It’s summer. It’s warm out there. Not every cocktail or beer is fit for the weather. These five drinks are good sippers for a hot day.
Order the daiquiri, no, not the one listed on the drink menu, but the one your favorite bartenders serve at last call to their peers. This classic is just three ingredients (rum, lime and simple syrup) but can be taken a gazillion different directions by the rum you choose. That’s where the fun begins. Bartender Ricardo Hoffman at Zig Zag Café makes his on the dry side with the Puerto Rican rum Ron del Barrilito. Canon barman Seth Sempere uses the Jamaican Appleton Estate to give the drink that expected tropical note but adds some grassiness with an eight-year Rhum Barbancourt from Haiti. Smith barman Myles Burroughs uses a pineapple rum (Stiggins’) with the funky Jamaica rum Smith & Cross — and throws in a wild card, Angostura amaro, for a root-beer hit and a spicy finish. You see where this is going: a daiquiri-barhopping night.
We should take our summer happy-hour cue from the Italians. They know how to do apertivo: sipping while schmoozing with friends. No television on. Time is inconsequential. And they don’t get hammered, despite pounding rounds of spritz al bitter. That’s the beauty of the Aperol spritz, fizzy and low enough in potency that you can have another and another while you linger till sunset, an ideal patio drink. Whip the three ingredients (the namesake Italian aperitif, processco and soda) together, and this spritz morphs into an elixir brimming with orange zest on the nose, grapefruit and rhubarb on the palate and a rooty, bitter finish to dial back the sweetness.
Many microbrewers are finding inspiration in Dos Equis and other Mexican-style beers, aiming to make better versions of the cheap cerveza or pay homage to it by using local grains. Locally, Melvin Brewing Co. in Bellingham and Seattle’s Two Beers Brewing and Lower Case Brewing make their own versions of this Taco-Tuesday friendly beer. Chuckanut Brewery in Bellingham even makes a Mexican-style beer for several Tom Douglas restaurants. It tastes bready from the Skagit Valley malts and is meant to be topped with a lime wedge. You can currently find it at Brave Horse Tavern.
Vinho Verde is meant to transport you to the Mediterranean and the Costa Verde of Portugal. But a view of Lake Washington on a sunglasses-afternoon with a chilled Vinho Verde bottle wouldn’t suck either. Slightly spritzy and crisp, this summer wine is for cheapskates and light weights. Only around 10 percent alcohol. And it is delicious. Especially with oysters. A poorman’s Chablis, Vinho Verde is popping up more in bars and restaurants, from the Innkeeper bar in Belltown to Stateside restaurant on Capitol Hill. It’s often the cheapest or the second cheapest wine on the menu, around $30 or less. Or order it online for less than $9. Choose one rich with alvarinho grapes.
A good frosé shouldn’t give you brain freeze. It should be dry with a luscious mouthfeel, so that it doesn’t go down too fast. Rosé slushies are all the rage. But too many are syrupy-sweet like a 7-Eleven Slurpee. Try the frosé served at Bottlehouse in Madrona. Some strawberries are blended in to give the slushy some color and fruitiness, but it still has the dry, tart notes of an excellent chilled rosé in a glass.