Summer is in full swing, at least in my hemisphere, and this means it’s the perfect time to sit back and relax with a refreshing frosty beverage. For most of the year I prefer a short drink, to the point that when a bartender asks me what I like I always specify no rocks and no soda before I even consider the spirits that suit my mood. But for a couple months each summer these rules fly out the window. The dog days of summer beg for a long, cool, revitalizing bevvy. My normally spirit-forward palette suddenly craves seasonal fruit and citrus. Here are a few thirst-quenching cocktails guaranteed to beat the heat!
Sour Cherry Gin Sling
(Adapted from http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/sour-cherry-gin-slings)
Fresh sour cherries are only available for a couple of weeks a year so get them while the getting is good! Be sure to buy an extra pound or two to make your own maraschino cherries!!)
For the sour cherry syrup:
- 1 pound sour cherries, stems removed
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- Zest of ½ lemon
- Zest of ½ orange
Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat (there is no need to pit the cherries). Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth, discarding the solids. Allow the syrup to cool before use. The syrup will keep about 1 week in the refrigerator.
For the Slings:
- 2 ounces Gin (we used Broker’s)
- .66 ounce Cointreau
- .66 ounce fresh lime juice
- 2.5 ounces sour cherry syrup
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Soda water
Pour the gin, Cointreau, lime, and cherry syrup into a large Collins glass (12-14 ounces). Fill with ice, leaving only a couple of ounces of headroom. Top with soda (not too much or you will dilute the wonderful flavors!) and a couple of dashes of bitters. Garnish with a lime wheel and a maraschino cherry. Bask in the sunshine!
(From A.J. Rathbun’s Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz)
Our liquor cabinet is full of obscure ingredients purchased with a specific cocktail or two in mind. Recently I’ve made it my mission to find additional uses for these liqueurs. The Violet Fizz marries one of my favorite floral spirits with citrus to produce summer in a glass.
- 2 ounces gin (we used Broker’s)
- .5 ounce Crème de Violette
- .25 ounce fresh lemon juice
- .25 ounce simple syrup
- Club soda
Build the drink in a highball glass (8-9 ounces) by adding the gin, violette, lemon juice and simple syrup. Fill with ice until ¾ full. Top with club soda. (Tip: always use a fresh can or single-serving bottle of soda when creating fizzy cocktails. Family-sized bottles and open cans loose their carbonation quickly.) Garnish with a lemon wheel, maraschino cherry, or a violet if you have one!
Strega is an Italian herbal liqueur, reminiscent of a simplified yellow Chartreuse, but with more citrus notes. It is relatively inexpensive and drinks well on its own or mixed into cocktails. This simple recipe, which seems to capture the essence and color of sunshine, is delightfully light and quenching.
- 1 ounce gin (again we used Broker’s)
- 1 ounce Strega
- 1 ounce lemon juice
- Club soda
Add the gin, Strega, and lemon juice to a highball glass (8-9 ounces). Fill with ice until ¾ full. Top with soda. Garnish with a lemon wheel.