We at VinePair are always in search of the next great drink. But with many of our favorite bars and restaurants closed this summer, we’ve been compelled to get a bit more creative at home.
During what’s been the strangest time of our lives, Team VinePair has taken to our kitchens and bars in search of respite in the form of sessionable drinks. Turns out, a lot of us love rum.
Read on for our favorite drinks to make at home during the socially distanced summer of 2020.
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“The classic Daiquiri has been my go-to cocktail this summer. I forgot how easy it is to make, and how delicious it is with the right rum. That rum for me this summer has been Plantation 3 Stars — which somehow only costs $17 dollars for a bottle.” — Josh Malin, President & Co-Founder
“Cherry Margarita on the rocks. Fresh lime juice, frozen dark cherries, cherry juice (we used cran instead), silver tequila and a little agave. We also made it with fresh cherries, but it was a little messier.” — Liz Cronin, VP of Brand Partnerships & Sales
“This summer, I’ve experienced a major rum awakening, so I’ve basically been swapping it in for every spirit in my favorite cocktails. But when I’m not really looking to put a whole lot of effort in, for some quick refreshment I shake up 2 ounces white rum, 4 ounces coconut water, and the juice of half a lime. When paired with sunshine and the right playlist, it’s instant summer bliss.” — Jeff Licciardello, Director of Marketing
“Without a doubt, the cocktail of summer 2020 for me has been the Margarita. The Marg is obviously a classic, refreshing cocktail, but it’s not one I typically turn to at home. This year, however, it’s ticked all the boxes. Margs are easy to batch and perfect for socially distanced outdoor meet-ups. I’ve taken full advantage of the fact almost every bar in my neighborhood is selling them to go — many in frozen form, which is great, because who wants to clean a blender after every drink? And when I am at home (which happens to be quite a lot these days), I’ve enjoyed shaking up different variations: splitting the tequila base with mezcal; using reposado instead of blanco; and getting creative with spicy salt rims (Tajín has been my go-to).” — Tim McKirdy, Staff Writer
“My summer go-to drink is Ranch Water. It’s a blanco-silver tequila and soda with a ton of lime juice; salted rim optional. The drink has been a staple of West Texas bars for years, and seems to be getting more popular by the day farther afield. There are even a few canned versions of Ranch Water available. Why is it gaining traction? Two reasons: The significant recent growth of the tequila category, and the better-for-you drinking trend. This is what led me to the cocktail. I love Palomas, but was looking for a way to make them more sessionable. I don’t want two Palomas in a row — too much juice and sugar. But I’m happy to sip on two Ranch Waters over the course of an evening, knowing that the calorie count is similar to that of a hard seltzer (but Ranch Water tastes 10 times better — try for yourself.)” — Erica Duecy, Editor In Chief & Chief Content Officer
“I created a drink with my husband in quarantine that I’m pretty sure is the best cocktail we’ve had all summer. It’s called a Pimm Drop (if you’re in my imaginary dive bar), or The New Zealand Sunset (at his fancy cocktail joint). The recipe is simple: Fill a glass ¾ full with IPA, preferably a pillowy-soft session IPA with tropical fruit-forward aromas and flavors. We used Other Half DDH Baby Diamonds, because we’re fresh like that. Next, place a 1-ounce shot glass into the beer — gently — so it floats without filling up. With a chilled bottle of Pimm’s, pour a tiny bit into the shot glass, a little at a time, taking turns. Whoever pours the drop that sinks the shot has to drink the concoction. Turns out it’s so delicious, we end up splitting it, so everyone wins.” — Cat Wolinski, Associate Editor
“My favorite cocktail of the summer is definitely a spicy Paloma. A little muddled jalapeño balances out the sweetness of the cocktail, making it refreshing enough to drink outside on a hot day.” — Katie Brown, Editorial Associate
“The Daiquiri. It was brought to my attention when it was featured in the Great Drinks Experience Ten to One Rum session! I have mostly rum sitting on my bar cart right now, and it’s so simple and easy, and delicious.” — Jenny Riddell, Director of Brand Partnerships & Events
“My favorite summer cocktail right now is a Lillet Rosé Spritz. I actually first had this in VinePair’s office one day two years ago when we all just needed a quick and refreshing cocktail at our desks. A bottle of Lillet goes a long way, and the cocktail is so simple to make. Sometimes I’ll mix it with lime-flavored Spindrift or I’ll add regular seltzer with a squeeze of lemon. It really depends on what I have in my kitchen at the time.” — Danielle Grinberg, Art Director
“I really enjoy a light Dark ‘n Stormy, so I use Gold Bacardi, ginger ale and flavored seltzer so that it cuts down on the sugar intake (you use less ginger ale). Served over ice!” — Gerry Selian, Design Intern
“I don’t really drink cocktails, but I love anything with mezcal in it. It’s a thing.” — Keith Beavers, Tastings Director
“My favorite cocktail of summer 2020 is the Negroni. It’s simple to make: equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth — and super refreshing to sip sitting outside on a hot day.” — Courtney Roberson, Editorial Intern
“Mine is the Blueberry Aviation: 2 ounces homemade blueberry/bay leaf gin (recipe follows); ½ ounce Maraschino liqueur, ½ ounce lemon juice. Shake vigorously, serve up with a lemon twist. Blueberry/bay leaf gin: 1 liter inexpensive but not terrible gin, 1 cup blueberries, 4 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns. Combine gin, blueberries, and bay leaves in a resealable jar or other container and store away from heat sources and direct sunlight. After one week, add peppercorns. Two to three days after adding peppercorns, strain off the blueberries/bay leaves/peppercorns, and return the gin to a bottle. The gin is best for about two months, as long as it is stored somewhere not too hot and out of direct sunlight.” — Zach Geballe, VinePair Podcast Host & Contributor
“Classic Daiquiri with a high-quality white rum. I have been loving Ten To One, Diplomatico, and Plantation. The other cocktail I have been making a lot is a Tommy’s Margarita. I find almost any great blanco tequila works — I’ve been using Don Julio and Codigo.” — Adam Teeter, CEO & Co-Founder
“Hard seltzer cocktail, for sure. There are so many hard seltzer flavors out there now. I usually pour tequila or gin, add citrus, ice, top with White Claw, and garnish with citrus peel. Super easy, and nice when I want something a little stronger than 6 percent ABV.” — Lottice Taylor, Editorial Intern