We have had hardly any heat on the coast this year, living instead in day after day of cool overcast weather that calls to mind the jokes about English summers. The temperature means that when a man wants fresh air to accompany his book, cocktail and cigar, it is necessary to bundle up a bit, and this particular afternoon called for a linen cardigan sweater.
The book, Don Bartlett's English translation of Jo Nesbø's The Redbreast (HarperCollins 2007), is a not-very-moderate piece of Euro-noir that was voted the best Norwegian crime novel ever written. The cigar was a Robusto from somewhere in the Caribbean and, despite the lack of sunshine, the cocktail was a concoction that might be thought of as adult lemonade. That is to say it was comprised of lemonade and a shot or two of Rémy Martin Accord Royale 1738 cognac. Technically a VSOP, though it is 65% grande champagne where the Rémy VSOP is 55% (the XO is 85%), the 1738 mixes into a fine summer drink. Even when there is a decided shortage of summer weather.