Don’t get the wrong idea. I love New Orleans summer. Yes, I have a screw loose in that area. But the heat, the humidity, the afternoon showers followed by the steam rising off the pavement and the potholes filling with water disguising their depth or even their presence – I do love it all.
This city is filled with characters and summer is one of the defining qualities of who we are. A season that is a character unto itself.
Yet, I want the character to change. Right now. I really am not opposed to another month or so of hot, muggy afternoons where even a short stroll in the ‘hood ends with a much-needed bath or shower, industrial-strength deodorant, and a change of clothes.
What tires me out more than anything are the nights. Other places have high daytime temperatures, and despite the faux-explanations of locals in those places, they too experience humidity on a Richter scale.
But other places all over America and the world, in the evening, cool down. The evenings away from here are pleasant, tolerable and invite outdoor activities like dining or just sitting with a cool beverage. Our evenings are merely extensions of the most uncomfortable part of the afternoon. Sitting outside, away from the air conditioned inside, is not a beautiful thing. We make it so because we are desperate for scenery changes.
I love the fact that we have so many restaurants and bars with outdoor areas to enjoy, it’s just that for so much of the summer season, we cannot enjoy a delightful meal out-of-doors in comfortable conditions. I don’t think the establishments have many empty tables, I just think that those tables are mostly filled with visitors, and even then, the good idea to enjoy a meal or a drink al fresco is short-lived. Let’s not even touch on the voracious creatures of the night who are as feared as any historical figure from one of those Haunted History Tours.
What I am getting at here is that while we look at all the current advertising put forth by national retailers hyping the latest in sweater design, we still have quite a few weeks, maybe months until those styles make any sense for us. Buy them now and the only things you are accomplishing is to furnish moths and roaches some dandy snacking before your first use.
And that sets us squarely in the middle of continuing to enjoy beverages that the rest of the country has left behind until next year. Our ice-laden refreshments continue to make a lot of sense. Noted below are several recipes that are still appropriate and maybe offering a welcome change from what you have been drinking since April.
Reyka’s Basil Tom Collins
- 1 ½ parts Reyka Vodka
- ¾ part Lemon juice
- ½ part simple syrup
- Top soda
- 2-4 Basil leaves
Combine all ingredients into cocktail shaker except soda. Shake, double strain, garnish and serve.
Reyka Vodka is an Icelandic born vodka and provides a smooth and crisp base for both complex and simple cocktails. Cocktails created by Reyka Brand Ambassador Trevor Schneider.
Jerry Loves Ginger
- 1 part Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
- 3 parts ginger beer
- 2 lime wedges
Top with ½ desired beer and ½ ginger beer for an extra kick.
Drambuie Mixed Berry Sangria
- 3 parts Drambuie
- 1 part Triple Sec
- 1 Cup White Wine (Chardonnay is perfect)
- 1 part Fresh Orange Juice
- 1 part Fresh Lime Juice
- 1 part Honey
- 2 cups Frozen Berries
- 10 Dashes Cherry Bitters
Add all Ingredients to a Blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with berries skewered with basil sprig.
Cocktail created by Drambuie Brand Ambassador Vance Henderson.
- 2 parts Montelobos Mezcal
- 1 part Fresh Lime Juice
- ½ part Simple syrup
Combine ingredients over ice and shake well. Serve over fresh ice in a rocks glass with a salt & black pepper rim and orange slice.
Hudson’s White Manhattan
- 2 parts Hudson NY Corn Whiskey
- 1 part Lillet Blanc
- 3 dashes orange bitters
Stir ingredients 50 times with chunk ice to chill and dilute properly. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.
Hudson Whiskey, the first legal pot-stilled whiskey distilled in New York state since prohibition, sources 90% of its grains from within 40 miles of the distillery.
We mention the brand of spirits in these recipes as a guide, and because the companies have provided the research and the formula for the cocktails. We thank them for their assistance.
Read Happy Hour here on www.myneworleans.com every Wednesday, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed at www.wgso.com. Also check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature every month in New Orleans Magazine.