Wine & spirits: All in the mix
You might be tempted to think that the secret to a great summer cocktail is simply a cold glass, a hot day and a comfy lounger or hammock. Sip, relax, sip again while daydreaming your way through a steamy afternoon in which the only thing sweating is your glass.
Close. The real secret is what's in your glass. That doesn't mean cocktails have to be complicated or hard to make. In fact, it's easy to create your own repertoire of a few simple recipes. Start with top-quality name-brand hard liquor, from whisky and rum to grappa and schnapps; premium mixers -- fruit juice, pop, soda or tea; garden-fresh garnishes like fruits and veggies; and the best condiments. Use chlorine-free ice for the purest taste.
Cocktails should be refreshing, not heady. Dilute at the rate of one part alcohol to at least five parts mixer and serve chilled in ice-filled tumblers. After that, everything else is play! Apple and citrus flavours have the summer vibe. Wedges of lime, lemon and orange tickle the palate with freshness, while a veggie stir stick or sprig of mint rewards the eye. For an added touch, serve your cocktail on a tray dressed up with seasonal fruits and berries.
Beat the heat
Many of the liquors in these four cocktails can be interchanged to create a different drink. All of the recipes are basic classics with a minor enhancement. For instance, Antidotka is a screwdriver with a splash of triple sec to boost the flavour, Dry and frisky is rye and ginger with an apple wedge for texture, Rumonade is an alcoholized version of lemonade, and Onomatequila is my own version of the classic tequila and lime drink, reduced with sparkling lemon-lime pop. All four recipes each make a single serving.
One of the few drinks that contain both the poison and the cure.
1 oz vodka
1/2 oz triple sec
6 oz freshly squeezed orange juice
In a tall frosted glass with plenty of cracked ice, mix vodka, triple sec and orange juice. Garnish with a clove-studded slice of orange.
Dry and frisky
1 oz Canadian whisky
5 oz ginger ale
In a tumbler, mix whisky and ginger ale over ice. Garnish with a wedge of Granny Smith apple.
For a colourful twist, mix rum with pink lemonade.
1 oz white rum
1 oz fresh lemon juice
4 oz sparkling water
In a tall glass filled with several ice cubes, mix white rum, lemon juice, sparkling water, and sugar to taste. Garnish with a slice of lemon.
This is a cocktail that literally sounds as good as it tastes.
1 oz white tequila
1 oz fresh lime juice
4 oz Sprite or 7-Up
In a tumbler with some cracked ice, mix tequila, lime juice and Sprite. Garnish with a sprig of coriander.