Nearly every year I enjoy a holiday with my sisters and our mum – a week or two somewhere warm with no children or men’s tantrums to spoil our time together. Over the years we have created our own traditions on holiday, one being on our last night when we always imbibe in a cocktail or two.
This started some 12 years ago on the Greek island of Kos, where we found a lovely little taverna right on the beach front. We dined there most evenings. On our last night, they really indulged us by letting us sample many different cocktails “on the house”. We have since become quite the little experts on what makes or breaks a good cocktail. Most we come across are vodka based but we much prefer the whisky ones, the Manhattans and Whisky Sours, Rusty Nails and Earthquakes. And so what if scarlet cocktail cherries are a bit twee and old hat; I like them.
Cocktails, as you probably know, are usually served decorated with a fancy cocktail stick, normally those little paper umbrellas, but over the years we have come across such an assortment it has now also become tradition to keep these as souvenirs. A silly little thing, I know, but I only have to look at my collection, especially on a cold, wet day, like today, to be instantly transported back to lovely times in the sun. I couldn’t tell you which stick came from where, but that doesn’t matter, it’s the memory they create that is the important part – reminders of valuable, precious time together.
As four women abroad unaccompanied by men or kids, we have always been looked after just that little bit more than ordinary couples or family groups in restaurants and bars. Always given the best table, that extra special bit of attention over service: “You have meze while you wait, is on zee ’ouse”. A free bottle of wine or dessert, extra treats served with drinks, the additional refill of the complimentary local liqueur. And they all make an extra fuss of our mother, now a grand old lady of 86. This was particularly true in Cyprus a few years ago. Obviously by treating us well they hoped we would return, which we did as it was a lovely restaurant, good entertainment and superb Greek food – none of the burger and chips on the menu that all the other eateries in the town had to offer. When it came to cocktails on our final evening, they spared nothing when it came to the quantities of drinks or the adornments served by our special waiter, with those words: “is all free, compliment of manager for you lovely laydees!”
On last year’s summer holiday it was just myself and one of my sisters, and her daughter. We chilled out for a week in an adults only hotel, all inclusive. This included the cocktails, which we partook every day, sampling their “cocktail of the day”. We were disappointed. All the drinks, with the exception of in the dining room, were served in plastic glasses and no trimmings. No slice of lemon or orange, no cherry, no fancy cocktail stick. It just wasn’t the same.
Ah well, at least the four of us have this year’s holiday to look forward to. I wonder what will come in my cocktail this time.
Do you have any traditions you keep on holiday? I’d love to hear what they are.