Easy construction? Obtainable ingredients? Speed to build? The portable party we know as summer presents its own set of challenges when it comes to creating a drink that satisfies.

This time of year, tackling a build-your-own-cocktail project with too many ingredients, each requiring their own preparation, is just more than we want to deal with in the heat and humidity. Fresh pineapple requires attention. Mixes must be mixed themselves and then proportions and measurements must be respected. Toss in the need for a blender and before long a simple summer drink can be way more than the average amateur bartender wants to endure.

Showing off is now a matter of too much commitment in time and materials. Summer simplicity should be the marching orders of this time of year. After all, when is the cocktail concocter going to catch a break?

We can start our easy summer drink-making with one parameter: rum. Nothing to me says summer like rum. The spirit is flavorful, comes in a variety of styles, and drinks made with rum practically demand the addition of an umbrella in the drink after the last garnish is settled. Summer rum drinks practically scream refreshment to offset warm weather and are almost always delicious.


Malibu Summer Rose


  • 1 shot (1-1/2 ounces) Malibu coconut Rum
  • 1 shot (1-1/2 ounces) peach schnapps
  • Pineapple juice
  • Orange juice
  • Grenadine
  • Optional:  Fresh pineapple slices, orange slices and/or maraschino cherries, for garnish


  1. Pour rum and peach schnapps in a tall glass filled with ice.
  2. Add equal parts pineapple juice and orange juice.
  3. Top with a splash of grenadine.
  4. Garnish with pineapple slices, orange slices and/or maraschino cherries.

Note: when using grenadine as an ingredient, be cautious and respect your tolerance for sweet. Many ingredients in the Malibu Summer Rose are sugar in themselves. In fact, every ingredient and garnish in this recipe is sugar-based. That’s fine if you like sweet drinks. Just be careful not to go too far with the sweet components.

Created by Mrs. Jewell Hanson for Malibu Rum, and borrowed from Amy Brinkley, The Blond Cook.



Mai Tai

The Mai Tai has been the recipient of great derision from bartenders for many years. The real Mai Tai, as created by Donn Beach, aka Don the Beachcomber, aka Ernest Raymond Gantt, is a classic creation and deserves more respect than it has been accorded.

The story goes that Gantt was born in New Orleans and moved at an early age to Texas. Maybe. Gantt’s father was certainly a native of Louisiana. Gantt is considered the “Father of Tiki,” and his restaurant and bar, Don’s Beachcomber, then changed to Don the Beachcomber, in Hollywood, California, was an early expression of that playful faux culture. It was likely around 1933, in Hollywood, that the Mai-Tai first saw light of day.


  • 1 oz Jamaican rum
  • 1 oz rhum agricole
  • .75 oz lime juice
  • .5 oz Curaçao
  • .5 oz orgeat
  • crushed ice
  • mint


  1. Shake all ingredients in a shaker tin.
  2. Strain with a Hawthorne strainer into a rocks glass.
  3. Garnish with a pressed lime hull (from juicing a lime) and a large bouquet of mint.

Thanks to website, Supercall.



Dark ‘n’ Stormy

Suddenly, it seems, everyone is drinking “Stormys.” And why not? Simple to make (another 3-ingredient wonder) and the result means as soon as you are done with one, you start on another. Summer fun, not summer fuss.


  • 4 ounces ginger beer
  • 2 ounces dark rum
  • Lime wedge


  1. Combine ginger beer and rum in a tall glass over ice
  2. Garnish with a lime wedge.


The folks at Thrillist know how to keep things simple. Thanks.


Of course, in New Orleans, we have another way to keep cocktail preparation simple. Popping into any bar, just about all of which are incredible at properly making adult beverages, and, if you don’t finish the drink before you are ready to move on, there is always New Orleans’ greatest contribution to civilization, the go-cup.

Happy Summer and Happy 4th of July!





Read Happy Hour here on www.myneworleans.com on Wednesdays, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored (podcast), at www.wgso.com. Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature about cocktails every month in New Orleans Magazine.