Ten Cocktails to Serve Before Labor Day


Though there certainly aren’t any cocktails out there that should be actively avoided during the summer, you’re probably less likely to want to stretch out on a lounge chair next to the pool sipping on a hot buttered rum.

So here come ten cocktails that tie in beautifully with the season. Some are sweet, some are fizzy, some contain some amazing liqueurs you should be familiar with, and some will just look damn good in your hand as the sun sets over your balcony every night between now and September.

The Manhattan is one of the few cocktails that never seems to go out of style.  As a boy, I remember them being enjoyed by my parents and their friends. And as an adult they are regularly ordered at the bars by my own contemporaries.

“Contemporaries” is my fancy way of referring to Laura and Sean: my hag and my mentor.

Laura and Sean were the ones who ordered me my very first Manhattan a few years back at Martuni’s, a slender tavern and piano bar wrapped around the corner of Valencia and Market Streets in San Francisco.  I first found the Manhattan’s sweetness slightly off-putting, but was eventually won over by it’s smooth finish and gentle kick.

The Classic Manhattan

1 1/2 to 2 ounces quality bourbon
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 maraschino cherry or lemon twist (or in my case, both)

Add bourbon, vermouth and bitters to a mixing glass filled with ice.  Stir vigorously for 30 seconds.  Strain into a martini glass and garnish appropriately.

Next: The Moscow Mule
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