Old habits die hard. I still think of Labor Day weekend as the end of summer even though I finished up my schooling several years ago and my vacation isn’t tied to the seasons. Nevermind that San Francisco gets hot in late September and October and that it’s never really beach weather here. That tomatoes and peaches will still be available for another month and that strawberries practically never go out of season. That over the last few months I’ve left the house with a sweater or coat more often than not. I’m still sad to see the summer go.
My family always had a lobster dinner to send off the summer around Labor Day. Sometimes neighbors joined us, sometimes it was just the four of us. There were lobsters for each of us, dishes of garlic butter all over the table, a lot of mess and piles of cracked shells at the end. I thought of that a lot last month when Jeff and I were eating lobster in Maine after our wedding. Not so much about the lobster, but about saying goodbye to summer. It’s not something I think of often here where summer bleeds into fall and fall into winter with little change in the weather.
This year I’d planned to toast the end of summer with my favorite summer cocktail given the general unavailability of lobster. I don’t know what exactly I planned on toasting – the end of three day weekends until Thanksgiving? The end of weekday evening frisbee because even though it’s warm, the sun goes down too early? I’m still not sure. The feeling that something is over even without the start of a school year or the end of vacation. Sort of like Christmas in the Grinch, it comes without all the expected trappings or accompaniments. And unlike Christmas, it comes without the excited anticipation beforehand and instead brings a sort of sad resignation. It’s an ending and those always require a bit of send off. And if we can’t have lobster, at least we can raise our glasses, maybe make a toast, and drink to the end of summer.
Dark and Stormy
Makes one drink
Traditionally this is made with ginger beer and dark rum. But I don’t usually have dark rum around, so I used a mixture of bourbon and a medium rum which makes this almost appropriate for fall.
1 bottle ginger beer, I prefer something spicy but ginger ale would work here too
½ shot bourbon
½ shot rum
A quarter of a lime plus additional slices for garnish
FILL a pint glass with ice and pour the bourbon and rum over the ice. Squeeze in the lime and either add the lime wedge to the glass or discard it and add a fresh slice to the glass.
POUR the ginger beer into the glass to fill it the rest of the way. Give it a quick stir with a straw and then enjoy. Cheers.