Spring is officially here, and that means it’s time to leave winter in the dust. Which, frankly isn’t really problematic, winter is great, but this one has been lagging around for a while and was beginning to overstay it’s welcome. The arrival of Spring also signifies that summer is right around the corner, and what’s summer without at least one incident of kicking back in the early evening, and having a drink with friends? Let us get excited for the warm heat and go through some of summer’s most refreshing drinks
This drink rose to fame due to its association with literary great, Ernest Hemingway, alongside La Bodeguita del Medio, the Cuban bar where the drink was sipped. While his sparse writing style isn’t for everyone, the mojito on the other hand, has mass appeal. It’s made by muddling mint leaves with sugar and limes (or lime juice), and mixing it with white rum and soda water. The final result is sweet, fizzy and all-natural, with the mint and lime keeping it from being cloying, it really makes a perfect finish to a hot day.
Urban legend traces the drink’s history back to a nineteenth century drink called, the Drake, developed by sailors desperate to avoid scurvy. Others trace it to slaves on sugar plantations, and the sugarcane liquor they distilled. Either way, the mojito’s been experiencing a well-deserved upswing in popularity these past few years.
Sangria gets its name from the Spanish and Portuguese words for bloodletting, thanks to its dark red shade. Recent EU legislation has made it illegal for sangrias, not bottled in Spain and Portugal, to be sold under the name ‘sangria’. But really, sangria’s summertime appeal comes from both the wide range of varieties, and how easy it is to make. Consisting of red wine, chopped fruit, a sweetener and sometimes some brandy, sangria’s ideally chilled at least overnight, allowing the flavors to mingle into a delicious punch.
Sangria’s been popular, in its myriad forms for centuries. A version of it, called claret punch, is found in numerous Jane Austen novels. As a wine punch, it’s also easy to make in large quantities, so if you need to bring something delicious and to a friend’s barbecue? Try sangria.
Popular throughout Mexico and South America, Michelada is another one of those drinks where the recipe’s a springboard, instead of scripture. The most basic Michelada (the name stemming from the phrase ‘mi chelada’, which roughly translates to ‘my cold beer’), involves a light Mexican beer, lime juice, black pepper, Tabasco sauce and a salted rim. Variations include Worcestershire and soy sauces, and even tomato juice. If this sounds a little daring and out of the ordinary, you can start with the chelada, which only adds the salt and lime juice to the beer.
Unlike a lot of the other drinks on this list, the Michelada isn’t sweet, and the flavor is hard to pin down (especially considering the recipe has such variance), but served cold, it’s delicious, with a surprising kick.
This electric blue colored drink definitely seems to elicit the feeling of being on a beach facing a clear blue sea. The blue lagoon, similar to other drinks on this list, has a few historical stories behind it. One of them being that it was invented by the son of the owner of one of the first cocktail bars to ever open in Europe. Considering the drink has been around for a while, there have been many different ways of making the signature drink, but the original mix would include Blue Curacao, vodka, lemonade and be served on ice cubes. Served in a tall glass, topped off with a cherry on top, this drink surely seems refreshing and cool to enjoy on any summer day.
The south knows how to deal with the heat, and the mint julep is a crowning achievement. Originating in the eighteenth century, possibly as a medicinal drink (the word julep originally referred to a sweet drink that medicine was mixed with, making it more palatable), the mint julep has become synonymous with leisurely life in the south. It’s been the official drink of the Kentucky Derby for three-quarters of a century, selling 120,000 over the two days of the Derby. For the past several years, Woodford Reserve bourbon has partnered with the Derby to offer 65 $1000 dollar mint juleps at the derby. These juleps are served in silver cups with silver straws, each engraved with a unique equine scene, with the proceeds going to worthy charity efforts. There are also the prestige Woodford Reserve juleps, with each of the ten selling for $2000, where the cups are gold plated and diamond encrusted. The julep inside the Woodford Reserve cups are equally luxurious: premium bourbon, spring-water ice, and imported mint and sugar.
The drink is made with bourbon, fresh mint, powdered sugar and a few teaspoons of water, served over cracked ice. Preferably, you sip it on a veranda whilst doing your best Scarlett O’Hara. But a cooler, comfier Scarlett who’s not sweating to death or dealing with dire romantic drama.
Unlike many of the other drinks on this list, we know when, where, and who was responsible for the bellini. The name for the drink comes from Giovanni Bellini, a fifteenth century Venetian painter, because the shade is similar to some found in his paintings. The bellini reached its final form at Harry’s Bar in 1948, where Guiseppe Cipriani, the bar owner and bartender, had been making versions of it since the 30’s. Cipriani was very particular about the making of the Bellini, adamant that its reputation as the best champagne cocktail in the world be preserved, and the combination of white peach (never any other type of peach. Ever.) puree, prosecco, and a tiny bit of sugar creates a cold, sweet slush that is unbelievably tasty. People pay for the honor of drinking an Official Harry’s Bar bellini, with two of the cocktails and a small appetizer coming to over forty dollars.
The modern world has changed the bellini, with variations involving other types of peaches, fruit juices, (mainly for color) and peach schnapps all available. but they’re all variations on the same, delicious, theme.
The Classic Margarita
Now, I know that you might want to blend it into slush, or add more flavors, (strawberries or orange liqueurs, for example) or otherwise change the classic makeup of the margarita. Giving the original a chance might make you discover its greatness, after all, it’s a classic for a reason. The IBA (International Bartenders Association), makes it with a 7:4:3 ratio, with seven parts tequila, four of cointreau and three of fresh lime juice. Shake it up with some ice, deposit in a salt-rimmed glass and enjoy.
The drink dates to at least 1924, back to when it was just a simple concoction of tequila and lime juice. Like many legendary drinks, there are multiple conflicting origin stories, from its creation for a former Ziegfield Follies dancer at a hotel halfway between Tijuana and Rosarito, to being the brainchild of Texan socialite, Margarita Sames in 1948. No matter how it came to be, the distinctive flavor of the tequila and the zing of the lime juice makes it a sharply refreshing and delicious summer treat.
On a warm summer day, any flavored Daiquiri will surely do. A drink’s summer suitability may be directly related to the sweetness of the liquor, or how easily you can throw colorful fruit into the mix. Developed in Cuba, where there is a beach of the same name, the drink was reportedly developed by an engineer during the Spanish-American war, and introduced to America in the early 1900’s. It was popularized further in the 40’s and 50’s. The drink is made with 9 parts white rum, five parts lime juice and 3 parts simple syrup, served with ice. The ice can be done cubed, chipped or blended, any way will undoubtedly get you a delicious summer drink.
The first thing about Campari apertifs, they are trendy as all get-out in Italy. From about four-o-clock in the afternoon and onward, it’s practically impossible to go to a restaurant and not see these vibrant orange drinks. The apertif is meant as a before-dinner drink, and the bitter flavor is supposed to stimulate the appetite. Besides stimulating your appetite, the bitter flavor is refreshing and an enticing change of pace, for when you’re sick of sweet cocktails.
There are two ‘main’ campari apertifs (though, beyond that, the possibilities are endless), the Campari Negroni and the Campari Americano. The Americano, is the ‘gentler’ of the two, with the bitterness of the Campari gentled by the sweet vermouth and club soda. The Negroni, on the other hand, swaps out the club soda for gin, giving it a much stronger flavor
Named the official beverage of Puerto Rico in 1978, the pina colada was developed by the pirate, Roberto Cofresi in the 1800’s or was invented by one of three competing bartenders in the 1950-60’s, depending on who you ask. Personally, I like the story with the pirate. Combining white rum, pineapple juice and coconut milk, it tastes a like a tropical getaway in a glass.
The drink’s popularity was growing steadily in Puerto Rico and abroad, until 1979, when Rupert Holmes’ song ‘Escape’ peaked at number one on the US Hot 100 billboard. The mention of pina coladas in the song helped raise interest in the cocktails, and from there, imbibing.