WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 192 of 219

the accompanying spirits and sweet vermouth. (J.C. recommends a higher quality one like Punt e Mes, which will bring in elements of clove and black cherry to make the drink more complex.) "It's ideal for a party because it's so easy to make, can be made in batches as large as you need, and with its ruby color and bright flavors, it's as beautiful as it is delicious," he says. Another summer soiree winner: the Cetriolo Collins (see recipe below), a consistent warm-weather hit at the bar at Alta Strada in Wellesley. "It's one of our favorite menu additions during the sum- mer," enthuses General Manager Richard Bertin, who describes it as the epitome of crisp refreshment. Only slightly more complicated than (but just as impressive as) the Ciao Bella, it employs the clean taste of fresh cucumbers, the bite of vodka, gloriously fragrant sum- mer basil, and a sweetness from the addition of simple syrup — an easy-to-make mixture of sugar and water that you can prep before the guests arrive. Line up all your ingredients beforehand and make sure to have a muddler handy, as well — they're available at almost any kitchen store — to crush up the ingredients and release as much of the flavor as possible before passing around to friends so they can sip (and sigh with happiness). Of course, the bounty of summer flavors reaches far beyond the bar, too. The season's explosion of local New England produce is at a pre- mium this time of year — from gleaming, deep green zucchini and gor- geous peppers (both great for simple-as-can-be marinating and grilling to a smoky, velvety tenderness) to more just-picked herbs than you can possibly use all at once. While everyone buzzes around the grill and the bar waiting for the next crops of culinary creations and libations to come forth, I love giving friends something to graze and comment on continuously. Enter the beauty of the buffet: Load it up with foods that taste delicious at room temperature (or backyard temperature), and then enjoy the ease of "set it and forget it" serving. For this, I love dishes like delicate sautéed squash blossoms under a shower of creamy feta cheese crumbles, straight from the farmer's THE CETRIOLO COLLINS A summer favorite among Alta Strada regulars, the ultra-refreshing cocktail is easy to mix up for a crowd. 1 cucumber 1 bunch of fresh basil 1 oz. fresh lemon juice 2 oz. cucumber vodka (brands like Prairie and Pearl make versions) Simple syrup Club soda Ice n In advance of the party, make a batch of simple syrup. In a medium saucepan, combine one cup sugar and one cup of water. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool and store in a container until ready to make the drinks. n For each drink, fill a Collins glass with one cucumber wheel and two large (or four small) basil leaves. n Add in one ounce lemon juice and one ounce simple syrup. n Muddle all ingredients in the glass together, then fill the glass with ice. n Add two ounces of cucumber vodka and top with club soda to taste. n Garnish each glass with a fresh cucumber wheel. 191 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 7

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