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Refreshing cocktail ideas to try this summer

Gin and tonic garnished with a lime.

Gin and tonic garnished with a lime. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Winston Churchill famously observed, "The gin and tonic has saved more Englishmen's lives, and minds, than all the doctors in the Empire."

The classic G&T became a mainstay as a preventative for malaria because the tonic contained quinine. The gin made the bitter quinine more palatable. The result: a timeless cocktail.

There's plenty of tonic water on the market. Look for Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water, Q Spectacular Tonic Water, Boylan or popular, reliable Schweppes. For gin, consider Tanqueray Rangpur if you like citrus;  Hendrick's Gin, for cucumber; Beefeater London Dry Gin for tradition.

The recipe is basic. But, of course, it can be adapted. Put three or four ice cubes in a highball glass, add two ounces of gin and four of tonic water. Stir. Imbibe. A little lime juice gives the cocktail a refreshing accent.

Rum also is a friendly partner with tonic. But during deep summer, however, rum peaks in the Daiquiri — a drink that was born when the inventor's gin supply dropped. He mixed rum with fresh lime juice and granulated sugar. It definitely caught on.

Salvatore Calabrese includes this recipe in "Classic Cocktails." Combine 2 ounces white rum, 1 ounce fresh lime juice, and two bar spoons of superfine sugar in a shaker. Shake sharply. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge on the rim of the glass.

Continue the rum theme with a Cuba Libre, born in the American Bar in Havana and named for a battle cry. Americans frequented the bar. One American's favorite cocktail was Bacardi rum with Coca-Cola. The recipe is easy.

Calabrese's is one-and-two thirds ounces of Bacardi white rum, the juice of one fresh lime, and Coca-Cola. Pour the lime juice, then the rum, into a highball glass. Add the Coke to taste. Garnish with a wedge of lime. Serve with a stirrer.

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