… from the Happy Hour Bar
How you doin’? As spring turns to summer with hotter weather on the way, it’s now open season for backyard barbecues, lounging by the pool or just sitting outside on the porch swing to watch the sunset.
Of course, warmer weather calls for an updated bar menu, so here are a couple of cocktails to get you started.
Get into the summer Spirit! Summer breezes call for more refreshing drinks and you will want to stick to clear spirits. This doesn’t mean you can’t have brown spirits (dark rum, whiskey), but be aware of the downsides. Being out in the heat and sweating can already make you dehydrated and drinking any alcohol without enough water can lead to hangovers or worse. In case you didn’t know, darker spirits are more likely to provoke longer and more severe hangovers the next day.
Calorie-wise, there isn’t any significant difference between dark or clear liquors. The caloric content of any hard liquor is mainly a function of the liquor’s proof. Since 1 gram of alcohol contains 7 calories, the higher the proof, the higher the calorie content. If you’re watching calories for your diet, you’re better served by paying attention to your mixers, which usually are filled with sugar and empty calories.
Here are a couple of tried-and-true drinks that we’ve all heard of. These are familiar to most people, require only a few ingredients, and are quick to make. While they may not satisfy a curious professional mixologist, they can still provide a lot of refreshment for your lazy summer weekends.
Although this is traditionally a gin drink, there are some who prefer vodka. With vodka, this drink tastes mostly of the grapefruit juice, while the gin version has more depth and complexity (if you like gin, of course). Although not an especially common drink, it’s simple to make and is bright and refreshing for sipping outside on a hot summer day. The Salty Dog is a variation on this drink with salt on the rim.
2 ounces gin
1 tablespoon coarse salt (for glass rim)
4 ounces grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 spring of thyme (for garnish)
Dark and Stormy
(It’s Hurricane Season Down South)
Although most of these drinks use clear spirits, this one is an exception. The Dark and Stormy is made with dark rum, but don’t let that scare you away. It’s a great drink for sitting out on the porch and listening to a summer thunderstorm roll through. This is also the easiest drink to make since no real mixing is involved.
1/2 ounce lime juice
4 to 6 ounces ginger beer
2 ounces dark rum
1 lime wheel (for garnish)
Paloma is Spanish for “dove,” and while the margarita may be the most famous tequila-based cocktail, it’s not necessarily the only one or the best. Grapefruit soda may seem an odd ingredient in a tequila cocktail, but the citrus works well with tequila and the carbonation gives it a wonderfully light bubbly effervescence.
1 tablespoon coarse salt
2 ounces Blanco tequila
4 to 6 ounces grapefruit soda (Fresca, Jarritos or Squirt are the most popular brands)
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 lime wheel (for garnish)
ChefSecret: When salting a glass rim, use coarse margarita or kosher salt.
Quip of the Day: “It’s summer and time flies when you’re having a good time. Remember, there are only 27 weeks, 3 days until Christmas.”
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