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An Expert’s Guide To Summer Day Drinking

Ride that buzz…

Kat Odell
[Kat Odell]

The clouds have barely let up, but Memorial Day weekend is behind us and that denotes the start of summer for most people. For the rest of the season, they’ll find nothing more refreshing than having a drink while basking in the warm sunlight. Summer Fridays, rooftop hangs, day trips to the park or beach, even simple sidewalk brunches—all are reason enough to catch a buzz. But it’s important to do so with grace, or risk bowing out early (and often embarrassingly). Day drinking isn’t just about getting drunk, it’s about the lifestyle. And to give you the best lifestyle tips, we had to call up an expert.

Kat Odell is a New York based food and drinks writer, with a particular focus on the latter. Growing up with European parents, she was introduced to wine early on and adapted a sophisticated palate, making way for her to write for publications like T Magazine and Vogue, found the Eater ‘Drinks’ column, and appear on shows like The Chew and Eat, Drink, Love. But most importantly, in true A Hotel Life fashion she travels the world exploring the local delicacies: shochu from Japan, sherry from Spain, and our favorite, mezcal from Oaxaca.

Her latest venture is a new book aptly titled Day Drinking: 50 Cocktails For A Mellow Buzz. In it Odell exhibits her accumulated cocktail knowledge—everything from bar tools to homemade syrups—as well as a list of recipes, many of which come from renowned American bars like Cure (New Orleans), Whitechapel (San Francisco), and The Nomad (NYC). Naturally we reached out to Odell before the season really gets under way, and she kindly gave us her favorite tips to ensure you make the most of your afternoon imbibing:

1. Pre-Batch Your Cocktails

“One of the best parts of day drinking is slowing down, unwinding, and kicking it with friends. In order to actually participate in the moment and not get stuck in the kitchen making drinks, pre-batch your cocktails in advance. The best drinks to pre-batch are those that do not contain dairy or carbonation.”

2. Turn Your Rosé Into a Cocktail!

“This summer, it’s likely you’ll pound numerous bottles of rosé. Which is all fine and well, but there’s a super simple way to turn your rosé into a cocktail. Add a hit of chilled grapefruit juice! It’s a trend that started in France, and is slowly hitting the US.”

3. Embrace the Lesser Known Liquors

“If you’re a vodka drinker, considering adding Korean soju. While vodka typically clocks in at 40% abv, soju — a Korean distillate made from grain — can range from 15 to 50% ABV, but most commonly clocks in at 20-30% ABV.”

Or try these, excerpted from Day Drinking

Regents Royale_credit Nicole Franzen

Regents Royale
8 large strawberries, 5 hulled, 3 with greens intact
2 1/4 ounces fresh lime juice 2 1/4 ounces pineapple juice, preferably fresh
2 1/4 ounces Rich Simple Syrup
1 1/2 ounces amber-colored rum, such as Smith & Cross
1 1/2 ounces orange liqueur (such as Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao)
1 1/2 ounces Green Tea–Infused Cachaça (recipe follows)
1 bottle (375 ml) prosecco or other dry sparkling white wine, chilled
Pineapple cup (optional) for serving
Pineapple triangles, lime wheels and leaves, for garnish

1. Combine the 5 hulled strawberries with the lime juice, pineapple juice, rich simple syrup, rum, orange liqueur, and green tea–infused cachaça in a blender and puree.
2. Fill a pineapple cup, if using, or a large (14-ounce) tiki glass with crushed ice. Strain the puree into the glass through a fine-mesh sieve, and insert the bottle of sparkling wine upside down into the drink. (You can leave it in place or remove it once it’s emptied out—your choice.)
3. Garnish with the remaining strawberries and the pineapple triangles, lime wheels, and leaves.

Green tea–infused Cachaça
2 ounces dried green tea leaves
1 bottle (750 ml) cachaça (see box)

Add the green tea leaves to the bottle of cachaça and let infuse at room temperature, 20 minutes. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and into a jar. Green Tea–Infused Cachaça will keep, covered at room temperature, for 2 years.

Friends with Benefits
Friends With Benefits
4 cups ginger beer, such as Fever-Tree
2 cups fresh lemon juice
1 bottle (750 ml) rosé wine, chilled
1 bottle (750 ml) Cocchi Aperitivo Americano (see box)
10 dashes grapefruit bitters
Lemon wheels, for garnish
Assorted edible flowers (see headnote), for garnish (optional)

Place an ice ring or 3 cups ice cubes in a punch bowl. Add the ginger beer, lemon juice, rosé, Cocchi Aperitivo Americano, and grapefruit bitters, and stir together gently. Garnish with the lemon wheels and edible flowers, if using. Serve in rocks glasses.

Django Reinhart
Django Reinhart
3 ounces dry white vermouth
¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
¾ ounce Simple Syrup
3 orange slices

1. Combine the vermouth, lemon juice, simple syrup, and 2 of the orange slices in a cocktail shaker and muddle to break down the orange. Add ice cubes to fill the shaker three-quarters full, cover, and shake to chill, about 15 seconds.
2. Fill a rocks glass with ice cubes and strain the cocktail over the ice. Garnish with the remaining orange slice.

[Photos courtesy of Nicole Franzen, from ‘Day Drinking: 50 Cocktails For A Mellow Buzz’]