Simple, delicious cocktails for hot weather fun.
Upon reading the recent CDC guidelines for vaccinated U.S. citizens, my mind quickly wandered to weekends of entertaining, gathering around the grill, and playing yard games in the sun with friends and family. I’m not sure what it says about me, but I don’t regularly do any of those activities without a cocktail of some sort. After all, day drinking is one of summer’s great past times.
There aren’t too many rules to cocktail making and imbibing in general, but when it comes to drinking in the heat of the day there’s a few things I recommend.
First, avoid straight booze if possible. This is probably not revolutionary advice, but it warrants stating just in case.
Second, don’t forget the one-to-one ratio when day drinking. That stands for one cocktail consumed requires one water before you can have another cocktail. Hear me now, believe me later, this is a life saver.
Third, eat regularly if you don’t want to be down for the count before the sun.
Now that we have the rules properly outlined, how about some inspiration for your summer festivities to come. These cocktails are hot-weather favorites of mine that are simple and have few ingredients.
Pro tip: the ingredients for these recipes, combined in a lovely bag and topped with a bow, make for a great hostess gift for that next invite you receive.
Lemon Gin Fizz
Traditionally, a gin fizz is made with egg white and shaken vigorously to create a frothy, creamy cocktail. Personally, I don’t find it necessary and much prefer it to be lighter, crisper, and brighter. I remove the egg white in this recipe and it’s just perfect for the summer. Once you try it, I bet you’ll make this cocktail at least once a week because it’s easy and delicious. If you don’t like gin, and I hear this a lot, I beg you to give this drink a try and it’ll change your mind. The botanical *pop* of gin makes this drink special. You can also tone down the booze by ramping up the sparkling water.
½ oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ oz simple syrup
1.5 oz Gin (Ford’s, No. 3, and Beefeater are great options)
1.5 oz sparkling water
Lemon peel garnish
Combine lemon juice, simple syrup and gin in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds.
Strain into an iced cocktail glass or serve straight up in a cocktail coupe.
Top with sparkling water
Stir and garnish with the lemon peel twist.
Like it’s boozier Italian sibling, the negroni, Aperol spritzes have been having a moment in recent years. Forgive me for being a bit too 2019, but I love these — they’re bubbly, lower in alcohol, and perfect for warm, summer afternoons. The bitter edge provided by Aperol balances out the sweetness in the drink. Italians love bitter flavors for getting the appetite revved up, which makes this a perfect alternative to beer as an aperitif for the next big summer BBQ.
1oz sparkling water
Orange slice garnish
Combine all ingredients in a large, ice-filled wine goblet – stemmed or stemless.
Stir to combine.
Garnish with orange slice
Tennessee Whiskey Highball
Nothing is simpler than this whiskey highball, which borrows the idea from the popular scotch and soda highball made with blended scotch whiskey. In recent years, Texas Ranch Water (tequila and sparkling water) has become a popular hot weather drink to stave off the heat. We don’t live in Texas, and we have great whiskey here in our backyard. Try this alternative instead.
1.5 oz of Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey
3 oz sparkling water
Lemon, orange, or lime wedge garnish
*optional – a splash of simple syrup will sweeten things up a bit if you prefer.
In a Collins or highball glass filled with ice, combine whiskey and sparkling water.
Stir to combine and garnish with citrus wedge.
Ingredients available at Moon Wine & Spirits
6910 Moores Lane, Brentwood, TN 37027.
Bio: Jason Pyle is a Franklin resident and President of Harvey Nash, Inc. (www.harveynashusa.com), an Information Technology Recruitment and Consultancy Firm headquartered in Wayne, NJ. For nearly 10 years Jason ran a blog called Sour Mash Manifesto (www.sourmashmanifesto.com). For nearly 10 years Jason ran a blog called Sour Mash Man- ifesto (www.sourmashmanifesto. com). Jason has a library of video reviews posted on YouTube under “Jason Pyle” and was a contributing author and reviewer for “1001 Whiskies You Must Taste Before You Die” (American Whiskey Section).