Now that summer’s last gasp is about to breathe all over Labor Day, it’s a good time to do a little Summer Drinking Recap. One must be resourceful to enjoy fine beverages in the hot sun of high summer, and here’s a rundown of some of the drinks and methods we’ve experimented with at the lake house (one time home to Camp Punch Club, which deserves a post in its own right).
There may be no mightier summer legend than the Mint Julep. While I definitely make room for the mallet and Lewis bag when traveling, you may notice that I do not make room for the classic metal julep cups. And the ‘no glass at the dock’ decree rules out fancy vessels, but these plastic cups actually do a great job keeping the mess of crushed ice and whiskey good and cold for long sipping.
I prefer the Chris McMillan method for julep making, replete with dramatic destroying of cubed ice and spanking of the mint sprigs. It doesn’t lend itself well to a real recipe, so I would refer to the video. In simple terms,
- about a dozen or more mint leaves gently muddled (barely)
- a cup full of ice, crushed almost to snow
- a half ounce or so of simple syrup (you can get fancy and make mint syrup, which is just mint leaves left to steep in simple syrup overnight, but this is still plenty minty)
- 2-3 ounces of good bourbon, more or less to suit. I love Woodfords for this, as Makers is a little too sweet and smooth for my taste.
I’ve looked to Jeff Morgenthaler’s blog for a long time now for inspiration and new drinks, especially when I’m looking for something that I’ll be entertaining with. One of the recipes I’ve turned to most in the summer is his recipe for a Gallon of Margaritas by the Gallon. These are some of the best margaritas I’ve had, and once the initial prep is done, all you need to do is salt the rim of a glass (or not), fill it with ice, and add the premade margarita. You can count on a real bartender to have tested the right ratios of citrus, sweet, and booze here, and it’s a perfect balance. Lemon and lime work together for a round and bright citrus taste, and they’re mellowed by the triple sec and simple syrup perfectly with enough tequila kick to make them serious. This isn’t a challenging, complex cocktail, and it’s not meant to be. You should be sitting on a dock / beach / yard / porch / patio somewhere for these. Recipe is here at Jeff’s blog.
I’ve also been carbonating a Twist n’ Shrapnel full of Negronis or Americanos and throwing the bottle on ice for the beach, but until there’s a truly safe method for carbonating at home (that I can recommend and not feel liable for ‘risk of laceration’), I’ll wait on that post. For the brave, see Carbonated Cocktails Jeff post here.
Another staple at camp, when we’re channeling Papa, is the Hemingway Daquiri.
2 oz Light rum
.75 oz Lime juice
.5 oz Maraschino Liqueur
.5 oz Grapefruit juice
1 slice lime (as garnish)
You can also add .5 oz or so of simple syrup if you need a little more sweetness, but I love the bracing citrus-maraschino tartness of this drink. Sometimes I do a full 1.25 oz of lime juice if there’s no grapefruit to be had.
It’s a standard, for sure, but the reason I bring it up is the importance of ice when traveling with cocktails. Bring as much ice as you think you need. Then pack more. If you’re shaking cocktails for 2 to 4 to 6 people, you’re going to go through a lot of ice.
A new discovery this summer has been the chilled beer chaser, a special treat for the bartender shaking up all the drinks. It takes advantage of the glut of good canned beers to be had, the fact that you’re ending up with a sink full of ice, and the fact that your cocktail shaker has just finished shaking the latest round of cocktails heading to the dock. After straining the last cocktail, I stick a beer into the ice left behind and cover it with another handful of ice. I pop the cover on (I find the cobbler shaker convenient for travelling), put it on the tray with the rest of the drinks, and when the last of my drink’s been sipped, I’ve got an ice cold beer at the ready.
Trey’s got some summer sipping going on in the email this week, and I’ll leave you with a delicious preview of the next Emails From Trey® post: