Life What We're Drinking

Must-Have Summer Cocktails

Ready to upgrade from that Tito's and Sprite? Our cocktail expert has you covered.

Few things are more American than drinking.

And the great thing about having drinks is that it allows everyone to satisfy their wants and needs.

You might not like IPAs but Chad from accounting does, which is fine when you do your post-work happy hour because he can order all the hops he wants while you can relax with whatever suits your pallet. And we can all agree that drink snobs are the worst, so don’t be that person.

Just like there’s nothing wrong with that 13 percent loaf of bread your bro is drinking, there’s also nothing wrong with ordering a vodka and soda, but at some point in life you’re going to find yourself wanting something more.

Maybe you’re trying to lose weight and realized you’re drinking a six-pack of Sprite at the bar; or maybe you want something more sophisticated as a go-to cocktail when out with friends or on a date night. Or maybe you think you’re Jay Gatsby and want a fashionable drink to nurse around the bar.

If you’re reading this and agreeing, check out the drinks below and please keep an open mind.

  1. 1. Mint Julep

I’m sure you immediately pictured Julian Edelman in a sear-sucker suit jacket with pants that barely cover his calves, but if you’ve never had a mint julep it’s time to reconsider this bourbon-based cocktail synonymous with the Kentucky Derby.

The Derby, which lasts as long as you did the first time Betty from first period let you stumble around until you fell inside her, shouldn’t be the only time you enjoy a surprisingly refreshing bourbon drink. And they’re easy enough to make that you can A) make them at home, or B) order them at a bar and not feel like a dick for making the bartender concoct a science experiment.

1/4 ounce simple syrup
6-8 mint leaves
2 ounces of your favorite bourbon (Maker’s Mark is what I prefer for mint juleps)

—Muddle mint leaves & simple syrup in a rocks glass
—Add bourbon & crushed ice
—Stir until you get a good froth on the glass
—Finish with more crushed ice and garnish with bitters to taste

That’s it. Done. And really the crushed ice makes this drink. As a writer I’ve always said that if Ernest Hemingway drank without ice I could too, but when it’s 95 degrees out and the humidity is above 70, put some ice in your drink for Christ’s sake.

2. The Matt Miller

What a douchey move, right, to include your own signature drink in the article, but after a decade traveling and sampling different cocktails, this is the one I put together for my hometown bar. And while it’s definitely not unique, it’s light enough to sip and enjoy no matter the temperature.

2 ounces Woodford Reserve (or any bourbon)
Ginger Beer
Orange Peel

—Muddle orange peel in a rocks glass
—Add 2 ounces Woodford
—Add 1 ounce cointreau
—Add 2 ounces ginger beer
—Stir, then finish with crushed or cube ice

This drink seems intimidating when you look at the ingredients list, but it’s super simple and can be customized with less (or more) cointreau and ginger beer. You can also substitute simple syrup for cointreau or ginger ale for ginger beer if you’re out of those supplies.

3. The Hemingway

Speaking of the old man who wrote The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway knew how to drink and thus, many drinks are named after him. And that’s a sure-fire way to get every Lit major to order an expensive drink, by the way—name it after Ernest.

There are some good drinks named after America’s most famous drinker, like this one.

Knob Creek
Lemon cordial
Orange peel
Rye-soaked cherries

—Muddle orange in rocks glass (optional: muddle rye-soaked cherries too)
—Mix 2 oz Knob Creek and 1 oz lemon cordial and stir
—Add in cherries with crushed ice

Boom. Done. Now go write your great novel.

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