Food and Drink 

All mixed up! Summer time and the sippin’ is easy


Summer means sippin’. Sure, everybody has to re-hydrate regularly with that delicious Whistler water, but when that’s taken care of, it’s time to turn to something even more refreshing.

Beyond the traditional cool brewski (what else could be the summer cooler of choice with Brew Creek in the neighbourhood?), options are about as limitless as your imagination. We had to concoct a quick celebratory toast recently and came up with that delicious Langueuil peach beverage from France (nice and peachy and not too sweet) with a good splash of Rosemount Traminer Riesling and a slice of ripe strawberry for a special touch. Yummy, and a festive step beyond a white wine spritzer.

Not that there’s anything wrong with a wine spritzer. In fact, I think they’ve been wrongfully overlooked in the booze-bubble where the martini still reigns in any permutation but “dry.” Don’t be cheap — use a nice wine. Acidic and crisp, and splashy looking with a wheel or two of lemon or lime dancing amongst the bubbles, a white wine spritzer can turn around a hot summer afternoon.

Likewise a shandy, or “shandygaff” as it was first called in England (possibly from London vernacular of the day for a pint of beer, a “shant of gatter” — from “shanty” for “public house” and “gatter” an idiom for “water”). Originally it meant an equal mixture of beer and ginger beer. One of the first references to it was in the June 4, 1888 Daily News where it was dubbed one of the “new-fangled drinks.”

Shandies aren’t so new-fangled anymore but they’re still popular in Europe, especially in England and Germany. Create your own by mixing beer with the best ginger beer money can buy, or a good tart lemonade. Usually it’s half-and-half, but adjust the ratio to suit your taste. If you really want to chill out, pop in a few ice cubes, maybe with fresh mint frozen in them, and horrify your best brew buddies.

If you want to have more fun with the classics, check out Mark Kingwell’s new book, Classic Cocktails, A Modern Shake . Not only will you learn how to mix up the real thing, Kingwell places each drink in cultural context, be it in film, art or literature. Here’s a sampling:


Kir Royale : I remember going out with an “older man” in San Francisco who knew how to live right. He insisted I try a “kir royale.” I wasn’t big on drinking alcohol at the time, but one sip made me rethink that.


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