This is the first of a series about the essentials to make summer fun no matter your circumstances.
The summer this year will be for ever known as the “Cootie Bug Summer.” Ok… maybe I’m the only one who is going to call that, but we’ll see. In any case, this summer will be different than any other summer ever.
But!!!! I’m not going to let summer get away. I live for summer, and no matter what, I’m going to make the most of this one. I don’t care where you live or what your situation is, you should do the same.
So what is essential? Well if you know me, it’s going to be fun in the sun… at the beach, at the pool, on the patio, back porch or maybe just in the back yard. It doesn’t take much to make me happy. Just a warm sunny day and a frozen concoction to help me hang on.
Before I get to the 10 essentials, I have to start out with what may be more important than anything else. And if I didn’t mention this one, a certain person out there in the Peanut Gallery would shoot me.
You must… MUST protect yourself from the sun. I know… that tan may look great, and if you’re over 90 years old, then go for it. You’ve lived a nice long life and the danger of MELANOMA doesn’t scare you anymore. But if you’re younger than that, then SUNSCREEN is a must. At least SPF a zillion.
Besides saving your life, there is another upside to sunscreen. You can ask some on to rub it on your back… and other places. Now that’s what I would call a great first day of summer. Here’s my favorite… Coppertone Sport. It’s my favorite for a lot of reasons but mostly because I love the smell. It just smells like summer. You can get it in SPFs from 15 to 100. I’m linking you to 100 because I love you. Don’t leave home without it.
(By the way… for each of the images that follow, if you click on the image, you will be taken to Amazon.com for more information.)
OK… now on to the must have things for summer.
Summer Essential # 1 – MARGARITAS
You knew that was going to be at the top of the list didn’t you? But of course. It would not be summer without Margaritas. But they have to be made correctly. In a minute, I’ll give you my Kokomo Man’s magic formula for the best Margaritas on earth. But first, you need all the stuff to make them. Most important if you are going to make that frozen concoction to help you hang on is Jummy Buffets Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker.
I have a genuine Margaritaville Concoction maker which is shown below. But it is pricey so there is a suitable sub almost as good. The only reason I have the second one is it is a very good blender and I have used it for Margaritas when I had both going for a hot summer pool party. So here they both are:
To make your Margarita MMMMM-MMMMM good, you’ve got to start with the tequila. Nothing but Patron. Some folks say I don’t need the good tequila when mixing it with all the other stuff. Perhaps they’re right if that’s all you are going to do. But it’s Kokomo Island Law that the person making a batch of Margaritas has to take a shot to be sure everything is good. So, Patron it is.
The next ingrediant needed is Trippe Sec. Brand isn’t important, but don’t leave this out. It’s part of what makes Kokomo Man’s Margaritas so good.
I don’t make my own lime mix. There’s no need when there’s the Cuervo mix. Even though I would only use Jose Cuervo tequila in an emergency, I won’t use anything else for a mixer… nuf said.
Now… here’s the secret ingredient. Shhhhhh don’t tell anyone. Agave syrup. One day I was shopping and came across a bottle of agave syrup. I’m not even sure why I bought it, but I figgured since tequila is made from the agave plant, the syrup must be good. In reality it’s a natural sweetener, but I thought I would try it out in a Margarita. I haven’t stopped using it since.
So… here’s the recipe for Kokomo Man’s Magnificent Margarita…. a K-MMM. I should mention that this isn’t one of those little wimpy 8oz Margaritas with 8oz ice you get at your local watering hole. This is for a Kokomo Man size Margarita. If you want one of those wimpy ones, then cut the ingredients in half. Or multiply as necessary for a party
- 2 Shots of Patron Silver
- 1 Shot of Triple Sec.
- 8 Shots of Cuervo Margarita Mix
- 1 tsp Agave syrup
If you do the math, that’s a bit over 16oz of liquid. I never measure precisely on any of this stuff… especially the Agave syrup. But this gives you the approximate ratios. Don’t get carried away with any of the booze. If you want a little more booze, then just do a shot of tequila before having your first big drink of the Margarita.
You’ve got two ways to go. You can make a frozen concoction to help you hang on, or drink it on the rocks. I suppose you could make just one frozen drink if you wanted to, but I usually make a batch. If you’ve got the Jimmy Buffet frozen concoction maker, just follow the directions for the ice, pour in all the ingredients, and press the button. Presto-chango and out come frozen concoctions.
If you’ be got the blender like the one I showed above, loosely fill it with ice cubes up to about the 50oz mark. Don’t add too much ice. You can add more later if you need to thicken it up. Then go with 3 times the recipe from above and add in a little extra agave. Pour in the booze and stuff, and turn on the blender. Pour yourself a big glass and welcome to brain-freeze.
As for me, I prefer it on the rocks. Get a big glass… quart Mason jar or something you can put a lid on. Put in some ice and then pour in the Patron, and Triple sec first. Then pour everything else in, put a lid on and give it a shake. This really isn’t thought of as a shaken drink but this gets everything mixed up well. There’s nothing I hate worse than a Margarita with the ingredients just poured in and served with a straw.
After you give it a couple of shakes, you can just drink it from the Mason jar. I’ve been known to do that. However… you really need to have a set of Margarita glasses for company. I always use salt on the glass but suit yourself on this one. Put only a little ice in the glass since the Margarita liquid in the Mason jar is already cold. Use an ice strainer to pour only the liquid from the Mason jar into the glass. There’s nothing worse than melted ice watering down a perfectly good Margarita.
Even though you could go through the summer drinking your Margaritas from a Mason jar, here’s a nice set of proper Margarita glasses. By proper I mean the right shape and most importantly… 16oz.
Now that I’ve finished writing this part… it’s time for a Margarita. I’ll be back in a little while.
Summer Essential # 2 – TUNES
What would summer be without the music to go along with it. If you have the right music with you, it doesn’t matter where you are. Play a little island music, and even a blanket spread out in the middle of the Mojave Desert becomes a tropical paradise. So what’s my first pick for music. Surely you didn’t have to ask… and don’t call me Shirley.
This version of Kokomo isn’t performed by the Beach Boys, but it’s as good. (If you didn’t look at the name on the cover and I didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t know it wasn’t the Beach Boys. That said, for the summer sound, you must have some Beach Boys. this is my pick. This has 30 of the Beach Boys all-time favorites. I don’t care who your or what age you are, these are some of the best summer tunes ever. For only 7 bucks for the CD or less than 12 bucks for the MP3s, this will have you hangin’ ten in your back yard.
I should mention that clicking on any of these album will take you to Amazon. It will open up in another window. Click on the “sample” and listen to some of the tunes while you come back here to read on.
There’ a few more “must-have” albums. You knew I wouldn’t go without a little Buffett did you. Here are two of his more than twenty CDs. The first one has all his well-known stuff and a few of his more unusual songs only true ParrotHeads know. The second one is a concert replay. Be careful though… you could become a ParrotHead and there’s no coming back from that.
This next suggestion could really be a dozen or more CDs. A while back, Carnival (yeah, the cruise folks) created the “Carnival Steel Drum Band.” Even though I don’t think the band still exists, they created more than twelve albums. With any of these albums, a blow-up pool… along with a Margarita… will become the cove of some tropical island.
I almost forgot to mention… Carnival’s Vol 1 has the “Banana Boat Song.” If you’ve followed me for any time, you know that I say the sail-away day of any cruise isn’t really day #1. That’s because the sail-away isn’t till late in the afternoon. Therefore, sail-away day is Day 0… “Day Oh”
You could download all the summer tunes and put them on your smart phone, i-thing or other MP-3 player… put on your headphones or ear buds… get lost in the music. That could take you to your own private Caribbean island… in your head. And that would be fine. As for me, I want to share it with everyone on the beach. That takes a BoomBox.
Start cranking out any of the tunes I’ve listed and you will have people join in. I know.. these days strangers can’t get too close, but with a little imagination you could have a beach party with folks that walk by. I am always amazed at how many people will join in a sing-along or do a little dance to the beach music.
Or maybe a block-beach-party with folks in your neighborhood. Just don’t go blasting out everything late at night. This summer, people are looking for a little something to put a smile on their face. So maybe you’re going to be the one with a boom-box and a few Margaritas (in a disposable paper glass of course.) If you don’t already have a boombox here’s a few things to consider.
- Don’t get a massive stereo system. Yeah, they may claim to be portable, but remember, unless you are never going to leave your back porch, then you are going to have to carry this thing. And if you are walking across one of those magnificent deep sand beaches, then you don’t want to be worn out before you get there. Besides, modern boomboxes do an amazing job in small packages.
- Get a Bluetooth model. That way you can put the tunes on your phone and take them with you anywhere. And with the online subscription services like Sirus/XM you can have any tunes you want and play them on your boombox.
- Think about getting something waterproof or at least water-resistant. You are going to be at the beach or pool-party… or out by your blow-up pool. So something that can withstand a little water… or Margarita may work well for you.
There are a ton of boomboxes to choose from. Here’s the one I bought. It checks all the boxes and didn’t break the bank.
Here’s another one I have. It’s just a small one. I take this one with me everywhere… especially on cruises, because it’s easy to pack. It’s not loud enough to entertain everybody at the beach or a large pool party, but it will do a good job for friends around a picnic table and stuff like that. It really is waterproof too. Mine has been dunked in the Caribbean more than once and it still works just fine.
My next post will continue with the essentials for summer. I chose these first two because even if you don’t read anymore, you’ve got the two most essential things… frozen concoctions to help you hang on and beach tunes. For now I’ll leave you with one more item. Even though it’s not really essential, you would be surprised how much fun friends can have with Margaritas, beach tunes, and… a blow-up pool.
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