Summer is finally in full swing, and there’s no better season to throw a house party.
It’s also a perfect opportunity to take a close look at your liquor cabinet. I think we’re all guilty of holding on to a few dusty, half-filled bottles. Time for them to go; you need to make room for new purchases.
To begin, if you have any liqueurs that have survived several holiday seasons, empty them out in the kitchen sink. (For more on what to dump, read Taming Your Liquor Cabinet.) The same goes for any cheap cocktail mixes. You should only use fresh ingredients and quality alcohol. Life is too short to drink poorly.
Now for your open bottles of rum, tequila, bourbon, gin and vodka: You can finish them by making some easy, refreshing beverages for your guests.
My Summer Cup Punch is a great way to use odds and ends, since it works with tequila, gin, vodka and rum. The Caipirinha is also an ideal clean-up-party cocktail. It’s traditionally made with Brazilian cachaça, limes and sugar, but you can sub in a range of other spirits and ripe fruit.
A fun thing to do is to let your friends help mix drinks. So set out a selection of liquor, berries, peaches, mint, limes and pineapple, plus some interesting sweeteners like honey, maple syrup or agave nectar. And don’t forget tools: a couple shakers, jiggers, a hand juicer and a few muddlers. That way, your guests can make their own variations on the classic Caipi recipe. (Tell them to start with a ratio of one part muddled fruit and one part sweetener to two parts spirit and then experiment from there.)
And now that you’ve made space in your home bar, keep an eye on Liquor.com for info about wonderful new bottlings to buy.
Garnish: Cucumber slice, strawberry, mint sprig and orange wedge Glass: Highball
Add all the ingredients except the ginger beer to a highball glass filled with ice and stir. Top with ginger beer and garnish with a cucumber slice, strawberry, mint sprig and orange wedge. (This recipe can be multiplied to make a large bowl of punch and also works with gin, vodka or rum in place of the tequila.)
Jacques Bezuidenhout is a national cocktail and tequila ambassador for Partida Tequila and the master mixologist for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. He is also a Liquor.com advisor.