The unofficial beginning of summer has become Memorial Day weekend. It is a long weekend, the weather has turned warm for the season, and pool and festival season kicks off during the extended break from work. The official first day of the season is June 21, during the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. When summer hits, everything changes. Fresh fruit is much more available, and you can get VERY fresh fruit at local farmers markets and Second Street Market downtown. This is also a perfect excuse to change up what you are drinking.
The craft beer distilleries have been summer beers for a month or two now, adding berries, peaches, melons, and citrusy flavors to provide some light flavors more in tune with the season. People are turning to lighter cocktails, looking to all flavors of mojitos, margaritas, or any other light drink. And of course, you need to hit the patio wherever you are at. The season to relax on a patio with friends does not last forever, so get while the getting is good. But what to drink while you are out there? That is the real question. Here are some answers.
Beer of your choice, typically a lager
Lemonade or lemon lime soda
Fill half a pint or other tall glass half way with your beer of choice. Fill the rest of it with the lemonade or lemon lime soda. Enjoy!
Shandies have been around for about a century, starting in Europe and spreading across the pond. Different places around the world use different regional mixers, but the general idea is the same. It is a drink with a little bit of an alcoholic punch, but mild enough to sip it all day long. Any beer can be used, but a good witbier can make a really tasty pairing.
1.5 oz. Jack Daniels (it can be any whiskey, but seriously…)
.5 oz. peach liqueur
1 oz. lemon juice (about lemon)
.5 oz. simple syrup
Pour the whiskey, peach liqueur, lemon juice, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker. Shake well (10-15 shakes), and pour into a glass filled with ice. Top off with about an ounce of club soda.
The Lynchburg Lemonade has fallen on hard times. It has a bad reputation of being overly sweet, fizzy, and generally frowned on in this world of craft cocktails and more available ingredients. Jeff Lucas, a contributor to Serious Eats, worked out this upgraded version. It allows the whiskey to come forward, with the rest of the flavors there for support. This is one you can make in the comfort of your own house.
1.5 oz. tequila (I have been enjoying Avion lately)
4.5 oz. grapefruit soda
A splash of lime juice
Fill a tall glass with ice. Pour the tequila in first, then the grapefruit soda and lime juice. Stir and enjoy!
While we like to drink margaritas to celebrate Mexican culture, Mexicans like to drink this very refreshing tequila cocktail. It is simple to make and perfect for a hot day out with friends.
Floridita (Or Hemingway Daiquiri)
2 oz. rum
.5 oz. lime juice
.25 oz. simple syrup
.25 oz. maraschino liqueur
.5 oz. grapefruit juice
Pour all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until cold, and pour into a cocktail glass. Enjoy!
Hemingway needed to take a bathroom break. A charming little bar in Havana, the El Floridita, was on his way, so he pulled in there to use their facilities. He saw the bartender mixing up a batch of daiquiris. The bartender noticed the famous writer and offered him a glass. Hemingway liked it, but he wanted his a little stronger, and without the sugar. A little maraschino liqueur and a lot of rum later, this delicious summer cocktail was born.
.75 oz. vodka
.75 oz. strawberry schnapps
4 oz. milk
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until cold, and pour in a tall glass filled with ice.
What is summer fun without a little ice cream? This is a richer drink you may want to consider as a dessert or a sweet treat. You can switch out any flavored schnapps you would like to make the ice cream your preferred flavor. You can even reduce the amount of milk to 2 oz., add 4 oz. of ice cream, and turn it into an actual shake. Add two or three fresh strawberries while you are at it!
White Wine Berry Sangria
1 750 ml bottle of white wine that matches your taste
.75 cup white rum
.5 cup sugar, less if you choose
.5 cup blueberries
.5 cup blackberries
.5 cup raspberries
.5 liter of ginger ale
Pour the wine, rum, sugar, and all of the fruit into a large pitcher and mix well. Put into the refrigerator for two hours, or until you are ready to serve. Just before you serve it, add the ginger ale to the mix.
Summer is a great time for berries. It is also a great time for white wine. It seems only natural to mix the two together for a light wine cocktail. You can up the tartness of the sangria by getting rid of the rum and switching it to .5 cup of limoncello (Italian lemon liqueur).
This is the season where families spend more time together and people go out and relax more. It is time to add some fresh flavors to the typical drinks you are enjoying. Where is your favorite patio to hang out on in Dayton during the summer? We would love to hear about it in the comments! There is a little extra daylight to burn today. Get out there and start enjoying it.