Raising the bar: cheers to the longest day

Despite the gradual easings of the pandemic restrictions around the world, it is unlikely that on 20 June 2021 there will be too many people travelling from abroad to Amesbury, which is in Wiltshire in the United Kingdom.

Traditionally, however, people have headed to the standing stones at Stonehenge on the first day of summer for nearly 5,000 years to celebrate the summer solstice, or longest day of the year.

There and then the giant stones — which were transported to the site over a series of phases hundreds of years apart — align with the sun in a way that it beams down on the central altar stone on this day alone.

Coming from the Latin for the sun(sol) and to stand still (sistere), this astronomical event is not, as one might have thought, the day when we are closest to the sun, but rather the day when Earth’s 23-degree tilt causes the Northern Hemisphere to be faced as much toward the sun as it gets. Concurrently, it is the Southern Hemisphere’s shortest day.

Neither is it the earliest dawn, nor the latest sunset — both of these occur a few days before and after respectively — and the hottest days of the year typically won't appear for several more weeks, or, as it is in Cayman's case, until early August.

The solstice does however mark the astronomical beginning of summer for the Northern Hemisphere, which is ironic as it is also around the time of midsummer celebrations that are prevalent throughout northern Europe and Scandinavia.

Shakespeare’s play, "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," tells of the faerie-folk who come from their world to ours at this magical time, and herbal remedies are supposedly more effective if the herbs are gathered then.

Having a long day with a lot of history, tradition and, of course, sunlight, begs the eternal question: "What should we drink in celebration of this longest of days?'

Well, I may be biased, however I think Coccoloba at Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa on Seven Mile Beach is one of the best places to watch any sunset, and the "Mezcal Sunrise" served there will work wonders as a long, luscious, slightly smoky sipper any time of the day and any time of the year.

Here's how to make one for your own summer solstice celebration.

Mezcal Sunrise

1.5 ounces Los Vecinos Espadin Mezcal
0.25 ounces Cassis
0.25 ounces pomegranate cordial
0.75 ounces fresh lime juice
Soda water

In a hurricane or other tall glass, add all ingredients except soda water to shaker with cubed ice. Shake and strain over fresh cubed ice. Top with soda water and garnish with an orange slice and a lime wheel.

Jim Wrigley is the beverage manager at Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa.


This article appears in print in the June 2021 edition of Camana Bay Times.