Bottle of the Sexes
Text by Heather Palermo & Cory Crawford • Photography by Jesse Martinez
“Summer, summer, summertime… time to sit back and unwind.” Ok, who knows these lyrics? Fresh Prince, of course. Summertime in Montana is amazing. Long, warm days, perfect nights – what a great time for some refreshing adult beverages. What are your favorites in the summer? Below are some of ours for you to try.
Once again, I am starting off with one word – vodka. Vodka drinks in the summer are cool and refreshing from the basic vodka and soda (or tonic) with a lemon (or lime) to boozy Arnold Palmer’s to Moscow
Mules. While there are many drinks to choose from, one I happened to have in Helena, a while back, is a favorite.
Back when Gulch Distillers was Triple Divide, I had their “Standard House” drink. They still serve it, only now with Triple Divide Vodka. It is super refreshing and perfect on the river or on your best friend’s deck while watching the sunset.
• 2 oz Triple Divide Vodka (any vodka will work)
• ¾ oz of Ginger Syrup
• ¾ oz of Lemon Juice
• ½ oz of Honey Syrup
• 1 dash of Lavender Bitters
• Put all of these in a shaker with ice and shake.
• Pour in to a Collins glass, or a red solo cup, and top with soda. Garnish with a lemon wedge.
Wondering about the Ginger and Honey Syrup? These are easy to make at home (which the husband did for me). Basically, you need water, sugar and the ginger/honey and bring it all to a boil. For more detailed recipes, search them up on Google. Lavender bitters are a bit harder to find but can be ordered online.
Meanwhile, back on the farm…because that is pretty much all I do during the warmer months.
While my lovely wife is gallivanting about the state, trying tasty new libations and enjoying the sunshine, I find myself
getting lots of equally enjoyable time driving around in big boy toys – tractors, sprayers, trucks, combines, and the like. But life cannot be all work, and I find myself grilling and chilling in the evenings; maximal flavor and minimal work, aka dishes. Smoke, spices, herbs, and a fine piece of meat. What more can a (seasonal) bachelor want?
And this is where my summertime sweetheart comes into the story. Bursting with raspberries and fresh herbs, red pepper, minerals, and sometimes a strange, but welcome hint of bell peppers, Cabernet Franc is just the ticket for my quiet nights on the back deck. It takes well to being chilled a little – a precious attribute for a red in ninety-degree heat.
Cab Franc can be difficult to find, but persevere and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Look to Washington and California vineyards, the Chinon and Bourgueil appellations of France, Livorno province in Italy, and Colchagua in Chile. Like any wine, the flavors will reflect the dirt and climate of where they are grown, so be sure to try a variety of the vintners’ offerings.
As a parting note, try this: grab a grilling fork and use some string to tie a handful of herbs (rosemary, thyme, parsley) to it. Use this to baste a mixture of olive oil, lemon, garlic, and a little red pepper onto whatever you feel like grilling. Turn and baste every couple of minutes. When the food is done, chop up the tip of your basting brush and mix it with some salt, pepper, and olive oil. Drizzle that delicious concoction over your grilled masterpiece, and serve. With a Cab Franc, of course.