When he's not busy running the cocktail program at New York City's Maialino, Erik Lombardo is giving us the rundown on all things spirits -- and showing us the best ways to drink them.
Today: Cocktail enthusiasts wait all summer for mint. Erik gives us not one, but three cocktails to help make the most of it before the summer's end.
Shop the Story
We’re all obsessed with the changing of the seasons. We flock in droves to New England to watch the foliage change, we commemorate the first snowfall of the year -- we even televise a groundhog’s emergence from his burrow as a prediction of the coming spring. But what do drink enthusiasts look forward to? The emergence of fresh mint.
Like almost all produce, mint is now available year-round, and like almost all produce it’s always better while in season. Think about it: would you rather be sipping a mojito inside by a crackling fire or on a sunny patio?
The mojito may reign supreme when it comes to mint drinks (Hemingway certainly thought so) but, as anyone who has chain-watched multiple seasons of Lost can attest to, too much of one thing can wear on even the most fervent enthusiasm. Here are three mint drinks that will keep you sipping cool cocktails for the rest of the summer.
The Southside At its heart, a Southside is basically a fresh gin gimlet with some mint in the shaker -- but the mint is transformative. Its origins can most likely be traced to the Southside Sportsman’s club, a gentleman’s club operating on Long Island in the 1860s. The club was famous for its juleps and soon started turning out variations, including its now eponymous cocktail.
The Maison Charles a.k.a the Mint Daiquiri Daiquiri variations are a dime a dozen, but this is the one you should pay attention to -- it’s essentially a mojito with none of the fuss of muddling. Cool and classy, this cocktail is a winner for entertaining at home during the summer: it’ll please mojito-lovers everywhere, but since everything is strained out you won’t be left with a bunch of glasses dripping with melted ice and mashed mint.
The Entire “Maid” Family This relatively new cocktail family was codified by New York City bartender Sam Ross and is essentially your choice of spirit with lime, mint, and cucumber shaken and strained into a rocks glass full of ice. Variations include the Kentucky Maid (bourbon), the Polish Maid (vodka), the Mexican Maid (tequila) and the Old Maid (gin).
2 ounces gin 1 ounce lime Juice 3/4 ounce simple syrup 4 to 6 leaves of mint