Classic, old fashioned cocktails are back in vogue. And their simplicity is what makes them so timeless—and good. Don’t overthink your mixology psychology this summer. Impress your guests with these easy to make, refreshing, summer classics.
The Tom Collins is a classic example of a purist cocktail that fell from grace after grocery stores began stocking their shelves several decades ago with the mass produced, heartburn-inducing sour mix. It’s been written about since 1876—Jerry Thomas, widely considered the father of mixology wrote The Bar-Tender’s Guide in 1862. The original recipe was made with gin, lemon juice, sugar and soda water. Remember to mix the gin, lemon juice and sugar (or simple syrup) first, before adding copious amounts of soda water.
2 Ounces Dry Gin
Juice of 1 lemon
1 to 2 teaspoons superfine sugar, or simple syrup*
Pour the gin, sugar and lemon juice into an empty Collins glass and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add ice and finish with an ample amount of soda water—approximately half a glass. Garnish with an orange or lemon slice. Remember to add plenty of soda water. Too little soda water will result in an acidic, sweet, gin-laden drink, which may make you angry and result in heartburn and a hangover the next morning.
The Pimm’s Cup gets its name from Pimm’s No. 1 Cup – a gin based, burgundy colored liquor that is the base for this classic summer cocktail. The recipe, which is characterized by bitters, spice and citrus, has remained top secret since James Pimm began producing it back in 1823. The fan favorite cocktail at Wimbledon, polo matches and the Henley regatta, the Pimm’s Cup gives off an air of aristocracy, but if made right it can be just what the doctor ordered on a hot summer day. There are a million variations of the Pimm’s Cup but generally it includes Pimm’s No. 1 Cup and Ginger Ale (7-Up and Sprite will also work). Slices of apples, lemons, limes, oranges and cucumbers are usually incorporated into the drink if made in larger batches. Since Pimm’s No. 1 Cup is only 25% percent alcohol by volume it is quite common to supplement the drink with some extra gin which blends in harmoniously given the make-up of Pimm’s.
1 ½ ounces Pimm’s No. 1
½ ounce Gin (Hendricks works well because of it’s cucumber infusion)
2 ounces part Ginger Ale
Slices of cucumber, lemon or lime for garnish
Fill a Highball or Collins glass with ice and add Pimm’s Cup No. 1 and gin. Stir. And Ginger Ale and garnish with cucumber and slice of lemon or lime. If the drink is too sweet you can add a floater of soda water to dilute the sweetness without losing carbonation.
Courtesy John McCarthy/Cedar Local
No, we are not talking about the bright red frozen drink made in a blender with strawberry concentrate or dispensed out of those amusement park machines used for frozen margaritas. Those [frozen] daiquiris ruined their namesake’s reputation as one of the simplest and most elegant of cocktails.
Stories vary, but most conclude that the original Daiquiri was invented in the early 1900s in its namesake town of Daiquiri near Santiago, Cuba. Rumor has it that a man named Jennings Cox, an iron worker in Daiquiri, invented the drink. The drink, however, did not gain notoriety until the recipe was brought back to the States by Admiral Lucius Johnson and introduced to the Army and Navy Club in Washington, D.C., around 1910. No real proof exists as to the real heritage of the Daiquiri and many Cubans assert that their ancestors enjoyed the drink long before Cox and Johnson came to Cuba.
Regardless of its origins, or the styles in which it has been made—straight up, on the rocks, or served in a flute, Collins or Old-Fashioned glass—the Daiquiri has always been a simple yet harmonious drink, thus proving that the basis of many great cocktails is simply liquor and a combination of sweet and sour – in this case simple syrup and fresh lime juice.
Enjoy it on the rocks (with big, dense ice cubes) or straight up.
2 parts white rum
juice of one lime
sugar or simple syrup *
Pour your preferred amount of white rum into an Old-Fashioned glass. Add simple syrup or sugar and stir. If you use straight sugar, use a shaker and mix the lime juice and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved, before adding to the glass. Serve straight up or on the rocks.
* Simple syrup can be made simply by adding 2 parts fine sugar to 1 part hot water.
Whit Cook is the Founder/Publisher of GoodLife Report (GLR), a lifestyle website geared towards men and women who like unique products and experiences. GLR editors have written for prominent publications and web sites including Wine Spectator, Cigar Aficionado, Travel+Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post, Men’s Journal and Pursuitist.