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Anyone have a short list of their favorite summer cocktails? Trying to expand my horizon for home cocktail making and stuck in a little bit of a rut. Kind of vexed by drinks involving topping off with something bubbly (champagne or similar, soda of some sort, seltzer/soda water, etc) as the bubbles never last more than a minute or two.

Anyway, TIA for suggestions.

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Well, perhaps ironically What popped instantly into my head is topped with not one, but two kinds of bubbles. ;)

Aperol or Campari spritz. I don't measure though there are recipes online. Pour Campari or Aperol over ice, add champagne or Prosecco, top with a bit of sparkling water and a slice of orange. 

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2 hours ago, Choirgirl21 said:

Well, perhaps ironically What popped instantly into my head is topped with not one, but two kinds of bubbles. ;)

 

Aperol or Campari spritz. I don't measure though there are recipes online. Pour Campari or Aperol over ice, add champagne or Prosecco, top with a bit of sparkling water and a slice of orange. 

I don't disparage the drinks you suggest, as they're both quite nice, especially for summer, but I question their being called cocktails. I would call them long drinks or highballs.

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2 hours ago, The Hersch said:

I don't disparage the drinks you suggest, as they're both quite nice, especially for summer, but I question their being called cocktails. I would call them long drinks or highballs.

How about Tiki drinks? These are good to make at home (though not necessarily easy) because you can control the quality of ingredients that are often pretty sub par. Mai Tai's are delicious and pretty simple --1 part each light and dark rums to a half part each lime juice, Contreau, and orgeat, all shaken. 

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I was going to recommend the Baguio Skin (an Old-Fashioned variant by our own Adam Bernbach), and lo and behold it appears on the "Summer Libations" program of Kojo Nnambi several years back:

https://thekojonnamdishow.org/shows/2012-06-27/summer-libations

Hemmingway daiquiris.  Jon Harris' Tradewinds Punch (that's a project).  The Maximillian Affair.  Derek Brown's Getaway/Cynar Daiquiri.   

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They may not meet the precise definition of cocktails, but our longtime favorite is the Michelada (definitely invest in a little bottle of Maggi, it'll last forever). 

Other than that we stick with margaritas and Aperol spritz. 

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Thanks all, for all of the suggestions. Some thoughts-

  1. Anyone have a suggestion for a good tonic to use for gin & tonics?
  2. The Southside sounds pretty good, especially the part about the mint. Thanks!
  3. Tiki drinks in general sound like a good idea to explore - I still remember drinking a very large blue hawaiian out of a hollowed out pineapple in Hawaii years ago. Mmm
  4. One issue I have with drinks that include some bubbly wine of any sort in it - it usually does not require a lot of it, and then you have an opened bottle where the bubbles are just gone soon. Aside from drinking it, any tips on preserving the bubbles? If not, I think the number of times I indulge in a cocktail involving them will be fairly limited (cocktails at home that is).
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As to summer cocktails all I could think of were cold light beers and G & T's....and with G&T 's have a water chaser.  Its hot out there.

I've only had a michalada a couple of times.  Nice variation on beer...but that is a lot of spice and heat for the summer in my book.

As to Gin and Tonic's I had a  G&T I loved with Bar Hill Gin, infused with honey.  From my experience that is a drink that some will fancy and some won't as the honey flavor dominates typical gin flavorings of almost any sort.  Man:  I can't speak to the best tonic for this...I'm in the midst of testing.  :D

Now here is something I recently tried and absolutely enjoyed as it emphasizes a pineapple fruitiness in the G &T:  It comes from ShrubDistrict using their Just Grapefruit shrub

The pineapple shrub adds an excellent and summary appropriate fruitiness to a classic G&T.  (Admittedly I'm still working on variations of gins and tonics to enhance it....and I don't drink much so my experimentation is sloooooooowwww)

I found the Just Grapefruit and other shrubs from ShrubDistrict to be quite tasty and interesting flavor enhancers for a variety of drinks, cocktails and punches.   (Admittedly this is also a plug for a recent grad of the bar school, Don, owner of ShrubDistrict, and also starting bartending shifts at Eat the Rich this upcoming week)

Lastly, and when it comes to G&T's for a sweeter variation a rum tonic works equally well...and for mixing with other summary variations a cucumber infused vodka is a nice variation as deep down, gins are vodkas mixed with various flavorings....and cucumber is such a delightful summary treat. 

 

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Love the idea of the shrub addition to the G&T. Number 1 Sons makes delicious barely carbonated kombuchas. I have been known to mix gin with their gingerflower kombucha and some sparkling water for a healthy take on a cocktail. I presume my body gets the healthy probiotics before the alcohol destroys them. :P

Pool Boy, I keep mini bottles of cheap brut for cocktails. One bottle usually works for 2 drinks. For something like an Aperol spritz it works just fine. 

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18 hours ago, Choirgirl21 said:

Love the idea of the shrub addition to the G&T. Number 1 Sons makes delicious barely carbonated kombuchas. I have been known to mix gin with their gingerflower kombucha and some sparkling water for a healthy take on a cocktail. I presume my body gets the healthy probiotics before the alcohol destroys them. :P

Pool Boy, I keep mini bottles of cheap brut for cocktails. One bottle usually works for 2 drinks. For something like an Aperol spritz it works just fine. 

That is a great idea. Thanks!

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On 7/8/2016 at 10:36 AM, Pool Boy said:

Thanks all, for all of the suggestions. Some thoughts-

  1. Anyone have a suggestion for a good tonic to use for gin & tonics?

Imbibe Magazine has a recent issue devoted to making a great G&T, along with many tonic suggestions:

http://imbibemagazine.com/issue/no-63-julyaugust-2016/

I have tried making My Father's Gin and Tonic recipe with both Fever Tree and Fentimans tonic water and I slightly prefer Fentimans.  Both are good however and can be purchased at Total Wine.  I would like to try the Lurisia Acqua Tonica Di Chinotto next if anyone knows of a local source.

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I actually did a blind tasting of tonics (alone and in a g&t if I remember correctly), but can't remember the darn results as it was years ago. I think we only tried Fever Tree against Seagrams and Canada Dry and all I can remember is one tasted unpleasantly sweet. Completely unhelpful, I know. 

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On July 3, 2016 at 10:22 PM, Rhone1998 said:

How about Tiki drinks? These are good to make at home (though not necessarily easy) because you can control the quality of ingredients that are often pretty sub par. Mai Tai's are delicious and pretty simple --1 part each light and dark rums to a half part each lime juice, Contreau, and orgeat, all shaken. 

Where did you find orgeat? Seems hard to find these days in stores. 

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On 7/3/2016 at 10:22 PM, Rhone1998 said:

How about Tiki drinks? These are good to make at home (though not necessarily easy) because you can control the quality of ingredients that are often pretty sub par. Mai Tai's are delicious and pretty simple --1 part each light and dark rums to a half part each lime juice, Contreau, and orgeat, all shaken. 

 

11 hours ago, lion said:

Where did you find orgeat? Seems hard to find these days in stores. 

Here is an old school bartending "rule of thumb" for tiki drinks.  Rum em, juice em, flavor em, top em.  "rum em" meant light and dark rum.  Juice em;  Pineapple, orange, grapefruit, lime juice, etc.  Lot of variety.  Flavor em:  The essence of this were sweet, inexpensive liqueurs.  Triple sec being a standard sweet orange flavored liqueur; cointreau being a more expensive and better quality orange flavored liqueur.  (In fact wikipedia called cointreau a brand of triple sec), blue curacao being a blue colored orange flavored liqueur obviously affecting the color of the drink but not the taste vis a vis triple sec.   Other sweet flavors often included an amaretto or a creme de almond...in either case being an alcoholic version of orgeat.  There are plenty of inexpensive amaretto's along with far better versions wherein the taste element is significantly different.  Of course mixing a better quality amaretto with many different taste elements could diminish the noteworthy difference of the liqueurs on their own. 

But on tiki drinks, the old school "rule of thumb" gives you an idea how to build such drinks and how to vary and experiment with them till you get ones you favor.   Make them in very tall glasses as there are many ingredients.  In terms of mixing or meshing the flavors; rolling the drinks (just pouring from a mixing tin to a mixing glass and back) ie enables you to sufficiently mix or mesh the ingredients or flavors.  Shaking will ice the drinks even more.  The essence of all of them though are two different colored rums, juices, flavors...mixing them up. 

Want to turn the drinks into a fraternity party?   Top them with 151.  ;)

 

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11 hours ago, lion said:

Where did you find orgeat? Seems hard to find these days in stores. 

I am drawing a blank on where I found the bottle I have in my refrigerator right now...it's been a while.  But I see a couple of varieties available on Amazon.com right now.  I'm also pretty sure they carry it at Batch 13 on 14th St. in DC (between R & S Streets).

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26 minutes ago, lion said:

Surprisingly places like Total Wine or even some Italian grocery stores don't carry it. Thanks for the Batch recommendation.

Again I would suggest an amaretto liqueur (almond flavor liqueur) as an alternative.  It need not be an expensive amaretto at all.  It will provide excellent almond flavoring.  I'd suggest something like 1 ounce pours of the two rums and 1/2 oz pours of any liqueurs such as triple sec, cointreau, an amaretto or any other sweet liqueurs.  Alternatively you can make almond flavored syrups with almond milk or other liquid sources, sugar, probably a water base.  All can work to provide the almondy flavoring. 

Disaronno is certainly the best known top shelf amaretto and is significantly more expensive than many alternatives.  I'm aware of other top shelf amaretto's though I haven't tried them.   On its own or with fewer different strong tastes Disaronno is well worth the difference imho.   From my perspective once you start mixing these things with many divergent tastes such as juices there is a diminished value to the Disaronno vs mediocre amaretto's.  But...that is where individuals will make their own choices.

In terms of creating your favorite cocktails...there is a lot of fun in experimenting 

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2 hours ago, DaveO said:

Again I would suggest an amaretto liqueur (almond flavor liqueur) as an alternative.  It need not be an expensive amaretto at all.  It will provide excellent almond flavoring.  I'd suggest something like 1 ounce pours of the two rums and 1/2 oz pours of any liqueurs such as triple sec, cointreau, an amaretto or any other sweet liqueurs.  Alternatively you can make almond flavored syrups with almond milk or other liquid sources, sugar, probably a water base.  All can work to provide the almondy flavoring. 

Disaronno is certainly the best known top shelf amaretto and is significantly more expensive than many alternatives.  I'm aware of other top shelf amaretto's though I haven't tried them.   On its own or with fewer different strong tastes Disaronno is well worth the difference imho.   From my perspective once you start mixing these things with many divergent tastes such as juices there is a diminished value to the Disaronno vs mediocre amaretto's.  But...that is where individuals will make their own choices.

In terms of creating your favorite cocktails...there is a lot of fun in experimenting 

Thanks for the recommendation DaveO! Right now, I'm just trying to recreate a Mai Tai that I had at a hotel in Kauai. I asked them to send me there recipe which they were kind enough to do. 

After doing that was considering making my own as it seems to be a fun thing to do and thinking of trying a few recipes from http://www.amountainofcrushedice.com/?p=15929

Will definitely consider your suggestion!

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9 minutes ago, lion said:

Thanks for the recommendation DaveO! Right now, I'm just trying to recreate a Mai Tai that I had at a hotel in Kauai. I asked them to send me there recipe which they were kind enough to do. 

After doing that was considering making my own as it seems to be a fun thing to do and thinking of trying a few recipes from http://www.amountainofcrushedice.com/?p=15929

Will definitely consider your suggestion!

Excellent.  I looked at recipes from the a mountain of crushed ice site.  If you can't find orgeat, try amaretto liqueurs or creme de almond or something like that.  After looking at the recipes any time they suggest orgeat substitute about 1/2 ounce of the almond liqueur or the same amt they suggest for the orgeat.  Should be extremely similar.  Good luck.  Have fun.

Here is the basis of an experiment, at least the way I learned and practiced it.

Get several like minded friends;  usually about 3-4.  Pool several hundred dollars.  Purchase about 8 well researched rums, possibly 4 clear, 4 colored.  I would add about 6 to 10 well researched sweet tasting liqueurs.  Pricing on this is very variable.  Add a variety of juices focused for the most part on orange, pineapple, grapefruit, lime or lemon juices/syrups.  Add some extras.  For instance you could look at the a mountain of crushed ice recipes and choose from common ingredients if not more variety in the suggested alcohols.

Prepare to do this over more than one evening.  Realize that a 1 litre bottle is roughly 33/34 oz.  So you assess costs, number of drinks etc for your experiment.    Also realize these type of experiments often involve anywhere from 4 to 8 different experiments per evening.  Its usually best to do this when you are very young, have few responsibilities, have someone else to take care of the kids, etc.   To do a great and thorough job you and the other 2-3 "scientists" need to set aside at least 3 or 4 days for the full experimentation process.  Do not stop too early.  Keep experimenting.   Take notes.  At the end of the experiment period assess the quality of the notes between the beginning of each day's experiment and the latter experiments during the day. 

You will probably have a lot of fun, come up with some terrific recipes, and kill a lot of brain cells.  :D   Just remember.  Its all being done to advance the science.  Once you and the rest of the team come up with the "best of the best", you will be a huge hit among friends and family. 

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Lion, for all those that want to experiment on tiki drinks:   They are great for experimentation.  Quite a few ingredients and a lot of variations on flavor.  My response above was "semi serious" "semi facetious" (though I did engage in similar scientific experiments when I was younger).

The tiki conversations got me thinking about banana flavorings as opposed to almond flavorings or berry flavorings or ones that are more traditional.  There are banana liqueurs that have been around for a while, banana flavored rums, and a deadly alcohol called 99 banana, which is a banana liqueur that is 99 proof/ 50% alcohol.    Then I looked this up and found this source:  a tiki forum...and here is a discussion on banana based flavorings

I thought the conversation was enlightening.  If I were investigating tiki drinks I might go back down that forum and see what others are doing and what ingredients they are using.

 

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On 7/29/2016 at 3:55 PM, DaveO said:

Lion, for all those that want to experiment on tiki drinks:   They are great for experimentation.  Quite a few ingredients and a lot of variations on flavor.  My response above was "semi serious" "semi facetious" (though I did engage in similar scientific experiments when I was younger).

The tiki conversations got me thinking about banana flavorings as opposed to almond flavorings or berry flavorings or ones that are more traditional.  There are banana liqueurs that have been around for a while, banana flavored rums, and a deadly alcohol called 99 banana, which is a banana liqueur that is 99 proof/ 50% alcohol.    Then I looked this up and found this source:  a tiki forum...and here is a discussion on banana based flavorings

I thought the conversation was enlightening.  If I were investigating tiki drinks I might go back down that forum and see what others are doing and what ingredients they are using.

Thanks for your help! It was an interesting test since completely forgot that each of the Mai Tai(s) from the hotel recipe had about 5 shots of alcohol. Enjoyed it a good deal but not sure if I can do it was any regularity. 

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On 7/4/2016 at 8:49 AM, reedm said:

Founding Farmers has taken plenty of hit lately, but their cucumber cocktail recipe produces a drink that's perfect for summer. http://www.wearefoundingfarmers.com/ff-recipe-cucumber-delight-cocktail/

 

I do love that cucumber cocktail, made it multiple times last summer.

I also like the tart bite of a cirtropolitan in the summer:  

1 ounce lemon juice

1 Tablespoon roses lime juice (.5 oz)

1 ounce Cointreau

2.5 ounces vodka
 
Shake over Ice
 
Superfine sugar and lemon zest  to rim glasses
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I'm actually not much of a drinker any more.  But the other day I had a great summery cocktail at Eat the Rich.  Hey: count on the magicians over there to come up with great cocktails. Its on their current menu; not on their website.  As I recall it combines DC's own Green Hat Gin, Eat the Rich's celery shrub, cane sugar, and Suze  (are you familiar with Suze, an apertif?)  If not here is an article on this French apertif that is relatively new here.

Very tasty and balanced, a pretty yellow presentation (from the Suze) and very very summary sweet.  And it still has a kick.  (I'm guessing 1.5 oz of gin.).   Very sweet, very refreshing.  I could drink this in the midst of heat and humidity.    But I'd suggest going there first to check on all the ingredients.  That team knows its stuff.

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