Does Dad love drinking classic cocktails but find the faff of making them at home off-putting? Or perhaps you are looking for a new summer sipper, something to get the next rooftop party swinging?
Stop worrying, we have the solution! In the name of well-stocked home bars and fun summer cocktails, I’ve gone ahead and done the hard work for you. My summer “cocktail kit” is a six bottle set of delicious, small-batch spirits and liqueurs: enough to get you started sipping neat or mixed into your new favorite cocktail as soon as you open the box. Even better, the selection comes at a significant discount compared to buying the bottles one-by-one. It’s the perfect situation: think less; spend less; indulge more!
To make mixology experiments even easier, I’ve included six recipes for some of my favorite classic summer cocktails: the Manhattan, Americano, Negroni, Martini, and “Adult” Affogato. Or, if tastes are a little more traditional or you're slothful like me, sip these amazing spirits all on their own—all you need’s a sturdy glass, and maybe some ice. Don’t miss out on this special seasonal deal, and remember: delivery anywhere in the five boroughs is free! Get happy, get creative and enjoy!
Without further ado, meet your future home bar:
Nothing screams summer like a good gin and tonic, but my favorite clear spirit is good for so many other cocktails, or even for sipping neat. Distilled in Bend, Oregon, Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin offers expressive floral notes of lavender and cucumber that balance out and liven up the traditional juniper. Gorgeous in any gin cocktail you can think up, it’s also a key ingredient of my all-time favorite classic cocktail, the Negroni.
Bourbon in all but name, this cheerful, sippable California whiskey also has a great story: Wade Bowen learned whiskey-making twenty-five years ago from a moonshiner named Bud, and now ages this modern American spirit in barrels crafted from reclaimed forest-fire wood. Rich but not overpowering, it balances bourbon’s traditional sweetness with a subtle campfire note from its time in barrels. I sip this whiskey neat all the time, but it’s also a great way to improve your next Manhattan or Old Fashioned.
If you’re still drinking Patron, it’s time to admit there are much, much finer tequilas to be had for significantly less money. Instead of buying into the branding hype, go with a smaller producer like San Matias, whose tequila blanco is eminently sippable but also comes in at a friendly enough price point to shoot or shake into your next margarita. A true taste of summer, infinitely versatile.
If you’re a long time reader (and shopper), you’ll be familiar with our crusade to revive the popularity of good vermouth. What better place to start than a classic? Casa Mariol is delicious, high quality sweet vermouth that comes to us from Spain, where this fortified wine is a nightly drink with nothing more than a splash of soda water and a fresh olive. If you don’t finish the whole bottle that first night, it’s also the best vermouth we’ve tried for negronis, Americanos, and Manhattans. A fridge without a bottle of Vermut Negre is a sad fridge indeed.
In the old days, before they were giant international brands, Campari and Aperol were made more naturally, with a traditional recipe calling for an extract from the Carmine beetle for color. Cappelletti, the finest of these aperitifs that we’ve ever tried, is still made the old fashioned way, and the quality improves much in the way you’d expect. An ideal balance of bitter and sweet, it’s stunning served over the rocks with soda water, but is also a key component to an array of cocktails. Where you’d typically use Campari or Aperol, add this inexpensive alternative for even more delicious results. (Seriously.)
Although coffee liqueur isn’t a key ingredient in any of the most well-known summer cocktails, it’s still a key part of my current lineup. Served in an Old Fashioned glass on the rocks, it’s perfect for a coffee lover’s summer boozy brunch, and it’s an ideal way to spruce up a milkshake or bowl of vanilla ice cream. To make you feel even better about your day drinking, Fair Café Liqueur is 100% free trade and organic, with coffee beans from Mexico, Quinoa (for the neutral spirit base) from Bolivia, and distillation in Cognac. My mouth waters just thinking about it.