Some hate it, some love it, others tolerate the lazy heat waves that bounce off of every object from April-October. However, summertime is the time for “GO”. Whether it is achieving new feats in your hobbies (since work tends to inevitably slow down) or simply getting out of town and exploring. There is no better time for New Orleanians to sip savory cocktails and relish in the heat.
Personally, I love the heat, but it can slow you down. My adventures naturally steer towards water environments where a quick cooling swim is only a few feet away. Camping can get tricky with the obscene amount of rude mosquitos so traveling to other destinations may be on the agenda. If that’s not in the budget (as summer tends to be a high-travel season) then relaxing “stay-cations” happen more frequently than not. A little hotel pool action followed by a night in a cold movie theater? Yes, yes please.
So, summertime provides a multitude of adventures. Whether outside or in, a cocktail can make the most unbearable dog days a bit more manageable. With all the choices what should you drink?
A few key notes to consider. Even more so than any other season summer time is tricky. Here is what to watch out for:
Too much sugar: It attracts every insect known to man and will leave the worst of headaches.
Not hydrating enough: Yes, this is something you should always be mindful of, but when the weather is oppressive and you’re still knocking back ice cold ones to stay cool consider how your body will feel like beef jerky in 8 hours.
Three ingredients max: For the adventures make sure your drink is portable. Recipes with 4 pieces of fruit, a liquor, a vermouth, and ice are all fun to make for your backyard extravaganza, but they are completely impractical and stressful if you are on the go.
My top cocktails for summertime adventures:
Old New Orleans Rum let me test drive the newest batch of Gingeroo and the special ____ oz bottles. Although heavier than a more practical container for hiking this is perfect for floating down rivers, car camping, tailgating, or brunches. Gingeroo is also my go-to hangover cure. The ginger extract pops right out of the bottles and kick starts your metabolism again. It’s made with ONOR’s crystal rum and has an ABV of 10%. It’s so easy to stockpile multiple bottles of this and have a refreshing cocktail with zero effort. It’s basically everything I’m about.
Recipe for Extra Dark and Stormy
1 ¼ oz of dark rum
4 oz of Gingeroo
½ oz of lime juice
Combine all ingredients into a cup of your choice and enjoy.
OR, put Gingeroo on ice. Seriously, it’s that delicious.
Gin and Tonic
Although we now rarely worry about malaria (thank you Zika and dengue fever) but the de facto medicinal distribution methods from the likes of Burmese Days hold a commemorative place in the summer cocktail list.
It’s a classic for all the right reasons. Light enough to sip casually while perspiring long after the sun has set, but sturdy enough to get the job done. True tonic has more sugar than I sometimes need in the heat so I can substitute for soda water or diet tonic. It’s not the same however. So belly up to the seasoned drinker side of the bar and order your first with true tonic and lime.
Recipe for The Perfect Gin and Tonic
1 ¼ oz of Beefeater Gin
Lemon and lime wedge
Cubed ice and Collins glass
Pour gin into glass and top with tonic. Enjoy!
My dear sweet friend, tequila: silver, gold, anejo, reposado, even Mezcal. The options are limitless. It’s a more discernable base than most people are used to, but honestly you can mix this just about any way you want it. When it gets a little cooler I make a tequila Manhattan with anejo. While camping or hiking I bring a flask of Mezcal straight up because it needs no other flavors. Tequila is a perfect vessel for my third rule: when in doubt add lime, a sugar base, and sip contently.
Recipe for a Paloma
2 oz of Tres Agaves silver tequila
½ oz of grapefruit juice
slice of lime
Combine all ingredients into a highball and enjoy.
Because no one needs to be asleep all afternoon. Try as I might to seem capable of consuming any liquor a quote from my aunt is always present, “It’s cool to drink. It’s not cool to get drunk.” Right or wrong, I love her sentiments. Drinking high-proof cocktails while battling heat and fatigue is a sure fire way of losing your cool or debilitating your body for a couple of days. Stick with a few of these and you can keep up with the best of us at all day cook-outs and also get up in the morning. My favorites are the Americano: Campari, sweet vermouth, soda water; “mimosa” (you know why I’m putting it in quotes you bottomless brunch-lover); and a Rose Spritzer (now commandeered by the Frose, but that has too much sugar for me to drink all day).
You may not be out exploring the side trails of national parks (or maybe you are!) but remember to keep summertime cocktails easy enough to take with you anywhere. It’s summertime so keep it simple.
Recipe for an Americano, of course!
1 ¼ oz of Campari
4 oz of sweet vermouth
Garnish with grapefruit peel
Combine Campari and sweet vermouth into a Collins glass and enjoy.
Originally written for Where Y'at.