Drinks named after celebrities seem to belong to a bygone era. One of the thrills of going out to dinner with my parents when I was little was ordering a Shirley Temple. With its delicate pink hue and a maraschino cherry floating on top, a Shirley Temple made you feel like one of the grownups. I think I even ordered one at dinner before junior prom. Today, if I ordered a Roy Rogers or an Arnold Palmer, I expect most people would know what I was after without explanation. But some where along the line, drinks named after celebrities fell out of favor. Can you imagine ordering a George Clooney, a Justin Bieber, or a Tiger Woods?
The idea for this raspberry spritzer started as a spin on a Shirley Temple, which I’ve always thought of as 7-up and grenadine, but Wikipedia claims the soda is actually ginger ale. Made with a fresh raspberry syrup brightened by lemon, this spritzer is sweet but not cloying. And yes, it takes 3 half-pints of berries, but it’ll put any Italian soda made with bottled syrup to shame.
I gave up sodas last year. I was having a Diet Pepsi pretty much everyday (they were free at my office). Not that big of a deal, but not all that necessary, either. It wasn’t that hard to give them up. You just stop buying them at the grocery, order iced tea or stick with water, and bring your water bottle to the movies.
But right about now is when it starts to get rough, I mean, when does a root beer float sound better — November or July? So I’m realistic, and I let myself have an exception now and then. No sodas is a rule, until it’s not, because heck yeah, we’re having root beer floats this summer. And I’ll be raising a cream soda butterbeer to commemorate the last Harry Potter film.
So I’ve got to tell you about Brasilena – an espresso soda from Italy that may be my new summer exception. It’s an espresso soda in the same vein as S. Pellegrino’s Limonata or Aranciata. It’s espresso and sugar cut with mineral water (it does have caramel coloring, so if you’ve heard about that study…). It’s sweet, but not cloying and would make a damn good float, which they have at Tasty n Sons in Portland (and you know how I feel about that place!). It won’t replace a good iced coffee for me this summer, but it’s worth checking out if you’ve got a good Italian market in your neighborhood.