Summer cocktails careen toward the frozen, the slushy; the ultra sweet, the too, too fruity. Enjoy the warm weather, or the cool, with these three refreshing, refined alternatives.
THE NEGRONI Named for an Italian count for whom it was made in a bar in Florence about 1919, it improves on the Americano cocktail, adding gin and skipping soda. After one or two, you’ll feel royal and ready for twilight on the Mediterranean — or Jones Beach. This recipe is from Salvatore Calabrese’s “Classic Cocktails.”
Ingredients: 1 ounce gin, 1 ounce Campari, 1 ounce sweet vermouth. Combine the ingredients in an old-fashioned glass filled with ice and stir. Garnish with an orange slice, placed in the drink. Add a stirrer and serve immediately.
THE GIMLET Its history is traced to a centuries-old creation that was concocted to keep sailors from getting scurvy, caused by a deficiency of vitamin C. It’s a very tasty way to ensure you receive the requisite L-ascorbic acid and the particular tang of preserved lime juice. The following recipe is from Dale DeGroff’s “The Essential Cocktail.”
Ingredients: 2 ounces of either gin or vodka, three-quarters ounce of Rose’s lime juice, and either a cucumber slice, a lime wedge, or both. Combine the gin or vodka and lime juice in a mixing glass with ice and shake well. Strain into a small cocktail glass or serve over ice in an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with the slice of cucumber or lime wedge.
THE VESPER As Ian Fleming fans will remember, this is introduced in his first James Bond novel, “Casino Royale,” published in 1953. The cocktail’s immortality was assured in the 2006 movie, Daniel Craig’s first and best as Agent 007, thanks to the ethereal Eva Green as Vesper Lynd. There are a few variations. Here’s a recipe from “Mr. Boston Platinum Edition.”
Ingredients: 3 ounces of gin, 1 ounce of vodka, one-half ounce of Lillet Blonde. Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of orange peel. (Fleming preferred lemon.)
As Salvatore Calabrese notes, adding a bit of tonic water will add the quinine touch of Fleming’s original, since Kina Lillet has gone the way of Le Chiffre.