Solstice Drinks for All!

The summer solstice, this year June 21st, marks the longest day of the year. People with Seasonal Affective Disorder can celebrate it as their optimum day. As a pale, disillusioned, depressive goth who cherishes the dark I COULD despise it. Instead, I fancy it a sort of rebirth of darkness. After the 21st, things can only go up for me until the winter solstice. The summer solstice—a holiday for vampires and heliophiles alike! There is also the Swedish summer solstice holiday of Midsummer to get into. Not to be confused with the movie Midsommar. So along with Wiccan summer solstice traditions (my source being “The Wicca Cookbook” by Jamie Wood and Tara Seefeldt), I have something tasty pairs with Midsummer fares. As a good witch (I swear I’m a good one) does. I actually have a bunch more ideas; these will get you going, but a yearly solstice piece could be in order. Enjoy all of these. Whether you chase dark or light. Solstice drinks for all! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ TRADITION: Decorating altars with roses THE DRINK: Torrontes The summer solstice altar is often decorated with flowers, and of all the summer flowers, roses feel the most poignant to me and are the summeriest of all. And of all aromatic wines, Torrontes is the rosiest of all. A Muscat, Albariño, or even Riesling are good back-ups. Or if like me you are celebrating darkness coming, grab a Barolo, for all those rose notes. But for the light lovers, get into Torrontes! 2020 Zolo Torrontes This is a subtle one. The nose opens with mandarin oranges, jasmine, and white rose. The palate is super fresh—almost underripe pineapple. But then the lychee notes chime in, but they are the chorus, not the lead…oodles of white peach provide a base. Acidity sails through (as opposed to cuts). It’s a delight. Those are all tasting notes, but how does it feel? Like walking through botanical gardens on a crisp warm-but-not-hot spring day, where you get allll the aromas but none of them overpower you. The sun warms you, but it is barely warm, so the light caresses you as opposed to burns you. That’s how Zolo hits. -- THE TRADITION: Woe Banishing THE DRINK: Verbena Cocktails This is the holiday to place your woes in a bag (I’m not sure how—write them down? Or do I put my ex’s hoodie in there?) with vervain and lavender. Which supposedly will get rid of the sadness. I have yet to try this at home, but this may be my year—and yours too—the last couple of years have left everyone with more than one grievance. But what to drink while rounding up your woes? Something to mirror the woe bag. Which is a sentence I never thought I’d say, but here I am. Vervain is also known as verbena. Lemon verbena is actually different than vervain albeit in the same family, and hey! I once was tasked with creating a cocktail for a farm-to-table dinner using elements from the farm, and one of the farm’s bounties I utilized was lemon verbena. I named the drink the Verbal Herbal. Here it is. People at the dinner liked it enough that I got recipe requests, so I’d say it is worth sharing. VERBAL HERBAL: Ingredients: -Thyme -Lemon Verbena -Raspberries -1 ½ oz. Bourbon -1/2 oz. Limoncello (I made my own but store-bought will suffice) -1/4 oz. Cynar -2 Dashes Peychaud’s bitters To finish: -Thyme sprig -One big ice cube Method: Muddle a pinch of thyme, a leaf or so of lemon verbena, and raspberries in an old-fashioned glass. In a mixing glass filled with ice, stir the bourbon, limoncello, Cynar, and Peychaud’s. Place the giant ice cube in the old-fashioned glass and strain the mixing glass mixture over it. Garnish with thyme sprig. Take a sip and whether or not you make the woe bag, I promise your pains will ease. -- THE TRADITION: Lighting a red candle for healing and love magic THE DRINK: An intoxicating and/or comforting red A red candle. A red wine? Something rich and throat-y to make you feel loved…I’m going with a red from Portugal. Portuguese reds, especially from the Douro, wrap you up like the hug you didn’t even know you needed, but once you get it, there’s nothing else that could make you feel that way. 2018 Quinta do Vesuvio Pombal do Vesuvio Douro Red Blend So much comfort in this bottle! It is full of ripe cassis, dried plums, and purple-y things. Purple is a healing color in my book. Then there’s the love-adjacent chocolate and black cherry notes. All tempered by a bit of tannic bite. Whether you want to heal, want to love, or want to feel healed from love, this one will do the trick. -- THE TRADITION: Eating yellow and orange foods THE DRINK: A skin contact wine These are to represent the sun! Orange is a color we see in sunrise and sunset so HEY! Get an orange wine to a) be hip AF and b) appreciate the sun whether you are happy it is going away (me) or happy it is at its fullest (Seasonal Affective Disorder). 2021 Channing Daughters Ramato Oh, those tricky Ramatos! Those sometimes rosé sometimes veering into orange wine territory made of Pinot Gris/Grigio that make people say…THAT is a Pinot Grigio? It is, babyyyy. Sapid, …and sorry for how specific this sense memory is but…have you ever been in an underground cave? With stalactites and stalagmites? There is water whooshing around and damp rocks and decay that is healthy, and this wine is all that plus myrrh. As for more conventional notes, browning apples and white raspberries and nettles. It’s the friend that drags you on activities you don’t think you will be into—in my past those have included everything from flower arranging to Sylvester Stallone movies because I contain multitudes. So does this wine. Honor the super late sundown with it, will you? -- THE TRADITION: Swedish Midsummer Festivities THE DRINK: Aquavit The Swedes are particularly fond of the holiday and with traditional flower crowns and dancing comes rye bread, potatoes and dry, cured fish, and…what do they drink with it? Aquavit! aka a distilled spirit. And cause I’m hip as the Wiccan teen I was, I got some from Oregon. Festlig Aquavit Krogstad Flavored with caraway and star anise and boyyyy does it show—especially the caraway. This is pungent. Drink chilled, and if you don’t add an ice cube or so, add a dash of water to let the aromatics really come out and play. Caraway and corn. Licorice galore. A hint of greenery. Really a delight to sip oh so slowly. Like for the longest day of the year. -- THE OCCASION: Homage to the movie “Midsommar” THE DRINK: Killer woman-made wine Femme fatale. Fatal females. IYKYK. 2021 Tessier Femme Fatale Rosé “Here she comes, you better watch your step” -Lou Reed, Velvet Underground, and Nico This is the quote on the side of this delightful Santa Cruz Pinot Noir rosé from the sustainably farmed Christie Vineyard. Lusciously salmon pink, it has a glow, an aura, a vibe from the get-go. On the nose, underneath heady raspberry preserves and sage, there is chalk and earth and power. On the palate, it coats the tongue but only so briefly—it has an energy that sails across your tongue presenting fruit in a straight-line leaving minerals and dust in its wake. -- SOLTICE SHOWER WINE What will I be welcoming into my shower next Tuesday? It has to be the Femme Fatale. Both for how refreshing it is (you need a chilled drink in a hot shower) but also because for a femme fatale, shower-wine is a non-negotiable. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Want to read more from Ellen? Check out her recent articles: Goode Work, If You Can Find It Rosé All May and June, and July, and… May the 4th Be With You Cocktails Lodi Rules Rock Kosher Wine: More Than Manischewitz Academy Wine In Honor of Women’s History Month You can also listen to Ellen's podcast , The Wine Situation here . Check out her recent transcripts of the Final Five questions: Wine Situation Final Five! Kathleen Willcox Wine Situation Final Five! Katja S. Newman

Quinta do Vesuvio (Symington)

Pombal do Vesuvio Douro Red Blend 2018

Ripe, rich and comforting, it’s a hug of a wine 🍷 — a year ago

Eric, Severn and 6 others liked this

Channing Daughters

Ramato Long Island Pinot Grigio 2021

Love love love Channing Daughters. This Ramato is less rosé, more orange wine, both in color and taste. It’s all wet rocks and incense, raspberries and nettles. Super complex and super tasty. — a year ago

Eric, Severn and 8 others liked this


Femme Fatale Christie Vineyard Pinot Noir Rosé 2021

Tessier has never let me down. It’s got that balance of fruit and earth that is *chef’s kiss — a year ago

Eric, Severn and 8 others liked this

House Spirits Distillery

Festlig Aquavit Krogstad

I actually got into this for a night or too. I like it on the rocks—one or two big ones. The caraway vibe is strong but there’s hints of licorice too. Appealing and refreshing. — a year ago

Eric, Severn and 6 others liked this


Mendoza Torrontés 2020

Subtle Torrontes! Just the right amount of floral notes to register as aromatic but without going into the bath soaps category — a year ago

Eric, Severn and 5 others liked this
Joshua Fisher

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