Hot Weather, Cold Drinks | Pittsburgh City Paper

Hot Weather, Cold Drinks

We could all use a drink

After a summer of 90-degree days and torrents of rain, one thing is certain: We could all use a drink. With plenty of hot weather yet to come, CP cracked open some cocktail tomes to bring you a list of classic, time-tested concoctions of summer, all simple enough to make at your home bar. No matter your base spirit of choice, something is bound to float your boat (hopefully while you’re on a boat).

John Daly (1½ oz. vodka, equal parts lemonade and iced tea). Fill a Collins glass with ice. Add vodka. Pour in equal amounts lemonade and iced tea. Stir and garnish with a lemon wedge. Also known as an alcoholic Arnold Palmer, this cocktail is named for another prolific golfer, and hero to roguish weekend golfers, John Daly. Still playing and fresh off a 2017 PGA Tour Champions win, Daly loves golf. He also has a long public history of loving the bottle, and this cocktail is a bit of a jab at that. Don’t worry, though: Daly has since embraced it and is cashing in by marketing an Original John Daly Cocktail.

Gin Rickey (2½ oz. gin, ¾ oz. fresh lime juice, soda water). Fill a highball glass with ice. Add gin and lime juice. Top with soda water, stir and garnish with a lime wedge or wheel. The roots of this drink lie in politics. According to Albert Crockett, author of 1931’s Old Waldorf Bar Days, Col. Joe Rickey was a dedicated Democrat who helped put Grover Cleveland in office in 1884 and 1892. During the scorching-hot, campaign-trail summer of 1883, Rickey asked a bartender for this drink, although originally with rye as a base. Soon, the drink was popular among the political class, where gin replaced rye almost entirely.

Bourbon Smash (2 oz. bourbon, 1 oz. simple syrup, quarter lemon, 3 sprigs mint, crushed ice). In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle lemon, mint and simple syrup together. Add whiskey and shake vigorously. Transfer to an Old Fashioned glass and top with crushed ice and a mint sprig. The beauty of the smash is that it can be adapted to the season. There isn’t a hard-and-fast recipe as long as a spirit, a sweetener and an herb are used. Throw in whatever fruit is in season as well as a bit of soda water if you’d like to dilute it a bit. Above is the classic recipe that appeared in Jerry Thomas’ 1887 Bar-tender’s Guide.

Here are a few more simple cocktails to check out on a hot day: a daiquiri (2 oz. white rum, 1 oz. fresh lime juice, ½ oz. simple syrup); a paloma (2 oz. blanco tequila, grapefruit soda, juice of half a lime and a salt rim); and an Aperol spritz (3 parts prosecco, 2 parts Aperol, topped with soda water and an orange-slice garnish), as illustrated by a fun instructional video available at