19 August 2013

Summer drinkin', part 1: cocktails

For anyone whose lives are touched by a school year, the summer is quickly fading, and with it, those carefree evenings of drinks with friends on the porch (and patio, and living room, and eventually while sitting on the front sidewalk crying) and piles of grilled veggies and meats to accompany them.  I'm mourning the loss with a retrospective of my favorites from the summer, and I insist on continuing to drink all of these things until it's too cold to sit outside with a martini glass. So, here's to the next four months!

Arkansas Punch

Serves 6

1 1/2 cups bourbon
3 cups pomegranate juice
2 cups orange juice
sparkling wine or club soda
fresh mint leaves and lemon slices (optional)

Pour bourbon and fruit juices into a punch bowl and stir to mix. Top with sparkling wineor club soda to taste, garnish with mint leaves and lemon slices, and serve.

Campari was so ubiquitous when I was in Italy last summer that I'll always associate it with sumer drinking!

Serves 1

2 oz. Campari liqueur
2 oz. dry white wine (Pinot Grigio would be perfect)
Club soda

Pour the spirits into a tall glass with ice cubes and top with club soda. Garnish with a slice of lemon.

Cowboy Roy

Serves 1

2 oz. rum
2 oz. vodka
6 oz. orange juice

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice and shake vigorously. Pour into a tall glass and enjoy.

Gin Spritzer

Makes 1 drink

2 oz. gin
2 teaspoons lime juice
4 slices cucumber
tonic water

Combine cucumber slices, lime juice, and gin in a cocktail shaker and mix thoroughly. Strain into a short glass over ice and top with about 4 oz. tonic water. Garnish with lime and cucmber slices if desired.

Last Days of Summer

Serves 4

1 cup orange juice
1 cup apple juice
1/2 cup vodka
1/2 cup amaretto
1 orange, cut into thin slices

Pour all ingredients into a pitcher and stir. Fill four glasses with orange slices and 3-4 cubes of ice and pour equal amount of punch on top.

Leap Year Cocktail
Alright, Leap Year is in February, but the lemon is so summery.

Serves 1

1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 oz. gin
3/4 oz. Grand Marnier
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth

Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Blend and strain into a martini glass; garnish with a twist of lemon if desired.

This is a great appertif before dinner with friends on the patio.

Makes 1 drink

2 oz. gin
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
1/4 oz. maraschino cherry juice
dash Angostura bitters
lemon twist and maraschino cherry for garnish

Combine gin, vermouth, cherry juice, and bitters in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass; garnish with a twist of lemon peel and a maraschino cherry.

Mexican Martini
My attempt at the Tradicional martini at the restaurant Rio Grande in Northern Colorado...

Serves 1

2 oz. tequila
3/4 oz. Grand Marnier
1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
1 tablespoon lime juice

Pour all ingredients into cocktail shaker and mix with plenty of ice. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a lime wedge if desired.

The Southside

Makes 1 drink

2 ounces gin
¾ ounce lime juice
¾ ounce simple syrup
Two sprigs of mint
A few drops of Angostura bitters

Fill a shaker a quarter full of ice and add the gin, lime juice and syrup, one of the sprigs of mint and the bitters. Shake for about a minute, then pour the mixture into a cocktail glass.

Summer Shandy

Serves 4

12 oz can of limeade or lemonade concentrate
4 light beers

Empty the limeade concentrate into a pitcher. Fill the empty concentrate can with vodka and add that to the pitcher as well. Depending on your taste and circumstances, another half can of vodka is acceptable. Add the beers and stir with a long spoon until the concentrate has broken up.