I don’t know about the rest of you, but where I lived it was a long, cold winter followed by a very dreary spring. We saw a lot of the kind of weather that makes a cocktail fan long for mulled wine, spiced rum, cider drinks, and anything else that can bring a little warmth to the party. Now, at long last, we’re starting to see some nice days! It’s a welcome change, and it’s a good time to break out the list of summer drinks: refreshing cocktails that are made to be sipped while sitting on the back porch and watching fireflies dance through the air.
To that end, I’ve put together a list of great drinks, and then broke it up into three categories: long drinks – cocktails which are served over ice in tall glasses and usually contain a great deal of fruit juices or soda water (or both), rocks drinks – served over ice but with a greater concentration of alcohol in a shorter glass, and straight up or “neat” drinks – those which are shaken and strained into a traditional cocktail glass. We’ll be splitting these up into three articles, one per drink style, and first up on the list we have the long drinks. Here are four delicious options guaranteed to help cool down the hot summer days ahead of us.
Let’s start out with a drink that’s near and dear to my heart – my entry into Tanqueray’s “Best T&T” contest, which happened to take home the grand prize! It’s a spin on the Gin & Tonic, with some additional ingredients to add flavor complexity, and a nod to British tradition.
- 1.25 oz. Tanqueray Gin
- .75 oz. Dry Vermouth
- .5 oz. Lime Juice
- 1 bar spoon Orange Marmalade
- 1 dash Regan’s Orange Bitters
Fill a collins glass with ice cubes and set aside. Combine first five ingredients in a shaker with cracked or crushed ice and shake vigorously. Strain into the collins glass, top with tonic water, stir gently and garnish with an orange peel (flaming optional) and a lime.
Dark & Stormy
This classic drink’s combination of ginger beer and rum is a great way to beat the summer heat. For authenticity, make sure you find a strong dark rum like Myer’s or Goslings, and if you like a little more of a citrus kick, try muddling an extra lime wedge or two with the rum. The real key to a perfect Dark & Stormy, however, is selecting an authentic Caribbean ginger beer that has a solid kick to it.
- 2 oz. Dark Rum
- 3-5 oz. Ginger Beer
- 1 Lime Wedge
Fill a collins glass with ice. Add rum and ginger beer. Squeeze the lime wedge over the top, drop it in, and stir gently. I like to add orange bitters to my Dark & Stormies, but as it’s not an official part of the drink, I’ve left it out of the ingredients list.
The British have invented many great things: Harry Potter, cask ale, and shortbread cookies among them. One of their lesser-known but highly enjoyable concoctions is the Pimm’s Cup No. 1 – which is the name of both the liqueur and the cocktail you make with it. This drink is citrusy, herbal, and refreshing. It’s also low-alcohol, so you can drink without trepidation, and easy to make.
- 2 oz. Pimm’s Cup Liqueur
- 5-6 oz. Sparkling Lemonade (or lemon/lime soda in a pinch)
- 2 Mint leaves
- 2 Cucumber Slices
Muddle one mint leaf and one cucumber slice in the bottom of a collins glass. Fill glass with cracked ice. Add liqueur and sparkling lemonade, stir gently, and garnish with the remaining mint and cucumber.
One doesn’t normally think of gin as a base liquor for tropical drinks, but the botanicals in many brands play quite nicely with citrus and other fruit flavors. This is one of my earlier cocktail creations, but I’m still fond of it. If you don’t want to muddle fresh ginger, try a teaspoon or so of Ginger Juice instead!
- 3 oz. Pineapple Juice
- 2 oz. Gin
- 1 oz. Curaçao
- 1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp. Fresh Ginger (roughly chopped)
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
Fill a Collins glass with cracked ice. Muddle ginger in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add other ingredients and top with ice. Shake vigorously to combine and strain into the collins glass. Garnish with a pineapple slice and a maraschino cherry.