensible people that this race is too hard on the dogs and they're pushed beyond their limits.

The distance is too long and the conditions and terrain too grueling for the dogs. The dogs run about 100 miles a day over mountain ranges, ice, snow, rivers and creeks in harsh conditions (sub-freezing, breaking through ice, extreme wind chill, etc. Unfortunately for the dogs they are so loyal that they will run to exhaustion.

Posted by: LucyShelton | June 5, 2010 2:22 AM | Report abuse

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