Summer Drinks

Thanks to global warming, S.F. summer is now hot. The season's tipples don't have to be.

Temperaturewise, we may live in one of the mildest places in the country from late June through early September, but the days when short sleeves reign seem to be on the rise. Of course, from time to time, the fog still comes in, but PG&E doesn't seem to make as much money as it once did heating up our homes in July.

If there's anything positive to say about global warming, it's that hot toddies and teas no longer have to be the beverages of choice during San Francisco's summer season. Instead, pull up to one of the following chilled-out concoctions, crafted with local and seasonal ingredients where possible. These are real drinks for real people; as such they should serve not as strict recipes but as free-form suggestions that can be tailored to personal taste. Even so, it must be said: The small tropical umbrellas are not optional.

VANBANAVO MILKSHAKE

Those who haven't tried the legendary avocado ice cream from Mitchell's (688 San Jose Ave. at 29th Street) should know one thing: It tastes sufficiently sweeter and lighter than avocados and will appeal even to those who don't like the green fruit. Make no mistake, this ain't no guacamole shake.

1 pint Mitchell's avocado ice cream

1/2 pint Mitchell's vanilla ice cream

1 cup milk

2 spoonfuls honey

1 banana, sliced

Place ingredients in blender and pulse until smooth.

MEYER LEMONADE WITH LAVENDER SYRUP

Thanks in large part to Eatwell Farms (which maintains a stand at the Saturday Farmers Market at the Ferry Building), lavender salt has become a beloved fixture of savory recipes. But lavender also makes a lovely accompaniment to sweeteners, and in this case is a perfect counterpoint to Meyer lemons, a sweet breed of the sour standby.

3 cups water

1 cup Meyer lemon juice

For syrup:

1 sprig lavender

Cheesecloth

Twine

1 cup water

2 cups sugar

Use twine to tie the sprig of lavender in cheesecloth. Bring water and sugar to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and continue to stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, add lavender, and let cool for 1 hour. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve in case any of the lavender has fallen into the syrup.

Mix syrup with 1 cup of Meyer lemon juice (if you have an electric juicer, you're golden; if not, break out the old-school juicer because it's still worth it) and 3 cups of water. Serve over ice.

STRAWBERRY-WATERMELON SOJU DAIQUIRI

Pan-Asian appreciators that we are, San Franciscans were early American adopters of cocktails made with soju, a Korean liquor distilled from rice, and available at restaurants such as RoHan Lounge in the Richmond District. For this recipe, soju content can be increased or decreased, depending on alcohol tolerance. At the recipe's levels, the drink seems potent to me. But I'm a lightweight who rarely drinks (except when this libation is on offer).

1 cup strawberries, sliced

1 cup watermelon, cubed

3 shots soju

1/2 cup ice

Place ingredients in blender and whip until smooth. Serve in small teacups.

 
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