I dislike the word "ultimate" for the simple reason that it has become so misused it has lost all meaning. Rarely is anything that is called the "ultimate" actually so. Nevertheless, I do like "The Ultimate Book of Cocktails," Stuart Walton's 256-page tome first published in the UK by Hermes House in 2003. It is for the novice as well as the professional bartender, containing as it does illustrated explanations of bar equipment, glassware, all sorts of cocktail ingredients, and numerous recipes. Here is a trio of warm weather cocktails taken from that work.
This drink from the 1920s had two different popular recipes. One mixed gin with orange curacao, lemon juice and grenadine. This one is a bit stronger and the blush effect in the colors is more apparent.
2 parts gin
1 part absinthe
1/4 measure grenadine
Shake all ingredients well with ice and strain into an ice-cold cocktail glass.
This concoction takes advantage of fresh summer fruits and a lot of liquid flavors.
1 part vodka
1 part sweet vermouth
1 part orange curacao
2/3 part gin
2/3 part cherry brandy
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 parts ginger ale
2 parts sparkling lemonade
Assorted sliced summer fruits
Measure the vodka, vermouth, curacao, gin and brandy into a pitcher of ice and stir well to chill. Strain into a highball glass full of fresh ice cubes and the sliced fruits (peaches, apricots, straewberries, etc.). Add the bitters, then pour in chilled ginger ale and lemonade. Garnish with lemon twists and mint leaves.
Be careful. As with virtually any cocktail using a soft drink as a main component, one can down too many of these too easily.
1 1/2 parts vodka
1 part brown creme de cacao
1 part ice-cold Coca-Cola or other cola
Pour the alcohol into a rocks glass containing plenty of cracked fresh ice and stir vigorously before adding the cola.
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