Summer Birthday Parties:

That buzz is no mosquito.

Last night was a family birthday party for my niece, and aside from cutting the cake - well, actually it was a precut cheesecake sampler from Sam's - and singing a presto version of Happy Birthday, we spent the entire time outside. Some of the dogs, being sensible, stayed inside in the AC.

I was asked to bring liquor, having a reputation now as the liquor specialist in the family (who'd have ever thought?), so I brought a citrus punch from my calendar: OJ, grapefruit juice, lime juice, lemonade concentrate (I used pink), and 3 cups of gin. I wasn't going to use my good stuff, so I bought a big (plastic; ugh) bottle of Gordon's at Sam's. Right before going over, I added a liter of club soda and the requisite sliced up fruit.

After taking a few sips of it, my sister said, Boy, Dave, is this strong! I took a sip, didn't seem particularly strong. She said, Take a second sip: that's when you get it. I did, and she was right: you got the kick from my secret ingredient, half a cup of Mezcal. I liked it. Frankly, I should have added the second bottle of club soda called for in the recipe, but I thought that might water it down too much. Uh uh. It tasted less like punch than very spiked fruit juice. (You could really taste the grapefruit juice too.)

She and I were the only ones drinking it (light beer was preferred by the rest of the crowd). I had 2 glasses and wisely called it quits, because it hit even harder later on. A good party drink to knock everyone on their butt. A little Cointreau or similar orange liqueur wouldn't hurt either.