Summer drinking starts now!

Yeah, you know it. One of my favourite parts of summer is being able to sit outside with a refreshing cocktail  :)  Now, I know I get to do this more often in Connecticut than I do when I am back in London due to weather, but no matter what country I am in, there is always a way to make it work.  We've been hit with some gloriously warm and sunny weather in New England the last few days and, as it is also a long weekend, I thought it might be fun to share and test some drinks to kickstart the real beginning of warm weather this year!

I love margaritas.  Like serious love.  Like 'get married, have kids, house with a white picket fence' kind of love.  You really can't go wrong with this drink.  More of a social drink (though if you want to sit around and drink this on your own, I won't judge), the margarita cools you down and warms you up all at once.  How do you say 'yummy' in Spanish?

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 wedge lime
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) fresh lime juice
  • 2 heaping teaspoons superfine sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) Cointreau or other triple sec orange liqueur
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) tequila
  • About 2 cups ice cubes

Spread salt on small plate. Rub lime wedge halfway around rim of 10-ounce glass (such as double old-fashioned). Dip moistened side of glass in salt to lightly coat. Set aside.

In cocktail shaker, stir together lime juice and sugar until sugar partially dissolves (about 5 seconds). Add Cointreau, tequila, and 1 cup ice cubes. Shake vigorously for 25 seconds, then strain into prepared glass. Fill glass with remaining ice cubes.

The Mint Julep is the traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby.  Now, I am a huge fan of peppermint tea but that doesn't really do the job when you're looking for something to cool you down while relaxing out in the sun, so say hello this little fella.  He's been around for a while, so he knows what he's talking about  :)
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) club soda
  • 2 heaping teaspoons superfine sugar
  • 15 fresh mint leaves, plus 5 small sprigs for garnish
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) good-quality whiskey
  • 2 cups crushed ice

In julep cup, stir together club soda and sugar until sugar just begins to dissolve. Add mint leaves and, using glass muddler or back of large spoon, gently press leaves into sugar syrup until slightly darkened but not completely crushed. Add whiskey, then fill cup with crushed ice and, using long spoon, stir briefly. Tuck mint sprigs into top of cup and insert short straw.

I know an important part of drinking cocktails is being able to pretend to be posh and British.  Right?  Well, even if it isn't, you can channel that with a glass of Pimm's in your hand.  A refreshing drink full of refreshing fruit (and some veggies...) this is a low-key drink that screams 'summer is here'.  This is also one of the easiest drinks to make, so beware...
  • 2 oranges, cut into half-moons
  • 2 lemons, cut into half-moons
  • 1 cucumber, washed and sliced
  • 2 cups Pimm's No. 1 (bought at any good liquor store)
  • 4 cups Sprite or other lemon-lime soda (ginger ale, if you're feeling saucy)
  • 6 to 8 large sprigs mint, crushed gently, plus a few loose leaves

Fill 2 pitchers 1/4 full with ice. To each, add a layer of orange slices, a few lemon slices, and a layer of cucumber slices. Repeat the layering. Pour in the Pimm's and Sprite, dividing between pitchers, and mix with a long-handled spoon. Poke mint sprigs and leaves down into drink. Divide drink among 8 tall glasses, with a few slices of fruit and cucumber in each glass, along with some mint leaves.

You want more tequila?  Me too.  Want it with ginger?  I'll take basically anything if you throw some ginger in it.  It has a dark blackcurrant kick from the Creme de Cassis but still gives you a refreshing summer drink.
  • About 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) tequila
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) ginger beer or ginger ale
  • 1 teaspoon crème de cassis
  • 1 lime wedge
In 11-ounce highball glass, combine ice and tequila. Top with ginger beer, then slowly pour in crème de cassis (it will settle to bottom). Squeeze lime wedge over, then drop wedge into drink and serve.

So there you go, try them out, let me know what you think!  And when in doubt, vodka and grapefruit juice will do the trick  :)  Simple, fresh, delish.