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May 19, 2014 9:21 AM   Subscribe

Three bartenders in a backyard teach you how to make three classic summer drinks on a budget: the daiquiri, the gin & tonic, and the mint julep. Not simple enough? How about the only summer cocktail recipe you will ever need?
posted by Juliet Banana (105 comments total) 95 users marked this as a favorite

 
So often when I see a discussion about cocktails I'm terribly disappointed but no, these people are using Jack Rudy tonic syrup and they have the right idea about a proper daiquiri. I'm content.
posted by komara at 9:25 AM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Insufficient. The only summer cocktail recipe you will ever need is a Pimms Cup.
posted by Madamina at 9:28 AM on May 19, 2014 [23 favorites]


During summer I prefer to mix tequila with a little tequila, a splash of tequila, and then briskly tequila.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:33 AM on May 19, 2014 [16 favorites]


I have recently become a big fan of Schofferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen; perfect for summer if you're a fan of grapefruit and beer.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:34 AM on May 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


I whipped something up last year with which I was quite pleased. Grapefruit juice, gin and seltzer. All to taste, really, but I usually go for 1 part grapefruit two parts seltzer with 1-2oz of gin in a tall glass with ice.
The grapefruit juice has to be really good, though. For my fellow NYC-folk, I can't recommend the Fairway grapefruit juice enough. For gin, I like the Botanist.
posted by staccato signals of constant information at 9:35 AM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


I have recently become a big fan of Schofferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen; perfect for summer if you're a fan of grapefruit and beer.

I think you misspelled "Stiegl Radler + Malort."
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:36 AM on May 19, 2014 [8 favorites]


Looks delicious. I'm a sucker for herb-inflected cocktails but I've never made my own. They make it sound manageable so maybe I will give it a try this summer.
posted by mlle valentine at 9:36 AM on May 19, 2014


Insufficient. The only summer cocktail recipe you will ever need is a Pimms Cup.

And how! Simple, elegant, and utterly refreshing.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:37 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Interesting. Although I'm not sure if "take any herb, mix into simple syrup, add any fruit, then serve with any alcohol" is a cocktail, exactly. I could think of some pretty ugly combinations that would fit the bill. (Anyone want a parsley and rhubarb cocktail?)
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:37 AM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


I discovered the Aperol spritz a few months ago (2 parts Aperol, 3 parts Prosecco over ice, finished with a splash of club soda, and garnished with a slice of orange, if you're feeling fancy). It's nothing too subtle or complex, but quite refreshing. Definitely a drink to be enjoyed in the sun.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:38 AM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


(Anyone want a parsley and rhubarb cocktail?)

Dill and nutmeg with whiskey!
posted by elizardbits at 9:38 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hey now, a broccoli rabe and peppercorn mezcal cocktail is tasty.
posted by mlle valentine at 9:39 AM on May 19, 2014


(Anyone want a parsley and rhubarb cocktail?)

Anise and persimmon could put the breaks on pretty hard.....
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:43 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I want someone to do a "babies eating lemons" style website that's "college freshmen drinking Pimms".

And college professors drinking Malort.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:44 AM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


And, yeah, that "only summer cocktail you'll ever need" isn't a cocktail recipe, any more than "pick any vegetable and any herb and cook them together" is a recipe. I mean, sure, experiment with the ingredients you have on hand—but don't pretend that the sentence "experiment with stuff" is a recipe, because it isn't.

To folks who take cocktails seriously, starting with one drink and then substituting one ingredient for another, similar ingredient gives you a different drink. Heck, even changing the proportions without changing the actual ingredients is often considered a different drink. "Any fruit + any herb + any wine or spirit" ain't a cocktail recipe.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:45 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


The relevant part is at the end: "...tomorrow you go, ‘What the fuck was in that drink? I don’t know. It was delicious."
posted by effbot at 9:48 AM on May 19, 2014


I want my Pimm's Cup in a pimp cup, just like Burt Reynolds.

To me, the ideal summer cocktail is the gin & tonic served out of a keg that my friends and I do while playing croquet. House rules mandate a drink in hand at all times, there are none better.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:57 AM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


"...tomorrow you go, ‘What the fuck was in that drink? I don’t know. It was delicious."

Red wine, blood oranges (sliced), triple sec. That much is critical. Now add more assorted sliced citrus and cut it with fruit juices and/or spike it with something strong. Sangria, the perfect summer drink.

If you have made at least ten gallons of this recipe, please invite me.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:57 AM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


is it still a cocktail? when travelling, i prefer inexpensive motels with a nearby mexican restaurant, where i can get agua fresca to go after dinner, take it back to the room, one or two big gulps out of it and refill to the brim with tequila before watching tv.
posted by bruce at 9:58 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I recognize that opinions differ on the proper mint julep technique, but consider this - the flavoring compounds in mint are significantly more soluble in alcohol than water. Like, by a factor of 100. So if you're starting with a nice stiff bourbon, maybe even in the 100 proof range, it is much better to chop or muddle the mint and steep only in the room-temperature spirit, before you add sugar, syrup, ice, or whatever. My approach is to steep the mint in the bourbon for about 5 minutes before I even touch it with another ingredient - in my opinion this gives it a much better balance than the "bourbon and ice with a mint sprig" taste you often get in a mint julep.

Anyway, consider it.

Also if you like mint you should really grow your own. It is so easy, in fact, you can probably literally start by sticking a stem or 2 of your next grocery store mint in the ground and watering it well for a week or 2. Within a couple seasons you'll have more mint than you know what to do with between about April and June.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 9:58 AM on May 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


And since people keep misspelling it, here's the word "Malört" with the dots so you can cut and paste. It means wormwood in Swedish, btw, and is a plant, not a drink. The beverage type is called "bäsk" which is just an alternate spelling of the Swedish word for bitter. It's a fine digestif and your snaps supply isn't complete without a bottle.
posted by effbot at 9:59 AM on May 19, 2014


mint is a very aggressive plant which will crowd out everything else in your herb garden unless you keep it isolated.
posted by bruce at 10:00 AM on May 19, 2014


I've taken to mixing seltzer and orange bitters together with whatever liquor's handy. It's great; bitters in general doesn't get enough attention, despite being foundational to the construction of the classic cocktails.
posted by Cash4Lead at 10:02 AM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


the only summer cocktail recipe you will ever need?

I don't understand, this isn't a Dark and Stormy at all...
posted by maryr at 10:05 AM on May 19, 2014 [9 favorites]


Or sangria, good point, justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow, who is making gallons of sangria and where is your house?
posted by maryr at 10:06 AM on May 19, 2014


"here's the word "Malört" with the dots so you can cut and paste. It means wormwood in Swedish, btw, and is a plant, not a drink"

I'm rather sure they're referring specifically to Jeppson's Malört which is big in Chicago and some other places and is often referred to simply as Malört as a conversational shorthand.

(and I totally used your malort-with-the-dots for copy/paste so thank you)
posted by komara at 10:06 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


(oh and I have a bottle of Jeppson's Malört at home if anyone wants to stop by and try it. It's probably the third-nastiest thing in my liquor collection, but I like nasty things.)
posted by komara at 10:08 AM on May 19, 2014


bruce: "mint is a very aggressive plant which will crowd out everything else in your herb garden unless you keep it isolated."

This is, of course, why generations of southerners (not to mention many others) have dealt with the menace by drowning mint in bourbon.
posted by chavenet at 10:11 AM on May 19, 2014 [8 favorites]


the only summer cocktail recipe you will ever need?

I don't understand, this isn't a Dark and Stormy Paloma at all...


FTFY.

Tequila, half a lime, grapefruit jaritos, ice. It's the latina cousin of the dark and stormy!
posted by fontophilic at 10:15 AM on May 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


A dash of salt is what separates the decent Paloma from a great one.
posted by klangklangston at 10:20 AM on May 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yeah, should have written "and is a plant there, not a drink". The dots matter quite a bit in Swedish, though, so I had to point it out :-)

I haven't tried the Chicago version so not sure how far from a Swedish bäsk it is, but the original is a bit of an acquired taste so I can see why people have trouble with it (but like any other snaps it's supposed to be had as part of a meal, not diluted in any way and ideally ice-cold from the freezer. All bets are off if you serve it in any other way.)
posted by effbot at 10:22 AM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


I whipped something up last year with which I was quite pleased. Grapefruit juice, gin and seltzer. All to taste, really, but I usually go for 1 part grapefruit two parts seltzer with 1-2oz of gin in a tall glass with ice.

We came up with something similar a few years ago - grapefruit juice, Campari (or Aperol), ice, seltzer, and vodka or gin. We named it the Bitter Queen, stealing the name from the local donut place that has a grapefuit and Campari donut.
posted by rtha at 10:25 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, I was on board with their school of cocktail-ery, riiiight up until we started talking mint juleps and the words "simple syrup" were uttered. Son, if you're using anything that isn't coarsely granulated sugar to muddle your mint leaves in a goddamn drink, you are dumber than every professional baker. My friend Gabe is a professional baker, and he makes very stupid decisions, and you are dumber than my friend Gabe.
posted by Mayor West at 10:32 AM on May 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


I've never made a mint julep in my life (haven't gotten around to acquiring a muddler) but I, too, raised my eyebrows at the use of simple syrup instead of sugar.

Be it resolved: This is the summer that I finally get hold of some Pimm's and make Pimm's Cups. As a matter of fact, today is four years to the day since I learned about Pimm's from this front page post, and I still haven't gotten around to it.
posted by usonian at 10:43 AM on May 19, 2014


And since people keep misspelling it, here's the word "Malört" with the dots so you can cut and paste.

Fair warning. It tastes like pencil shavings and despair, with a two hour finish of grapefruit rinds.
posted by eriko at 10:43 AM on May 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


I haven't tried the Chicago version so not sure how far from a Swedish bäsk it is, but the original is a bit of an acquired taste

The Jeppsons' Malört unaired commerical. I think it's really close to a bäsk, myself.
posted by eriko at 10:48 AM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


The caipirinha was the only summer cocktail you will ever need. This is not up for debate.
posted by freq at 10:51 AM on May 19, 2014


I recently discovered the Negroni and I don't think I'll ever drink anything else ever again. It tastes exactly like Brio, which I've been drinking since I was a kid, but has more alcohol per volume than a Long Island Iced Tea.

1 part gin
1 part red vermouth
1 part Campari

Pour over ice, add an orange wedge, swizzle.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:59 AM on May 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


Grapefruit juice, gin and seltzer.

I call this drink "raiding my parents' liquor cabinet but all the tonic is gone." It is mostly a Christmas cocktail for me.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:03 AM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


A muddled gin and tonic? What are those people doing to mix one clear liquid with another and come out cloudy?

Add lime to it?

Barbarians.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:13 AM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Speaking of Dark and Stormies, an important Public Service Announcement: I was surprised recently to see one liter bottles of Gosling's ginger beer for something like $1.50-2.00 at a Market Basket supermarket here in Massachusetts. I'd only ever seen it in outrageously priced six packs.
posted by usonian at 11:20 AM on May 19, 2014


This looks like some great reading by all accounts, but, by the gods, these damned responsive-design websites are going to burn my eyes out of my head.

That Jack Rudy Tonic Syrup is verrrry tempting, because I do so love my summer G&Ts.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:26 AM on May 19, 2014


One of my favorites summer drink....

Ti'Punch....

-12 ml brown sugar cane syrup
-60 ml Rum (Agricole preferred, but it works with a good brown rhum)
-2 quarters of lime squeezed and dropped into the glass
-A few ice cubes (optional)
posted by coust at 11:37 AM on May 19, 2014


"Any fruit + any herb + any wine or spirit" ain't a cocktail recipe

I think it's a good start. It's in the same vein as the classic cocktail ratio of 3:2:1
(3 parts base, 2 parts sweet, 1 part tart) plus a dash of bitters.

I've found some good herb/fruit combos - rum, basil, and orange is fantastic. I've never managed to make a drinkable combination with the rosemary syrup my sister makes each summer.
posted by kanewai at 11:37 AM on May 19, 2014


Grapefruit juice, gin and seltzer.

It's like a watered down salty dog.

During the Great Lime Shortage of '14 I made some tequila... Collins, I guess? Tequila, lemon juice, dash of simple, and some seltzer. Garnish with mint.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:40 AM on May 19, 2014


It's probably the third-nastiest thing in my liquor collection

I am perversely curious what the other two could possibly be. Is one of them brake cleaner?
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:45 AM on May 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


Sys Rq: "I recently discovered the Negroni "

Ooh, yes, I also discovered the Negroni recently and it's a great drink!

But plain jynnan tonnyx gee-N-N-T'N-ix jinond-o-nicks chinanto/mnigs tzin-anthony-ks Gin and Tonic is still my favorite night cup when I want something other than a dram of single malt. Preferably made from Bruichladdich's "The Botanist" gin and Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic. Sheer heaven. And, yes, that's Bruichladdich as in the Islay whisky distillery. One of the best gins out there IMHO. Except maybe this one... I secured 2 bottles but haven't picked them up yet so I can't tell for sure.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:46 AM on May 19, 2014


TL;DSI

too long; did shots instead
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:04 PM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


I made about 7 liters of white sangria for a party this weekend:

2 apples, 2 mangoes, 2 peaches, diced
1lb red grapes, very frozen
1 pint blueberries
(1 pint raspberries thrown away as they turned fuzzy and green in the fridge overnight, they were not missed)
1 pint strawberries, diced
2 Tbls sugar

2 C Triple Sec
1/4 C Amaretto (a different fruity liqueur would be just as good but I liked the way this worked)
1 (5L) box Moscato, cold (Franzia, or 5 liters of moscato of your choice)
3 bottles cheap Sauvignon Blanc or other not-sweet white wine

At least one day ahead:
In a large coverable container or zip-top bag, mix sugar with Triple Sec and Amaretto and stir in diced apples, mango, and peaches. Cover and refrigerate, stirring occasionally. Remove grapes from stem, wash, and dry well. Freeze in a zip-top bag. Clean and refrigerate remaining fruit.

Party time:
For each batch: In a very large container (I use a Gallon Rubbermaid Pitcher), scoop in about 1/3 of the total soaked fruit and 1/3 each of the unsoaked berries. Add about 2L of moscato and half to 3/4 bottle sauv blanc. Swirl to mix.

In a nice pitcher, put a handful or two of frozen grapes in and pour from large container to fill. The grapes will stay frozen through a second and maybe third top-up, but at some point you may want to pitch and refresh. Include a big spoon for guests to fish out sunken fruit, or serve strained sangria in the pitcher and all the fruit in a separate container with a spoon.

Skip the mango if you want a clearer sangria, it was the one thing that really went mushy. I don't presoak the strawberies for the same reason.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:05 PM on May 19, 2014 [10 favorites]


I was introduced to the Moscow Mule (Vodka, Gingerbeer and a slice of cucumber) last summer and found it to be damn refreshing.
I like this idea of herb-infused simple syrup and look forward to trying that. I had a cilantro and watermelon salad once that was pretty tasty - I see something along those lines in my future.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:26 PM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


(Anyone want a parsley and rhubarb cocktail?)

Dill and nutmeg with whiskey!


Pretty sure if you wander around eastern Europe long enough, you'll run into a tiny old woman who will insist these are the things you drink when the wind has blown through you and made you ill.
posted by griphus at 12:40 PM on May 19, 2014 [12 favorites]


If you like Negronis, you should also try the Americano for a lower alcohol take. Equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth, top with seltzer, twist of orange.

Be careful when you're ordering one at a bar, though, because about half the time you'll get coffee instead of a cocktail.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:44 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ah, Summer, the only socially acceptable time to add ice to your whiskey.

I do love some mojito pitchers. No sugar added, thanks.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 12:47 PM on May 19, 2014


I'm okay with their G&T as they also seem to agree that Hendricks should be kept as far away as possible from it. I know people who love that softer style but keep that to white ladys and maybe martini's if you have to. You need a London dry to stand up to the tonic, Hendricks I find just gets overwhelmed.
posted by Carillon at 12:48 PM on May 19, 2014


I .. rather like the sound of a parsley/rhubarb cocktail. Parsley has a good, strong grass-like flavour and rhubarb is kinda tart .. it could work.
posted by kariebookish at 1:04 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm a sucker for herb-inflected cocktails

Well here you go then: The Swedish 60

Though we call ours Norwegian 60's. Be sure to use the Linie Akavit.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 1:16 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


The only reason I ever have parties is so that I have an excuse to make a lot of sangria. Cocktails, well, I'll provide the ingredients but am a bad host because I'm gonna make you make it yourself. Most of my friends are craftbeer types, though, so cocktails is not really our thing.

In conclusion: sangria.
posted by emjaybee at 1:24 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


We're talking about summer cocktails right? On the cheap?

Somewhere before the first week of summer, I make mint syrup (as in making simple syrup with torn mint leaves added and strained out). It will be a gold / green color and keeps in the fridge for weeks.
Big leafy mint leaves are oddly hard to come by sometimes, but the drink's not work making unless you have plenty available to muddle when prepping the drink.
A good bourbon (Ideally a Basil Hayden or Knob Creek) / thinly thinly crushed ice / and a vehicle of said drink (pewter cup).
I occasionally break the rules and use carbonated spring water to add a kick.

Sugar, water, mint, bourbon, ice with a large dose of pretension. Still... it's amazing how bastardized this drink can be. Sadly I've never found this drink out in the wild (at bars) made without some bizarre twist.
posted by hillabeans at 1:38 PM on May 19, 2014


My usual summer routine is to buy a big bag of limes every week and use them in gin & tonics, mojitos, and micheladas all week long. The limepocalypse is going to make it a long, hot summer.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:40 PM on May 19, 2014


I'm just glad to see "daiquiri" mean the cocktail, and not the slushy. A good Daiquiri is a good summer drink, no question, but all it really needs is rum, lime, and simple syrup. I often use orgeat instead of syrup, but it isn't at all necessary.
posted by librosegretti at 1:43 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


On the subject of tonic water. (Yes, I know that modern tonic water has something between a sixth and a twelfth of the actually dose needed to prevent malaria that was in the old G&T, plus added sweeteners.)

I tend to be of the opinion that the summer is for clear spirits, the winter for brown ones. The mint julep gets an exception to this rule (and honestly, the martini/gibson is an indoor drink for any time in the year). I personally favor the Gin Ricky at times like this, but understand that it may be an acquired taste.

Pimm's at this time of year is exquisite. Make a punch with it, make sure to have cucumbers and something fizzy (remember that in the UK lemonade is lemon soda) and otherwise have fun. Anyone who insists on a strict Pimm's recipe needs to drink more Pimms until they loosen up.
posted by Hactar at 1:47 PM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


I personally favor the Gin Ricky at times like this, but understand that it may be an acquired taste.

My favored G&T actually lies somewhere between an over-limed rickey with tonic water instead of plain soda and an under-sweetened gimlet topped with a splash of tonic. What I'm saying is that I like an awful lot of lime in it.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:59 PM on May 19, 2014


I have recently become a big fan of Schofferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen; perfect for summer if you're a fan of grapefruit and beer

Never mind the Malort: The Stiegl Grapefruit Radler is my official new summer drink FOREVER. There's this awful gummy aftertaste in the Schofferhofer.
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:05 PM on May 19, 2014


I totally get that other people might prefer them otherwise, but I have at some point or another tried every decent gin my liquor store sells, and I always come back to the Hendricks for this. Hendricks and Fever Tree and ideally a slice of cucumber. I don't dislike the Bombay, but I like the Hendricks just worlds better. I do find that it doesn't really stand up to the addition of lime, a bit of cucumber is enough.

I have never been able to get one of the syrups proportionally quite right, on the tonic side, it just feels way too fiddly, but I also haven't tried this one in particular, so maybe that's something for the to-do list this summer.
posted by Sequence at 2:21 PM on May 19, 2014


(why are you folks buying premixed shandies, other than in emergencies? get a good light beer and a quality soda instead, and mix your own to taste...)
posted by effbot at 2:45 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Here's how you grow enough mint for endless cocktails without letting it overtake your yard: get a biiiiig plastic pot. The bigger the better (you can use a smaller pot if space is limited; just make sure it's at least six inches deep. Eight inches is better yet). Cut the bottom of it off with a hacksaw. Dig a biiiig hole, and sink the pot in it with just the lip or an inch or two above ground. Fill in the pot with the dirt you dug out of the hole. Mulch around the outside of the pot. Plant mint (spearmint is best; peppermint contains menthol and can taste "grassy"). Harvest all summer long.

Of course, you could always plant it in a container, but this way you don't have to water it as much.

If you stick a sprig of store-bought mint into a jar of water it will obligingly send out roots, and then you can plant it in the ground. Pinch off the flowering tips to get more leaves.

If you find yourself with more mint than you can use, make mint tea - just cram a teapot full of mint and pour boiling water on it and let it steep for a few minutes. Tastes great hot or cold.
posted by caryatid at 3:35 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


"I totally get that other people might prefer them otherwise, but I have at some point or another tried every decent gin my liquor store sells, and I always come back to the Hendricks for this. Hendricks and Fever Tree and ideally a slice of cucumber. I don't dislike the Bombay, but I like the Hendricks just worlds better. I do find that it doesn't really stand up to the addition of lime, a bit of cucumber is enough."

Try the Leopold Bros. gin if you want a change. It's closer to the Hendricks cucumber floral flavor than the juniper herbal flavor of most others.
posted by klangklangston at 3:59 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


~It's probably the third-nastiest thing in my liquor collection
~I am perversely curious what the other two could possibly be. Is one of them brake cleaner?


That, or this stuff. I can drink a lot of things, but not Cynar.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:00 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Someone upthread called thems of us who like our gin and tonics with lime, well, I believe that he used the word "Barbarians".

Enjoy your scurvy, MartinWisse.
posted by Cookiebastard at 4:17 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Cookiebastard, I haven't even been able to formulate a response to that comment, so thanks. The only way it makes sense to me is if you're making your own tonic water/syrup. Even then, a little fresh lime won't go astray.
posted by mollweide at 4:24 PM on May 19, 2014


Right at this moment I am consuming a rye lime rickey, which is perfect for San Francisco's "sunny right now but not actually all that warm" climate.

Last Sunday - when it was warm enough for no jacket in the garden - we had G&Ts made withUncle Val's Botanical Gin, which we got as a present. It makes an excellent G&T.
posted by rtha at 5:23 PM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


A few weekends ago a friend made some white sangria with St. Germain as a secret ingredient. Deelish.
posted by Fig at 5:29 PM on May 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


"I am perversely curious what the other two could possibly be. Is one of them brake cleaner?"

I would rate my collection, in terms of nasty:

- Fernet Vallet
- Fernet Branca
- Jeppson's Malört
- Amargo Vallet
- Unicum Zwack
- Cynar
- some genitan liqueur from the monastery where they make Chartreuese

and then we get down into softer amari like Meletti and Averna and Luxardo, and then further down into Aperol and Campari.

Like I said, I really love the nasty stuff. And honestly, it's just a matter of preference. I have plenty of friends who would gladly rate the Malört at the top of the list. Me, I find fernets just a little more disagreeable, and the Fernet Vallet is one hell of a fernet.
posted by komara at 6:29 PM on May 19, 2014


Oh man, Cynar is a total abomination unto the lord.
posted by elizardbits at 6:32 PM on May 19, 2014


Fig, St. Germain is an excellent secret ingredient in any drink that needs some sweetness and citrus. I know it's billed as an elderflower liqueur, but the grapefruit always shines through.
posted by mollweide at 6:34 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Gotta caution y'all about grapefruit juice - it interacts in a bad, bad way with many medications, especially heart medications, but also antidepressants and statins and many others.

Wikipedia has a list of the medicines that don't work with grapefruit juice, so that's a place to start. I just googled grapefruit juice drug interactions.

These cocktails sound SO delicious, but please be careful about the grapefruit juice.
posted by aryma at 6:52 PM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


"Oh man, Cynar is a total abomination unto the lord."

Or one of my favorite liqueurs in the world, or both. I guess these things needn't be mutually exclusive.
posted by komara at 7:08 PM on May 19, 2014


Tequila, half a lime, grapefruit jaritos, ice. It's the latina cousin of the dark and stormy!
posted by fontophilic at 10:15 AM on May 19


While Jaritos makes some delicious sodas, there's absolutely no substitute for Fresca in a paloma.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:18 PM on May 19, 2014


Americanos are the best. Negronis can be really good, but more alcoholic that I want in the middle of the day. An Americano? Way better than most for an early afternoon drink on lazy summer days.

That said, the one + only seems like the kind of great "go! experiment!" recipe that gives the cautious license to have fun and try something off the wall. It reminds me that I don't do fruit drinks nearly enough.
posted by aspo at 7:55 PM on May 19, 2014


And ohh Cynar! I first bought a bottle during a trip to Italy and the counterperson made the NASTIEST face when she saw what we were buying. A bottle may last a long time, but I kind of like the stuff.
posted by aspo at 7:58 PM on May 19, 2014


Tequila, half a lime, grapefruit jaritos, ice. It's the latina cousin of the dark and stormy!
posted by fontophilic at 10:15 AM on May 19

While Jaritos makes some delicious sodas, there's absolutely no substitute for Fresca in a paloma.


San Pellegrino grapefruit soda - blissful.
posted by ersatzkat at 8:07 PM on May 19, 2014


To counteract all this negativity towards delicious bitter things I meant to go pour some Cynar on the rocks but on the way to the bar I forgot what we were talking about so I ended up back at the computer with Malört on the rocks instead. Still fighting the good fight.
posted by komara at 8:40 PM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


If you've tried Jeppson's Malört you should also try R. Franklin’s Original Recipe Malört from Letherbee and Bittermens Bäska Snaps med malört.

Among my circle of bäsk connoisseurs (if four can be called a circle) there is some disagreement about which of these is the worst. We all agree that Jeppson's is almost tolerable by comparison to the other two, which are unquestionably much more odious. Where we diverge is on whether R. Franklin's 50% alcohol and stronger wormwood flavor is more violently offensive than the Bittermens combination of wormwood, anise, and caraway in a standard 40% spirit.

While the former is more direct in its bitter distastefulness, amplified by its higher proof, the latter has an insidious synergy, at least for those that do not care for the taste of anise.

Most of us feel that Fernet Branca falls somewhere in the middle. We have not had Fernet Vallet, and now I feel compelled to seek it out. I have a strange affinity for weird, terrible liqueurs.

We have made Jeppson's Malört ice cream using the gelatin method for higher proof boozy ice cream. The result was irredeemably foul, which we took to be a success. It was a great hit at a party.

I have probably reached my lifetime limit for bäsk consumption, however. I find I have developed a fairly strong version to it, although I've probably only consumed maybe a bottle's worth over the years. Compare that to John Hodgman, who routinely drinks most of a bottle of Jeppson's during his stage shows without so much as a grimace. We have worked out three possibilities: 1) after consuming a truly punishing amount of the stuff it is possible to acquire a taste for it (doubtful), 2) Hodgman has no sense of taste (possibly related to attempting option 1), or 3) he is an amazing actor.
posted by jedicus at 9:32 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


jedicus: if you're ever in New Orleans you have to go by Cane & Table and get the Boss Colada (Bäska + colada). I've had many of them and they're DELICIOUS. There's a (terrible quality) video of Nick Detrich making one. It's a transcendent drink.
posted by komara at 9:58 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Huh. I don't use it enough to buy it myself, but pretty much every cocktail I've had with cynar in it is better than any I've had with Campari.
posted by klangklangston at 10:47 PM on May 19, 2014


For science, some friends and I have been getting together to blind taste test multiple gins and tonics. Of the tonics, Schweppe's was the clear winner, though I did really like the homemade stuff a friend of mine was making. (But I gather getting the real ingredients for tonic is a bit of a bother for civilians.)

Gin seems to be a bit more difficult to pin down. My personal favorites are Hendrick's, Old R'aj and Aria (locally made by Bull Run Distillery, good stuff), but the overall winner in one round was Seagram's, of all things.

As for worst beverage, when I was in college we had a bottle of Chartreuse that made the rounds as various people left town and others inherited it. Gods, was that stuff nasty. Give me Fernet Branca any day.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:34 PM on May 19, 2014


Summer is easy drinking time: Make lemonade, pour over ice with vodka. or Make Iced Tea, pour over ice with vodka. Or get real fancy, mix lemonade and iced tea, add vodka.

If you have to be super fancy, bruise some basil and throw it into the lemonade and vodka. There is nothing better than that on a hot summer afternoon, while sitting on the porch watching the neighbors go by.
posted by SuzySmith at 12:49 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


We felt so strongly about the fact that the Perfect G&T Must Have Lime and Lots Of It that we took photos and made a single serving site.
The Perfect Gin and Tonic (yeah we registered a domain name, it's ridiculous, but this is important)

Half a lime per drink. Not less. (unless the lime is SUPER juicy). Then it's refreshing, tangy, perfection.
posted by olya at 5:08 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Of the tonics, Schweppe's was the clear winner, though I did really like the homemade stuff a friend of mine was making.

...

...

Compared to what?

I've heard that some people like the cheap stuff for not fancying up a more complex gin too much, but gin plus Canada Dry or Schweppe's, as far as I'm concerned, is a last resort, and is basically going for gin rickey plus corn syrup. If you just want to taste the gin, I figure you ought to just use soda. It's not like I'll refuse to drink it, but if I'm paying that much for gin I feel like it's worth a little more for the mixer.

Floral, though--that's funny, I hadn't realized that's what it is, but it is. Sadly, no Leopold Brothers near me, looks like. Did find a place online I think can ship to me, but I'm going to guess the price on that is going to be steep.
posted by Sequence at 8:03 AM on May 20, 2014


Hansen's Tonic Water is pretty good, and widely available. Fever Tree's just too goddamned expensive for my volume of drinking.
posted by klangklangston at 8:18 AM on May 20, 2014


More like Fever Twee, with their tiny bitty little bottles.
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:32 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Pimm's at this time of year is exquisite. Make a punch with it, make sure to have cucumbers and something fizzy

A couple of years ago I was at a very good, impromptu garden party. The host came up to me and asked "How do you like your Pimm's? Have you guessed the secret ingredient?" I assured him that I was enjoying the drink very, very much, praised him for the inclusion of borage flowers (as garnish and cucumber flavour) and wondered whether the sliced up fresh rhubarb amongst the other fruit was the secret ingredient?

He laughed and clutched his hands together in an almost evil way... "No. Instead of using lemonade or ginger ale I use champagne as the mixer!"

I'm pretty sure that he and his wife are on a mission to take over the world with happiness and garden parties.

--

In Austria, the Aperol Spritzer is being pushed aside by the Hugo, a mix of sparkling wine, elderflower syrup or St Germain, a splash of fresh lime, soda water and a mint leaf garnish. There are ready bottled versions in the stores which are far too sweet, but when mixed appropriately it can be lovely.
posted by pipstar at 9:02 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


(It's "Schweppes" since 1802 when it was changed from J. Schweppe & Co. They became the official supplier of tonic water to the British empire in 1831, so they've been doing this for as long as the drink has existed. I'm pretty sure they didn't use corn syrup back then, though, and they definitely don't do that where I am...)
posted by effbot at 10:52 AM on May 20, 2014


"No. Instead of using lemonade or ginger ale I use champagne as the mixer!"

The secret ingredient is HEADACHE.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:11 AM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


wrong. a g&t is always clear.

good gin
tonic
splash of roses lime
cold and clear
posted by judson at 11:28 AM on May 20, 2014


See, me, I don't like to make it complicated with all these 'seasonal' drink varieties. Summer, winter, spring, fall - cheap whiskey from the bottle, guzzled with a healthy splash of desperation, served in a dark corner.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:49 PM on May 20, 2014


klangklangston, I think that might be part of my strategy--although I get it from Amazon, it's a little cheaper that way, but I cannot just suck them down literally all night every night if I'm paying through the nose for them, and otherwise I so would. My grocery store has the Fever Tree in larger bottles, but again with the not having a whole bunch in a night, generally, so I prefer the smaller ones so it's never flat.
posted by Sequence at 1:21 PM on May 20, 2014


"I prefer the smaller ones so it's never flat."

This is exactly why I like that Jack Rudy tonic syrup. I buy cheap little bottles (or cans, whichever) of fizzy water and add tonic to taste. If it does go flat, who cares? It's just cheap sparkling water. If you have a home soda charger (which I do not) then it's even less of a big deal.

Plus you can experiment with the fizz / gin / tonic ratio, which is also nice.
posted by komara at 1:50 PM on May 20, 2014


Look, you people advocating for either no lime juice in a G&T or, um bottled juice instead of fresh fruit, you people are wrong, wrong, wrong.
posted by Cookiebastard at 1:58 PM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Sequence, I don't know where you are, but Leopolds' distro keeps getting better, and their webpage is a bit out of date on where it is.

The other thing that we do pretty regularly is just infuse vodka to make our own gin. Juniper berries are pretty cheap, relative to the bang, and I tend to add hyssop, with a tiny bit of cardamom, coriander, bay, black pepper and some lemon or orange zest. Sometimes I'll toss some edible flowers in there too. Then leave that for a couple of hours and finish with fresh cucumber. You can mix it with whatever you like, and it ends up being significantly cheaper than store-bought gin.
posted by klangklangston at 2:17 PM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Vodka, the booze for people who don't want to notice they're drinking booze and "cocktail" don't get to share adjacency in my book (or a the classic definition, for all intents and purposes).

Winter: neat Islay Scotch and bourbon, neat, alternating depending on mood. Summer: neat bourbon, bourbon on rocks, bourbon and water on the rocks (a fine iced "tea"), and old fashioneds with Angostura.
posted by aydeejones at 6:10 PM on May 20, 2014


Vodka has its place for getting buzzed or Moar, of course but gets no cred as a cocktail base. I pretty much stopped liking pure ethanol once I acquired a likin' to the whiskies. I recommend starting with laphroaig in the winter and by summer bourbon will be that much sweeter and refreshing in contrast.
posted by aydeejones at 6:14 PM on May 20, 2014


Vodka is good when it is hot as hell and the humidity is 97% and anything else will smother you. I love a good damn bourbon on the rocks when it is cooler out, but not summer time in coastal Virginia.
posted by SuzySmith at 12:36 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Out of curiosity, I went searching for tonic syrup recipes and found that there's really not a lot to it; the only real barrier to entry is how scarce chincona bark and citric acid are in your neck of the woods. Both are easily found online, of course, but it's one of those things where you'll probably spend more on ingredients than if you just buy a bottle of the fancy stuff and have done with it.
posted by usonian at 5:37 AM on May 21, 2014


I clicked on the link expecting a more backyard, less frou-frou version of a simple summer cocktail. To me, if the stove is involved in any way, that is a summer cocktail that is destined to fail.

Then again, I spend my summers with the traditional ice/fruit juice/vodka "cocktail" so I may be an uneducated slob. Although mango juice and vodka on a beach at sunset is pretty damn hard to beat.
posted by teleri025 at 3:09 PM on May 22, 2014


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