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Summer 2011 Host's Guide: Summer Formal: Cocktails

Christy Grosz

Humid summer afternoons seem to call for chilly cocktails on ice, but Francesco Lafranconi says the food, not the weather, should dictate whether a drink is served up or on the rocks.

"When it comes to salad, which has very high water content, I would rather serve something up. When you’re chewing tomatoes or cucumber, if you’re drinking something on ice that’s melting down, it will thin out the flavors," he says. His VIP Cup, created for the formal summer meal, provides elegant style without diluting the salad duo’s essence.

Lafranconi generally serves iced drinks with dessert—as with the deliciously simple 23 on the Globe paired with the financier—except when it comes to gelato or sorbetto. Much like a wine that’s served too cold, frozen desserts chill the palate and make the taste buds less effective. "Your palate is already very cold and then you start drinking something with ice, it becomes even colder," he says. "You diminish the intensity of the flavors."

The VIP Cup serve with salad duo
Wild hibiscus blossom, for garnish (www.wildhibiscus.com)
1/2 oz. El Tesoro añejo tequila
1/4 oz. Grand Marnier Cuvée du Centenaire
1/4 oz. Yellow Chartreuse V.E.P. liqueur
4 oz. Moët & Chandon Rosé Champagne
Orange peel

Place hibiscus blossom in the bottom of a frosted Champagne flute. Pour tequila, Grand Marnier, and Yellow Chartreuse into flute and top with chilled Champagne. Stir gently. Twist orange peel over top to release oils and discard before serving. (Note: Rinse syrup from hibiscus blossom before adding it as a garnish.)

23 on the Globe serve with dessert
2 oz. Pyrat Cask 23 rum served over ice sphere (www.glace-ice.com)
1 dehydrated pineapple ring
Place pineapple in the bottom of a large old-fashioned glass. Add ice sphere. Pour rum over ice and serve.