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Drinks for the Seasons

September 1, 2011
Everyone knows that the seasons are not about family or compassion or the joy of giving. Those things are just a bonus. The seasons, especially the holidays, are about food, specifically artery-clogging, heart-stopping, calorie-packed, fatally-delicious food. Thanksgiving has turkey. Christmas has gingerbread houses. Easter has colored eggs, and so on. However, there is something to be said about the other edible contender that strays away from the public eye while delectable dishes soak up the seasonal spotlight, a contestant that is equally as important: the beverage.

After extensive research (also known as polling my lunch table), I’ve come to the realization that not only does each season have its own food item but it also has its own designated drink. Let’s start with the obvious.

Autumn: Apple Cider

It’s apple picking season. Rows of McIntyre and Granny Smith apples dangle at your fingertips as you carry the heavy duty plastic bag (that you paid obscene amounts of money for) down the bushy aisles. Orange and brown leaves crunch under your boot. Half-carved pumpkin displays litter the nearby shop windows. You step up to the donut stand, order a dozen bite-sized rings of goodness and grasp the complementary cup of steaming cider. Suddenly, it’s like all of your hard work has been liquefied and fashioned for your taste-buds. Too hot? Save it for later. Unlike other drinks, cider is tasty hot or cold. Perfection never seemed so close.
Winter: Hot Chocolate

All day sledding events always seem like a good idea at the time. It is not until you return as a human icicle do you realize how much you appreciated the functionality of your limbs. Once inside, there are options. Freshly brewed tea. Soup in a cup. Heated sugar water (I’ve never understood this). However, nothing compares to the creamy delight hot chocolate delivers. With sugary mini-marshmallows bobbing on the brown surface and its heavenly aroma drifting through your nostrils, hot chocolate says “Welcome back, fingers” better than any beverage I know.
Holiday Spin-Off: December Eggnog

I don’t know if eggnog is acceptable all winter. Sipping it in the middle of February seems odd to me but I don’t think it’s insignificant enough to write out entirely. Eggnog has a unique sweetness to it that I have yet to discover in any other seasonal drink. (It also has a surprisingly difficult name to spell because I have typed in eggnogg every single time I’ve mentioned it and been forced to erase.) Thanks, eggnog, for tampering with my taste-buds and highlighting my inability to construct simple words.
Spring: Lemonade

I have a burning hatred for the color yellow, mostly because it makes me think of bees, ugly almost-bruises, and other unpleasant things. Yellow also acts as the poster-color for Spring, my least favorite season solely because it is a wannabe summer. Yet, somehow, my two greatest enemies were able to collide and transform into an acceptable (and opportunity-filled) refreshment. It can be sold at yard sales, street corners and summer shacks. It can be made more sweet, more bitter, more distilled by simply adding a new combination of ingredients. And, like Kool-Aid, it looks strapping in a chilled pitcher.
Summer: Iced Tea (runner-up: Iced Coffee)

Remember those old Nestea Iced Tea commercials with that serial-killer-turned-snowman? The one who would stumble around in his half-melted, skeleton state then pull out an Iced Tea and magically morph back into his old, frozen, angry-looking self? Despite the nightmare-inducing quality those 30 second clips possessed, something about them made iced tea look enticing, almost as enticing as Coca Coca after being advertised by that polar bear. Almost.

Give or take the various trade-ins (Kool-Aid, Crystal Light, the juice from Flavored Ice Pops), these beverages seem to be the leading competitors in the race for seasonal excitement. Pull out your calendar. Find today. Find the nearest holiday. Start obnoxiously scribbling out dates as they pass and lastly, begin mentally preparing for whatever food and drink combination lies ahead. You’re gonna need it.

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