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Taking this out for a Spin -- Summer Cocktails

Ooh! A spirits board!

So, as the weather gets hot, apparently everywhere in the U.S. (according to the L.A. Times weather map today) does anyone have any suggestions of fantastic summer cocktails? I drink vinho verde and corona until the cows come home, but I guess that's another forum. I get a little tired of gin and tonics.

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  1. Been drinking Absolut Citron and tonics, with a lime quarter all afternoon today, Mmmmmmmmm.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ChinoWayne

      One of the cooks at work loves absolut ruby red with tonic. I don't drink vodka much, but it was pretty good.

    2. I suggest:

      --French 75
      --Mojito (as cliche as it has become, it's a great summer drink)
      --Caiparinha (see Mojito)
      --Something with Campari
      --My husband suggests the Dr. Funk cocktail for summer. Recipe:
      --Mai tai, scorpions, and all those other Polynesiana/Trader Vics-ian drinks

      1. Beyond G+Ts, I default to Campari and soda or Stone's Original Ginger Wine and soda, the former ideally with a squeeze of orange and the latter with lime, though I can be too lazy to add either, if it's that kid of day (or i can cheat and buy lime seltzer for my Stone's). I also like Lillet blond with soda (it's too sweet for me to drink straight).

        Those are my easy outs, when I jut want something tall and cold to sip...like right now!

        I love anything ginger, and I have two favorite ginger cocktails from restaurants in NYC (and luckily, the recipes for them), the ginger (gin) and tonic from Gramercy Tavern and the Lime Drop (with gin and ginger) from Tabla that are great for summer when the heat lets up enough that I want to do more than open two bottles.

        1. I'm getting a little into the Pisco Sours lately...


          1. Ya know what I like this time of year: A portonic. Equal parts of white port and tonic water over ice, with a wedge of lemon or lime.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Joe Blowe

              I just discovered something very similar, and I'm now addicted: tall glass, ice, half filled with red wine, half with Sprite (I've been using diet--I know, but you can't tell), wedge of lemon or lime. It's actually a lot better than it sounds.

              1. re: ITurnedOutTV

                That sounds like the Original Wine Cooler. I believe it was originally concocted by river rats somewhere off the Colorado River...

            2. Waaaay back in the day when I was a swabby, sweating it out at a naval radio station in the middle of the Panamanian jungle I kept a quart of Seagrams VO and a case of Squirt next to my bunk for my drinking pleasure.

              1. You want a Pegu Club Cocktail. It's the perfect refresher when it's 110 in the shade and you just want something to put the kick back in your step. You might notice that this is very similar to the classic Margarita, made with gin and Angostura bitters

                1-1/2 ounces gin
                1/2 ounce triple sec
                1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
                2 dashes Angostura bitters

                Shake well over ice, strain, garnish with a lime twist.

                Another splendid summer cocktail is the classic Mai Tai a la Trader Vic's. Trust me, you haven't actually had a real Mai Tai unless you have been to Trader Vic's. There is no pineapple juice in a Mai Tai. In fact, there is no juice aside from fresh lime juice. And for heaven's sake, there is no grenadine in a Mai Tai. It is truly a splendid concoction.

                1 ounce gold rum
                1 ounce dark rum
                1/2 ounce orange curaƧao
                3/4 ounce orgeat syrup
                1 ounce fresh lime juice

                Shake all ingredients with ice and strain over crushed ice in a double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a spent lime half and a mint sprig (and if you want to be really authentic, a pineapple chunk and maraschino cherry on a spear).

                My last favorite is the british classic Pimm's Cup. There's really no way to describe the taste of Pimm's; it's a little herbal, a little fruity, with gin sneaking around somewhere beneath. The nice thing about Pimm's is that it's low in alcohol, so you can quaff it all afternoon without keeling over. It's certainly easy to mix, just mix 1 part Pimm's with 2 parts 7-Up over ice, and give it a gentle stir. Garnish with a mint sprig and cucumber spear, if you like.

                6 Replies
                1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                  Love the Pegu! At Aziza Restaurant in San Francisco, which has a marvelous and creative cocktail menu, they've got a delicious (though not at all low-alcohol) drink called the Cucumber Fresca. They muddle up cucumbers for their juice, then add Pimm's and Hendrick's gin, which is infused with cucumber, and probably add a little citrus. It's wonderful, but for sipping, not quaffing all afternoon!

                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    You have no idea how glad I am to hear someone else loves the Pegu. It is a magnificent cocktail, and just about every bartender I know has never, ever heard of the thing. If I ever come across one who does, I'll be an instant regular.

                    And that Cucumber Fresca sounds like a great way to make a high-test Pimm's Cup. For citrus I'd follow the original recipe and go with a splash of 7-Up... but likely not as much as with classic Pimm's Cup.

                    1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                      You know, I don't remember where I first learned of of the Pegu, but I know it was something I read about, and it sounded about perfect to me (I've never had one at a bar, by the way). Anything with Cointreau or grand Marnier, and I'm there. and I'm a gin girl, vs. vodka.

                      Someone mentioned upthread the French 75, which is another great gin cocktail for summer. My first one was a variation which I think has spoiled me for the simpler original. It had Grand Marnier in addition to gin, lemon juice, and Champagne.

                      As for the Cucumber Fresca, I think they must just add a squeeze of lime. The last time I was there, i had I was there, I had a white rum drink with lemon verbena, spearmint, and chrysanthemum the was delicious. They're almost always cited on the SF board as one of the places with the best and most interesting cocktails around. here's a link to their menu: http://www.aziza-sf.com/cocktails.html

                      1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                        I first had a Pegu at the Bemelmans Bar in NYC. If you're ever in New York, the bartender from the Bemelmans Bar (which is a must-visit -- it's a perfect slice of Old New York) has opened her own place on Houston, I believe called .... The Pegu Club.

                        1. re: Amuse Bouches

                          Ya, know, I just spent ten years in Manhattan (moved away less than a year ago), and never made it to the Bemelmans bar. Ah, well, at least I know how to make a Pegu! It's Audrey Sanders who's the the former bartender of which you speak, I believe. Speaking of slice-of-Old-New-York bartaenders, I have and love "The Craft of The Cockctail," by Dale DeGroff, formerly of the Rainbow Room, which is a catalog of exhaustively researched and resurrected classic cocktails (including the Pegu, og course).

                          1. re: Amuse Bouches

                            Hey Caitlin -- we just moved out of NYC a year ago too - (I was formerly Caitlin Wheeler). Funny how things work. Are you in the Bay Area now? We're in L.A.

                    2. Bombay 86 Gin
                      Schweppes Tonic
                      pour a liberal jigger of Campari on top
                      Lemon or Lime optional

                      1. Watermelon juice cocktail.

                        Mash watermelon in a mortar and pestle, then strain (don't use a blender it's not the same).

                        - 1 part rum 3 parts watermelon juice
                        - juice of 1/4 lime
                        - simple syrup to taste if the watermelon juice is not sweet enough
                        - Lots of ice


                        Also, had some leftover fresh mint and been adding some, muddled, mojito-style, to my watermelon juice cocktail, it's overkill, but darned if it ain't good.

                        1. Over the years this discussion has come up quite a bit. One drink that I have mentioned is a Gin and Cel-Ray. It's kind of hard to find the Cel-Ray which is a celery soda made by Dr. Brown. Fill a highball glass with ice, add gin, and fill with Cel-Ray. A splash of bitters is nice as well. The combination of the gin and sweet celery soda, with the hint of bitters is completely refreshing and feels like you're drinking summer.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: JMF

                            Shhhhhhh, don't let it out to the "civilians" how good Cel-Ray is, it is scarce enough. This is grown-up soda.

                          2. My two favorites--which I may drink just a little too much :) --are:

                            Lazy option: Pastis (Ricard) with water and ice. This is amazingly refreshing, which I guess isn't so surprising given its popularity in Mediterranean France.

                            Ambitious option: Raspberry lime rickey
                            I put the juice of one lime, an equal amount of Rose's lime juice, a generous splash of Chambord, a shot of vodka (or gin, which I normally don't like much but it is very tasty in this cocktail) into a large glass and fill up with ice and soda water. This is a delicious drink and also extremely refreshing.

                            1. I'll second the pastis suggestion... refreshing is right! I've used Pernod, personally...

                              1. Just discovered Becherovka recently, a Czech bitters, rather herbal with detectable cinnamon and clove notes, but not sweet. It's nice in a little ceramic cup, chilled, as a digestif, but I've also tried a couple of drinks made with it:

                                Beton, a highball of BEcherovka and TONic with a lime wedge (but "beton" also happens to be French for "concrete"). I'm told it's very popular in Prague, and I find it a very refreshing alternative to a G&T.

                                Metamorphosis, a Becherovka-based cocktail served at Eastern Standard Kitchen in Boston. It's Becherovka, fresh lemon juice, and a little honey, shaken over ice and strained into a chilled cocktail glass, garnished with a lemon twist. Very nice, unusual. Those bartenders are real artisans.

                                1. I supposed I should add my standbys. We've been making regular Pimm's cups with a tart Italian lemon soda -- I've been buying Trader Joe's Limone, but San Pellegrino's would work as well. I also adore this drink, which I first had at NYC's flatiron lounge:
                                  Juniper Breeze
                                  1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin
                                  1/2 oz Belvoir Elderflower Cordial
                                  1 1/2 oz Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
                                  1/2 oz Cranberry
                                  splash fresh lime juice
                                  Build over ice in a double rocks glass, roll.

                                  It's best with the somewhat pricey elderflower cordial, but I've found that Ikea makes a very inexpensive elderflower something that's good in a pinch, but you have to add a bit more.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Amuse Bouches

                                    Amuse Bouches, I'm replying to your pour post above here, because the new software will only allow so many replies in a sub-thread, and we hit the limit with your post.

                                    I am in the Bay Area now. I gather we've both returned to the areas where we grew up after some time on the East Coast. Your username suddenly makes sense to me, as I remember Amuse Bouches being the name of your blog, and also from the reference to Flatiron Lounge above. It was just a few blocks from me in NYC when you wrote so enthusiastically about it on Chowhound, and I might never have noticed it on my own as its otuside signage, etc. was so low key. So thank you for bringing it to my attention. The Juniper Breeze sounds very good, and I have som D'arbo elderberry syrup that ought to work. I can tell we're both gin girls.

                                    And I'll always remember your wedding cake report, and the beautiful result.

                                  2. I like Myers in the summer, or another sweet dark rum. My favorite ways of drinking it are with iced tea, or with club soda, or with ginger beer. Any of the three can be mixed about 2 parts to 1 part rum, with a slice of lime.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Jeremy Osner

                                      Ooooo, you just hit on a good one, the Dark And Stormy... 2 ounces Gosling's Black Seal rum, 3 ounces ginger beer, on ice.

                                    2. This isn't terribly high-brow but it's fantastic!

                                      Equal parts sugar and lemon juice to create a lemonade syrup - about 3 T of this syrup per tall glass, add a shot (or two?!) of coconut rum and then fill with seltzer. SOOOOOOOOO good. We made it up a few years ago at Chris VRs house but never named it. Entirely too easy to drink.

                                      1. Do you have access to Bitter Lemon, the British soda? It is a good upgrade to Gina and Tonic.

                                        We also like Greyhounds, with fresh grapefruit juice and gin or Blood Oranges, with fresh orange juice, citron vodka, and a splash campari.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: JudiAU

                                          I used to love Schweppes Bitter Lemon as a tonic alternative with gin, and even went so far as to contact Schweppes USA to find out where I could get it, as it had seemed to disappear from grocers' shelves locally. It turns out that they no longer distribute it in the USA for lack of demand. Insert frownie emoticon here!

                                        2. Hard Lemonades... either spiked with Charbay Meyer Lemon Vodka or Modern's Spirits Candied Ginger Flavored Vodka. This weekend I'll experiment with my raspberry syrup in the mix... :)


                                          1. Two ideas for you:

                                            I've recently discovered Malibu Mango Rum. A shot of that over ice with Sprite or 7Up is really refreshing.

                                            In Hawaii on a vacation, I got hooked on a poolside drink that I won't even attampt to spell the name, but it was a shot of Malibu Coconut Rum, a shot of Midori and pineapple juice over ice. Way too sweet and easy going down on a nice afternoon by the pool.