It’s that time of year on the West Coast, when the sun has been shining for so long that you forget what the rain feels like. You can almost hear yourself begging for a bit of rain, to rinse off the city, and water the parched trees. But you enjoy this time, because we West Coasters know that it will come to an end, soon. And the with the beautiful summer sunshine, you need a worthy cocktail companion to keep you company on the patio. Here are a few of my favourites!
Pimm’s No. 1 Cup Cocktail
Think Wimbledon and posh Brits. This cocktail is gin based, but tastes distinctly of citrus and spice. Mix 2 parts Pimm’s, 3 parts ginger ale or citrus soda (sprite etc.), garnish with any mix of strawberries, lemon, lime, orange and definitely don’t forget the cucumber. Stir and enjoy; it’s always Pimm’s O’Clock!
Cactus Club had these on special last summer and I fell in love (who wouldn’t fall for a drink only costing $4.50 at Cactus!). I recently discovered the secret and the result is a sweet and refreshing twist on the traditional lime marg. Blend up some seedless watermelon and strain it to remove the small white seeds and pulp. You will be left with watermelon juice…careful this stuff is sticky! Mix the juice with 1-2 oz. of tequila (blanco will be your best bet) a teaspoon of simple syrup and garnish with a lime wedge. It’s so good, you’ll forget all about the fact that you haven’t drank tequila since your university days.
The Aperol Spritz
This has to be my all-time hot day favourite; discovered on my trip to Italy last summer. Italians drink these for aperitivo, or happy hour, usually with some light snacks, in the afternoon or before dinner. Aperol is like Campari, but less bitter and with a lower alcohol content. I find it difficult to order these in North America, but some bars are starting to stock Aperol. To make yours at home, mix 2 parts Aperol with 3 parts prosecco (or other sparkling wine), a splash of soda water and garnish with an orange wedge.
Hendricks Gin Cuke Cocktail
I’m sure this has a proper name and has been enjoyed the world over, but I like to think it’s my own creation. I rediscovered my love for gin this past winter and went on a bit of a Bombay martini kick. And then I wised up and switched to Hendricks, which I’ve been informed is ‘girlie’ gin. It has a hint of cucumber and rose petal and I find it mixes better with soda than tonic. But gin and soda is boring, so I add some muddled mint, cucumber slices, and a twist of lemon. I like to think this is what Lady Mary of Downtown Abbey sits around sipping all afternoon.
So there you have it, four of my favourite summer sippers. Perfect for the patio, probably pretty good on a boat, and definitely worthy of the beach with a little pre-mixing at home.