It's 5 o'clock somewhere ...

By Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Since it is 80 degrees on March 20 (yep, first day of spring!) in Madison, WI, and since I didn't get to drink any summery cocktails last summer because I was pregnant with bambino No. 2, I thought I would share with you my favorite summer cocktails. Honestly, there is nothing better at the end of a hot day than a cocktail on the patio. Cheers.

No. 1: The Dark and Stormy
My dear friend Jen served these at her fabulous wedding many years ago in Maryland. She married a sailor, so the drink was mandatory. Let's just say everyone was dancing by the end of the wedding. Here's a link to Francis Lam's review of some ginger beers/ales. It's funny and informative. I really want to try Blenheim's ginger ale since I like mine really spicy and made in the U.S. 

Makes one perfect cocktail.

2-3 oz. Gosling's Black Rum
3-4 oz. Ginger Beer or Spicy Ginger Ale (I like Goose Island's spicy ginger ale)
wedge of lime

In double old-fashioned glass filled ice, mix rum and ginger beer/ale. Squeeze lime. Enjoy.

No. 2: The Margarita
As I am a big Frontera Grill/Tompolobompo fan, my go-to margarita is from Rick Bayless. No blending, no fuss. Just lime, tequila, Cointreau, sugar, salt and ice.

Makes 4 generous drinks

1 cup tequila, preferably a young silver or reposado 100% agave tequila
1/2 cup Cointreau or other orange liqueur
1/3 cup fresh lime juice, plus a little extra for moistening the rim of the glasses
A little sugar if necessary
About 1/3 cup coarse (Kosher) salt for crusting the rim of the glasses
About 3 cups medium ice cubes

In a small pitcher, combine the tequila, orange liqueur and lime. Taste and decide if you think the mixture needs to be a little sweeter or a little tangier (keep in mind that it will taste a little tangier once it’s been shaken). Add a bit more lime or a touch of sugar, if necessary.

Spread out the salt onto a small plate. Moisten the rim of four 6-ounce martini glasses with a little lime juice (if you have a cut lime, even an already-squeezed one, moisten the rims by running it around them). One by one, turn the glasses over and dip them lightly in the salt, creating a thin, even crust all around the rim.

Pour half of the margarita mixture into a cocktail shaker, add half of the ice cubes. Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds (this is important to achieve the perfect strength–some of the ice needs to melt into the margarita–and the right degree of frostiness). Strain into the prepared glasses, then repeat with the remaining margarita mixture. Relax and enjoy.

No. 3: the Vodka Tonic
I love me some vodka. This was my drink of choice when I met my husband. I like mine with a squeeze of lemon instead of the classic lime, but choose the citrus you like best. Meyer lemons, when in season, elevate this drink to sublime.

Makes one perfect cocktail.

2 oz. Vodka, the best you can afford
4 oz. tonic water
wedge of lemon or lime

In an old-fashioned glass filled ice, mix vodka and tonic. Squeeze citrus. Enjoy.

No. 4: the Mojito
I honestly grow mint for mojitos. What's more refreshing than lime, mint and rum? My husband makes the best ones. I'm sure I've missed some secret step, but here's what I have observed him do when making one.

Makes one perfect cocktail.

1/4 cup or 4 oz. white rum, the best you can afford
half of a lime, cut into four pieces
12-15 mint leaves
2 tablespoons simple syrup
4 oz. club soda

In a double old-fashioned glass, place mint, limes and simple syrup. Muddle with a muddler or a wooden spoon handle, or a wooden lemon reamer, until the mint and limes start breaking up a bit. Add ice, rum and top with club soda. Stir well. Drink slowly - this is a labor of love.

Happy drinking, -s.

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  1. Made the first one to celebrate the almost end of school!! Double yum!! Thank you!