You'll no longer have to buy a plane ticket to get in on the cocktails at Seattle's Essex: Owners Brandon Pettit and Molly Wizenberg (a.k.a Orangette) will be sharing their favorite recipes with us, every other week. Drink up, people.
Today: A refreshing, three-ingredient drink to get you through the last hot weeks of summer.
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We stumbled upon this refreshing drink earlier this summer, when we were cooking at home on a night off and were desperate for a cold beer. But the baby was in bed and we didn’t want to go anywhere, and all we had on hand was a couple of long-ignored cans of Bitburger from a camping trip that Brandon took with his dad and uncle two summers ago. It was beer, technically, and it was, in fact, cold. But it wasn’t particularly great, so Brandon decided to try something: he added a healthy splash of Campari, the bright red Italian aperitivo, and dropped in a wedge of lime. And boom, we had our Summer Drink of 2013.
It sounds simple, and it is. But there’s something surprising that happens when the yeasty, lightly sweet flavor of beer bumps up against bitter orange Campari: the first softens the second, and the second smartens up the first. Together with the brightness of lime, it’s complex and a little sophisticated, but still entirely everyday stuff. At home, we make it with whatever light-colored, not-too-bitter beer we’ve got: the PBR that I bought for making beer-can chicken, or those Coronas from the Fourth of July. But at Essex, where our beer selection is more intentional, we like to make it with a Belgian-style white beer like Blanche de Bruxelles, or Avery White Rascal from Boulder, Colorado.
Brandon and Molly met because of a mutual interest in food - or, more specifically, when Brandon read Molly's food blog Orangette and sent her an e-mail that included some very effective compliments. The better part of a decade later, they co-own and run the restaurant Delancey and its sibling Essex, in Seattle. Brandon is the chef of both, and when he's not manning the wood-burning oven, he likes to make things from scratch that more sane people would probably buy, like mustard, vinegars, pretzels, and obscurely flavored liqueurs. Molly is the manager / Organizer of All Things at Delancey and Essex, and she is also the author of the New York Times bestseller A Homemade Life and the forthcoming memoir Delancey. They have a young daughter named June, who is excitedly crawling toward the refrigerator as Molly types this sentence, and two dogs named Jack and Alice.