Summertime and the drinking is easy

Summer time is about taking your favourite cocktails and making them party size, and for me, sometimes enjoying the entire pitcher myself!  Ok, so I do like to share and these are a couple of drinks that I really enjoy making in large quantities.  One of the cocktails that I have enjoyed for several years and happy to see that it’s making its way onto more drink menus is the mojito.  The drink seems to have originated in Africa and was brought to Cuba by the pirate Sir Francis Drake who enjoyed rum and mixed it with cane sugar, lime and mint.  It’s very much like a Carribbean version of the mint julep. Search the web and you will find many recipes.  It’s pretty straightforward, my personal preference however is to make a simple syrup instead of using icing sugar or very fine sugar as some recipes call for.  The simple syrup makes for a smoother drink without undissolved sugar grains at the bottom of the glass.  Click here on mojito for a pitcher size recipe using simple syrup.

A couple of years ago I was invited to a formal garden party at an upscale neighbourhood here in Toronto. It was a lovely affair with ladies in hats, tiny tea sandwiches, cold poached salmon, varieties of complicated amuse-bouche accompanied by something wonderful called a Pimm’s Cup.  ‘Pimm’s No. 1 Cup is based on gin and can be served both on ice or in cocktails. It has a dark-tea colour with a reddish tint, and tastes subtly of spice and citrus fruit. It is often taken with “English-style” (clear and carbonated) lemonade, as well as various chopped fresh ingredients, particularly apples, cucumber, oranges, lemons, strawberry, and borage, though nowadays most people substitute with mint. Ginger ale is a common substitute for lemonade. Pimm’s can also be mixed with Champagne (or a sparkling white wine), called a “Pimm’s Royal Cup”. Its base as bottled is 25 percent alcohol by volume’.(Wikipedia)  It’s usually served in a pitcher but can be served in a punch bowl.   This drink quietly packs a punch, macerated fruits are very tasty and can really liven up a group of ladies who lunch.

During the Peach Schnapps era of the 80’s came the Killer Kool-Aid, one of those drinks that sneaks up and gets you.  I remember ordering several of these in a two hour period thinking they were rather inoffensive and tame, until I tried to get up.  A wonderful light drink that doesn’t taste much of the alcohol, very refreshing as the Kool-Aid name implies, but not for kids.  Although it could be confused for a “girly” drink, it’s certainly not.  I like to mix up a pitcher and leave it to sit in the refrigerator for an hour or two before serving to mellow and chill the flavours and no need to water it down with ice.  Here’s a recipe. 

This has been one of the sunniest and hottest summers that I can remember.  There’s still so much time to enjoy these drinks and explore so many more.  What are your favourite summer cocktails, have a funny story about a cocktail you created out of items you had in the pantry or fridge? Drop me a line and tell me the story.  I would love to hear from you.  Drink responsibly and stay cool my friends!

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