By Jason Francis

This summer is hot.

I want citrus. I want a whiff of bitter. And above all, I want gin; I want its bracing, piney clarity. I want it to cleanse the heat away. In other words, I want a Gin & Tonic. But this poses a problem: I love cocktails too much, and with this many consecutive 95F+ days, I need to mix it up – so to speak – by introducing a few other favorites into the rotation. These three cocktails help me beat the heat.

#1 The Savoy Corpse Reviver #2

Originally a “hair of the dog” cocktail designed for the morning after the previous evening’s excesses, this drink is both an incredible introduction to the world of cocktails and a superlative summertime drink: It is bright, lemony, and when made properly, balances a mild astringency with a cheerful dash of absinthe. Like the Gin & Tonic, the CR#2’s reputed ‘restorative’ qualities were attributed to the quinine in the drink’s key ingredient, Kina Lillet, which is a quinine-heavy type of flavored white wine (similar to a vermouth) called a quinquina. Though Lillet is still available today, changing tastes caused them to reduce the quinine in their recipe, and the CR#2, while still a great cocktail, lost some of the elegance the old Lillet recipe provided. Fortunately, another great white wine quinquina, Cocchi Americano, has become widely available. With Cocchi Americano, the CR#2 absolutely sings in the summer.


1 oz. Gin
1/2 oz. Cointreau
½ oz. Cocchi Americano (or Lillet Blanc)
¾ oz. Lemon Juice
3/8 oz Simple Syrup
Absinthe to coat glass


Chill your cocktail glass. Combine all ingredients but the absinthe in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake hard. Set aside. Pour a dash of absinthe in the chilled glass, then swirl it to coat the walls of the glass. Strain the shaken cocktail into the glass, taking care to allow the finest shards of ice to escape the shaker and into the drink, adding to its frostiness. Garnish with a small piece of lemon rind, squeezed to express the oils over the surface of the drink.

#2 The Southside.

Named after the baddest part of Chicago (cue Jim Croce’s Bad Bad Leroy Brown), the Southside is not at all an aggressive cocktail. Its combination of gin, lemon, and mint makes it quite light, though flavorful, and it gets a little ‘lift’ from seltzer. Traditionally, the mint is added to the shaker, but the flavor is improved by using mint simple syrup instead – to make it, just add a handful of washed and bruised mint leaves to steep in heated simple syrup, then remove when cool.


1-1/2 oz. Gin
1 oz. Mint Simple Syrup
3/4 oz. Lemon Juice


Shake all but the seltzer with ice, then strain over a glass of cubed ice. Add seltzer to taste for a short or tall drink – I prefer just an ounce – and garnish with a sprig of mint.

#3 The Winchester

Tiki drinks, that 1950’s way to have a getaway-in-a-glass, are having quite a resurgence, and cocktail bars devoted to the style are starting to spring up. Tiki drinks are basically swizzles -- classic long drinks made of spirit, sweetener, and juice that is “swizzled” in a tall glass with ice – that are turned up to eleven by using more of everything: multiple base spirits, multiple fruit juices, and multiple modifiers. Tiki blends these ingredients into dramatic, cold, addictive, and surprisingly strong drinks. While tiki started with rum, the Winchester, created by Brian Miller of NYC’s famed Death & Co. cocktail bar, is a tiki-style gin drink akin to a Zombie.


¾ oz. Martin Miller Gin
¾ oz. Old Tom Gin
¾ oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
½ oz. St. Germain
½ oz. Lemon Juice
½ oz. Lime Juice
¼ oz. Grenadine
¼ oz. Ginger Syrup or Ginger Liqueur


Fill a tall glass with crushed ice and add a straw. Shake all the ingredients together and pour over the crushed ice. If you don’t have the different gins at hand, feel free to just use one style. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and anything else at hand. Sip. See, it is a getaway-in-a-glass!