24 cocktails, from the classic Martini, Manhattan, and Margarita to the exotic Royal Blush, El Diablo, and Blood and Sand
Sure, there are those who believe any cocktail is refreshing and suitable for summer. And they have a point. But when you’re grilling, or feasting on clams, or kicking back on the sand, some combinations of ingredients do quench the thirst better than others. First, consider fruit. There’s a reason why Gatorade and lemonade are popular in the summer months. They rely on the sweet-and-tart balance that only lemon/lime—and sugar—can provide. This is the formula for a sour (a.k.a. sour mix). Drinks like the Margarita and the Daiquiri have spawned a million cocktails in this category. The Cosmo introduces cranberry to the equation. And if you can’t decide what fruit to use, try adding whatever you have lying around to drinks like the Sangria or Pimm’s Cup, powered by ginger ale (this drink sometimes even gets a slice of cooling cucumber).
Bubbles are another well-known refresher: Add Champagne (and gin) to sour mix, and you’ve got a French 75. Employ beer (along with hot sauce), and you’ve got the makings of a Michelada. Fresh mint, too, can tickle the palate as it refreshes; the success of rum-driven Mojitos and bourbon-bomb Mint Juleps proves the point.
Don’t let brown spirits scare you, either: The international boom in cocktails has, in fact, inspired many bartenders to make lively, effervescent drinks with bourbon, rye, and Scotch, and to reinvent classics like the Old Fashioned (big on Mad Men), the Manhattan, and the Blood and Sand.