Summer Drinking Essentials - Wine & Spirits Magazine

Summer Drinking Essentials

There’s no better season than summer for light and spritzy imbibing. These new releases will help you do it right.

The Dark Side of Summer

Summertime can be rough for the “stirred, not shaken” drinker, but for those who can’t resist a Manhattan, Traverse City Whiskey Company has unveiled a line of cocktail cherries. Based in northern Michigan, the company harvests local Balatan cherries and preserves them in syrup spiked with its Bourbon Whiskey. The result is deep, concentrated and bittersweet, perfect for your brown-and-bitter as well as for a Mai Tai—or on top of ice cream. $16 at

Refreshing Bitters

Bartenders and customers alike seem to be looking for ways to pink up their cocktails, and using Fever Tree’s Angostura Tonic is one method we’ll gladly get behind. Not only is it a pretty pink, but the flavors strike an addictive balance between sweet and bitter. It’s destined to be added to your best bottles of gin and vodka. I’d even suggest drinking this on its own—no alcohol needed. $6/four 200-ml bottles

Sip and Save the Oceans

Some 500 million plastic straws go into garbage bins across the US daily. Hay! Straws is looking to change that: Its straws, made from hand-harvested wheat stems in tall and cocktail sizes, are 100 percent compostable. Airy and light in feel, they’ll upgrade your Tiki drinks. $8/100 straws at

Baobab Botanicals

Liven up your poolside Gin-and-Tonic game this summer with Whitley Neill’s Handcrafted Dry Gin. Its maker, Johnny Neill, comes from a long line of English distillers but it was his South African wife who inspired this blend. In addition to the usual juniper and coriander, he adds tangy baobab fruit and Cape gooseberry for juicy texture and a citrus pop. Imported by M.S. Walker, Somerville, MA; 43% abv, $37/750ml

Sugarcane Sipper

You know rhum agricole, the rum made from freshly pressed sugarcane juice from the island of Martinique. Now get to know clairin, the Haitian version. Pot-distilled in small batches, it’s rhum agricole’s wilder cousin. Three bottlings have just arrived in the US, under the auspices of a team effort by Italy-based rum importer Velier and French retailer La Maison du Whisky. Each is named for its distiller and is distinctly different from its siblings: Casimir has sweet snap pea and pineapple notes; Vaval is darker in tone, with pomegranate and violet scents; Sajous balances its higher alcohol with notes of key lime and orange blossom. Any would transform a Daiquiri; they also make terrific sippers on their own. Imported by La Maison & Velier, NY; 48 to 55% abv, $35 to $40/750ml

For Serious Savoring

Riedel’s new five-ounce O Wine Tumbler Spirits glasses are designed for Cognac, Scotch and Tequila, but we’re open to using them for any high-quality spirit. Durable, stemless and good-looking, they’re available as a set or individually. Set of 3, $45 at

is the former W&S Tasting Director turned freelance writer for the Vintner Project.

This story appears in the print issue of August 2018.
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