Long Lasting

Ants in our collective pants the minute the sun reappears, nobody alters habits according to the weather more than a Seattleite. I change smoke-detector batteries, turn the mulch, and switch my drinks from broodingly intense intoxifiers to large glasses clinking with ice. After a rough day of it, you're two kinds of thirsty, and starting with a martini can mean a very quick demise. You need an "I'm being social but don't want to get bombed" drink to get you through these longer nights. In my eyes, the zippy bitterness of a Campari and soda is still hard to beat, but my favorite category of aperitif (French for "pre-func," I think) is the long drink. Long drinks have the same amount of alcohol as, say, a normal gin and tonic, but are long on ice and mixer. For little effort and big reward, all you have to do is venture outside your typical clear and brown spirits or experiment with your mixers. Let's try. Like Manhattans? Make your Makers Mark last with soda (or ginger ale) and a little sour cherry juice. Bored with the cosmo? What about mixing your vodka with lemonade and a little pomegranate molasses? If the gin and tonic is your drink, try a lime rickey: three parts gin to one part lime juice, fill with soda water and ice. Dragonfish, in the Paramount Hotel (722 Pine St., 206-467-7777, www.dragonfish­cafe.com.), has an excellent version of a lime rickey, made with house-infused lemongrass and kefir lime leaf vodka and limeade. Tangy and aromatic, it's only $2.95 during happy hour, two times a day (4–6 p.m. and 10 p.m.–1 a.m.), seven days a week. It made me start thinking about using orangeade and Metaxa brandy for a less potent version of a sidecar. Then that started me thinking about yet another version of a sidecar with brandy and Schweppes Bitter Lemon, the stylish Englishman's mixer that has quinine like tonic water does, and a tart lemon overtone. My new favorite long drink is Ramazzotti and ginger ale—the spicier, the better. Try it if you like dark rum or bourbon. Ramazzotti is an Italian Amaro, a bitter liqueur that is often referred to as a digestivo, as in après feed bag. And boy, can a shot of it magically cure a spell of overeating. It tastes like unsweetened cola syrup. Mix it with Reed's Ginger Brew, and you have a bit of sassafrassy heaven. But then, I think spicy ginger ale makes all brown liquor taste better. info@seattleweekly.com Sour cherry juice and pomegranate molasses are available at finer food stores. Ramazzotti is available at the Washington state liquor store nearest you.

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