Labor Day: The unofficial end of summer and, at least for for city dwellers, perhaps your last chance to drink on the beach, a boat, or someone's patio while sporting shorts and shades. While an ice-cold Mexican beer or a margarita is always a good idea, why not try something special before fall comes and harshes your summer buzz? Presenting five drink options for Labor Day weekend.
It's your last chance to wear white—so you might as well go out with a bang. Don your finest white-linen suit and mix yourself a white Negroni, a variation on the classic Negroni, the slightly bitter alternative to summer's more sugary cocktails, named after the Italian count who invented it. While a normal Negroni is equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, the white Negroni substitutes Campari with Cocchi Americano or Suze, an Italian and a French aperitif, respectively. As always, don't forget the orange twist.
When it comes to a summer beer, always trust the dudes on the beach. Green Flash, one of the country's most respected craft breweries, pays homage to its hometown of San Diego with Saison Diego. This crisp farmhouse ale balances spicy notes of ginger with orange zest for a refreshing beer that's not light on flavor. Warning: Drinking this beer will not automatically give you the ability to surf.
Pouring yourself a glass of rosé in fall or winter is like showing up to the ski slopes in swim trunks and flip-flops. It's a wine practically made for dinners on warm, balmy nights. For your last sip of the season, try something dry like the Waterbrook 2011 Sangiovese Rosé, a crisp wine with hints of melon from the Pacific Northwest, or the Aimé Roquesante en Provence, a French rosé with light, natural notes of strawberry.
Okay, so a lot of chefs say oysters are actually better during the winter months, but don't they feel like a summer treat? And what better way to enjoy a briny raw oyster than by drowning it in vodka? Place a freshly shucked oyster inside a shot glass, then top it off with some quality vodka, a dash of hot sauce, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Think of it as a tiny Bloody Mary for seafood lovers.
Jai Alai IPA
Tampa Bay, Florida, might have gained notoriety this summer for hosting the Republican National Convention, but it's also home to Cigar City Brewing, the maker of some very highly rated craft beers. The Jai Alai IPA, with its citrusy, hoppy bite and hints of tropical fruit, is the perfect ale to wash down a bucket of crabs or a spicy sausage.
—Keith Wagstaff is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn. Follow him @kwagstaff.