As the mercury climbs, the idea of smoking a fat blunt on your front porch in the middle of the day may not seem as appealing as it once did. Well, at least not during the daytime hours, anyway. Nighttime is another story.
As such, it may be time to swap out the daily afternoon bowl of weed for a cold cocktail instead. But in order to make that an even swap, the cocktails need to be quaffable and refreshing. Otherwise, what’s the point?
While dour Old-Fashioneds may be your favorite, those drinks are best left in the colder months. If you want a true hot weather cocktail, it’s time to make way for sours and spritzes instead.
That said, some summer cocktails are best left to the professionals. Daiquiris, like any shaken drink, require the correct bar ware to really be up to scratch, and mojitos leave a huge mess after you’ve tipsily whipped up your fifth round, provided you haven’t run out of limes by then.
The ideal summer cocktail should rely on minimal ingredients and simple mixtures. By swapping that burning hot blunt for these five simple drinks, you can concentrate not on mixing and cleaning — but on getting a little tipsy with friends, or by yourself, on the hot summer days that are soon to come.
The perfect drink to have in hand when aperitif hour strikes, this peppy but grown-up cocktail is nothing more than one measure of Campari and one of sweet vermouth, topped up with soda water over ice. The finicky orange twist is best left to its rich relation, the Negroni- a simple half-moon slice is more appropriate for this quietly sophisticated tipple. Even vodka-crazed macho man James Bond knocks back a few Americanos in the original novels.
1 1/2 ounces Campari
1 1/2 ounces sweet vermouth
Soda water, chilled, to top
Garnish: orange twist
How to make an Americano
Fill a highball glass with ice and add the Campari and sweet vermouth.
Top with the soda water and stir gently to combine.
Garnish the drink with an orange twist.
Classy and continental, Kir is the traditional aperitif of Burgundy. A dash of cr me de cassis, a blackcurrant liqueur from Dijon, is simply topped up with cold white wine. Any dry white will do the job, but for authenticity, search out aligot , the vin ordinaire that stocks the carafes of Burgundian bistros, while the region’s prestigious chardonnays are exported or sequestered away in cellars.
The grape is commonly grown in Eastern Europe, so the cost-conscious might find a serious bargain from Bulgaria with a little rummaging around, while those in a more ostentatious mood can splash out on Champagne for a Kir Royale.
1/4 ounce cr me de cassis liqueur
5 ounces dry white wine, chilled
How to make a Kir
In a wine glass, pour the cr me de cassis.
Slowly add the dry white wine.
Stir and enjoy.
The Aperol Spritz is a Venetian classic, popularized in the UK by seminal London Italian joint Polpo, and ubiquitous in sunny Australia. But Aperol is just one example of Italian amari, bitter herbal liqueurs with their origins in medieval medicine. Other brands such as Montenegro, Averna Siciliana and even the artichoke-based Cynar are good candidates for the prosecco-and-soda treatment, but steer clear of the infamous Fernet Branca, too idiosyncratic and strongly flavored for such a mild preparation.
2 ounces amaro
3 ounces sparkling wine, such as prosecco
1 ounce club soda Orange slice, to garnish
How to make an Amaro Spritz
Fill a glass with ice and add the amaro.
Top with the sparkling wine and club soda.
Garnish with an orange slice.
This tequila and grapefruit soda highball is hugely popular in Mexico, but has yet to enjoy the export success of the Margarita, despite being easier to make and far less deadly when you’re knocking back your third in the blazing sun. Pink grapefruit soda is prettier, but white is just as delicious: pour Mexican Fresca or Jamaican Ting over a measure of tequila in a tall glass with lots of ice, and don’t forget a generous squeeze of lime.
2 ounces tequila
2 ounces fresh grapefruit juice, plus wedges for garnish
2 ounces sparkling water ounce lime juice ounce agave nectar or simple syrup, or to taste
Coarse sea salt, for the rim of the glasses
How to make a Paloma Salt the rim of the glass by rubbing a grapefruit wedge around the edge and dipping it onto a small plate of salt.
Mix the tequila, grapefruit juice, sparkling water, lime juice, and agave nectar into the glass.
Fill the remainder of the glass with ice. Adjust sweetness to taste.
Garnish with grapefruit wedge.
The iconic Iberian wine preparation will bring back regrettable holiday memories for many, but remains the ideal large-batch cocktail for bigger get-togethers.
Chuck together any old red (even good bars use dirt-cheap box wine, with yesterday’s open bottles thrown in), spices such as cinnamon, clove and star anise, orange juice, and a few slices of fruit. A white variation can be made without juice, lighter on the spices and heavier on the fruit. Glasses can be topped up with soda water or lemonade to lighten things up, or brandy can be added to the mix to get serious. Mix a huge batch and chill in the fridge, then serve in a punch bowl or decant into bottles and head to the park.
1/2 medium apple — cored, skin on, and chopped into small pieces
1/2 medium orange — rind on, sliced into small pieces, with the large seeds removed
3 Tbsp organic cane sugar 3/4 cup orange juice (plus more to taste)
1/3 cup brandy (plus more to taste)
750 ml bottle dry Spanish red wine
How to make Sangria
Add apples, oranges, and sugar to a large pitcher and muddle with a muddler or wooden spoon for 45 seconds.
Add orange juice and brandy and muddle again to combine for 30 seconds.
Add red wine and stir to incorporate, then taste and adjust flavor as needed.
Stir to combine.
Add ice and stir once more to chill.
Garnish with orange segments.
While the same old glass of OJ and bubbly will get the job done when you want to swap out your daily blunt with a cocktail, we know you can do better than that. With just a few ingredients on hand, you can effortlessly knock out a simple cocktail this summer. Heck, with any luck, you may have some of these ingredients hiding at the back of your cupboard already.