Summer’s here, isn’t it? Well, it sure has hell felt like summer yesterday out at the Cosumnes River Preserve. Or maybe it’s just the drought? With the coming of the long, hot dog days of summer my mind turns to margaritas. Delicious, delicious margaritas. But, I’ve already covered those, many, manytimes. So what to do? Come up with my own take on the signature drink! Though, if someone else hasn’t done this before I’d be truly shocked. My contribution to the world of mixology is the Margarita Fizz. Simply make a margarita in a Collins glass and top it off with Squirt soda. Yes, yes I am a visionary…
1 part tequila
1 part triple sec
1 part lemon juice
Fill Collins glass with ice. Add tequila, citrus liquor, and lemon juice to glass, stir. Top glass with Squirt soda. Garnish with lemon or lime slice.
Turns out this is delicious! Also, I don’t have to wait to chill the mixture or use a blender or do any of that. Just add everything together and stir! If I had a poolside I’d be drinking these while relaxing there! Or maybe I’m inordinately fond of Squirt soda… Anyway, if you’re looking to enjoy a cool, bright, fizzy drink this summer you could do a lot worse than the Margarita Fizz.
I know it’s moving into Autumn, and for a few days it even felt like that here in Northern California but now? Now, it seems were back at the tail end of summer. Blue skies, warm or even hot days… With an Indian Summer in full effect, I decided to make another summer cocktail, a White Linen. This is a deliciously refreshing cocktail that was born right here in “Norcal” at the Shady Lady bar in Sacramento (or Ella’s they share a bartender.)
1 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz simple syrup
1 oz lemon juice
5 or 6 thin English cucumber slices
Combine everything with ice in a shaker and shake well. Strain into glass with ice, top with soda water, and garnish with a cucumber slice.
If you like cucumbers, and gin, you’re going to like this cocktail. If you happen to be in the midst of an unusually mild winter or preternaturally long summer you can’t go wrong with a White Linen. The hint of fresh cucumber, the sweetness of elder flower. A lovely cocktail.
I was listening to Mother Jones’ Inquiring Minds podcast last week and they had Amy Stewart on the show to talk about the science of turning plants into alcohol. A topic I was sure to be interested in. The podcast also happened to be released/recorded during the Fourth of July holiday weekend and so the topic of what the first “Americans” drank came up. Amy mentioned that both whiskey and cider, the hard variety, were very common and very popular with American colonialists. She then mentioned a drink that would be called a “cocktail” today, the Stone Fence. She described it as a mix of hard apple cider with rye whiskey or rum and that it was very popular. This was enough of a hook to get me digging!
2 oz. rye whiskey, whiskey, rum, or brandy
Hard apple cider
mint spring or lemon wedge (optional)
Pour spirits into a highball or Collins glass, add a dash of bitters, top with ice and fill to the brim with cider. Stir, garnish with mint sprig or lemon wedge.
With the amount of cider and ice you’ll be putting into this drink the spirit is going to be subtle. My first impressions were that this drink was an odd and very dry champagne. Not a bad thing at all, but not really what I expect from a cocktail either. Subtle would be the best one word description for the drink. The crisp dryness of the cider followed up with the soft aftertaste of bourbon. I didn’t think twice about finishing this cocktail in two or three swigs. But here I am 30 minutes or so later and I’m feeling it. Either I’m more dehydrated than I realize or this drink masks the hard alcohol phenomenally well. This cocktail reminds me of a Dark and Stormy or a Moscow Mule without any of the kick or punch that the ginger beer gives those drinks. That’s not a bad thing, just different.
Last week, while I was enjoying my margaritas, a friend’s instragram caught my eye. It was the picture of two deep amber cocktails with the caption being “Kentucky Buck.” I’d never heard of the drink and so sent them a small note asking what it was. The reply? “Think a Moscow Mule but with bourbon and lemon instead of vodka and lime.” That definitely got my attention! So, with excitement, I jotted down the drink name and the recipe in order to make it this week.
1.5 oz Bourbon whisky
.5 oz lemon juice
.5 oz simple syrup
2 dashes Angostora bitters
In a shaker muddle the strawberry and lemon juice. Add bourbon, simple syrup, and bitters to the shaker. Fill with ice. Shake well. Strain into glass filled with fresh ice. Top with ginger beer and garnish with lemon wheel and strawberry slice.
Maybe I just like cocktails with ginger beer in them? ‘Cause this was a fantastic drink. The bourbon pairs wonderfully with the sour lemons and the sweet strawberry and all of it is tied together and giving some effervescence by the carbonated ginger beer? I don’t know what magic is happening in this drink. I just know I want to drink more of it. The more of these cocktails I make the more I want a front porch to sit and enjoy them on. Cocktails are domesticating me!
Anyway, this was a phenomenal drink that I want to encourage all of you to make it or go out to a nice bar and order it; I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Shout out to friends Justin and Dior for bringing it to my attention.