May 23, 2023

Four Fun Things in May

Sonia Thompson

Here are a few of our favorite things from around town and around the web this month, including tips on how best to light your outdoor space, a new local brewery, why bird songs are good for your health, and a summer cocktail recipe made with a Mississippi gin.

Light up an outdoor space with these helpful tips from The New York Times (photo by Charles Mayer for The New York Times)

1. Light It Up
The New York Times says "forget the floodlights. The key to effectively illuminating your yard or patio at night is subtlety." This summer, in order to make the most of your outdoor space, focus on warm, gentle light; consider the views from inside; use uplighting on specific trees, plantings or sculptural features; and illuminate pathways.

Oxford's first microbrewery opens this fall (photo courtesy Circle and Square Brewing).

2. Cheers to Craft Beer
Opening in the fall of 2023, Circle and Square Brewery will be Oxford's first microbrewery, serving craft beer, hearty bites and great company. Currently under construction at 100 Depot Street, it will be located behind the historic Oxford Depot, halfway between the Circle and the Square.

New studies suggest the sound of bird songs are good for mental health (photo by Stephen Kirkpatrick).

3. Bird Brain
New research shows that birds and their songs are good for our mental health. Birds are a way to connect with nature, which is associated with better body and brain health. One hypothesis on nature’s salubrious effects, known as the attention restoration theory, posits that being in nature is good for improving concentration and decreasing the mental fatigue associated with living in stressful urban environments. Natural stimuli, such as birdsong, may allow us to engage in “soft fascination,” which holds our attention but also allows it to replenish.

A Watermelon Man cocktail made with Wonderbird gin, photographed by Houston Cofield.

4. Watermelon Sugar High
Summer brings a bounty of watermelon across the south, and the folks at Wonderbird Spirits have a suggestion about how to turn those juicy slices into the perfect summer drink.

Watermelon Man
2 oz Wonderbird Spirits Gin No 61
1 oz. fresh watermelon juice (muddle some if you don’t have a juicer)
0.5 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1 slice jalapeno
Mint sprig
0.5 tsp agave syrup
Ball of watermelon (use a melon scoop) for garnish

Add all ingredients into a shaking tin, muddle the jalapeno and mint lightly, add ice, then shake and strain into a coupe. Garnish with a ball of watermelon.

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