Sipping Away the Dog Days of Summer
After months of rain, clouds, and uncharacteristically drab conditions, it’s finally summer. Not only is it summer, it’s the “dog days of summer.” And no, Florence and the Machine have nothing to do with it. The dog days of summer is the time from July 3 to August 11 when the summer heat is especially powerful.
Ancient civilizations like the Greeks and the Egyptians had their suspicions as to why this happens, and it seemed the stars were to blame. They believed this weather was due to the combination of heat from the sun and the star Sirius (otherwise known as “The Dog Star”, the brightest in the sky, second only to the sun.) The word sirius actually means “scorching” in Greek. And while Sirius may not be the real reason for the heat, you can see this star in the daytime right after the Summer Solstice, something the Egyptians used as a signal that the Nile would soon flood and fertilize their crops (Old Farmer’s Almanac).
Traditionally a time of misfortune, summer’s perception has grown to match the sunny disposition we’ve come to know. Summer has become the prime time for barbeques, bonfires, and bronzed skin, and no amount of bugs, bare feet, or bad omens can take that away. It’s a time for shameless sweating, sitting poolside, and for enjoying a variety of fruity cocktails. Mai Tais and Daiquiris are always good, but BigFish wants to introduce you to something great.
BigFish has thousands of recipes for your perusing pleasure, but since the warm weather will only stick around for so long, we’ve gathered a range of summer sippers to save you some time.
Cocktail Pictured: Rose Colored Glasses from Catoctin Creek Distilling Co.
Flavor Profile: Floral, fresh
0.25 oz. Rose Cordial (Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. recommends Guapo's)
0.25 oz. thyme-infused simple syrup
1.5 oz. Watershed Gin
Ginger beer topper
Hibiscus Tea float (Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. recommends Dominion Tea in Purcellville)
Serve stirred over ice with a sprig of thyme.
Flavor Profile: Fruity
.5 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
1 cup ice
1 oz. Embajador Platinum Blanco
1 oz. triple sec
½ cup fresh cut mango, cubed
8 oz. coconut water
Mint leaves, for garnish
Scoop and place the ice cubes in a blender. Add mangos and pour the rest of the ingredients on top of the ice. Blend everything together until you get a smooth mixture. Pour into a margarita style glass & garnish with fresh mint leaves.
Cocktail Pictured: Strawberry Lemonade Whiskey Sour by Bad Dog Distillery
Flavor Profile: Fruity, tart
1 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. simple syrup
3 oz. Bourbon Whiskey
4 large strawberries, hulled and chopped
Combine the strawberries, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Allow berries to release juice by sitting in the liquid at least 30 minutes. Add the strawberry mixture to the blender and run it on low. Add whiskey and swirl to combine. Pour over ice and serve.
Flavor Profile: Herbal, bright
1 oz. Burrone Fernet
12 oz. lager, pilsner, or light beer
2 oz. grapefruit juice
Add ingredients to a chilled pint glass. Garnish with an orange slice.
Cocktail Pictured: Thyme to Bramble by Vitae Spirits
Flavor Profile: Fruity, floral
1 1/2 oz. Vitae Spirits Barrel Aged Rum
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. spiced simple syrup
2 sprigs of thyme
Hefty bar-spoon of blackberry preserves
Add ingredients to a shaker with ice, shake until chilled. Pour all contents including ice into rocks glass, add fresh Blackberry for garnish.
Spiced Simple Syrup: Add 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup water to a pot, bring to a simmer and add 1 halved vanilla bean, 2 sticks of cinnamon, 10 cloves. Bring this mixture to a boil, turn off heat and let sit until room temp. Strain out solids and keep in mason jar for up to 1 month.
Flavor Profile: Floral
.5 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 oz. jasmine simple syrup
1.5 oz. Humboldt’s Finest
Combine ingredients in a highball glass with ice. Top with seltzer water, garnish with a slice of cucumber, and enjoy!
Jasmine Simple Syrup: Create a strong tea using jasmine green tea bags at twice the suggested rate. Combine 1 part hot tea with 1 part sugar, mixing until dissolved.
Cocktail Pictured: Southern Belle by Willie’s Distillery
Flavor Profile: Sweet, classic
2 oz. Montana Honey Moonshine
Fill your glass with ice and top with Montana Honey Moonshine, sweet tea, and mint. Squeeze in the lemon wedge. Even Grandma knows better than to turn down one of these on a hot summer day.
Flavor Profile: Fruity
1 oz. John Myer Four-Grain Whiskey
Mixing glass filled halfway with ice
Muddle frozen strawberries and raspberries together in bottom of mixing glass. Fill with lemonade. Shake well to combine. Pour into glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.
Cocktail Pictured: Smoked Pineapple by Iron Fish Distillery
Flavor Profile: Fruity, fresh
½ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup simple syrup
2 cups Conniption American Dry Gin
4 cups fresh watermelon juice
8 sprigs fresh mint
Fresh mint, slices of watermelon, lemon wedges, for garnish
In 3-quart pitcher, add mint and simple syrup. Muddle to release oils. Add lemon juice. Stir. Set aside in refrigerator while pureeing fresh watermelon. Strain. Some remaining pulp is fine. Add 4 cups of watermelon juice and gin to pitcher. Chill for 1-2 hours. Serve in glasses over ice with desired garnish. Sip on the porch on a perfect summer evening!
Cocktail Pictured: Fjord Mist by The Hardware Distillery Co.
Flavor Profile: Fresh, herbal
½ part Elderflower Liqueur, such as St. Germain (BigFish recommends Wood’s High Mountain Distillery’s Fleur de Sureau Elderflower Liqueur)
½ part simple syrup
1½ partsDill Aquavit
2 parts juice from fresh cucumbers
Add club soda and garnish with a cucumber slice.
Flavor Profile: Bright, Citrus
0.5 oz. Arancello
0.5 oz. fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz. fresh orange juice
1 oz. Pear Vodka (BigFish recommends the Wild Roots’ Pear Vodka)
Add all ingredients to a glass and garnish with a pear slice and enjoy!
Get outside, cocktail in hand, and enjoy the weather while you can. Throw a ball, throw a party, or just sit on a rocking chair and bask in the warmth. Maybe the bikini bod needs work, and maybe the winter skin will stay through the season, but the most important part of summer is that you enjoy it. And better yet, you share it with friends and family.
Source: Old Farmer's Almanac. “The Dog Days of Summer.” Old Farmer's Almanac, 26 June 2019, www.almanac.com/content/what-are-dog-days-summer.