One of the magical things about living in the Bay Area is that, just as summertime is ending for everyone else, our warm weather season is just beginning. Around September in San Francisco, parks and beaches fill up, picnic season extends into late November, and it's not uncommon to detect swimsuits peeking out from under tank tops as people go about their days.
Another great thing about having summer in autumn is that, even though we're acting like it's summer, fall produce is still available, lining the bins outside our neighborhood grocery stores with yams, gourds, and winter greens.
Labor Day Weekend marks the beginning of Fall for most people, but for us, it's just the start of our fun in the sun. Inspired by this fusion season, I love to celebrate the flavors and foods of both seasons. This usually means grilling pizzas (a major summer activity around here) with wintery fall toppings, like this White Pizza with Brussels Sprouts.
And even though those pizzas contain enough vegetables on them to qualify as a hearty serving, I still make salad. Since brussels sprouts and broccolini run a bit bitter, I like to balance it out with a hearty, slightly sweet fig-studded salad, like this one with kale and goat cheese.
As for beverages, wine and beer are a little obvious. Sure, this summer-fall feast would be great with a crisp Viognier, or even a good Pinot, but I prefer to balance the fall-heavy flavors in my food with something lighter--more reminiscent of summer. Something that reminds people of sweet, bubbly memories of long, happy days and time spent in the sun.
Enter: lemon-blueberry sparklers.
Sweet, effervescent Mike's Hard Lemonade is mixed with gently muddled blueberries and fresh mint leaves, and served over ice.
I usually make several glasses at once, since the fruit and mint need to be pummeled, and it's easier to do several at once. You could also serve this in a punch bowl or pitcher--just encourage guests to get some of the blueberry-mint mixture in their cups, along with the sparkling lemonade.
I often like to serve a non-alcoholic version as well, for kids and/or non-drinkers, made with sparkling lemonade (I like the kind from Trader Joe's).
You can definitely make this using frozen blueberries (they're a great way to enjoy this year-round), but why not take advantage of the beautiful in-season fresh berries that will be available for the next few months?
Just add sunshine.
Disclosure: I'm a Mike’s VIP sponsored blog partner. I was compensated by Mike's Hard Lemonade for this post, but the opinions and recipe are my own. Please consume alcohol safely and legally.
- 1 pint fresh blueberries $3.50
- 1 large handful fresh mint leaves $1.50 for a bunch
- 1 24-ounce bottle Mike's Hard Lemonade $4
Recipe Serves 4
- Divide most of the blueberries between highball glasses (reserve a few for garnish).
- Divide the mint leaves between the glasses.
- Use a cocktail muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon to gently smash the blueberries and mint in each glass.
- Fill each glass with ice cubes.
- Pour the hard lemonade over the ice.
- Use a long spoon or a chopstick to gently stir the bottom of the glass, mixing it with the hard lemonade. This should turn the beverage purple-ish.
- Serve immediately.