Let’s talk summer cocktails! While beer is a big part of our lifestyle here at ManBQue, we don’t shy away from the occasional liquor based libation.
A few years ago, we saw a rise in the craft cocktail industry. Hipsters can be blamed for the multitude of $14 Old Fashioneds but we can also thank them for reviving an art that went underappreciated for a few decades. Manhattans and Old Fashioneds never really went away, but during the 80’s and 90’s we saw a rise in Piña Coladas and Long Island Iced Teas which seemed to stunt the creativity in a lot of bar’s cocktail programs. The cheap to make and cheap to order drinks were primary to other higher-end libations. Don’t get me wrong, if you enjoy a simple vodka cran, more power to ya. But, as I’ve gotten older I have realized that a well-crafted cocktail can be worth the efforts. Especially if you’re going to pay those mustache and suspender-wearing bartenders premium for them.
To thank the recent revival, here are five of our favorite cocktails that we’re making a right now. You’ll find a nice mix of old and new among them:
(Image Credit: Liquor.com)
This classic New Orleans cocktail was created in 1938 at Hotel Monteleone and is named for the French Quarter. If you’re a fan of an Old Fashioned or Manhattan, then this will be a treat due to a similar structure and taste profile. However, the addition of cognac and bénédictine give it a rich herbal taste that stands out compared to the others. As a Manhattan lover, this has become my “new” go-to when I’m out.
3⁄4 oz rye whiskey
3⁄4 oz cognac
3⁄4 oz sweet vermouth
1 tsp bénédictine
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1. Combine ingredients in a shaker
2. Add ice into shaker and stir
3. Strain into a coupe glass to enjoy straight or over ice in a rocks glass.
I first had this cocktail at Licorera Limantour’s in Mexico City which is rated in the top 50 bars in the world. I easily have 50 bars in my neighborhood, so I knew this place would be a treat when I walked in. After speaking with the locals, I quickly found that in Mexico, tequila is out and mezcal is in. The locals find tequila to be too corporate nowadays and that the locally made mezcal is much more “craft”. When I inquired what their “must taste” mezcal cocktail was, the server brought me the Mezcal Stalk. A beautiful margarita inspired drink that really highlights the peatiness of the mezcal while still providing a light freshness from the juices.
25 ml lemon juice
25 ml pineapple juice
50 ml mezcal
1. Combine ingredients in a shaker (without ice) and stir.
2. Add ice to shaker. Shake.
3. Pour over ice.
(Image Credit: Mix That Drink)
The Tom Collins has a long history in American cocktails thanks to being first written about by the Father of American Mixology, Jerry Thomas in 1876. . The OG Gin & Juice is refreshing thanks to essentially being gin and sparkling lemonade. However, this cocktail has fallen out of favor, probably due to bars not carrying palatable lemonade. While delicious in its own right, the addition of Limoncello adds that little extra you need for summer. Bonus points if you make your own Limoncello.
16 oz Limoncello
12 oz Gin
8 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
24 Paper–Thin Lemon Slices
16 oz Chilled Club Soda
8 Mint Sprigs
1. Pour the limoncello, gin, and lemon juice into a pitcher.
2. Cover and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours.
3. To pre-garnish the glasses, press three very thin lemon slices against the inside of each glass, add ice, and put in the refrigerator.
4. When you’re ready to pour, get out the pitcher and glasses. Give the pitcher contents a stir and fill each glass about 3/4 of the way.
5. Add about 2 ounces of club soda and top with a mint sprig.
REDHEAD IN BED
(Credit: Food & Wine)
Having a rooftop or backyard gathering and want to make a large-batch cocktail? This blended cocktail gives you a little bit of everything. The bourbon gives you an extra kick, like that redhead did when you looked at her the wrong way.
3 lbs Strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons high proof bourbon
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup chilled Riesling
1. In a bowl, toss the strawberries with the sugar and let stand, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries release their juices, about 10 minutes.
2. In a blender, combine half each of the strawberries and their juices, the vodka and lime juice with 1 cup of ice and puree.
3. Pour into a pitcher.
4. Repeat with the remaining strawberries and juices, bourbon and lime juice and 1 more cup of ice.
5. Fill 10 collins glasses halfway with ice. Pour the cocktail into the glasses, top each with about 1/2 tablespoon of Riesling and serve.
ADULT ICED COFFE
You can’t drink all day of you don’t start in the morning.
8 oz Iced Coffee
1.5 oz RumChata
1. Combine in a glass.