One of the primary joys of a cocktail is its transportive quality. Even in the depths of winter, sip on a drink like a Cuba Libre or a Daiquiri, and you’ll feel yourself immediately transported to a warm island beach, maybe somewhere tropical. That’s the purpose behind this warm-weather evoking drink from bartender and author Casey Elsass, founder of Bushwick Kitchen, a company that produces hot sauces, maple syrup and honey. After all, it’s right there in the name of the drink, as the Summer Fridays catches the ephemeral wonder of a Friday afternoon in summertime.
To enhance this transportive quality, Elsass employs some ingredients that evoke summer but are also readily available in the cooler months. Key lime, while not as wintery as many other citrus fruits, is available throughout the fall. Coconut milk is available year round, but immediately tastes like summertime and warm weather (you can get it straight from the coconut, but generally canned versions work just great). And while the garnish is unorthodox, cilantro is often in season (year-round, in some climates) and pairs nicely with coconut milk.
In first glance, the Summer Fridays bears a resemblance to a Piña Colada, but there are a few major differences. For one, vodka replaces rum, making for a drier, brighter and more austere drink. Secondly, there’s no pineapple, and rather than use coconut cream, this drink calls for straight coconut milk. Because of this, it gets some additional sweetener in the form of simple syrup, though it will still be less sweet than many other coconut drinks. Additionally, it’s shaken, not blended, and with coconut milk instead of cream, it’s going to be far less rich and frothy.
Still, it’s no less tropical than other beach drinks, and could replace your favorite by its ease of execution and lighter, lower-calorie ingredients.
- 1 1/2 ounces vodka
- 3/4 ounce key lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 ounces coconut milk
- 3/4 ounce simple syrup
- Garnish: cilantro sprigs
Add the vodka, coconut milk, simple syrup and key lime juice into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Strain into a chilled rocks glass over fresh ice.
Garnish with 2 sprigs of cilantro.