Thoughts on the Shortest Season

Memorial Day Weekend is officially the time to honor the men and women who have given that last full measure of devotion to our country. It also marks the unofficial start to summer. Between a memorial service, a few barbeques, some work, and some boozing time with good friends, I found some time to sit on a coffeeshop patio to smoke a cigar.  While watching the city melt in the year’s first heatwave, I began contemplating the things I wanted to do in this shortest of seasons. From that point, the thoughts morphed into…

Restaurant Refugee’s Summer Rules

  • take wine less seriously
  • take life less seriously
  • sundresses are always superior to jeans
  • the aforementioned goes double for jeans of the skinny variety
  • food cooked outside tastes better
  • check your watch; no matter what the hands say, I assure you it is ProseccO’clock
  • a farmers market stroll makes for an outstanding date
  • speaking of dates… summer is a great time to renew that lapsed commitment to Date Night
  • host your own Screen on the Green Party, may I recommend Bull Durham for your first screening.
  • speaking of minor league baseball… in their stadiums, the seats are better, the beer is cheaper, and you’ll probably get more satisfaction cheering for the guys who haven’t quite made it yet.
  • Choose a cocktail for the season… in case you’re curious, the 12o’Clocktail is mine (recipe at the bottom.)
  • Stop wasting cash at the coffee shop and learn to make your own iced coffee.
  • If you have a friend with a boat, scotch that’s old enough to vote is good start when it comes to bribes or thank you’s.
  • If you’re a gentleman who is follicaly challenged, summer is an excellent time to try the clean shaven look.
  • Very few women actually look good in “skorts.”
  • Linen starts to go on sale circa the 4th of July; stock up then for future summers.
  • When cooking food outside, please do not skip the brine for your meats.
  • Almost always true restaurant axiom #63: the quality of the food will have an inverse relationship to the quality of the view. Cantler’s is a notably delicious exception.
  • On the days when the sky is Carolina Blue*, the temperature is just so, and you see people driving convertibles with the top up, feel free to wish them hostile thoughts.
  • If you find yourself wondering “am I too old to wear this,” the answer is almost certainly yes… but fuck it, it’s summer, wear it anyway.
  • Mosquitoes are the price of freedom, buy your repellant in bulk.
  • I know that I am about to incur the wrath of the 20something fashion icons, but not a single woman looks good in any style of flat gladiator sandle. Stop arguing with me, I’m right.
  • It may be convenient to cloak a bad decision in the dress of “summer fling.” Resist that temptation, but don’t resist the fling – choices will still matter come autumn.


* yes, my Tarheel friends, that was really difficult to write


The 12 o’Clocktail

Initially created in a search for the perfect brunch cocktail (with the help of a couple of other restaurant pros and over the course of several boozy Sunday mornings) and named for one of my favorite lines from the iconic song Lush Life.

1.5 ounces lemon vodka
0.5 ounces Orange Liqueur
1 ounce of Pear Nectar (if you have a pro-grade juicer, fresh will always be better, otherwise Goya makes a very good version but be sure it is nectar not juice)
2 wedges of lime
Splash of Ginger Syrup (optional but really great if you have it and super easy to make)

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with 800lbs** of ice, squeeze the juice of the limes and add them too, shake until condensation crystals form on the outside of the shaker. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a twist of lime.

Use with great care as these go down far too easily. 

** Toots Shoor, the legendary barman of the early 20th century, incorporated the 800lbs of ice concept into his training program and subsequent drink books as a reminder that there is no such thing as too much ice. 














5 Responses to Thoughts on the Shortest Season

  1. Vie says:

    You’re back (for now)! I have missed your writing, though I am equally guilty of ignoring my own. I like your summer rules. ProseccO’clock especially.

  2. rachaelgk says:

    On the day of my graduation, the Dean told us to appreciate the fact that 10 miles away, a certain university had to look up and see that the entire sky was indeed Carolina Blue.


  3. Grace says:

    Amen to your rules about fashion! Except if they are too old they still should not wear it even if it is summer. Beautiful reference to Lush Life. I must now make this cocktail while listening.

  4. magnolia says:

    thank you for the gladiator sandal thing! oh, lord, those things make me crazy.

    i also don’t think i could live without either sundresses or prosecco.

  5. lemon gloria says:

    I don’t know if the issue is whether or not one looks good in skorts. I think it’s more that they’re a horror in and of themselves.

    I’m among your Carolina friends, although it’s not something I talk about a whole lot, and I’m certain I’d have been a hell of a lot happier down the road.

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