By Stephanie Burt
St. Simons Island, GA is a place where the pace of the tides still matter, where bike rides on shady lanes and backyard parties are much more common than traffic jams and nights on the town. That town, a true small town, is in fact, just the reason Nick and Beth Richardson relocated their family from Macon, GA. to this particular part of the Southeastern coast. They wanted their home to be an easier drive to family in Tampa and Savannah, they were longing to embrace coastal life, and they felt that the island would be just the place to raise their three girls. And they bought a Sea Island Forge Kettle as a housewarming gift to themselves to celebrate their new family chapter.
“We’re probably out there once, twice a week around the kettle,” Nick says. “We use it mainly as a fire pit, and it’s more of a communal spot.”
Although at the moment he is isolating with his family at home, he’s excited to get back to the point the girls: ages 4, 7, and 8 can have friends over to roast hot dogs and make s’mores over the fire. Their hot dog recipe is a classic one -- just skewer one and then hold over the fire until hot and the skin is bubbling -- but Nick likes to extend the party to the adults too, mixing up cocktails while the kids cook the weiners or play in the backyard.
His go-to is a Southeastern golf clubhouse standby known as the Transfusion, a couldn’t-be-easier concoction of vodka, Fresca and a dash of Welch’s grape juice. It reminds him of great days on the courses, and nights settling into the childhood he wanted for his children and the social pace he and his wife enjoy. And although it might be a little unconventional, it goes great with a side of s’mores.
1 ½ oz. Tito’s vodka
Splash of Welch’s grape juice
Lime wedge for garnish
Fill a rocks glass with ice, then build the drink by adding vodka and grape juice, then top with Fresca and garnish with a lime.