Perfect Summer Cocktails

By / Wine + Drinks / July 25th, 2011 / 1

Having recently renovated our basement bar, I took the opportunity to sort through the swizzle sticks, half empty bottles and glasses with an eye to organizing what was there. One of the boxes that had been packed away revealed a pretty interesting find. At the bottom (of course) was a dusty pamphlet entitled “how to make the 32 most popular drinks”. It was produced by TV Guide, and probably distributed as an insert in that magazine. It was dated November 12, 1960. Of course. That was, after all, the era of the cocktail. Think Mad Men, beehive dos and Mods.

That mid-century modern era never seems to go out of style. Flipping through the pamphlet, I see that some things apparently have fallen by the wayside over the past 51 years. The language, for one. The authors suggest that hosts “put wet glasses in the icebox”. When was the last time you visited the icebox? Even then, some people were still having blocks of ice delivered to their doors. How about this one — Spam, anyone? I don’t want to rain on Spam’s parade. Everyone has probably enjoyed it for breakfast or lunch at one time or another, but canned luncheon meat doesn’t generally make for what’s typically thought of as a gourmet app today. Then, it did, spread with cream cheese and rolled in chopped parsley. How about celery sticks spread with avocado and potato chips?

Well, some things don’t seem to change no matter how much time passes. The cocktail recipes printed in the pamphlet are definitely classics. Gin and Tonic, Rob Roy and Alexander never go out of style — just like mini-skirts and tie-dye shirts. With a few simple ingredients, you can host a perfect cocktail party this summer. First, gather up a few essentials, like a metal mixing cup and strainer, a measuring glass and and long bar spoon, to equip your bar. Then, head out to the liquor store to purchase a bottle of sherry, rye, Scotch, gin, vermouth and bitters. You can find plastic cocktail glasses at a dollar store or a party store. Better quality acrylic glasses are available at any good kitchen and accessories store. Put the Rat Pack on the iPod, turn up the volume and chill!

Try these:

Ward Eight
I love the name. It makes me think of where one might end up after a night of psychedelic musings gone awry.

1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz orange juice
2 oz rye
4 dashes grenadine

Shake well with cracked ice; pour into glass without straining. Serve with an orange slice.

Scarlett O’Hara
Adapted from a recipe created at Antoine’s Restaurant, New Orleans.

Juice of 1/2 a lime
3/4 oz cranberry juice
2 oz Southern Comfort

Shake well with cracked ice and strain into a glass.


1/4 sweet vermouth
3/4 bourbon
dash Angostura bitters

Stir with cracked ice, strain. Serve with a cherry.


Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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