by Michael Bedford
Published at 2022-07-27
The recent heat wave provided ample opportunity to enjoy a frosty beverage or two either on a patio or within the confines of one’s air-conditioned home. In fact, every year the summer months provide opportunities for, so-called “new” cocktails to appear on the scene, enjoy a burst of popularity, and then fade from the memories of all but a dedicated few. However, I say “so-called” because these tasty adult beverages are often no more than contemporary twists on classic drinks of yesteryear, rather than original creations—for instance, the martini has been reinvented and modified in innumerable ways, but unheard-of variations continue to crop up.
Some of these old-new cocktails have simply changed their names. Some, like the Frozen Espresso Martini, feature added ingredients that, arguably, augment the original cocktail’s charm. And, one peculiar branch of new cocktails is based on puns: members of this category, include “Frozerol,” basically a frozen Aperol spritz, and the first cocktail on my list, the “’G’ and Tea.”
I learned of this posh British cocktail recipe while watching “Escape to the Chateau” with my wife. Fans of the show know how much creative energy this cocktail inspires in Angel Strawbridge, so why not enjoy a cuppa’ while creating your own dubious designs?
* 1 Pot of your favourite blend of tea, brewed and then chilled
* Gin of your choice
* 1 tbsp. of elderflower liqueur
* Tonic water
* Ice cubes
* Lemon slice for garnish
Nearly fill a Collins glass with ice, pour in 1 measure of gin and 3 measures of tea. Next, add the tablespoon of elderflower liqueur, and top with tonic water. Garnish with lemon, and enjoy, guv’nah!
The #1 cocktail of 2022 as determined by Good Housekeeping is a pairing I’ve never tried before, mostly because I’m not a big white port drinker. This easy-sipping refresher, though, makes me think that I’ve been missing out. White Port and Tonic offers a smooth taste with just a pinch of bitterness. And, the aromatic qualities of the sprig of rosemary are a great touch.
* 1 Shot of white port
* Crushed ice
* Tonic water
* Sprig of rosemary
Nearly fill a Collins glass with crushed ice, add the white port, top with tonic water, garnish with a big sprig of rosemary, and let the glass do the sweating for you.
In my experience, sangria is either great or horrible with little room for middling recipes. The fruit might be too soggy, or too firm. The wine is sometimes too sour, or too sweet. But, when the ingredients align and the hot summer demands a refreshing pitcher of fruit and iced wine, sangria is a welcome weapon in beating the heat. This sparkling wine variation on the classic red wine recipe simply provides more cooling ammunition.
* One 750 mL bottle of your favourite Cava
* 150 mL Grand Marnier
* 250 mL pineapple juice
* A bunch of seasonal summer fruits
Combine all of the ingredients into a glass pitcher, chill for 1.5 hours, add ice, and share with friends on a patio of your choosing.
After reading about this cocktail on Good Housekeeping, I decided that I should give it a go. I regret that the ridiculously high temperatures turned this slushy drink into more of a slightly icy cocktail for me, but I still understand the appeal…
* A premixed Aperol Spritz (since Aperol alone is impossible to find)
* 1 cup of ice cubes
* 1 Orange popsicle
Combine the orange popsicle (only one side if it’s a double popsicle), the ice, and a splash of Cointreau in the blender, blend until slushy. Pour into an old-fashioned glass, add the Aperol Spritz, and you’ve got a slushy companion for your long beach walks in Sorrento.
This cocktail requires a little planning, but planning how best to prepare a cocktail is the kind of organization I can really get behind.
* 350 mL of lemonade
* ½ cup of your favourite gin
* 2 tsp. sugar
* Lemon juice
* Lemon slices to garnish
Freeze the lemonade overnight, then break the frozen lemonade up and put it in a blender. Add gin, sugar, and lemon juice. Blend until slushy. Serve in two highball glasses, and sip slowly to avoid brain-freeze.
The legacies and idiosyncrasies of cocktails are hard to trace: it’s said that the much revered old-fashioned cocktail only exists because a certain Civil War general didn’t like the taste of whiskey…but who knows? Maybe he was hoping to create the Frozen Espresso Martini.
No matter your tastes, anyone interested in expanding their cocktail horizons should consider purchasing a bar book. Although I deferred to Good Housekeeping for this list of stylish contemporary cocktails, I generally look to Gary Regan’s The Bartender’s Bible for guidance. Or, for anyone looking for a humorous literary flair on their cocktail recipes, consider taking a look at Tim Federle’s humorous cocktail guide, Tequila Mockingbird.
Michael Bedford is a freelance editor, copywriter, and performer living in Stoney Creek, Ontario. He can be reached at https://mgb-editor.com/.
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