Big day today. To celebrate the end of the school holidays, we’re taking the kids to get flu vaccinations.
Who says parenting can’t be fun?
And with that impending shot in arm, I think we can call the longest summer in living memory (and beyond, this month was Sydney’s hottest April in nearly 160 years) to have come to a close down here. Yes, it was only 15 days ago that I was swimming in the Pacific Ocean (ok, there was swearing involved as the chill of the water momentarily knocked the breath out of me, but it was swimming), but I’m calling it.
Summer is over.
Release the sheepskin slippers!
To mark the end of the season, last night we mixed up a round of Sea Breezes, a pretty and tangy mix of vodka, cranberry juice and grapefruit juice that sits on the IBA’s list of Contemporary Classics.
The Sea Breeze predates its more famous cranberry cousin, the Cosmopolitan (which we covered HERE), by many decades. It seems to have started life in the 1920s life as a gin and grenadine cocktail until being hijacked by Ocean Spray marketers in the 1950s as they tried to build their business. Vodka also made its big move on the USA in the 1950s and that’s when the Sea Breeze abandoned its gin roots.
You’ll be unsurprised to hear that I think this cocktail would be better with gin, but the Sea Breeze has moved into first place as my favourite pink cocktail.
I hadn’t had one in nearly two decades, the last time being at my ill-considered first wedding, the event that proved once and for all that a great wedding is not necessarily a sign of success to come.
The Sea Breeze is one of those illusive cocktails that you can mix up in a batch without suffering too much. As with all batch cocktails, your problem will be keeping it cold. Ice will melt and dilute the cocktail, but back in 2001, when my soon-to-be-now-ex-father-in-law mixed a mass batch in a plastic garbage bin (it was new and clean, but this story does serve to prove the point that my friend Carla made to me; a party is like a sausage, it’s better if you don’t see it being pulled together, just enjoy the finished product), none of us knew as much about cocktails as we do now and everyone thought it was t’riffic.
Plus, it matched my pink dress which was another GOOD THING about that day.
Whatever hue you’re wearing, the Sea Breeze can join the Pimms Cup and Sangria as pretty drinks you can make in a jug and still serve with your head held high.
(Note: You cannot serve a martini this way. Always worth reinforcing that.)
Fast forward nearly 17 years, one of my highlights of the summer just gone was lying with husband no 2 (aka The Good One) and a dear friend of nearly 20 years’ on the lawns of Taronga Zoo overlooking Sydney Harbour as the sun set, drinking fairly crappy sparkling wine out of plastic glasses at a Cloud Control concert.
It was already magic, and then they played The Cranberries’ Dream in a tribute to Dolores O’Riordan who had died suddenly the month before.
I had thought that I’d recorded a few moments of it on my phone, but it appears that there may have been something in my eye and I only snapped still shots.
But take my word for it, it was sublime.
I hadn’t thought much about The Cranberries in years, but their music was very important to me in my 20s, especially around the time that I started seeing the guy who I eventually married (and soon after divorced) and I’ve bundled a bunch of these memories together as belonging to another, less happy, part of my life.
They were up in the attic, with my Sony Discman, my Beverly Hills 90210 Annual and the Floppy Disks that contained the research for my 1991 Honours thesis. Stuff that one could argue may have outlived its useful purpose in my life and could possibly be chucked out.
(Except the 90210 Annual. There’s moving on and then there’s just historical vandalism).
But that night, what a gift. Extracting The Cranberries from the 1990s and forwarding to me for repurposing.
Which I have.
So as this Summer finally closes, having lingered long into the Autumn I’ve been hoping for, I’m reclaiming some of my history. The Cranberries and the Sea Breeze – which finally gives a perfect use for the countless grapefruit our tree throws off each year – are both back onto higher rotation and becoming part of new memories.
I hope Dolores would have approved of that.