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Beat the summer heat with a tall frosty glass of sun tea ... or a gin cocktail

Gin drink

it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere … A gin cocktail during the heat of summer is a treat.

It’s summertime. Well, I think it’s summertime. Hard to tell with the thermometer dropping to 45 F at night a few times last week and then up to 90-plus this weekend, with most days in the 70s. Mother Nature must be disgruntled and taking it out on us.

Since the middle of May, I’ve spent most of my free time reading on my deck. Designed as almost another room — the house roof extends over it — it becomes my living room and sometimes bedroom in the summer. (Those afternoon naps on the couch are wonderful …)

I get up earlier than normal just to sit on the deck and listen to the birds, and then my neighbors starting their days. If there's a breeze, the wind chimes add a musical note. And, of course, I can’t start my day without at least three cups of hot coffee or two iced coffees. My coffee of choice these days are hot or iced cappuccinos, made with hazelnut coffee and the foam dusted with cinnamon sugar.

In the afternoon, it’s tea time. Tall, frosty glasses of sun tea, brewed courtesy of Mother Nature on the deck steps. I have a gallon jug and use 12 tea bags for each batch. And make sure to have fresh lemon wedges available! I usually use regular black tea bags, but I have also tried Bigelow’s Constant Comment, which is a blend of orange and sweet spices, Earl Grey and Lady Grey teas, and Lemon Lift, which has lemon and spices.

And, of course, it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere … A few weeks ago, the Button family gathered in Amish Country in Ohio for a family wedding. My niece, Jenny, made me a cocktail one night as we were all playing Farkle around the table of our rented home away from home. Jenny used Castle and Keys summer gin — but any brand will do — and homemade limoncello, store bought works well, too.


Makes 1 drink


2 shots of a citrus gin

1 shot limoncello

juice of 1/2 lemon



Mix gin, limoncello and lemon juice is a tall glass with ice. Top with Sprite and garish with a slice of lemon.

I’m also revisiting two classic cocktails this summer — gin fizzes and Tom Collinses — the drinks that I cut my drinking teeth on way back when. Gin fizzes are uncomplicated and light. I’m not a fan of club soda because of the sodium, so I use an unflavored seltzer. Tom Collins is primarily a spiked lemonade, perfect for a hot summer afternoon. Looks like I’m having a gin summer!


Makes 1 drink


2 ounces (4 tablespoons) gin

1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon powdered sugar

3 to 4 ounces club soda

Lemon slice


Shake gin, lemon juice and powdered sugar in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a glass filled with ice. Add club soda and garnish with a lemon slice.


Makes 1 drink


2 ounces gin

1 ounce simple syrup

3/4 ounce lemon juice

Soda water

Lemon wedge, for garnish

Cocktail cherry, for garnish


Shake gin, syrup and juice with ice until chilled, about 15 seconds. Strain into an ice-filled tall glass. Top with soda water. Garnish with lemon wheel or wedge and a cherry.


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