It's really too hot to be outside.
It’s hot as balls here in the Greater Los Angeles area. According to my car’s thermometer, it’s topping 100 degrees right now, and according to the jerkface news, it’s only going to get hotter in the next few days.
And I’m the idiot who chose to live in the house built in the 1920s that has lots of character. In case you didn’t know, “character” means “no air conditioning.” I recently found myself wishing I’d stayed at my day job at least through the summer, just so I could sit in an air conditioned office (no, Somer!)
But we do have a window unit in Oliver’s room, and I’ve been spending a lot of time hanging out in there this week, surrounded by Lego sets and dirty socks. I also chill a spray bottle full of water in the fridge, and then use it to spritz myself every few minutes. Evaporative cooling, and all.
You know what else sounds good when the weather gets hot? Booze. I know that alcohol dehydrates, but a good, cold midday cocktail can be really refreshing. And nothing can beat a fizzy lime-based drink when you feel like your face is going to melt off.
The mojito is, of course, a classic hot weather drink, but it's so much work. The daiquiri is similarly cold and crisp on a hot day, but we’ve been making daiquiris this summer, and I’m a little rum-ed out here. What else can I mix with lime to create a light and refreshing treat?
Gin! It seems like the appropriate thing for a lazy, overheated layabout like myself, and it fits the time period in which my stupid, blazing hot house was built. Gin, for me, always conjures up an image of Carol Burnett as Miss Hannigan in "Annie." Like, it’s the official booze of mean orphanage owners and crooks. So put on your ripped stockings, and get the bathtub ready!
Ingredients for a hot weather treat: ginger beer, gin, lime, mint (it's hiding in that white ramekin).
To make this drink, you’ll need:
I used Bombay Sapphire, because that’s what I had in the liquor cabinet, but you could use any type, really. I also like Aviation Gin from House Spirits (if you’re ever in Portland, OR, I recommend a stop at the House Spirits Distillery -- only $5 to taste all the spirits they make, and they do distillery tours as well). If you don’t drink, just omit the gin.
LIMES AND FRESH MINT LEAVES
Not only does this combination smell fantastic, but it is the reason a mojito is so refreshing. Unfortunately, it’s also the reason a mojito is such a pain in the ass to make. I wanted to include limes and mint, but without muddling it for like, an hour. This is a cocktail for the lazy people, after all.
I recommend not skimping here -- use ginger beer, not ginger ale. Most ginger ales either contain no or very little actual ginger, while ginger beer is made with real ginger root and has a sweet-spicy flavor. I like Reed’s Extra Ginger, but use your favorite.
Lazy Gin-ger Fizz
½ of a lime, cut into two slices
7 or so fresh mint leaves
2 oz. gin
4 to 6 oz. of ginger beer
1. Muddle one slice of lime with the mint leaves in the bottom of a glass, but only for a minute. No need to go crazy with the muddling, just crush the limes and mint together a few times so that the juice from the limes starts wrecking the mint a little. I used the wrong end of a wooden spoon, and you can, too, if you don’t have a muddler.
2. Add ice (crushed is best, but you could also use ice cubes straight from the tray, or these wildly inappropriate Gin and Titonic ice cubes).
3. Add gin.
4. Top off with ginger beer.
5. Give it a stir and garnish with remaining lime slice.
You’ll notice that there’s no sugar added, and that’s because the ginger beer makes it sweet enough on its own. Also, this makes an excellent non-alcoholic refresher as well -- just omit the gin. It would work well for a party, too, especially if like me, your friends are a mix of drinkers and non-drinkers. Everyone can have the same fancy drink.
Bottoms up! If you need me, I’ll be getting mildly buzzed in my seven-year-old’s room and misting myself with cold water. All class here, all the time.