A Well-Stocked Summer-Ready Bar

Summer Bar Image 1

Summer entertaining season is almost here (hard to believe for those of us in the Northeast this past weekend – I’m still shivering!). However, as we dream of al fresco dining with family and friends (which would come as early as tomorrow, with temperatures expected to hit 90°!), making sure your bar is well stocked will set you up nicely for the summer entertaining season.

Some great advice on how to stock the perfect summer bar from West Concord Wine and Spirits’ Chris Saia:

Begin by keeping it simple. Whip up a cocktail that will bring a smile to your guest’s faces but won’t keep you behind the bar for too long. For summer, leave your brown spirits deep in the liquor cabinet and instead, break out everything you need for crisp and refreshing warm weather drinks. Here is a list of my recommendations, broken down by essentials to bonus add-on’s, along with the right mixers. These basics will allow you to make the popular classics, more chic drinks you see at trendy restaurants and the ones you would imagine sipping in Southern France or Italy. (We can dream … can’t we?)

The ground level basics for a great summer bar:
Gin  – For Martini, Gibsons, Negronis, Vespers
Vodka – For Vespers and Cosmos
Light Rum – For Pina Coladas, Mai Tais and Daiquiris
Tequila – For Margaritas, Tequila Old-Fashioneds and Palomas

And the front line additions:
Sweet Vermouth  – For Negronis, Americanos, or on the rocks
Dry Vermouth  – For Martinis
Cointreau or Triple Sec – For Margaritas and Cosmos

The bonus items:
Lillet Blanc – For Vespers, on the rocks, or with tonic or soda
Campari – For Negronis, Americanos, or on the rocks

Here are a few recipes to try out this summer. Enjoy!

2 tablespoons gin
2 tablespoons Campari
2 tablespoons sweet vermouth
1 orange twist
Prosecco (optional)

Combine gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth in an ice-filled Old Fashioned glass; stir gently and garnish with an orange twist. More-formal types prefer it straight up in a Martini glass. Top it off with Prosecco for something a bit more celebratory.

The Vesper
3 parts Gin
1 part vodka
1⁄2 part Lillet Blanc
1 generous strip of lemon peel.

Pour the gin, vodka and Lillet into an ice-filled mixing glass and shake.   Strain, then twist the peel over the drink, then drop it in.

1.5 oz Campari
1.5 oz sweet vermouth
Soda water to top
Orange for garnish

Fill a highball glass with ice. Add Campari and vermouth, and top generously with soda, taking care not to exceed a 1:1:2 ratio. Garnish with an orange slice or twist.

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