Summertime in Chicago is what makes winters here somewhat bearable. I mean, if Kanye West raps about summertime Chi, you know it’s pretty awesome! When that first warm, sunny day rolls in you really realize how many people live in and visit this city, everyone suddenly comes out of hibernation. You know to stay away from the North Ave and Fullerton exits on Lakeshore Drive and you know the dog beach is going to be overflowing with dogs whose owners are too busy getting a tan to stop their dog from peeing on your bag or humping your dog. Even if you’re sitting in your car with the AC on and driving down Clark St or Lincoln Ave, you know its summer because every restaurant, bar, and storefront has their doors and windows open to soak in those precious few perfect days of a Chicago summer.
So what else does summer mean to a vitamin D deprived Chicagoan besides bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Kennedy due to construction? Beer gardens, street fests, Cubs games, concerts at Ravinia, Lincoln Park Zoo, and the Pritzker Pavilion, Lollapalooza, Taste of Chicago, and just a general “party because winter will be here before I get a base tan” kind of attitude. Of course, along with all this fun comes boozing…and I have a few of my current fav summertime drinks of choice to share with you!
First off, let me just say that Mike and I are kind of beer snobs. We like good beer and we’ve tried a lot of it. 9 times out of 10 our restaurant choice is based on how good of a beer menu they have. I don’t know all the fancy terminology of beer tasting, but I know what I like and go with it. My personal fav craft brewery is Three Floyd’s right here in Munster, IN. I’ve been to the brewery a few times, once for their Dark Lord Day last year (insanity!) and a couple other times to eat at their amazing Brewpub. I don’t think I’ve ever had a beer from them that I didn’t enjoy-I definitely enjoy some more than others (Dark Lord is just not my style), but they are all really awesome beers. For summer, and really all year-round, my fav Three Floyd’s beer is their Gumballhead which is an American Pale Wheat Ale. Light and a little hoppy (yes, a wheat beer that is hoppy) with a fruity (citrusy) punch make this a perfect summer sipper.
Another of my standard summer favs is none other than Summer Shandy, Leinenkugel’s seasonal summertime brew that’s actually mixed with lemonade. Not exactly your standard picky beer geek’s choice, but hey-I don’t discriminate and just a sip of Shandy gets me in the summertime spirit!
New to my summertime repertoire, and a beer I’m SUPER excited about, is Lost Cost Brewery’s Tangerine Wheat. It actually doesn’t taste much like beer at all…more like tangerine flavored La Croix…but I LOVE it! Its super light and very tangerine-y… a bottle (or two….or three) of this on a hot summer day is absolutely perfect!
While I have been talking a lot about beer, I can’t leave out my favorite summertime cocktails! Last summer I was obsessed with Sweet Tea Vodka-Jeremiah Weed or Firefly, just pour some on ice, add some water, finish it off with a little lemon wedge and you’re good to go. Super easy and has summer written all over it!
This summer I still love my Sweet Tea, but my latest love is Effen Cucumber Vodka and soda. It tastes like an actual cucumber-not sweet at all, just totally refreshing-maybe not for everyone, but I’m seriously in love. Add a little cucumber slice and you’ve got a cucumber infused sparkling drink to sip on while you’re enjoying a balmy summer night in the city!
With all this talk about cocktails and summer, I’m seriously jonesin’ for the weekend to get here! Is it Friday yet??? Cheers 🙂