As if we needed a more dramatic celestial gesture to signal the start of Indian Summer in San Francisco, Wednesday's dramatic sky -- complete with double rainbow, no less -- was almost as grand an entrance as a skydiving queen of England.
With a full 52 entries (yes, a full year) into my tenure with the Drink of the Week column, here's a peek at some of my favorite warm weather coolers to enjoy the sun.
Drink: Cucumber Collins
Where: Goose & Gander, 1245 Spring (at Oak), St. Helena, (707) 967-8779
Why: This cocktail is specifically designed for the warm Napa Valley weather by bar manager Scott Beattie. The Cucumber Collins ($11, Square One Cucumber Vodka, lemon, yuzu, huckleberries, seltzer, fresh and pickled cucumbers) tastes even better in the restaurant's vibrant garden patio -- and the drink is so beautiful it makes flowers jealous.
Drink: Cherry Bounce
Where: Comstock Saloon, 155 Columbus (at Kearny), 617-0071
Why: This cocktail, based on an old method of making a winter drink by steeping a bumper crop of cherries in bourbon, feels right at home at this old school saloon. Bar men Jeff Hollinger and Jonny Raglin took the cherry idea and created a burst of summer in a glass with the Cherry Bounce ($10 bourbon, brandied cherry liquor, sparkling wine, Angostura bitters, lemon, cherries) for a cooling, vibrant, and lightly sweet drink.
Drink: Nauti' Mermaid
Where: Maven, 598 Haight (at Steiner), 562-8365
Why: Kate Bolton has been rocking the bar here with a whole roster of delicious and interesting cocktails, but the Nauti' Mermaid ($10, Jamaican rum, lime, orange, coconut, hazelnut orgeat) is the number one on my charts. An intriguing cross between a Mai Tai and Piña Colada, it works so well that it tames both the warm weather and chile heat of the suggested Monterey Calamari ($9) pairing.
Drink: La Paloma
Where: Mosto, 741 Valencia (at 18th St.), 626-1344
Why: While there are several great versions of the classic Mexican Paloma, the version at Mosto is so fine tuned and perfect, there's nothing more quenching on a hot day in the Mission. Developed a few years ago by the talented Brooke Arthur, her version of the La Paloma ($9, El Jimador Blanco Tequila, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, grapefruit juice, Jarritos Toronja soda) adds a salty-sweet pink peppercorn rim that has you licking the glass and your lips.