Southern California winters are vastly different from Northern California winters, or indeed any other winter in the world. The leaves on the trees don't change color, but rather retain their verdant foliage. Defiantly, they dance in the balmy wind making laughing sounds as they flutter into one another. "Ha ha, Earth! Ha ha, Sun! Take your solstice and shove it!" they cry.
BF and I actually stripped down to t-shirts, jeans, and flip-flops to walk Faith, my mother's dog, a spirited and well-behaved Weimaraner whose only real fault is being unable to comprehend that, no, the cats do not want to be your friend. The sun was high and bright, blinding you like the light over the dentist's chair. A breezy wind was always at our backs gently pushing us along to see as much of this Mid-Winter Spring as we could. It was 79 degrees outside.
82 Fahrenheit. December 20th.
I'll let this sink in for a bit.
Seriously, So Cal has plenty of issues, but the weather is not one of them. I wish I could pack the sunshine and verdant air into my luggage and bring it back with me. Growing up here made me a total wuss to any other weather which causes me to expire and complain in whiny pitches so high only animals can hear me bitch with contempt, "Sweet Rum Sucking Christ, it's too damn hot/cold." Having recently escaped the snow inducing temperatures of Nor Cal it's good to be back in my native system where my body can rejuvenate.
This land of eternal sun puts you in a Summer mindset. I'm ready to bust out the BBQ (indeed, we'll be throwing some flank steak on the grill for Christmas dinner) and I have a hunger for freshly churned custard heavy ice cream, and the sensation of having a plum's juice trickle down my arm and ripple off my elbow after taking a generous bite. Sadly, the produce isn't quite as agreeable and willfully follows the tilt of the earth.
Still, citrus is abundant here and the warm weather has allowed my mother's mint plant to thrive like a small invading army ready to conquer the yard. I found a fresh supply of kumquats - though I was reticent to pay for them as I'm so used to getting them for free from my tree - and decided a refreshing mojito would be the perfect drink to go along with reading in a patio chair outside.
Simple, easy, light. A perfect, citrusy-tart sweet drink in the middle of Winter. Or faux-Spring. Whatever it is for you.
4 kumquats, sliced
juice of half of an orange
4 mint leaves, torn
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 ounces white rum
2 ounces of club soda
slice of kumquat and sprig of mint for garnish (optional)
1. Put the kumquats, orange juice, mint leaves, and sugar into a glass and muddle them.
2. Add the rum, soda, and ice and stir. Serve.