When we first walked down to Liberty Hall, there were small clusters of people gathered around two bars mise-en-place’d with the pressed-flower, scrapbook-as-collage label in throbbing lime, sno-cone blue, and vermilion; and two tables loaded with the perfect complement: nosh. On platters lay just-cooked two-bite fish and chips, replete with cocktail sauce, if you so chose; braised artichokes, so tender you could pierce them with a whisper; and a fine selection of cheeses and their faithful leavened companions. We sipped an English Summer Collins to start as we chatted with New York Times columnist Robert Simonson, and shared some favorite ways to drink summer sippers. Perhaps we can collaborate someday on the perfect Summer Cocktail. Hmm. If it’s anything like the English Summer Collins—with just the right amount of sweetness, with some St-Germain to bring out the its elder flower notes, just a bit of crème de cassis to cut through the fresh lemon juice, accompanied by a minty, lemony aroma as you bring the straw to your lips—this drink will be loved for its simple refreshing elegance. We’d serve them in a heartbeat to eagerly awaiting guests on our terrace.
English Summer Collins
(created by Jamie Gordon)
1 1/2 parts* Beefeater Summer Edition gin
1/2 part St-Germain (elder flower liqueur)
1/2 part Mathilde Cassis (crème de cassis)
1 part fresh lemon juice
3/4 parts simple syrup
club soda, to top
lemon wedge, as garnish
mint sprig, as garnish
Shake first five ingredients with ice and strain over fresh ice into a highball glass. Top with a splash of club soda. Garnish with a lemon wedge and a mint sprig.
2 parts Beefeater Summer Edition
1/2 part hibiscus syrup
3/4 parts fresh lemon juice
1 dash orange bitters
grated lemon zest, as garnish
Shake ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and fine strain (or double-strain to remove any pulp) into a cocktail glass. Garnish with grated lemon zest.
Stephanie (on right) and her friend Julia. You can read Stephanie’s Musings on Cocktail Culture. A Summer Gin Fizz, courtesy of the Mixologists and Ad Firm that conceptualized it: 2 parts Beefeater Summer Edition over ice. Top with fresh ruby grapefruit juice and a splash of club soda. Garnish with a wedge of ruby grapefruit.
As we said our good-byes to Stephanie and her lovely friend Julia, who happened upon the party just in time for a light summer refresher, we were handed each a petal-pressed-in-paper envelope sealed in wax and stamp with the imprint of a sunflower. Inside, little dried blooms pressed in between recipe postcards with photos of cocktails in Mad Men era–poses and saturated hues. We can’t wait to pick up a bottle and and have a picnic.
* For American measures, a part equals 1 ounce, which will make your life easier.