Cool Drinks for Hot Weather
by Sheila Swerling-Puritt
Some of my fellow Canadians hate this summer's heat, but the season's fabulous hot weather is definitely for me. Cool drinks from "south of the border" certainly make the torrid temperatures easier to take!
Tequila is a superb summer spirit, delicious in mixed drinks before dinner and lovely on its own through the meal. Early this year I had the pleasure of attending a dinner hosted by the charming and informative Don Hector Galindo Miranda (from Mexico), who introduced me to his delicious new brand of 100% Blue Agave Tequila, 4 Copas. The company produces three styles of Tequila contained in beautiful hand-made coloured bottles from the craftsmen of Zapopan, Jalisco: the Tequila Blanco (bottled immediately after distillation, preserving the wonderful clean taste of roasted blue agave for mixed drinks), Tequila Reposado (briefly aged in charred white oak barrels to round and soften flavours and impart a pale amber colour, delicious unmixed with a slice of fresh lime), and Tequila Añejo (aged in white oak barrels for some years, giving it a definite oak flavour and dark amber colour, best sipped like Cognac).
It seems I'm not alone in admiring 4 Copas. This past March, the company won three medals for its tequilas at the San Francisco International Competition, including a gold for their Reposado, silver for their Blanco and bronze for their Añejo. You can give these Tequilas your own prizes. The 4 Copas Blanco and Reposado have arrived on our shores, and the Añejo will follow in October. These products look elegant and taste oh so good make them your new best friends!
The Copas Cocktail
- 1 oz. 4 Copas Blanco
- Ruby red grapefruit juice (chilled)
- Splash of soda (chilled)
For more information on Tequila, check out my previous cocktail column called "Have a Tequila."
Many of us have enjoyed the wonderful wines of Chile, but far fewer Canadians are familiar with Pisco (PEES-ko). This pure and aromatic white spirit dates back to the time when the countries known today as Chile and Peru formed a single territory, the Viceroyalty of Peru.
Pisco received official recognition in 1931 when it was granted "Appellation of Origin" and in Chile can only be produced and bottled between the Chilean regions of Atacama and Coquimbo, a geographical area defined by law.
Pisco begins its life as Muscat grapes grown in a microclimate unique in the world in a zone appropriately known as "Zona Pisquera." (The Pisco made in Peru is made from unfermented Quebranta grape juice and is aged in clay pots.)
The Muscat grapes are meticulously selected and after the pressing are fermented in special casks using the native yeasts. After all the grape sugar has been transformed into alcohol, the base wine is distilled in small traditional copper stills and then aged between 4 to 6 months in American oak or "Rauli." During this process the volatile components mix, blending and mellowing into a unique Muscat eau-de-vie (which some call brandy) with an enticing floral and coconut character.
I was one of those unfamiliar with Pisco and wanted to try it. Attractive modern packaging (as well as a good reputation) made me reach for a bottle of ABA Pisco. It's a great partner to BBQ food, and mixes well with cola, ginger ale, or citrus juice. (Chill the Pisco before adding to drinks.)
The best known Pisco recipe is the Pisco Sour, a delicious, refreshing drink.
- 3 ounces of ABA Pisco
- 1 ounce of fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. sugar (powdered or fruit)
- 2 drops of Angostura (optional)
- Add chopped ice.
- Shake well in a cocktail shaker.
- Garnish with a lemon slice.
- Place 2 oz. ABA Pisco into a tall glass.
- Fill with orange juice.
- Add a splash of grenadine. Stir.
- Add ice cubes.
For more information, you can contact Sheila at firstname.lastname@example.org.