Cocktail recipes from the pros help to keep you cool this July.
By John O'Neill
It is around this time every year that the self-proclaimed “King of Beers, “otherwise known as Budweiser, begins its in-your-face marketing campaign of stars, stripes and a metaphoric megaphone that screams from the shelves, “Hey, it’s Fourth of July” and “America.”
All the while, Bud’s lowly and lower-priced American brother, Pabst Blue Ribbon, holds steady in its typical rank, sporting an annual red, white and blue coat calling quietly to the patriots of their product: the dollar watchers, Milwaukee loyalists and those who most certainly should rethink wearing tight jeans, big glasses and flannel shirts in the heat of summer.
For America? Maybe not. Perhaps long ago someone gave the beer - with its red writing and white cans - a blue ribbon. In any way, it’s what brewers deem an “American lager” and for that, let us rejoice.
That aside, when it comes to staying refreshed and maybe a little loose, the valley’s watering holes are ready to serve up a summer’s worth of delicious drinks.
Reigning – or raining, if one wishes – on the bar in Edwards, E-town has reformed its drink menu to satisfy serious patio-goers and bar hoppers with what many would consider fluffier drinks than the aforementioned brews. An order of choice: the Moscow Mule, or “E-town Donkey.”
Served in a copper mug and as cold as the ice it surrounds, the Moscow Mule combines ginger beer, fresh lime juice and Stoli vodka. Dubbed the “donkey” by E-town’s drink creators Miller Lewis and Signe Jones, it’s described as fresh, light and chillingly cold.
“It’s goodness in a glass,” says a bartender who overheard the description. “Er, mug, I guess,” she corrects.
Also nailing down that summertime, hot-weather, patio appeal is E-town’s Summer Sunset. Served cold and with a sugared rim, the Sunset combines citron, lemonade and Chambord in a standard glass.
Down the road and slightly higher in elevation than their bocce ball court, Zino’s go-to summer drink has been the Cucumber Collins. Bar manager/master Shawn Hogan mixes Hendrick’s Gin, muddled basil and cucumber along with fresh lime juice and simple syrup to create the summer special.
“Young people see gin, and they don’t want gin. They have a block about gin. They think it’s an old people’s drink,” Hogan says, muddling the basil. “But the gin does really well in mixing and grasps the flavor.”
And flavorful it is. The Cucumber Collins has the airy lightness of the cucumber complimented by the sweet citrus of the lime juice and tang of the gin. Bravo, Shawn, it would be hard to top this drink while rolling a few games of bocce on the back patio.
Turning to the pros when it comes to drink-pouring is one way to escape summer’s mean mugginess, yet the amateur may prevail with some of these do-it-yourself recipes provided by the experts at West Vail Liquor Mart.
On this celebration of the land that we love, and from sea to shining sea – or East Vail to Gypsum, at least – no matter what your drinking: keep it cold, keep it fresh and keep it coming.
*Recipes courtesy of Laurie Mullen and West Vail Liquor Mart
Mount Gay Mojito
“Easy to make, easier to enjoy.”
6 to 10 mint leaves
4 parts Mount Gay Silver Rum
1 tablespoon sugar or agave nectar
1 part mojito mix (we like Freshies or Master of Mix)
- Shake mint leaves in a glass with ice
- Add rum
- Squeeze lime
- Add sugar or nectar
- Add mojito mix
- Shake well and top with club soda
- Garnish with a mint sprig and you are off to the islands.
Grey Goose Cosmo
“Trendy, refreshing and dangerous.”
3 parts Grey Goose Orange
1 part Cointreau
1 part cranberry juice
¼ of a lime
- Pour Grey Goose Orange into a cocktail shaker with ice
- Add Cointreau
- Add cranberry juice
- Squeeze in lime
- Shake well, strain into a martini glass and garnish with an orange twist for delicious sophistication at home.
“El Cuatro de Julio.”
4 parts Espolon Silver or Reposado
1 part margarita mix (optional)
1 part Citron Orange Liqueur
1 part agave nectar