hello summer

It’s been wet here. Exceptionally wet. We’ve pretty much doubled our average monthly rainfall. Which means Bayfield County has gotten about seven inches – most of it within the last week and a half. I’ve replanted the jack-o’-lanterns twice. My peppers are pale shade of yellow. A lovely color really – just one not intended for a pepper plant. Pools of water were lapping at the honeybees’ front porches. But really, all of this is nothing compared to the tragedies that nearby Duluth saw last week. Neighborhoods were evacuated. Animals swam away from the zoo. Cars disappeared into sinkholes. Bridges collapsed.
But then, right on cue – just a few hours after the solstice – Summer cleared her throat and gave Spring a stern tap on the shoulder. And it worked. It actually feels like summer, with sunshine and warm breezes and everything. The pumpkins sprouted. The peppers are hinting at light hue of green. I picked flowers for the windowsill. And to really drive it home, I boated out to Long Island in the Apostles for beach-side cocktails with friends. I wasn’t taking any chances.
Long Island Cocktail Club
My bees are in a fabulous mood. After a particularly slow spring, they are finally busy and mellow. I love that about honeybees. Hard work brings a sense of calm to the hive. It’s when they can’t get to the task at hand that they get cranky. If only we could all have such passion for our jobs. And their labor has paid off, their boxes are dripping with fresh honey.
The other day I did a hive check at 5 pm and the foragers were still out and active – another sure sign of summer. In the spring and fall I try to work the bees midday, when I know the bulk of the hive will be out. But in summer I can be a bit more lax. Because I know the girls will be taking advantage of the long, languid nectar filled days well into the evening.
summer bees
As a nod to my bees and warm summer nights I decided to mix up a batch of orange scented honey syrup – perfect for cocktails on the deck. Then I shook up a light and refreshing gin fizz, substituting in the honey syrup for the powdered sugar. It’s what I made for the boat ride over to Long Island to celebrate summer’s arrival. And something tells me I’ll make it all summer long – to unwind with after a long day, or to take to the garden with dinner and a blanket, or to sip on the porch during a thunderstorm, or maybe to sit quietly in the fading light and watch the bees come home. Here’s to sweet summer nights.
gin fizz

Really this cocktail could  just as easily be mixed straight in the glass, but like 007, I prefer my drinks shaken, not stirred.

Honey Gin Fizz

2 tablespoons gin
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey syrup
5 ice cubes
club soda

Shake gin, lemon juice, honey syrup, and ice in a cocktail shaker. Pour into an 8 oz cocktail glass and top with a glug of club soda. Garnish with a lemon twist and toast to summer nights.

Honey Syrup

3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon orange zest

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat to a boil while stirring. Reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture is reduced by one-fourth. Cool and store in a jar in the refrigerator. Keeps for months. Makes a healthy 3/4 cups.


6 Responses to “hello summer”

  1. 1 Julie Buckles June 24, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Big cheers from here to summer nights.

  2. 2 Darcy June 25, 2012 at 7:07 am

    That sounds fantastic!

  3. 4 Anne-Marie June 25, 2012 at 7:52 am

    So love your blog. I mixed up your all-purpose spray cleaner a few months ago and I love it. I will mix up your drink recipe, too! I hope to not confuse the two ;-). Happy summer!

  4. 5 Jessi June 25, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Yum! Sounds wonderful

  5. 6 Mary June 26, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    I love the name- Gin Fizz. It sounds festive.

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