Summer spirits are always a good match for summer days. When you have a day in the park, the neighborhood pool or the lake, celebrate with a drink that hits the spot.
Barrel-aged spirits in particular work their magic during summer. If you’re into this, we recommend two tequila and two whiskey brands. The reason for the triple-the-good factor is because you get twice the amount of booze for half the price.
Traditionally distilled from the non-rich, woody varieties, such as jalapeño peppers, top-shelf tequila uses these cheaper and less-fermented varieties in place of traditional molasses during a finish.
For a more fruity start, try a wide variety of peach-flavored Mexican beer and white tequila. A fruity concoction with a little spicy kick, a beet concoction will do just the trick.
In addition to your spirits, summer is a great time to try a grappa. Vodka barrels are often filled and fed with sparkling wine before aging in the port stock. The alcohol of port can be higher than that of the spirits in the barrel, which brings a richer flavor profile that suits the warm weather.
For a hotter and thirstier drink, try a Croatian vodka with a little chaika or cider. You’ll get a sweeter and more citrusy taste than a silver beer, making it a good shot for strolling the boardwalk.
For a cocktail with less booze, try light red wine. Red wines are typically light and unfiltered; they tend to have less alcohol than white and rosé wines. They also tend to have fruity or floral notes. A nice rule of thumb is to drink light red wine with dinner. That way you’ll not be tricked into believing you’re getting a much stronger drinking experience.
A great way to bust through your summer’s inhibitions is with liquor-free beer. If you’re at a BBQ and are looking for something light and zesty but without the alcohol, try an herbal lager. Algae and cucumber beers are incredibly popular right now and they’re quite tasty. There’s also an acceptable version of this variety called organic German pale lager.
If you’re looking for something with a little more punch, try a bourbon. We prefer Kentucky bourbon over the other types we’ve mentioned. Luckily, there are more flavors to choose from. Smoky, rye, light sweet and fruit-based, bourbon is a game changer.
Light tequila and whiskey are also great for summertime. If you enjoy bourbon and Mexican food, try a mezcal, an agave-based spirit made without the corn the rest of us use for “tequila.”
Grab a glass of natural sweetened sparkling wine—often referred to as “natural wine”—and spend the day poolside. You can’t go wrong with a decadent margarita or margarita combo, however, as are all great cocktails.
— By Ross Schwartzbaum, Liquoromics.com