Thursday, June 30, 2011

the color of summer

I don't really like alcohol. Just don't. I grew up begging sips up my parents' wine at dinner, and waiting for the time when my taste buds would suddenly change and I would also drink that magic liquid from pretty glasses. My favorite Bible story was even Jesus at the wedding in Cana; I would enact the scene in the bathtub at least once a week.

"Jesus, there's no more wine!" I'd say while my mom or dad sat on the edge. "Please make some more for us."

After filling the "jars" (read plastic 1992 Alabama National Championship cups), I would take a huge swig of bathwater and proclaim that "this is the best wine I've ever tasted."

I tell you all this to make the point clear: when I turned 21, I was disappointed to discover I don't like wine (which turned out okay; more on that later). When we went to Spain, I thought maybe this would change. If I had to drink red wine at every meal, surely I'd learn to at least tolerate it, right? Nope. Especially after this one horrible night where I drank it cause I was thirsty and then the wonderfully generous bartender gave free lemon liqueur to the strange family of Americans as a sign of friendship, and Jim was hissing in my ear, "drink it all, or you'll look rude" and NO I never wanted to see the stuff again in my life.

Except. Except for this magic in a bottle:

Tinto de verano. Ice, lemon, and you've got yourself the best summer-afternoon-at-a-European-cafe drink, ever. I thought it was sangria. Literally, it means red wine of summer.

When I got home, I missed tinto de verano more than even the groaningly delicious Italian pastas. I found the recipe after a search of about, oh, 3 seconds. Wanna know it?

Red wine + Sprite + ice + lemon.

That's IT. I've even substituted ginger ale for the sprite.

So go put on some Drunkard's Prayer by Over the Rhine, set out on the porch, and sip your glass of summer.