One day I am watching umbrellas scuttling past my window like an army of horseshoe crabs, and the next, shorts and t-shirts flow past as the temperature reaches the mid-seventies. On witnessing the first days of spring I immediately reel in this opportunity to introduce a good-weather drink: The Salem Sunrise. With its warming, exotic fruit-flavored rums and its summer-like fresh fruit-juice ingredients, I feel it epitomizes the change in seasons. The promise of summer makes me remember my summers as a young man.
Much of my young adult life in London was spent living, travelling and working under the streets of the city. I often felt like one of H.G. Wells' Morlocks. On the few occasions I did surface, I would head for one of the many parks in the city or maybe even for a seaside town .
For those of you unfamiliar with an English seaside town of twenty something years ago, allow me to give you a short description.
The attached beach would have two very different generations on display. The younger group consisted of skinny, milk bottle white young men in speedos and their accompanying girlfriends lying topless on towels, (usually borrowed bath towels from the guest houses where they where staying.) The girls would be smothered in suntan oil, trying desperately to get a tan from the weak sun intermittently peeking out from between the threatening rain clouds. The young men would kick a football about while drinking warm Carlsberg beer, (It was always Carlsberg) from a can. This would cause a chorus of profanities from the oil covered girls as they desperately tried to scrape the sand from themselves. It would also bring about threats of violence from the families on the beach as they would be shaking sand from their pies and sandwiches they where eating. English people for some reason always bring vast quantities of food with them to the beach. The football playing would stop every so often so the young men could pick up one of the young ladies and throw her in the sea. This would cause much laughter, screaming and yet again another string of profanities.
The second group was that of the older generation. They headed for the beach not so much for the sun but to get fresh air in their lungs. Many where from the city and it has been a long held belief in England that the sea air had healing properties. The women in this group would rarely take off any of their clothes, as the very thought of exposing naked skin was "Quite unnecessary". The men would roll their trouser pants up to the knees, strip off their shirts but opt to leave on their string vests. This, if they did get sun exposure left a very strange pattern on their chests and backs. Some men who where either bald or balding would wear a knotted handkerchief on their heads to prevent burning . The idea of putting on sunblock or even wearing a hat didn't seam to occur to them.
The seaside town would be full of people either walking about eating Ice cream, newspaper wrapped fish and chips or pickled shell fish floating in vinegar from a glass jar (strange but true). At the end of the day the pubs would be very busy. No A/C existed in the pubs.The sweaty, semi clad young men continued to drink their pints of carslberg alongside the same families that had earlier threatened them with violence. As the kids drank Coke from a bottle and ate packets of crisps, their dads would blatantly flirt with the young ladies. The mums would unwrap yet more sandwiches from their bags, handing these now warm and wilting offerings to the children as well as the ever-hungry young men. All is forgiven, and everyone has had a jolly good day!
Chris' notes: We had some absolutely incredible weather to usher in the spring here in Salem, and those tropical, fruity, rum-laced, "boat-drinks" are foremost on the minds of the educated panel of researchers and our knowledgeable conspirator, toastmaster, and mixologist, Joe.
Joe proceeded to show us why he is known amongst the Hekawi Tribe of the American Southwest as "Dances With Liquors," and whipped us up a local favorite and an early creation of his shortly after coming to Salem on the Mayflower.
The Salem Sunrise is a very rich, and thick drink, thanks primarily to the Mango and other juices, and the flavored rums, but the Dark Rum on top adds just the right balance. This is truly a warm weather masterpiece of a drink, (and will no doubt rock this summer!) and a great way to usher in the changing of the seasons!