What is your favourite simple summer cocktail?
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).