Awash in sea breezes and margaritas from May till September, the Negroni man faces limited options. Thatís where the Americano comes in. Named for its popularity with Americans in Italy at the turn of the century, the bittersweet combination of Campari and sweet vermouth is a summer drink for guys who donít do summer drinks. When James Bond orders one in Casino Royale, itís not because the bartender doesnít have the makings of a madras.
The Piña Colada
Remember that scene near the beginning of Boogie Nights when John C. Reillyin a T-shirt with an image of a chimp on a motorbikeis bragging to Mark Wahlberg about how much he can squat? Well, that idiot was drunk on blender drinks. That pretty much summarizes the frozen cocktailís current reputationa far cry from its dignified heyday in the thirties and forties. And thatís too bad. Because thereís no more indulgently delicious drink than a piña colada. And when you saunter out onto a deck with one in handcomplete with chunks of fruit on a plastic swordyou wonít get made fun of, youíll get requests.
The Mai Tai
The mai tai calls for two ingredients you might not keep around the house (crushed ice and rhum agricole) and a third youíll probably have to order (orgeat, an almond-flavored syrup). But when youíve got a date with a sunset, itís worth it. Tiki-bar magnate Trader Vic Bergeron claims to have invented it in 1944. His chief rival was Don the Beachcomber, who said the mai tai was a rip-off of his Q.B. Cooler. In any case, good rum is crucial. Try a mix of a Jamaican one and rhum agricole.
Mojitos make great party drinks. Which is excellentuntil a dozen friends show up at your beach house and request them, at which point mojitos become a pain in the ass. Thereís no question that the Cuban-born cocktail is a superlative summer refreshment, combining the citrusy vigor of lime and rum with the brightness of mint and fizz. But itís also workalbeit the kind of low-intensity labor that makes you grateful for the season, like setting up a badminton set. Just save the effort for a small groupor better yet, yourself.
The Tom Collins
The rap on the Tom Collins is that itís the summer cooler of choice for guys who wear madras shorts without irony and know all the rules to croquet. Thatís nonsense. Low-hassle and high-reward, the cocktail belongs to humanity. Itís also lighter on its feet than its ancestor the John Collins, named for a 19th-century London waiter who liked his with malty Dutch gin. Still, proceed carefully: By Round 3, everyone looks good in madras and croquet is a contact sport.