Booze Banter

The Ultimate Summer Cocktail!

As you are well aware, the “It’s just the booze dancing…” crew is actively searching for the Great Summer Beer of 2011. Summer and cold beer go hand in hand. It quenches, it relaxes, and it tastes delicious. But what if you’re having a party and want to mix things up a bit (pun intended). What would you serve? You could go the easy route and serve wine coolers, or pre-mixed cocktails, but where’s the fun in that? Hand crafting some cocktails may take a bit more effort (squeezing some fresh juices or making a batch of simple syrup), but the end result is well worth it, and your guests will surely appreciate your hard work.

Over the past few years, there has always been one or two cocktails that I obsess over and try to perfect over the warm summer months, e.g. Capirinhas, Mojitos, Margaritas, Sangria, etc.. When I do decide on a summer cocktail, I generally go with something that’s simple and easy to re-create  on a regular basis (no blender drinks or ridiculously hard to find ingredients), and I will also use the best ingredients that I can afford, i.e. fresh fruits, high quality liquor, fresh herbs, etc.. The way I see it, if I’m going to go through this much trouble, I may as well do it right.

Here are three summer cocktail recipes that I really enjoy:

The Daiquiri

  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice

Glass Type: Cocktail Glass

Instructions: Squeeze the lime into your shaker, stir in the sugar, and then add the rum. Shake well with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Note on the rum: Some prefer dark over white; if you do use dark rum, cut back a little on the sugar.

  • 4 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 1/2 cup lime juice from 2 to 3 medium limes
  • 4 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice from 2 to 3 medium lemons
  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar
  • pinch table salt
  • 2 cups crushed ice
  • 1 cup 100% agave tequila , preferably Reposado
  • 1 cup Triple Sec
  1. Combine lime zest and juice, lemon zest and juice, sugar, and salt in large liquid measuring cup; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until flavors meld, 4 to 24 hours.
  2. Divide 1 cup crushed ice between 4 or 6 margarita or double old-fashioned glasses. Strain juice mixture into 1-quart pitcher or cocktail shaker. Add tequila, Triple Sec, and remaining crushed ice; stir or shake until thoroughly combined and chilled, 20 to 60 seconds. Strain into ice-filled glasses; serve immediately.
  • 2 oranges, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups fresh firm fruits, prepared and sliced as appropriate
  • 1 gallon full-bodied dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups orange liqueur, such as Cointreau or Triple Sec
  • 1 1/2 cups Presidente brandy
  • 2 bunches lemon verbena, washed and stemmed (about 2 cups)
  • Fresh soft fruits, prepared and sliced as appropriate
  • Club soda, champagne, or sparkling wine
Instructions: Combine citrus slices and other firm fruits in a large, nonreactive container. Add wine, liqueur, brandy, and lemon verbena. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or up to 3 days). When ready to serve, put some soft fruits into each wine glass and fill two-thirds full with the Sangria. Top off with a splash of club soda.

Although I’ve had these drinks on numerous occasions, and have yet to tire of them, I’m always looking to try something new. Do you have any drink recipes that you think we should try? Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below.

8 replies »

  1. Pretty good list but where’s your Mojito recipe? A G-lo blog post about cocktails is not complete without your take on the classic Cuban highball. You are famous for it and it’s the only reason why my wife grows mint in our garden.

    You know that I fail to understand the point of most “mixed drinks” and fruity shots but these are all drinks that I will make an exception for. Especially when on the beach in the Caribbean. You gotta respect a classic cocktail made with choice ingredients and without a blender!

    One that I would add to the list is the Classic Painkiller made famous by the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke in the BVI’s

      Classic Virgin Islands Painkiller
      2 oz Pusser’s Navy Rum (or other Dark rum)
      3 oz Pineapple Juice
      1 oz Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
      1 oz Cream of Coconut
      Shake all ingredients with ice and stain into a glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a dash, or three, of nutmeg.


    • Mixed drinks are rarely my first choice, but like you said, when you’re on an island or by the water, it’s a beautiful thing. The Painkiller sounds great! I also enjoy a Dark & Stormy and the Rum Swizzle. Mmm… rum!


      • You had my support but now you’ve gone too far. I ain’t drinking anything with the word “Swizzle” in the title. Not even a Founders Kentucky Breakfast Swizzle (the other, lesser known, KBS). The Painkiller is fruity but at least it has a good name.


  2. One of my secrets to a killer red-wine sangria is liberal use of strawberries and inclusion of a whole, split vanilla bean. Makes for a really different and intense cup of summer. Love the lemon verbena idea though, I can’t wait to try it.

    I too am not much for cocktails, but I was recently dragged to one of Boston’s premier cocktail bars, Drink. In an effort to challenge my outstanding bartender Joe, and impress the ladies who had dragged me there I ordered “one scorpion bowl, three straws,” and was rewarded with the most delicious and passionately true-to-form bowl of hooch I’ve ever imagined. As such, I’ve lately been making rather a number of them at home when entertaining with the help of several tools acquired at The Boston Shaker in Somerville MA. and the closest recipe I could find on the internet to the one used by Drink, purloined from Kaiser Penguin’s excellent blog.

    Scorpion from Steve Crane’s Luau, 1958

    1oz lime juice
    2oz orange juice
    2oz gold Puerto Rican rum
    2oz gin
    1oz brandy
    3/4oz simple syrup
    1oz orgeat syrup
    8oz crushed ice

    KP recommends blenderizing it, I usually (as Drink did) just dump most of the ice in a bowl and stir the rest with the ingredients. (well, Drink shook, in the most comically over-sized shaker I’ve ever seen)


    • Yo Nate!

      I like the vanilla bean idea for the Sangria. Sounds delicious. The thing I love about Sangria is the open-endness of it all. I just start throwing things in a pitcher (respectable wine and fresh, seasonal fruit) and taste as I go until it all tastes just right.

      That Scorpion sounds deadly! Tiki drinks always remind me of Philly Chinatown and late High School/Early College. They never carded, so we always went there for a huge meal and ridiculously delicious drinks, i.e. Mai Tai’s, Singapore Slings, Slow Gin Fizz, The Phoenix Special (2 kinds of rum, 3 kinds of fruit juice), etc.. A Pupu platter was also mandatory. Fire, rum drinks, 4 to 10 teenagers… what could possibly go wrong?



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.