photo 5 We live in a land of few days over eighty-five degrees, but this week we’ve already been three-for-three. To take advantage of this unique opportunity, we planned a mid-week picnic at Alamo Square. While it’s one of our favorite parks in the city, the wind usually whips over the hill, and sends us running home before dusk.

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Yesterday’s warmth finally gave us the chance to post up well into evening hours, homemade coolers in hand. Do yourself (and us) a favor, and start with your quality liquor of choice; no one will thank you for that nasty rail vodka inspired hangover. Once you’ve selected your base, chop + toss in fresh or frozen fruit, herbs, sugar, bitters, seasoned salts and/or specialty syrups.

photo 1When we had our first heat wave of the season a few weeks ago, I did a hop/skip/+a/jump at the idea of park coolers. I started with a mason jar of vodka, and loaded up a citrus bonanza of lemons, limes, and oranges. To round our the flavor, I added a splash of triple sec, and a hearty sprig of mint. After eight hours in the fridge, it was off to Dolores for “Heat Wave Coolers”, and good company.

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Last night’s outing was planned a day ahead of time, so I took advantage and went a “Berry Tropical” route. I started once again with a mason jar of vodka, and added frozen blueberries, raspberries, fresh mint, oranges, limes, and a splash of simple syrup. I left the infusion in the fridge overnight, and when we cracked it open, the group was in agreement that it was perfectly refreshing. If you like the idea of an infusion, but don’t drink liquor, make a delicious nonalcoholic version using lemonade or tea.

Summer in the city is upon us, so do yourself a favor and make a cooler to share with friends. After all, life is too short to end up alone and thirsty in the sun.

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