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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.

Rose Colored Glasses - Catoctin Creek Distilling Co.

Flavor Profile: Floral, fresh
Difficulty: Low
  • 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)

  • Instructions:
    Serve stirred over ice with a sprig of thyme.
    Chiki Mango - Embajador Tequila

    Flavor Profile: Fruity
    Difficulty: Low
  • .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

  • Instructions:
    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

    Strawberry Lemonade Whiskey Sour - Bad Dog Distillery

    Flavor Profile: Fruity, tart
    Difficulty: Low
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • 3 oz. Bourbon Whiskey
  • 4 large strawberries, hulled and chopped

  • Instructions:
    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.
    Radler Your Cage - Gulch Distillers

    Flavor Profile: Herbal, bright
    Difficulty: Low
  • 1 oz. Burrone Fernet
  • 12 oz. lager, pilsner, or light beer
  • 2 oz. grapefruit juice

  • Instructions:
    Add ingredients to a chilled pint glass. Garnish with an orange slice.

    Cocktail Pictured: Thyme to Bramble by Vitae Spirits

    Thyme to Bramble - Vitae Spirits

    Flavor Profile: Fruity, floral
    Difficulty: Medium-Low
  • 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

  • Instructions:
    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.
    Hemp Highball - Humboldt Distillery

    Flavor Profile: Floral
    Difficulty: Low
  • .5 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 oz. jasmine simple syrup
  • 1.5 oz. Humboldt’s Finest
  • Ice
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Seltzer water

  • Instructions:
    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

    Southern Belle - Willie’s Distillery

    Flavor Profile: Sweet, classic
    Difficulty: Medium-Low
  • 2 oz. Montana Honey Moonshine
  • Ice
  • Lemon wedge
  • Mint sprig
  • Sweet tea

  • Instructions:
    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.
    Redberry Whiskey Lemonade - Myer Farm Distillers

    Flavor Profile: Fruity
    Difficulty: Low
  • 1 oz. John Myer Four-Grain Whiskey
  • Frozen raspberries
  • Frozen strawberries
  • Lemonade
  • Mixing glass filled halfway with ice

  • Instructions:
    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

    Smoked Pineapple - Iron Fish Distillery

    Flavor Profile: Fruity
    Difficulty: Medium-Low
  • 0.5 oz.Orange Liqueur (try one of the many BigFish offers!)
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz. spiced pineapple syrup
  • 1.5 oz. pineapple juice
  • 2 oz.Michigan Wheat White Whiskey

  • Instructions:
    Add ice, shake, and strain into a rocks glass.
    Perfectly Southern Summer Punch - Durham Distillery

    Flavor Profile: Fruity, fresh
    Difficulty: Low
  • 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

  • Instructions:
    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.

    Fjord Mist - The Hardware Distillery Co.

    Flavor Profile: Fresh, herbal
    Difficulty: Low
  • 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
  • Club soda

  • Instructions:
    Add club soda and garnish with a cucumber slice.
    Pear Sidecar - Crescendo Spirits

    Flavor Profile: Bright, Citrus
    Difficulty: Low
  • 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)

  • Instructions:
    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,