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T IS IN THE LONG, HOT DAYS of the late Michigan summer when the toughest of our race break down. Normally strong-willed individuals crumble in the face of the wet blanket of humidity and its soul-crushing partnership with heat. In those times when the moisture seems to be baked out of you only to lie heavy on the skin is when we must look to those other places

that have been tried and tested solutions for centuries. Spain comes to mind; a sensible place where folks have the good sense to nap for the worst of the day and to cut their cheaper wine with sweet, cold things to inject some life back into the most languorous of days. The young, who often mix their vino half-and-half with coke or sprite, call it “red

by Lydia Clowney |


Mackenzie’s Unleashed Wine Tasting and Salsa

Dancing Benefit San Chez, third floor, Grand Rapids Aug. 18, 6-8 p.m. $30 per person, $50 per couple in ad- vance; $35 per person $60 per couple at the door, (616) 693-2490


1 bottle red wine – think cheap and young ½ C. brandy 2 C. orange juice ½ C. triple sec Lemon soda or soda water (optional)

Mix first four ingredients and pour over ice. Top with soda (if desired), chopped fruit and perhaps a sprinkle of cinnamon. Quaff.

The basic recipe can be altered to suit one’s taste. Using white wine for the red, fruit-flavored liquor for the brandy or schnapps for the triple sec and different juices can result in some intoxicatingly ambrosial nectars.

wine of summer” and call it a day. For more special occasions and more patient drinkers, sangria is the product: a refreshing, easy-to-drink, lower potency potable just made to sip all day long. Sangria is a type of punch, which, to paraphrase a useful old rhyme,

consists of part sour, part sweet, part strong and part weak. The ingre- dients which comprise the sour, sweet, strong and weak elements can be varied at will, but the key is in the proportions. The bulk of sangria is wine. Reds or whites can be used, and mixing the two together is not uncommon. Brandy is added for a bit of a kick (and it helps to preserve the drink if you intend it to keep.) Fruit juice sweetens and stretches, and liqueurs can lend a heady top note. Chopped or sliced fruit is the traditional garnish and can be wonderful soaked with the punch. An even better move is to freeze the chunks prior to adding to the pitcher, preserving their structural integrity and helping keep a chill. n

Come enjoy a selection of exquisite Spanish wines accompanied by delicious San Chez tapas, raffle prizes and salsa dancing. All proceeds ben- efit Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary, the largest no-kill sanctuary in the Midwest dedicated to finding homes for abused, abandoned and neglected dogs.

The Happenings Washington Avenue, Grand Haven

Aug. 20, 12 p.m.-midnight

This year, the Main Street DDA has decided to expand on its ever-popular, annual sidewalk sales. The sidewalk sales encompass local downtown Grand Haven businesses. There will also be a tent of taste, which will feature local foods as well as a wine and beer garden. Live entertainment throughout the event for fun times and dancing.


IXOLOGY, THE “DESTINATION LOUNGE” in the lobby of the JW Marriott is nothing if not sleek. Nestled in the gleaming glass expanse of Grand Rapids’ newest luxury hotel, the room reflects the care and expense

that must go into a place where a room for the night costs more than a wintertime Michigan gas bill. Winter seemed far away, however, sitting next to the river with sunlight streaming through the stories-high windows and sipping on one of Mixology’s impeccable cocktails. The list of choices is short, a reassuring sign that each drink is care- fully created. The options are well-curated, with fresh-squeezed juices highlighting intriguing combinations like melon, cucumber and mint. While it certainly is difficult to choose, the Sun Kissed is one not to miss. Bartender Terra Blakely steeped rosemary in cachaca


(ka-CHA-sa,) a Brazilian sugarcane liquor which tastes a bit like rum and tequila had a love child. Mixed with fresh lemon and sweetened judiciously, the rosemary cachaca manifests as a bright and herbaceous infusion which balances the sweet and tart flavors. The drink comes as a brimming martini glass of opalescence, a simple and wonderful treat on a summer day. Sitting on the spacious deck, watching the afternoon light play

on the Grand River, one may feel the need to make a toast to the briefly lingering flavors of summer. At once fresh and sweet, tangy and compelling, the Sun Kissed is a deserving libation to lift. n

The Sun Kissed is available at Mixology in the J W Marriott for $10.




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