Welcome Summer! Greeting the Solstice: Sweet Memories, Beautiful Dreams, Stylish Cocktails and Festive Sparkles…

Sunset Mangotini – The Perfect Drink for the Longest Day of the Year…  Photograph â“’ Michaela at TGE

Solstice memories. It was the longest day of the year -and I was eight years old- when I snuck out on a stylin’ new, metallic-orange bicycle for my first unauthorized ride. Off, down the long bumpy driveway I went; coasting out onto the main road with the wind in my hair. The freshly coated pavement, patched with tar and gravel, made my eyes water… The smell of freedom. A little plastic flower basket, carrying who-knows-what, bobbed up and down on the front of my bike as I cruised past cornfields and cows, crackling power-lines and abandoned pickup trucks, and the newly-arrived summer residents, their windows trimmed with flower boxes and their yards filled with the scent of smoking bar-b-ques. School was out and time stretched before me like a warm, open ocean…

Summer. Seduced by the length of the day, I veered off the pavement onto a dirt road and ditched my bike along a familiar path where shadowy, fern-covered banks wound down to an inky brook. Running breathless, I kicked my hot sneakers to the rocks and waded knee-deep into chilly bliss. Before long I heard familiar sounds; the squeak of bicycle breaks and the laughter of friends through the pines. As I squinted in the blinding light, I made out the blurry, flickering silhouettes of my partners in crime as they sprinted down the hill. Oh the sweet taste of  forbidden-rendezvous success! We giggled and gossiped and splashed for hours, ’till the light began to fade, and then we peddled back out to the main road together. Drunk on the sweet elixir of liberation, we dawdled; gathering daisies and tiger lilies, and tasting tiny, wild strawberries along the side of the road. By the time we parted, the sky had faded from deep blue to violet, and fireflies lit the road. For a moment the world stood still, and the summer night swirled around us like a luminous, green blizzard… Frozen in time.

Oh yes, I caught hell for that naughty joy-ride -and understandably so- but it was soooo worth it. Sometimes a little bad tastes awfully good, wouldn’t you agree?

Welcome warm temptress Summer – the season of sweet memories and beautiful dreams. Here’s to wildflowers, bright red strawberries, glowing sunsets, and sparkling summer nights….

Pure White Daisies…

Beautiful Thunderstorms…

Sweet Red Strawberries…

Warm, Sunset Kisses…

And glowing mangotinis…

The Sunset Mangotini

Ingredients for one cocktail, (adjust quantities 1:1) *

2 ounces of fresh, ripe mango puree (peeled and processed in cuisinart)

1 ounce of ice cold vodka

1/2 oz of Cointreau (orange flavored liqueur)

Freshly picked, deep violet-colored pansy blossoms

*a non-alcoholic version of this drink may be enjoyed by combining the mango puree with 1/2 ounce of orange flavoring as a liqueur substitute, (available in fine grocery stores). Skip the vodka and prepare according to directions*


Chill martini glasses in the freezer well ahead of time. Prepare ripe mangoes by peeling, pitting and placing wedges of the fruit in a food processor with a metal blade. Puree until smooth. Set aside.

In a cocktail shaker filled half full with cracked ice, pour the vodka, orange liqueur and mango juice. Replace the top and shake well. Strain the contents into a frosty, chilled martini glass and serve garnished with at least one -or better yet two- violet colored pansies.

Enjoy the glow of the summer sun as it sets in your glass…

Cheers! Wishing You a Glorious, Sparkling Summer!

xo Michaela

Strawberry Flirt (click here for post)

Search for other summer cocktails with garden-fresh ingredients by clicking here…


Article and photographs â“’ 2010 Michaela at TGE

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3 Replies to “Welcome Summer! Greeting the Solstice: Sweet Memories, Beautiful Dreams, Stylish Cocktails and Festive Sparkles…”

  1. Victoria

    Oh, Michaela,

    What a delightful story. Wasn’t the beginning of summer THE BEST when you were a kid? All those lazy summer days waiting ahead of you. Labor Day seemed as far away as New Year’s.

    I lived in NYC and used to go with my grandmother to visit my aunt and my cousins in a tiny town of 150 people in Illinois. We would ride our bikes past cornfields and cows. We would bake cakes for the July Fourth ice cream social held in the town square. The Post Office was in the corner of a hardware store. Saturdays were spent on sand bar islands in the middle of the Mississippi River, eating my aunt’s fried chicken and cole slaw.

    My cousins said Leary instead of Larry, and Geary instead of Gary. They called their dog Powell, which I did too.

    Then I got home and got a note from my cousin Barbara.

    “We all miss you, even Pal.”

  2. Michaela

    Do you still see Barbara in the summertime? I love your story… All your stories, Virginia. It’s so good to hear from you. A happy, happy, endless summer to you!
    Big XO , Michaela

  3. Victoria


    Barbara and I usually see each other on Columbus Days weekend when she comes from Peoria to spend one day in NYC and the rest of the weekend in upstate New York.

    She just got tickets to take her granddaughter to see Paul McCartney.

    That’s because she’s still mad I went to see The Beatles at Carnegie Hall, their first American concert, with my best friend from high school.


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