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Don’t you just love a summer cocktail at the beach!

Here are my four suggestions from four of my favorite countries:

Pimm’s: My latest discovery! A delicious English 25% alcohol similar to gin and served with “lemonade” (or the generic name the English use for Sprite, 7up and ginger ale) and chopped cucumber, orange, strawberry, and mint. Order it at any pub! Refreshing and citrusy! I might have gotten a bottle for myself from London 😉 What’s the time? It’s Pimm’s o’clock!

Sangria : Typical for Spain and Portugal, but also for Boston’s Newbury street, with red wine, rum, apples, oranges, lemon, strawberries or also with white wine, melon, and pineapple.

Mastika/Ouzo: These are respectively the Bulgarian and Greek version of a 40% liquor made of mastic, a Mediterranean tree. These drinks are served as a digestif and have a very distinctive liquorice sweet smell and taste. The best part is that they turn milky white when you mix them with ice or water because they “crystallize”.  In Bulgaria, we love Mastika mixed with Menta, a mint liquor (this cocktail is called Cloud) as well as taken with watermelon (or together with girls with watermelon bras)!  In Greece, they have Ouzo with mezze such as octopus, zucchini, and calamari. I’m sure that men can tell you the difference between the two, but I’m not that good!

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Goran Bregovic‘s performance at the Balkan Music Awards 2011 took place in Alexander Batemberg Square in Sofia and  finished an hour ago!

The Balkan Music Awards featured performances by top singers from Greece, Serbia, Romania, Turkey, Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Bulgaria . There was also a stage appearance by the queen of roma music and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Esma Redzhepova.

The concert culminated with the sounds of the enigmatic Balkan musician Goran Bregovic and his Weddings and Funerals Orchestra! His first song was called “Presidente, halo!” and the second, a collaboration between him and Gypsy Kings, “Balkanjeros”.  The entire crowd went wild! Everyone was dancing! It was a true celebration of the Balkan spirit!

However, the event didn’t go entirely perfect. Only minutes before Goran Bregovic came up on stage and announced that he was dedicating his pieces to his beloved roma people, a fight between roma and Bulgarian boys had erupted near where I stood. I don’t know which gang provoked the conflict, and luckily the police intervened (although with quite a delay), but it was still very unpleasant to see signs of ethnic tension during a show that was meant to unite the peoples from the Balkans.

Keep making your music Goran because it transcends differences and connects people!

This video is not from tonight, but this is the Balkanjeros song, so enjoy!

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