When it comes to cocktails, Simon Ford is the guy to know. After earning a Wine and Spirits Education Certificate in the UK, he went on to work for Seagrams and now holds the heady title of Global Spirits & Cocktail Brand Expert for Pernod Ricard USA. For real, it’s on his business card. In Simon’s weekly column, Drink Ford Tough, he tells you everything you ever needed to know about the art of the cocktail. And how to drink better.
There are many reasons to love the summer, but one of my favorites is daytime drinking. Beaches, picnics, boat trips, tennis at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, outdoor concerts and music festivals, Fourth of July, Shakespeare in the Park. The list goes on.
I have a philosophy for the benefits of drinking all afternoon. You start at 2 p.m. and be finished by 10 p.m. without having a hangover the next day. You can wake up and make brunch! I also find it more sociable than nighttime drinking, since it involves some sort of activity that isn’t sitting in a dark bar.
A great daytime drink is refreshing, easy-to-make and always ice cold. It’s also a good idea for the drink to be semi-weak, since you’ll be drinking all afternoon in the sunshine. Here are a few of my favorite daytime drinking traditions.
Bring out the blender!
One reason why I love drinking during the day is it gives me an excuse to break out the blender. There isn’t much you can’t blend in a Vitamix, my choice in gear. But any decent blender will do.
The piña colada is the ultimate summer blended drink. Invented in the Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico, it’s a simple mix of three ingredients thrown in a blender with ice and served with as many cheesy garnishes as you can fit in the glass.
Piña Colada Recipe
1 part Mount Gay Golden Rum
1 part Crème of Coconut (Coco Lopez)
Pineapple juice (or throw some fresh pineapple into your blender instead if you can — it will taste a lot better)
Hit blend and pour into a hurricane glass. Garnish with a pineapple spear, cocktail cherry, cocktail umbrella, some sort of plastic monkeys and a flag.
Do as the English do
During the four days of summer that we get in the UK, we all hit the pub gardens and order a jug of Pimm’s. Drinking so called fruit cups has been a tradition for centuries, and it’s a perfect refreshing cocktail for daytime drinking. Plus, it’s really easy to make. The English like to drink Pimm’s at such occasions as Wimbledon and The Henley Royal Regatta. It makes its all seem rather proper, until you have had three or four.
Classic Pimm’s Cup Recipe
6 ounces Pimm’s #1
12 ounces ginger ale
Slices of cucumber, strawberries and fresh mint.
Slices of lemons, oranges and apples. Don’t worry of you don’t have all of the fruit. The idea is like sangria, get as much in there and the drink will take on the flavor of the fruit.
Add ice to chill and pour into tall glasses to sip in the garden
The Pimm’s cup is by far the most popular way to enjoy this drink, but if you pick up an old cocktail book you’ll most likely find plenty of ‘Cup’ recipes such as The Cider Cup.
Cider Cup Recipe
1 part Fine Calvados
1 part Martell VSOP
1 part Orange Curacao
1 part fresh lemon juice
Dash of simple syrup
4 parts apple cider
2 parts chilled seltzer water
Shake everything except the cider and seltzer. Strain into a hi-ball and top with cider and seltzer
Get in on Brazil’s national drink
The Brazilians drink so much cachaça that their national spirit is the third biggest selling spirit on the planet (after vodka and soju). The most common way Brazilians drink cachaça is in their trademark cocktail — the caipirinha — which probably makes it the biggest selling cocktail in the world. Sorry, Cosmopolitan.
It is another really simple drink to make since all you need is sugar, limes, a bottle of cachaça, a muddler and some crushed ice. Brazil always congers up images of endless summer carnivals. Love Brazil.
Cut a whole lime into wedges and place into a rocks glass. Add two spoons of fine sugar and muddle with lime wedges until it has dissolved into the lime juice. Fill glass with crushed ice and stir the contents of glass into the crushed ice.
Fill glass with a healthy measure of Leblon cachaça. You can add other fruits into the mix with your caipirinha such as berries or slices of mango and muddle them in with the limes and sugar. I personally like adding a few sliced kumquats or a sliced passion fruit.
Gin and Tonics
Lastly, it would be very un-English of me to leave out the classic summer drink — the gin and tonic. All you need is gin, tonic and a slice of lemon or lime for the perfect hot weather drink. I like Plymouth or Beefeater gin mixed with either Q Tonic or Fever Tree Tonic. Enjoy.
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