Carol Miller, author of the Moonshine Mystery series—the latest of which, An Old Fashioned Murder, is available now—takes us into the unofficial turn of cocktail season with 7 summer cocktails to die for!
It’s that time again, when political pundits are wringing their hands as to debate strategies and early polling. But, while they’re busy counting delegates, I’m in the garden, anxiously monitoring the first mint leaves, trying to repair the damage caused by Old Man Winter and trampling spring deer.
This is important stuff, after all. Without an ample supply of fresh mint, there are no mint juleps; and mint juleps are the traditional beverage of the Kentucky Derby, which is, in turn, the unofficial start of cocktail season.
See also: An Old Fashioned Murder: New Excerpt
I live in southwestern Virginia, along the Blue Ridge Mountains. Summer here is downright sultry, and we tend to prefer our beverages on the strong side, most frequently in a rocking chair or on the porch swing. We also like to invite over the neighbors, so all the recipes below are designed as single servings to allow guests a range of freshly-made options, rather than forcing everyone to consume the same gallon bowl of punch, which will quickly become diluted and tepid on the patio.
When discussing cocktails, there are those who will absolutely insist that a Mint Julep only be served in a sterling silver or pewter julep cup and an Old-Fashioned cannot appear in anything other than—wait for it—an Old-Fashioned glass. My view regarding appropriate barware, however, is that if you’re the one who made the drink, and you’re the one who’s drinking the drink, then you should put it into whatever glass makes you happy and ignore the naysayers. Come to think of it, that’s a pretty good philosophy for life, too.
*A note on simple syrup: Simple syrup is readily available in stores, but you can easily make your own. Just boil equal parts sugar and water (e.g., one cup sugar to one cup water) until the sugar is fully dissolved, then cool, cover, and store in the refrigerator.
[Go away winter...cocktail season is here!]