Food & Drink

Drinks of The Week: Four Go-To Summer Cocktails

It’s happened. We’ve reached the halfway point of the summer. These are the dog days of the season. If you’re out East it’s hot and sticky to the point of being intolerable. Here out west we’re peaking out in the 100s and I’m sweating through every piece of clothing I own.

We’ve passed the Fourth of July, and to be honest these weeks can be a bit of a drag. The next big event weekend isn’t until Labor Day.

Sure there are BBQ’s, picnics, and parties; but it’s all with the same faces. Shit starts to blend together. Might as well shake things up. Don’t have this just be ANOTHER party filled with Miller Lights and PBR’s. No. NOT ANYMORE. I’m gonna give you 4 drinks FOR the rest of the summer. Don’t show up with a warm 6’er like fat knob. Whip these drinks up and be a boss hog.

1. SANGRIA 

Sangria is a personal party favorite. I went to Spain about 6 years ago and that’s where I got my first taste of this wine concoction. Ever since then I’ve been trying to find something that matches that of the Spaniard elixir. The closest I’ve come to the real dael was at the Bellagio in Vegas. Bobby Flay’s got some Blueberry mixup that really rights the ship after a Sin City hangover. Other than that, most of the time the Sangria you find stateside is either watery or waaayyy too sweet. Minimal simple syrup is necessary to good sangria. I try and use more citrus/ sour juice to counteract the sweet. Also, a lot of recipes will tell you to put seltzer water in there. Why? I don’t have the answer to that. I will tell you if you put Seltzer in, you will ruin your shit.

This is a recipe I’ve been toying with for a while. I dig it. Hopefully you will too.

  • 1 Bottle Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 Orange sliced
  • 2 Lemon squeezed
  • ½ cup Lime Juice or Limeade
  • 1/3 Cup Simple Syrup (I use light brown sugar for this)
  • 1 ½ cup OJ
  • ¾ cup Blueberry Juice
  • 1 ½ cup Rum
  • Blueberries (OPTIONAL)
  1. Place 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water into a small pot. Bring to boil or until all sugar has dissolved.
  2. Slice the oranges and throw them into a pitcher. Half your lemons and squeeze them out into the pitcher.
  3. Add your rum
  4. Add your wine
  5. Add your juices (The recipe as listed is pretty good. But in all honesty, you should taste as you go along. Do you. Taste for flavor. If you think you need more OJ, cool. If you need more rum, that’s cool too. More rum is always cool)
  6. Once all this is done, you’re gonna wanna let that kick it in the fridge for a few hours to let it all marinate. If you don’t have time for that, it’s okay, but the longer you let all the juice/wine/rum/fruit sit together, the bigger the flavor.

You can serve from a pitcher or big bowl if you are having a party at your place, but I like to have a portable option. You can buy these pop-top glass bottles at IKEA for three bucks. They are great for stuff like this.

Serve chilled or over ice.

POSSIBLE ALTERATIONS: You can throw fresh blue berries in as a garnish or muddle them with the oranges to get them really involved. Down side to this is unless you want filter out some chunkage, you will have some blueberry debris.

2. RUM & COCONUT WATER 

I don’t know about the rest of the country, but out here in LA coconut water is all the rage, a “healthy way to hydrate,” supposedly. Say what you will, I actually like the taste of the stuff. The flavor is very unique. It’s a little sweet. Kinda nutty. It’s weird and great at the same time. Why not add booze to this delightful beverage? Granted, people have been putting Malibu rum in coconuts at beachside resorts for years, but coconut water isn’t exactly a fresh off the tree deal. You need to find the right stuff. You can’t just go dumping spirits into any Zico you find on the street. I tried that. I ended up with a shit drink. Nah. You gotta find the good stuff.

  • ½ Can C2O Coconut Water (With pulp is better in my opinion. Richer body to it.)
  • 2-3oz. Golden Rum (The Trader Joe’s gold rum for $6.99 is never a bad idea.)
  • Ice

I got myself one of them fancy shakers (Actually it’s one from Bed Bath and Beyond that cost $10) I suggest you pick one up because…well, having a shaker is a good idea. Grow up.

  1. Add rum to shaker.
  2. Add Coconut water to shaker.
  3. Shake.

There. You’re done. Serve it over ice. Hydrate while you get cocked. Why not?

Always serve over ice.

POSSIBLE ALTERATIONS: Toss in a little pineapple juice. You know you want to.

3. THE BEE’S KNEES 

This one goes out to the ladies. Be a real fancy B and get down with a drink called the Bee’s Knee’s. Cause you fancy and you deserve it. This is an oldie but a goodie. Word on the street is this prohibition era cocktail used honey to mask the smell of booze. What I learned when I first made this is that honey doesn’t mask shit.

The Ingredients are:

  • 2oz vodka (OG recipe calls for gin. I love gin but I feel like the masses don’t. Ease in with vodka)
  • 1oz Honey
  • 2 Drops vanilla extract
  • 3oz Fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Ice
  • Orange (optional)
  1. Pull out the trusty shaker.
  2. Dissolve the honey in just a little warm water. Equal parts water and honey. Throw that into the shaker.
  3. Toss in your vodka.
  4. Add your juice
  5. Add your 3 drops vanilla. (Be careful with the vanilla. This is a delicate balance. Too much and you’re not going to like what happens.)
  6. Shake well and serve over ice. Hardcore people will tell you to strain it, but get real. A little pulp never hurt any body.

Serve over ice.

POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVES: Try it with gin and kick in a little OJ with a slice of orange for garnish. Live a little, ya know?

4. BLACKBERRY WHISKEY

This last one is the pièce de résistance. You wanna make this, you’re gonna need a little forethought, but trust me. It’s worth every last drop.

Things you’ll need:

  • 1 carafe or pitcher (Big enough to hold a handle of booze and them some)
  • 1 bottle of Whiskey (1/5 or a handle will do just fine)
  • 1-4 boxes of Black Berries (depends how much whiskey we’re talking)
  • A few CONE Coffee filters
  • Funnel or Single coffee cup filter holder
  • FANCY THING BUT NOT NEEDED: Cheesecloth
  1. Dump your black berries into the carafe/ pitcher.
  2. Muddle the berries.
  3. Pour the whiskey into the carafe and stir. HANG ON TO THE BOTTLE
  4. Wait a week (This seems crazy, but each day you wait, it gets better. Use a spoon to see how it develops.
  5. After you have let it sit, place the funnel into the top of your whiskey bottle. Place the cone filter in the funnel or coffee filter holder.
  6. Slowly but surely, pour your concoction into said funnel/ filter. This is going to take some patience. You will need to pour in small increments. The berries have more or less turned to mush and your whiskey is much thicker. It will have a more syrupy consistency. You’re gonna go through a few filters. If you real fancy you’ll have a clean cheesecloth which you can use as a filter and then squeeze to get all the liquid out.
  7. Repeat step 6 until carafe is empty.

Now you should have nearly refilled your old whiskey bottle. This shit is deliciously smooth. Don’t let the new smoothness fool you. You don’t need too much straight whiskey to catch a buzz, and this stuff goes down easy. You’ll want to keep drinking this. Remember to pace yourself.

Serve neat or over ice.

POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVES: You really shouldn’t, and I hate suggesting it, but you could put it in a Coke. I wouldn’t recommend it, but you could do it. You’d just be ruining it though. You know what, don’t put it in a coke. Just drink it how I told you to.

Folks like to wax poetically about the days in college when all you needed for a good time was a beer ball of Natty Light. NO LONGER I SAY. We are grown ass men and ladies. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the taste of your drink. Don’t sit there and tell me you like the taste of light beer. You tolerate the taste of light beer. It’s not just quantity any more. It’s all about quality…AND quantity. Hopefully you try at least one of these. I hope it makes your summer a little hazier and harder to remember, but albeit more enjoyable.

Cheers. Big Hugs.

By Kelly McDermid

Previously:

One thought on “Drinks of The Week: Four Go-To Summer Cocktails

  1. Pingback: Drink of the Week: The Yellow Bird Cocktail | Q L C

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