Call me snobby, but all the Americana of summer has me thirsty for something a little more, well, exotic. That's why this weekend, my penny-thin wallet and I are going to Spain—through its foods and drinks. There are no tickets to buy or couches to surf, and the only bags you need to check are in the mirror Monday morning. Optional.
In this season of heat, liquids are a way of life, and that's why I plan on icing my workweek fuss with a few slushy, spiky granitas with a few compañeros Friday evening. From there, we'll ramp right into a festive Spanish gin-and-tonic party (drink pictured above) that will give us our wings for the discotheque. Of course, we'd be amateurs without something to nibble, so I'll whip up crispy, comforting patatas bravas from this delightful Spanish tapas recipe gallery, and snacking doesn't get any easier—or more Euro—than draping out some spicy, chewy cured meats for grazing.
I'll start my Saturday in earnest by brushing up on some tips on how to day-drink like a Spaniard, and then refresh myself on this idiot-simple way to make mint syrup for injecting that wondrous, cool taste into my libations. Sometime Sunday, once my liver is done with the voyage, I can admire these delicious saffron recipes and get inspired to take an actual trip to Spain. My mouth will have already seen it, and, lord knows, these bags have always been ready.
Santa cometh. Some people get their jollies from gift-giving guesswork, but my joy lies with the fuel of Saint Nick himself: the cookie. First comes my mother’s batch of Dusty Bliss—dots of espresso shortbread gloved in rich, dark chocolate and dipped in hazelnut crumbs—affectionately named for the svelte texture that screams for coffee or several glugs of ice-cold milk.
But why stop there? After all, this season is big enough for several rounds of cheer: Take cushiony salted chocolate rye cookies (above)—fudgy, complex, and hopelessly dense, they’re the equivalent of frozen custard in a land of aerated ice creams. For a dose of nutty, Southern warmth, I might mess with decadent smoky whiskey balls. Or my favorite, true-blue chocolate-chip cookies, marvelously tweaked from the back of that yellow Toll House bag into that crispy-gooey stuff we’re looking for this season. Let’s all raise a milk glass while the receipts and wrapping paper pile up. No returns, promise.