There's no other way to put it, folks: it's brutally hot in Atlanta. Triple digits hot. Glad-to-be-inside-all-day-under-studio-lights-hot outside. Most of my past few weeks have been spent inside in photo studios but I've also had a few days of styling food outdoors, which is quite a challenge. Regardless, they've been some days that have happily ended with a relaxing glass of bubbly or Sauvignon Blanc. It's just too darned steamy for anything else!
I've been daydreaming about this recipe for weeks now. It was inspired by my Athens, Georgia dinner-party buddies The Four Coursemen – if you have a chance to attend one of their sell-out-in-seconds supper clubs…you SHOULD! They served a version of this drink at a recent dinner…and the photo of it made me let out a dreamy sigh. A refreshing, low alcohol cocktail made with Vinho Verde (one of my summertime staples) and prickly pear syrup. Their recipe had a drizzle of St. Germain in the mix. Since I am not a fan of overly sweet drinks, I went the other way and added a splash of blood orange bitters. If you can't find the bitters, just the simple combination of the unusual prickly pear syrup & effervescent white wine would be wonderful enough.
Prickly Pear Cooler – makes 1 well-crafted summer cocktail
– Fill an oversized highball glass or stemless wine glass with 8 to 10 ice cubes. Pour in blood orange bitters then prickly pear syrup. Top with Vinho Verde. If you want to leave the drink slightly "layered", do not mix. Otherwise, gently stir together. Garnish & serve immediately…although I will say this drink is delicious when it gets super chilly and sits for a minute – no need to chug it!