There are two drinks that define summer for me, that embody (em-bottle? em-glass?) Fridays lounging in the shade on my porch or basking in the sun on a rooftop patio with friends: margaritas (good ones, salt required) or vodka lemonade (best with homemade lemonade, light on the sugar). Bastardized gin rickeys now join that list.
I am not a big drinker, I will be the first to admit, and my pretty broad palate when it comes to food is significantly less experienced when it comes to booze. No time like the present to start expanding my horizons though, right? Right!
So many people talk about the gin and tonic as a classic summer drink. If only tonic didn’t make my mouth twist up like a 2-year-old biting into a lemon for the first time; it’s just not something I get the appeal of. But a (sorta) gin rickey? Gin, lime, seltzer, a little sweetener, and a pretty garnish in a tall glass? Yes please.
If it’s not clear from the drinks above, citrus clearly has my heart in summer. And with a little fizz? Even better. Gin just smells good to me; I like its herbalness, it smells like standing in a garden. (And I love this interview about The Drunken Botanist I heard on NPR this week–wine and liquors come from all sorts of plants, that means they count as vegetables, right?! It’s just like V8 juice.)
Any go-to summer drink for you? I also just discovered two great summer beers (Unibroue Ephemere Apple and Dogfish Head Festina Peche) which for me as a non-fan of hoppy bitter brews, was quite the accomplishment.
Sorta Gin Rickey
Apparently gin rickeys don’t traditionally have sweetener, but I like a little to counteract the lime. You can try it the traditional way or use simple syrup or another sweetener instead of the agave. You can serve this shaken or stirred, but I like how it comes out a little frothy when it’s shaken. Makes one drink.
1.5-2 ounces gin
2 ounces fresh lime juice, with lime slices for garnish
1 teaspoon agave syrup
Mint for garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker with about 4 ice cubes and add the gin, lime juice, agave, and a splash of the seltzer. Shake well for about 10 seconds, then strain into glasses filled with ice. Top off each glass with seltzer, mint, and a slice of lime.