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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
                  vodka
                  crushed ice
                  sprig of mint
                  repeat

                  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.