It’s Summer. It’s Hot. You’re Thirsty.
There are plenty of people who are going to tell you how to throw a party, grill burgers, make side dishes and desserts. There will be thousands of pages written about what beers to drink, what wines to serve, and which cocktails to prepare.
I have a whole laundry list of cocktail posts on my to-do list. But since summer is upon us, they will just have to wait.
And frankly, I don’t really care if you serve this at your Memorial Day party or not. It’s summer, and if you do not know about this quaffer, it’s damn time you learned.
There are several great refreshing cocktails. But many of them have shortcomings. They have too many ingredients, are too potent, or require too much effort.
There is the Margarita. But that really improves with salt. And then there is all the shaking involved. When it’s hot, I don’t even want to hold a frozen Boston shaker if it means I have to exert more energy. Plus they are so small and potent that it’s easy to get sideswiped by this classic. The same goes for the Hemingway/La Florida Daiquiri.
The Pimm’s Cup is refreshing and much less potent, so you can drink it like a soft drink to beat the heat. It is especially good for a party if you want to mix up a big batch in advance. But there is a lot of vegetation to deal with, and then there are the two types of soda.
The drink I am talking about has gotten a bad reputation over the years. Bartenders have taken liberties. Mixes have been marketed for use at home. Let’s try to put all that aside and start from scratch. Because this is one of the easiest, tastiest, most refreshing quaffers you can make.
Allow me to reintroduce you to the Tom Collins.
Tall glass. Lots of ice. Two ounces of your favorite gin – mine is good old fashioned Tanqueray. The juice from half a lemon. One teaspoon of sugar syrup. Fill with soda. Stir. Be refreshed.
On a side note: If you think you do not like gin, please, buy a little airplane bottle of something good, try it in this cocktail, and get back to me. I am committed to getting people comfortable with gin. It’s important. And I’ll work with anyone who needs extra assistance.
The idea is an adult fizzy lemonade. Depending on the size of your glass, you may want more or less gin, additional lemon, and possibly more sugar. Personally I like a drier drink. Mrs. Fussy thinks all my cocktails are too tart. I think all of her salads are under-dressed. Yet we continue to get along.
How this simple drink could ever have fallen off the rails with sickly sour mix or the lemon flavored soda sold in supermarkets as Collins mix is beyond me.
The observant may note that this simple classic drink is the grandfather to the Mojito. Change the gin to rum. Swap the lemon for a lime. Muddle in some mint and you have it. And the Mojito is certainly a lovely and refreshing drink.
But when it’s hot, muddling is a lot of work.