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On vacation

Two weeks of oppressive heat have driven me to cocktails. On the rocks.

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I wish I could tell you that I am sitting at the computer enjoying a finely-crafted beer, but I must admit that tonight not even a frothy Belgian blonde or a crisp, cold pilsner could cool my overheated engine. Two weeks of oppressive heat have driven me to cocktails. On the rocks. I stocked up on margarita fixins awhile back and find myself drawn to its glowing green goodness.

Another summer favorite of mine is the gin and tonic. Not many people drink gin anymore, part of the continuing evolution of American taste from bland to blander. But gin has a taste. Yes, it’s an acquired taste, but most really good things are. Nothing can quite match the tongue-tingling sensation of piney gin, tangy tonic, and tart lime on a pile of ice.

Recently I was introduced to another great summer quencher, the Dark and Stormy, a spicy-sweet combination of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and ginger beer from Bermuda. It’s got to be ginger beer, though, not ginger ale, which doesn’t have the ginger cajones to stand up to the thick, black rum. A few sips of this and I am transported to the islands.

That’s why if you see me at the beach, I’ll most likely have a cocktail in my hand. Run-of-the-mill lagers from the tropics stuffed with a lime just don’t do it for me. Never mind that it is nearly impossible to find a decent beer at those thatched roof cabana bars and beach highway liquor stores. But the makings of a great tiki drink can always be procured, and fresh fruit can make it even better. So, I am off to the Redneck Riviera; consider me on beer vacation.

By the time I get back, I will be ready to sample some first-rate German brews at the German Beer Festival at Atlantic Station (www.germanbierfest.com). See you there!

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