Men tend to like heavy red wines, dark beers, and whiskey cocktails. And, goodness knows, there’s nothing wrong with that. But, with the thermometer over 90, it’s time to reach for cooler libations.
While I like stouts and pales ales as much as the next guy, wheat beers are perfect for summertime.
Sure, you could always emulate President Obama and have a Bud Light. But if you want a beer that’s both light going down and yet actually tastes good, nothing beats wheat. I’m particularly partial to Ayinger, Magic Hat’s Circus Boy, and Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat. But there are plenty of good ones out there. Shock Top, distributed by the makers of Michelob, is widely available. Widmer’s and Sam Adams hefeweizen. Or, in a pinch, you can go with Blue Moon, a favorite of Obama’s drinking buddy, Sergeant James Crowley.
While I drink a lot of reds during the cooler months, especially pinots, shiraz, and zinfandel, they’re a little much in the heat. (Although, if you’re going to be inside in the air conditioning the whole evening, knock yourself out). All manner of whites and rosés are great for sipping out on the patio during the summer.
Because I grew up on them, I’m especially partial to German Rieslings and the various Qualitätswein such as Liebfraumilch and Spätlese, which can be served ice cold or even, if you’re into that sort of thing, with a splash of soda. They may be a bit sweet for some but they’re quite refreshing in the heat.
For my taste, martinis are great year round. I prefer mine classic, with gin and vermouth and a twist of lemon (hold the olives, though) but I’m not proud; I’ll drink a vodka martini, too. But, as Christopher Hitchens explains, martinis are like breasts: one is too few and three is too many. So it’s a starter drink, not something to drink all night.
Nothing beats a mojito for sustained summertime drinking. See Matt Mahaffey’s Perfect Mojitos By the Pitcher recipe for an easy-to-remember, easy-to-prepare way to make them in bulk so you can spend your time drinking rather than mixing.
The Tom Collins — basically gin, lemonade, and soda — is another classic cocktail that’s perfect for summer. You can drink these all afternoon without worry, presuming you’re not driving. And there’s always the Mint Julep, which is essentially a mojito made with bourbon instead of rum.
My colleague Alex Knapp puts the Old Fashioned on the list, too, although I think they’re more appropriate during cooler weather. Then again, he’s a bigger whiskey drinker than I am, generally.
I’m not talking about girlie drinks with umbrellas in them although, in all candor, I won’t turn down a decent rum punch or mai tai. Hell, I’ll even drink a piña colada if I’m on an island vacation somewhere.
But I digress. I added this section mostly to extol the virtues of Limoncello, a delightful Italian liqueur that’s always in my freezer. As you’d suspect, it’s lemon flavored and sweet. And great after a summertime meal. (Not all that bad during other seasons, either, truth be told, but they’re best when it’s hot out.)
German Eiswein, or any kind of “ice wine,” is also quite refreshing with your summertime desserts. They’re somewhat expensive by volume but, frankly, you’ll only want a small glass of this. It’ll keep for the next meal but, in the spirit of the season, crack open a bottle at a summer barbecue with some friends.