Yesterday was, mercifully, considerably cooler than the previous days. Still, it was brutally hot and I stayed home to fend off a hideous case of the sniffles with some intensely spicy noodle soup and a huge tumbler of fruited iced tea. Need I mention that the latter is almost ridiculously simple to make? Put three tablespoons of instant iced tea into a large tumbler and dilute with 1/4 cup of your juice of choice; fill up with ice-cold water. (Fontana Cranberry or Sour Cherry juices are wonderful, and freshly squeezed ponkan [Mandarin orange] juice is a real pleasure.)
Since we’re still on the subject of cool drinks to beat the heat, who can say no to any of these gorgeous coolers?
Want a bit of an alcoholic kick to get your summer partying started? Then the vanilla mudslide at Cafe Xocolat ought to wet your whistle. This sinfully creamy vanilla milkshake is shot through with Bailey’s Irish Cream.
The original Razon’s in Guagua, Pampanga makes a halo-halo that is sheer genius in its simplicity. All you mix with the ice and milk are caramelly saba bananas, shreds of macapuno, and slices of a leche flan that can spell the end of any attempt to diet. (Well, I wasn’t planning to don a bikini anytime soon, so it’s okay.) The resulting slush is more of a smoothie than anything else and goes down your throat very easily. While the halo-halo is a treat enough on its own, Razon’s enthusiasts think it tastes best when paired with the equally famous pancit luglog, their take on pancit palabok.
Remember the lemongrass iced tea from the previous post? Here’s a pain-free way of making it at home: lemongrass syrup from Geo Farms. Available at most major supermarkets, this concentrated delight makes a wonderful alternative to other commercial iced teas. One other tip: splodge a bit of the syrup over gloriously plain vanilla ice cream for a taste sensation.
If you’re the bookish sort, then you’ll probably be chilling out (literally!) at The Java Man at Powerbooks (either the one at SM Megamall or at Powerbooks Live! at Greenbelt). They make an almond mocha cooler that’s great for sipping whilst browsing through the tomes. Oh, and their apple pie is mighty good, too!
Who in their right minds would say no to classic halo-halo? This magnificently baroque delight has helped generations of Filipinos chill out during the horrendous summer months. Layer upon layer of sweet goodness is heaped into every glass: macapuno shreds, candied kaong [palm fruit], colorful gelatine, halayang ube [ube jam], leche flan, nata de coco, plus sweetened confections made with bananas, sweet potatoes, jackfruit, and beans are all topped with crushed ice and a splash of evaporated milk. In some cases, a scoop of ube ice cream and a sprinkling of pinipig (pounded and toasted rice; like rice crispies but flatter) will make the whole glassful a swoon-worthy affair.
Finally, from our neighbors in Vietnam: caphe sua da. Best described as a java-holic’s ultimate summer caffeine rush, this delicious treat involves strong coffee brewed directly into a glass of sweet condensed milk and served over ice. If this doesn’t keep you awake through the drowsiness-inducing heat, I don’t know what will.
With all these refreshments at hand, I’m sure that you’ll be able to manage the unbearable summer months. (And Lord-only-knows how much we need ’em; the weather bureau says May is going to be a dreadful scorcher.)