Cocktails for Summer Days
Every couple of years, I have a guttural urge to use a power tool. It’s like I have some primal need to get my testosterone pumping. My chest puffs. The hair on my back stands proud. The clouds part and my Dad, the carpenter, shines sunbeams down from heaven.
My project this time was a new bee condo. It’s simple really. You take an untreated 4x4 wooden post and drill “hives” of varying widths. Dig a hole and stand it up.
Solitary bees move in to decorate with pollen and reproduce. They benefit from this habitat and keep the garden buzzing. We benefit from the pollination and help abate the declining bee population.
Truth be told, by the time I was done, my wrists hurt like hell. OK, so did my knees. And my lower back. It felt like I had just tilled a field, shoeless, and uphill in every direction. I had all I could do to stagger onto the porch.
It’s times like these we need soothing refreshments. So this month, I’m featuring a cocktail trifecta for hot summer days. One, a well drink that quenches a crowd. Second, a bougie cooling martini. And third, a refreshing white sangria.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Perfect for your after-beach, no-shower-happy-hour! The original recipe called for 1/3 cup mint. I go with my mood (or depending on the strength of the mint), going down as low as a couple leaves, or up as high as 1/2 cup. If you have extra slush, put the pitcher in the freezer to refill glasses later.
In a blender, combine: 3/4 cup white rum, half of a 12-oz container of frozen limeade, and mint leaves to taste. Fill the blender to the 5-cup mark with ice cubes. Pulse to break up the ice, then blend until slushy.
I’m not a fan of flavored alcohols or specialty ingredients that can only be used in one or two drinks. I hate having expensive stuff in the liquor cabinet collecting dust. But I make an exception in this case for a good, high-end cucumber vodka. Try Effon. Or even Kettle One Botanical Cucumber & Mint.
Chop about an inch of seeded cucumber into ½-inch pieces. Cut half a lime into ½-inch pieces. Place cucumber and lime in a shaker with a few mint leaves and 1 tsp. of super-fine sugar. Smash these ingredients with a wooden spoon. (Or use a muddler, a fun gadget that really brings out the flavors/oils.) Add 4.5 oz of cucumber vodka and 4.5 oz plain vodka. Cover and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. (If your shaker is metal, your hand should almost stick to it—like that kid with his tongue on the flagpole in A Christmas Story.) Strain into a martini glass.
Make this sangria the day before or the morning of the day you plan to serve it. It looks great in one of those fancy spigot jars. Trying freezing the grapes as extra “ice” and adding them with the fizz just before serving.
Mix two 750ml bottles of dry white wine or rosé wine in a large container. Add 2 cups of orange juice, 1 cup triple sec, and 2 to 4 Tbls. peach schnapps. Add 1 nectarine, 1 orange, and 1 lemon that have been cut into small chunks or wedges. Add 2 cups of white or red grapes. Chill. Just before serving, add something fizzy like club soda, tonic, lemon-lime soda, or even Fresca. Serve over ice with pieces of each fruit.
Happy Summer 2022! ▼
Ed and his husband Jerry split their time between homes near Harrisburg Pennsylvania and Bethany Beach. Ed builds websites to pay the bills but loves to cook, garden, hike, and dote on their dog Atticus. Recipe requests and feedback welcome: email@example.com.