In New England right now we are just getting into strawberry season so my head is wrapped around this tasty summer fruit as a clever addition to the lunch table and (other times of the day) as partner to a bottle of chilled Champagne. Look no further than Jamie Oliver or Charlotte Voisey for delicious concoctions involving bubbly or gin. Every bit as refreshing as lemonade they are the perfect nightcap to a summer day.
To me there is nothing more traditional in my kitchen during the summer months than a bowl of fresh picked strawberries (sometimes picked by me, but more often than not by a local farmer). I brought a small basket of them to the office today and people ate them up.
The most intoxicating idea I have read about comes from dearly departed Gourmet Magazine: Aristocrat Sparkling Punch from the 1940s. This “zippy” punch involves sugar, sparkling water, 1 bottle Burgandy, 4 ounces brandy, 2 bottles Champagne, a block of ice, strawberries, oranges, and other fruit in season. It reasons I should make this impossibly seductive sounding formula for summertime happiness.
In the South it would seem the punch bowl is also very much on the mind according to Garden & Gun, a favorite publication of mine. Their suggestion the “Bourbon Slush” features the essential Southern ingredients strong tea, bourbon, sugar, and mint sprigs. I have now transported myself to one of those beachside houses out of Elle Decor where I am lounging away by a pool party attended by close friends glass in hand (or should it be a tea cup) with the sun shining down and the thermostat reading in the 80s.
Top image by Romulo Yanes. Bottom photo by Robert M. Peacock.