Spring is sprung!

The calendar says spring is three weeks away. Here in Central Florida, though, it’s here in spirit if not fact…(or temperature, if not fact). Highs in the mid-70s are predicted for all week, which makes it just about perfect weather for anything.

Having said that, now what?

Well, since it’s too beautiful to stay indoors more than necessary, how about a grill-out with friends and family? Or celebrate the last week of Mardi Gras, with rum drinks. Try this lighter version of a Painkiller: 1 1/2  oz dark rum, 1 1/2 oz coconut rum over ice in a shaker. Add equal parts orange and pineapple juice. Want it a little creamier in taste (a real Painkiller has cream of coconut in it)? Pick up some pineapple/orange/banana juice at the supermarket. Shake well, and strain into an old-fashioned glass. You can also top it with an extra splash of coconut rum for a more tropical taste. If you want to put a little more effort, blend in a blender instead of a shaker, then top with freshly grated nutmeg. Add some beach music and entertain yourself by watching the weather report from Chicago from poolside.

Toss some freshly peeled shrimp with a bit of lime juice, salt, and red pepper flakes, then grill. You can roast some asparagus alongside it to get your veggies in (toss the asparagus with a little olive oil and some very basic salt and freshly ground pepper). Serve with a crisp sauvignon blanc or a lighter beer such as a pilsner.

Or…well, there are a hundred ways to enjoy this weather–so pick your favorite, or try something new, but just get out there before it’s too hot to have fun!

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