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Cool drinks for hot days & warm nights.

Change - as much as variety - adds spice to life. In summer, change means reaching for wines and spirits that echo the easy mood of the season. Gone for a while are winter's sturdy, full-bodied wines whose robustness demands big, hearty foods. Gone too are spirits whose alcohol content make us tingle with warmth.

In their place come summer's lighter beverages: youthful wines - from crisp whites and fruity roses to soft reds and sparkling wines - and easy, mixed drinks such as margaritas, sours, old fashioneds and Champagne cocktails. Other mixed drinks may flash in and fade out of fashion, but these are classic cocktails that reappear with the warming of the temperature.

Like its drinks, the foods of summer are flavorful and informal. We toss them in salads, put them on the grill or buy them ready-made to pack in a picnic basket. Enjoy them poolside, at the beach, in the backyard or at the park.

Pair up a lusty Nicoise salad of tuna or cold lobster meat and herbed mayonnaise with a chilled white wine. Try a California Sauvignon Blanc from Long Vineyards, Simi Winery, Carmenet, Robert Pepi Winery, Philip Togni or Beaulieu Vineyard. Other good white wines are Leon Beyer Pinot Blanc from Alsace, Maufoux Sancerre from the Loire Valley, Sichel Novum, a wine from Germany that tastes dry and finishes mellow, and from Italy, Galestro, a sprightly light wine made by Antinori, Ruffino and others.

To pair grilled foods with the wines that go best, follow one basic rule: The longer the grilling and the more piquant the sauce, the stronger flavored the wine should be. Consider a dry fruity rose of Cabernet from Simi Winery or Firestone with grilled mushrooms, peppers or corn. Grilled fish goes well with a gutsy Oregon Pinot Gris from Eyrie, Adelsheim or Ponzi Vineyards. Pungent sausages and ribs call for a spicy Alsace Gewurztraminer from Clos St. Landelin or Hugel & Filis.

Barbecued chicken calls for a mediumbodied red wine: Beaujolais from Sylvain Fessy or Georges Duboeuf, a Zinfandel from Louis M. Martini, or a Bordeaux such as Chateau Fourcas-Hosten.

Summer's natural desserts - fruit and cheese - are best enjoyed with wines that complement their flavor. Highlight these pairings with Muscat Beaumes de-Venise, a sweet, lightly-fortified wine with an apricot and honey bouquet. Or bring out a fruity bubbly such as Gosset Rose or Taittinger Rosi Millesime Champagne.

Along with summer's wines, we have the pleasure of sundowners, those satisfying, aptly named drinks that bridge the passage from torrid day to tender night.

SOURS are made from whiskey or brandy, lemon juice and sugar, shaken well and poured into a whiskey or Delmonico glass and garnished with fruit. The spirits in an OLD-FASHIONED can be bourbon, rum, gin or whiskey. But the rest of the drink is strictly traditional. Douse a sugar cube with Angostura bitters in an old-fashioned glass. Add ice cubes, a twist of lemon and your spirit of choice. Muddle sugar and garnish with fruit.

The grande summer drink is the MARGARITA. Rub lemon or lime peel around the rim of a cocktail glass to moisten it and coat rim with salt (optional). In a shaker, combine 2 ounces of tequila, 1/2 ounce triple sec, 1 ounce lemon or lime juice and 2 ounces of crushed ice; strain into the prepared glass.

Still, Champagne remains the classic drink of elegance. Add a spirit, liqueur, fruit juice, or fruit peel and you have the most celebratory sundowner of all. For a CHAMPAGNE FIZZ, add the juice of 1 orange on the rocks. A CHAMPAGNE COBBLER combines cracked ice, a 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon Curacao; stir, add a slice of orange and fill with Champagne. Or, put 1 ounce of brandy and 1 ounce of Cointreau into a tall glass half-filled with ice. Fill with Champagne, stir and garnish with a sprig of mint for a CHAMPAGNE COOLER.

For that matter, it needn't be Champagne. Try instead one of California's sparkling wines, such as Domaine Chandon, Domaine Mumm, Gloria Ferrer, Maison Deutz, S. Anderson, "J" Jordan or Mirabelle. Fine wines and great sparklers are just the right - and light - touch for the summer.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:wines and mixed drinks
Author:Fried, Eunice
Publication:Black Enterprise
Date:Jul 1, 1993
Words:696
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