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2011 Warm Weather Cocktails -- What are you drinking?

Early June
Contessa (an Aperol Negroni)

* 1 oz. Aperol

* 1 oz. Sweet Vermouth

* 1 oz. gin

Directions: Stir all ingredients over ice and serve up with an orange twist garnish.

(I shake and omit the orange twist)

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  1. I did a Negroni variation with gin, Zucca, and dry vermouth that I'm calling No Groaning. I thought it was very, very good. The Zucca is quite sweet, so a dry vermouth worked well. I used Vya, which has a lot of botanicals and holds it's own against the Zucca.

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    1. I made a cocktail the other day with equal parts of Campari and triple sec- a bit of orange juice and filled the rest with club soda and ice and topped it with sliced oranges and fresh mint leaves.

      It was very nice, not too sweet -and pleasantly orange- y. My spouse came home, made the same but added a shot of vodka to the mix. That was good too.

      5 Replies
      1. re: sedimental

        Try gin in that. Gin loves (loves, loves) Campari and orange flavors. When I'm tired and in the mood for something refreshing, I build gin, Campari, seltzer, and a squeeze of lime. I bring the "makings" if I'm traveling to the sticks where I know there will be no good cocktail options.

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        1. re: EvergreenDan

          Around here you don't have to be in the sticks to have lousy options. Why don't they have something flask-ish for cocktails on the go? Or do they?

          1. re: EvergreenDan

            I tried it with Gin tonight (hic). It was fabulous.

            1. re: EvergreenDan

              I did! Thank you for that rec. It made it much better. I added some gin and a lime slice. Really nice.

            2. re: sedimental

              If triple sec (or other orange liqueur) sweetens it up too much for you, a few dashes of Fee's Orange bitters does a lovely job. Just Campari, soda water, and the orange bitters. (I specifically use Fee's for that because they're a hit of pure orange, pretty much, rather than the orange-herbal of others.)

            3. I've also been doing a lot of Negroni and Negroni variants. For me Aperol is a bit too sweet so when I use it I cut it with orange bitters: 3/4 oz Aperol, 1/4 oz Regan's. That does the trick quite nicely. (It's brutally bitter, but in a good way if you enjoy bitter things.)

              I made this a few nights ago with Boomsma oude genever and Punt e Mes, and was quite happy with the resultant drink.

              3 Replies
              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                Tried this tonight with Bols Genever. Not sure how Bols compares to Boomsma. It was good. The Regan's comes through a bit more than I might like. Maybe work some dry vermouth into the mix to help counter the sweetness the genever?

                Damn sugar. Grumble.

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                1. re: EvergreenDan

                  I have three genevers: Bols, Genevieve, and Boomsma. Each of them are almost entirely different from the others, with the Genevieve and Boomsma being slightly more similar than the Bols. In trying to create drinks for them I've found that I can't sub them in and out at will--the drinks no longer work. Bols is on the richer (and funkier) side, Genevieve is cleaner and somewhat spicier, and Boomsma is the most juniper forward of the three.

                  Agreed that some dry vermouth might be a nice way to combat the sweetness. Regan's is definitely powerful stuff. As I mentioned I happen to enjoy brutal bitterness but I don't think it's for most people.

                2. re: davis_sq_pro

                  Aperol is pretty sweet. I'm new to bitter cordials/spirits and am LOVING them. I also just recently came across a very well stocked liquor store (I'm in PA, land of the antiquated liquor laws) and am excited to finally have the chance to try new things, although my wallet will obviously be thinner for it.

                3. My latest warm weather drink is:

                  Fresh watermelon juice
                  crushed ice
                  sprig of mint

                  1. Your "early june contessa" sounds good---and I have all the ingredients. Thanks for sharing.

                    I've been enjoying Aperol Spritzes (about 2/3 white wine, 1/3 aperol, topped up with seltzer and garnished with an orange slice).

                    Just bought the makings for rum daquiris, which I think are great for summer. (Barbancourt 3-star rhum, lime juice, maybe a touch of simple, served up). I also like this particular rum with a bit of pineapple juice and/or mango nectar and lime juice, maybe some seltzer, on the rocks.

                    I've been trying to get into drinking rather than cooking with pastis. To me, the flavor's a bit strong and will try diluting with more ice and water next time. A squeeze of lemon didn't really improve it for me. Can anyone recommend good options for mixing it in cocktails?

                    not-too-sweet sidecar is always refershing. I am going to try it will some Torres brandy and Patron citronage I recently picked up. Other good summer options: gin gimlet, gin and bitter lemon, grayhound...

                    I recently had a tasty variation on the gin gimlet/sour: gin, domaine de canton, fresh ginger, and lemon/lime juice (think it was lemon), shaken and served up.

                    17 Replies
                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                      Pastis is usually mixed with quite a bit of water -- I believe 4 or 5 times more water than liqueur. At that dilution rate it should be pretty easy to drink. But of course you have to like the liquorice flavor. I agree that lemon doesn't go well with it.

                      The best way to use pastis or absinthe in cocktails is to just dash a small amount into your favorite drink--a few drops, taste, perhaps a few drops more. A little goes a very long way and it's way, way, way too easy to overdo it (a lesson I've learned the hard way). It adds a subtle complexity that is quite nice in many drinks. I've recently taken to adding some to my Manhattans, for example. Which makes the drink taste a bit like root beer (in a good way, of course).

                      There are very few cocktails that call for absinthe in much volume. One or two have been posted on here recently by EvergreenDan if you want to search the archives.

                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                        I like a good sazerac and am interested to see how it would be subbing pastis for the absinthe. I did dilute the pastis quite a bit last time, but I think there wasn't enough ice for my taste. I like raki when had with some good, salty mezze in warm weather, so maybe it's a circumstantial thing. The yellowish color is a tad offputting for me, too.

                        1. re: ChristinaMason

                          I think it's usually consumed without ice. Just cold water. Ice seems to cause the louche to clump a bit, which is kind of nasty looking. Even worse than the yellowish tint :-)

                          I think that absinthe is equivalent with pastis as far as cocktails are concerned. I'm sure there are various subtleties of each, but when you're only working with a few drops or a rinse you're not going to notice.

                          1. re: ChristinaMason

                            Did I make my Sazerac wrong? I did use Pernod because that's what I have and did a rinse, but I couldn't make it out at all -- just the whiskey. I'll also admit that I didn't use rye [/hangs head in shame].

                            1. re: isadorasmama

                              getting rye in PA is as hard as getting decent wine.

                                1. re: isadorasmama

                                  Absolutely! Most of these have graced my liquor cabinet (however briefly!)

                              1. re: isadorasmama

                                Maybe pastis isn't quite as potent as absinthe? I'm not sure. I think the sazerac I make is relatively standard%3

                                1. Chill a rocks glass and rinse with absinthe.

                                2. Stir together 2 oz. rye (Sazerac 6 year is good), 1/2 oz. simple syrup, and 5 dashes Peychaud's bitters (some people use equal parts Peychaud's and Angostura). 3. Strain into the prepared glass. Rub the inside of the glass and the lip with a strip of lemon peel, squeeze it over the drink and drop in as a garnish.

                                This is what I was taught, anyway. Customers really seemed to love them.

                          2. re: ChristinaMason

                            I enjoyed the Fourth Degree from Erik Ellestad's Savoy blog. 3/4 oz each of dry vermouth, sweet vermouth, and gin, with 1 tsp absinthe (or pastis) and a lemon twist. He also recommends using 2 oz gin with 1/2 oz each of the vermouths instead of the equal parts. I think I might have only used 1/2 tsp absinthe in mine (Vieux Carre absinthe).

                            Other drinks I liked with absinthe/pastis are the Corpse Reviver #2 and some Tiki drinks, but now we are talking just a few drops per drink.

                            For summer drinks in general, a daiquiri with Flor de Cana 4 the other night really hit the spot. I find a lot of coconut flavor hiding in there. A Tanqueray martini was also nice recently. But I'm not so much of a seasonal drinker and usually just have whatever hits the inspiration at that moment.

                            1. re: nickls

                              I have frozen peaches from last season still in my freezer, so I have been making drinks with them. One is Frozen peaches blended with bourbon and fee Bros peach bitters then topped with seltzer to your taste. Another was peaches, rum, lime juice and ice. Also made a little strawberry syrup and made a very lite strawberry soda with it and seltzer and mixed that with Vodka. Finally I found this beverage called Jin-ja, which is ginger, cayenne and a green tea base that is great with anything mixed in!

                              1. re: nickls

                                The Fourth Degree sounds good. Thanks!

                              2. re: ChristinaMason

                                I've shaken gin, domaine de canton, and lemon juice but never added fresh ginger. Wow, that must've packed a wallop.

                                1. re: isadorasmama

                                  It was tasty. Not overkill at all. I think it was just a small amount of Domaine de Canton.

                                2. re: ChristinaMason

                                  Canton is fantastic with Repo tequila and pineapple juice, too.

                                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                                    For the extra $10, I prefer Cointreau over Patron Citronge ....

                                    1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                      Yeah, I am not crazy about the Patron Citronage----I think it has a strange "edge" to it that reminds me of tequila. But maybe I'm just too suggestible.

                                      I prefer Cointreau, followed by triple sec, to GM. Never been my thing. To me, it tastes kind of overripe.

                                  2. My husband made this crazy cocktail last night using pastis, and it was surprisingly refreshing and good. I might use a slightly lighter hand with the pastis, but otherwise, no changes. What I liked about it was that it starts off as a light, fruity (not sweet) cocktail up front, then you get the licorice and herbal notes in the finish. It's also a really attractive sunset color.

                                    Here's what he wrote up for me--I am not sure if it is for one or two drinks.

                                    4 parts gin

                                    1 part orange liqueur (Patron citronage---not a tequila, just an orange liqueur)

                                    8 fresh cherries (with pits)

                                    1 part dry vermouth

                                    Tbsp bitters [his are homemade hops bitters%5

                                    1/4 tsp syrupy aged balsamic vinegar

                                    1 part pastis

                                    2 parts bitter lemon

                                    pour all ingredients into a blender except for bitter lemon. Blend for 30 seconds

                                    strain into shaker with ice

                                    shake, add bitter lemon

                                    strain into glasses filled with crushed ice

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                      That sounds wonderful. The balsamic is really throwing me for a loop. I know it's just a tiny bit but it must add a whole new dynamic.

                                      1. re: isadorasmama

                                        He tried re-creating the cocktail and realized the above proportion of pastis is way too much. Try scaling it back and add more to taste if you try to make it.

                                    2. Mmmmm. Our lemongrass-infused vodka is ready, so we're enjoying lemongrass lemonade martinis, with a hint of lavender on the flavored Cocktail rimming sugar we make.

                                      * 1 part lemongrass-infused vodka
                                      * 1 part lemonade
                                      squeeze of lemon

                                      Shake ingredients with ice. Rim glass. Pour liquid into glass. Can serve with either a lemon twist garnish, or a few culinary lavender buds. Don't have a picture of the drink (we drank the batch all last night with friends), but here's something we did for a shoot a couple weeks ago.

                                      1. I recently goit a bottle of Aperol and this was my first cocktail with it - used Noilly Pratt and Brokers - and I have to say I like it.

                                        1. Finally got the proper supplies for an aviation, and I think it's officially my drink of summer lovin...I mean, Summer '11.

                                          12 Replies
                                          1. re: Wahooty

                                            I finally found a local store that stocks all of the required ingredients because I adore Aviations. But whoa Nelly -- everything is SO expensive. They didn't have the Haus Alpenz/Rothman and Winter brand but something else (anyone know other brands?) that was like double the price. And I think the Maraschino liqueur was about the same. Can't remember if it was Luxardo or not.

                                            1. re: isadorasmama

                                              If it was super expensive it was probably Creme Yvette. There is also Pages Parfait Amour Creme de Violette, but I have never been clear on whether it is actually a Parfait Amour, which I think it most likely is.

                                              1. re: isadorasmama

                                                Yeah, I know. But you use the pricey bits in pretty small quantities - at least, that's how I justified it. (This is NOT, however, how I justified the three bottles of rye and the bottle of anejo tequila...I live in a small town and must stock up when in liquor wonderland.) The thing that really stings is that I have TONS of my homemade cherry liqueur lying around, which would probably work just fine in a pinch, except it would absolutely ruin the lovely pale blue color.

                                                1. re: Wahooty

                                                  Yes, but if you frequently imbibe that's not going to last all that long.
                                                  I need to take some time and really look through this liquor store. I was rushed the last time I was there. And you know, as much as I love a real Aviation, there might be something else I can find there that's summery and won't break the bank.

                                                2. re: isadorasmama

                                                  Aviation really is a wonderful cocktail. It's difficult to find bars (much less liquor stores) in DC that stock creme de violette. A cocktail bar that has an "American only" focus makes a riff on the Aviaton, called the Chuck Yeager, with lavender bitters and Leopold cherry liqueur instead. It's great.

                                                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                    I'm sold on just the lavender bitters. Swoon!

                                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                      May I ask what Leopold Cherry liqueur is like? Like fresh cherries? Complex like Cherry Heering? Like the cherry pits of Maraschino? I'd be curious about the recipe as this sounds interesting and I know that I can sample the lavender bitters at The Boston Shaker. I've resisted because I wasn't sure how I'd use it or if it would be a one trick pony.

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                                                      1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                        Sorry for the delayed response. This is the Leopold sour cherry liqueur: http://www.leopoldbros.com/New_site/M...

                                                        It's quite different from Kirschwasser; not sure about Cherry Heering, but that sounds closer. I have not sampled Leopold's on its own, but it definitely colors the drink and adds a pronounced sweet-sour cherry flavor. I'm not sure what the base spirit is; I didn't detect a strong cognac edge, as you might in a Grand Marnier. Maybe, like their cranberry liqueur, the fruit is steeped in their eau-de-vie.

                                                        Here's the bar's cocktail menu (with descriptions): http://washingtondc.menupages.com/res...

                                                    2. re: isadorasmama

                                                      It wasn't Suntory Hermes violette, was it? That would be a coup

                                                    3. re: Wahooty

                                                      Also, just came back from an extended camping trip. Made ginger beer before I left, added champagne yeast to carbonate so that they would be ready to ice when I got there. Bottles got a little fizzier every day, but the Dark n' Stormys every night were very popular with my crowd.

                                                      1. re: Wahooty

                                                        Cool! Could you share how you did this or the recipe you used?

                                                    4. Ice tea spiked with Skyy ginger vodka or with ginger liqueur; home-made lemonade spiked with ginger vodka or ginger liqueur. Both help to beat the heat around our house!

                                                      1. Mid June (aside from the Ramazzotti that I just polished off)

                                                        A riff on a G-Tang

                                                        1.5 oz Beefeater
                                                        1.5 oz Aperol
                                                        1 oz lime juice
                                                        1 oz orange juice

                                                        on the rocks, stirred in a collins glass

                                                        1. Muddled basil Kamakazis!

                                                          1. In the FWIW Dept., summertime cocktails (at home) typically revolve around the following:

                                                            -- Lillet blanc, over ice with a large orange peel;
                                                            -- classic Campari and Soda;
                                                            -- Ricard (preferred over Pernod) and ice water (no ice).

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: zin1953

                                                              I've been enjoying a slightly modified Pegu Club, dialing back the lime and orange by about half and drinking on the rocks. The gin comes forward a bit with less sweet/sour, while the bitters shine through a little more prominently. It's a nice change of pace from the regular version and easy to make when I'm feeling lazy from the heat, since i just squeeze a wedge of lime straight into the glass and eyeball everything else.

                                                            2. Despite the plethra of great tiki drinks, I've been really into the Seventh Heaven in Haigh's Vintage Spirits lately: Gin, Maraschino and grapefruit juice make for a light refreshing drink - perfect for a sunny day!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: theregoesnorman

                                                                That sounds awesome. What are the measurements? Shaken, I assume?

                                                              2. July!

                                                                The Diplomat

                                                                1 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
                                                                1 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
                                                                1 dash maraschino liqueur
                                                                1 dash Angostura bitters
                                                                Tools: mixing glass, barspoon, strainer
                                                                Glass: cocktail
                                                                Garnish: maraschino cherry

                                                                Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish.

                                                                Probably would be even tastier if I could source great vermouth around these parts.

                                                                1. Gin Buck [in highball glass]:

                                                                  2 shots of gin [preferably one you wouldn't die penniless if you drank it regularly]
                                                                  Half of fresh lime or lemon squeezed (into glass)
                                                                  Fill glass with ice (and shake)
                                                                  Top off with ginger ale ....

                                                                  Great summer drink out here in the flyover zone!

                                                                  1. I really enjoyed a 'simple, summer cocktails' article from the NY Times back in June: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/22/din...

                                                                    The one that's been fun to do is the "Cherry Caipirissima":
                                                                    3 fresh pitted cherries cut in half
                                                                    1/2 lime, cut into 4 pieces
                                                                    3/4 oz simple syrup
                                                                    2 oz rum

                                                                    Muddle the cherries, lime and syrup. Add the rum and 6 ice cubes. Shake and pour into a rocks glass (don't strain). Easy peasy and tasty.

                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                    1. re: ted

                                                                      Thanks for the link! I wonder how that drink would be with cachaca instead?

                                                                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                        I wonder how it would be with cherry heering rather than the muddled cherries.

                                                                        1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                          A Batida is a class of drinks that are essentially flavored Caipirinhas. Instead of fresh juice, I've had great luck with liqueurs. I generally use 2oz Cachaca, 1/2 normal-sized lime (about 1/2 oz), and 1-2 oz of liqueur depending upon sweetness. Pama (pomegranate liqueur) isn't very sweet so I use a full 2oz. With Cherry Heering, I'd start with 1oz and taste. Works great with every fruity liqueur that I've tried.

                                                                          I don't see why you couldn't do this with rum, making flavored Daiquiris. I'd use a bright white rum, rather than a rich aged and/or sweet rum.

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                                                                          1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                            Looks like I've found a use for my soon-to-be-ready sour cherry liqueur.

                                                                            1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                              It's quite nice with Canton as well. (I like ginger, so that's my usual choice.) I've been making a lot of these over the course of this summer. Really the perfect lazy hot weather drink. I like to add a few dashes of Amargo or some other fruity bitters just to give it a touch more complexity.

                                                                              1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                                Great idea for the daiquiris. Last night I did a similar drink that was a riff on a Margarita. Can't think of the name off hand but I used triple sec rather than orange curacao since I don't have the latter on hand. I'm sure it would've been even better that way, though.

                                                                                1.5 oz Tequila
                                                                                1 oz lime juice
                                                                                1/4 oz creme de cassis
                                                                                1/4 oz orange curacao


                                                                              2. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                The only thing is that it's visually stunning with the muddled cherries. If you search the Times website for "caipirissima," the link that comes up is a great photo of the finished product. Wait, here it is: