Now that summer has officially arrived, the refreshing, invigorating, slightly strange cocktail comes with it.
You'll find plenty of these beverages in "Food & Wine Cocktails 2011" (American Express, $14.95), the imbiber-friendly, recipe-laden annual, edited by Kate Krader. Consider the Contessa, a variation on the Negroni from Arnaud's French 75 Bar in New Orleans; and the Salt Air Margarita, with its bubbly crown, from chef José Andrés of Washington D.C.'s minibar, among other establishments.
"The Ultimate Cocktail Book" (Hamlyn, $17.95), by Bill Reveall and Neil Mersh, raises spirits and shows you how to make citrus spirals, too. Bet you forgot how to make a Harvey Wallbanger. And if you can put up with Curaçao, the Sapphire Martini looks very cute and inviting.
"DIY Cocktails" (Adams Media, $16.95) by Marcia Simmons and Jonas Halpern is a practical, easy-to-follow introduction to mixology that could spur some creativity at the home bar. Beats another fill-in-the-blank.
A companion volume to this trio could be "The Hungover Cookbook" (Clarkson Potter, $10), by Milton Crawford. A Bloody Mary recipe is included. Maybe it goes with the bacon sandwich or The Breakfast Burger. I imagine Zach Galifianakis debating the ingredients of each with Bradley Cooper.
LONG ISLAND'S WINE OF THE WEEK
The 2007 Clovis Point Cabernet Franc ($25) has berry and spice notes in a ripe package. Fine varietal character and food-friendly, too. Try it with an herbaceous roast chicken or hearty red-sauced pasta. Clovis Point's wines are made by John Leo at Premium Wine Group in Mattituck.