A few weeks ago, when it was still sweltering hot in Madrid, I did a little survey to find out what people thought were the most refreshing summer drinks. Unsurprisingly, the winner was ice-cold beer.... I say 'unsurprisingly' because everyone goes on about how refreshing beer is, but actually, for me, beer is probably one of the last things I'd want on a hot (or cold) day. All I want when it's warm is Coca Cola (not Pepsi), I guess you could just say that I don't 'get' beer, in the same way that some people don't get wine. In fact I'd never really drunk beer until I came to live in Madrid. It's not that the beer here is particularly good (I know so little about beer, that I don't even have the right to judge good vs. bad beer, though some of that German stuff made of wheat does seem to taste quite nice). No, I started dabbling in beer/lager (don't even know the difference) because beer here is basically tiny. It's served in dolls-house sized glasses known as cañas, and frankly I can finish one before I even realise you I¡m consuming 'the evil grain'. Another reason was that matching my friends drink for drink on wines vs. cañas was not a good idea, plus their diminutive size means you can finish cañas while they are still cold and before they warm up and get that lagery taste I can't stand. Anyway, summer is almost over, and with it my beer drinking (which amounted to about 2 cañas this summer). Today is San Miguel, known in Madrid for a phenomenon called 'veranito de San Miguel' (little summer of San Miguel) where the march forth into autumnal weather is interrupted by a few days of Madrileño hell-summer. The Veranito dissappears as quickly as it arrives, as do the cañas (at least for me) - and with the beer, go refreshing summer cocktails like mojitos, and a we can give a warm welcome back to full-bodies red wines, port, Christmas brandy and best of all hot chocolate. Autumn rocks!