What is your favourite simple summer cocktail?

By / Magazine / August 8th, 2018 / 6

When it comes to the hard stuff, I’m a man of simple pleasures. In other words, I’m a lazy bartender. If what I’m pouring during the summer isn’t served neat, wrestling with an ice cube tray is about all the energy I’m interested in exerting to jazz up my spirit of choice.

My significant other doesn’t share my lackadaisical approach to mixology. She expects someone with my liquid notoriety to be able to make, well, an effort; especially when it comes to the handful of back-deck-worthy weekends a Canadian summer is gracious enough to award us.

How do I do that? With all due respect to my hipster friends in the bar trade, I cheat. Now, it doesn’t hurt that many of our favourite warm-weather cocktails have only a few components and come stirred, not shaken. After all, the fewer pieces to the puzzle, the easier it is to put together.

With the proliferation of craft distilleries across our land, gin — the booze production of choice for many — has left its reputation as the tipple of the elderly behind, as millennial drinkers discover its intoxicating charms. With their unique combinations of local herbs and botanicals, artisan gins need to be able to express themselves. Simply adding tonic water to taste over ice creates the easiest, and arguably most summery, cocktail to create in my limited arsenal.

Though it does involve a blender, I’m partial to a margarita once or twice a summer. Rather than get all wound up about what lime juice to buy, I just pick up a few cans of frozen lemon-lime goodness from Bacardi Mixers. While they may be made by a rum producer, blending together one can of the non-alcoholic mix, some ice, and whatever quantity of tequila spins your sombrero will put you south of the border in a sip or two.

As proud Canadians we both have a spot in our hearts for the Bloody Caesar. It’s not a complicated recipe, but I can never find my bottles of Tabasco and Worcestershire when my palate is clambering for Clamato. Keeping a jug of one of the premixed brands in the fridge means all I need to worry about is the vodka and how crazy I want to get with the garnish (and I’m not that crazy).


Fresh, funny and down-to-earth, Peter Rockwell is the everyman's wine writer. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia he's worked in the liquor industry for over 30 years and has written about wine, spirits & beer since graduating from the School of Journalism at the University of King's College in 1986. His reviews and feature articles have been published in Tidings, Vines, Occasions, Where and on Alliant.net to name a few; he has been a weekly on-air wine feature columnist for both CBC-TV and Global Television and his wine column 'Liquid Assets' appeared weekly in two of Nova Scotia's daily newspapers, 'The Halifax Daily News' and 'The Cape Breton Post.' Today Peter's irreverent answer man column 'Bon Vivant' appears each month in Tidings Magazine and his weekly 'Liquid Assets' column is published across Canada in editions of the METRO newspaper. When not drinking at home, and at work, Peter travels the globe looking for something to fill his glass and put into words.

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