Drinks Our Writers Are Sipping On Memorial Day Weekend

photo by Amanda Schuster
photo by Amanda Schuster

Memorial Day, the weekend most of us in the U.S. regard as the first official weekend of summer, is here! Last year I wrote about cocktails with a military connection as a way of celebrating this holiday in tribute to our fallen soldiers. This year I’m turning to some of our staff of alcohol professors to share what they’ll be imbibing on the long weekend as the grills fire up while our glasses cool down.

Kevin Gibson: Sometimes I get stuck on certain beers. The one I'm stuck on now is one you've read about here before: Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter IPA. I hate to be redundant or predictable, but sometimes you just find a beverage that suits you, and it sticks for a while. I ran into a friend just this past weekend, and when I mentioned Hop Hunter to him, his eyes got huge and he said, "That stuff is DELICIOUS." So, it's not just me. And now I see the crisp, golden ale everywhere -- grocery stores, gas stations, which must mean I'm onto something. That said, if I happen across a sixer of the award-winning Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA, I may buy that too. Because, damn.

Sara Havens: I'm heading down to Destin, Florida for the weekend, so I'm looking forward to beach-bar drinking a couple of Piña Coladas, which must be topped with dark rum. Topless beaches maybe, but I’ll never do topless Piña Coladas! Another new beer favorite is the CiderBoys Grand Mimosa. It's delicious on tap — if you can find it.

Photo by Peter Anderson
Photo by Peter Anderson

Sara Gorelick: Memorial Day is always a big celebration for me because my birthday falls over this weekend every year. I look forward to being outside for three days with a cold cocktail (like a fresh Partida Margarita) or a great beer to go with BBQ food [Editor's note: such as Bronx Brewery Pale Ale]. I also like stopping by the market to incorporate fresh fruit (strawberries, peaches and berries please!!) into a recipe or as a garnish. While I make it a point to enjoy delicious drinks over the holiday weekend (or any weekend for that matter), for me it's about being with my favorite people and making memories.

Brian Petro: Lately, I have been playing with homemade summery mixers. I am going to be enjoying some homemade lemonade to add to my shandys (my favorite summer go to drink) and mixing it in cocktails. The one I have been sharing lately is a Golden Violet. The violet stands up but not out, and the gin and lemonade balance each other nicely. In fact, I am finding what the creator of the Tom Collins discovered: gin and citrus are a winning combination in so many ways.

Golden Violet

Build the ingredients in a tall glass over ice. Stir and enjoy.

photo by Anna and Michael
photo by Anna and Michael

Adam Levy: I plan to sit on my deck..grill some skirt steak and make the simple most wonderful cocktail that my good friend Bernie Lubbers from Heaven Hill first ordered for me when I was at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival years ago: A good bourbon, ginger ale and fresh lime. It has since become a favorite. Thank you Bernie!

Aliza Kellerman: I've been really into Bluepoint Blueberry Ale lately. It has this wonderful fruity smell without being overtly sweet. It also pairs well with just about any food. Plus, It's a session beer, so you can kick back (more than) a few during a long family barbecue.

Amanda Schuster: This has been a boozy couple of weeks in NYC with events such as Swig n’ Swine with the Bon Vivants and a Caribbean Rum seminar with WIRSPA at Dear Irving. I’d like to kick back with some wine for a change, and it’s the perfect time for a glass of chilled Chablis from Domaine William Fevre or Gilbert Picq. The 2012 vintage is drinking so well right now - a full flavored, juicy alternative to those stark, young, steel-aged Chardonnays out there. I am also super lucky to be living just around the corner from the newly opened Leyenda from Ivy Mix and Julie Reiner. Don’t think I can let this weekend go by without stopping in for goat tacos and tequila and tonic!

While most of us have worked hard to earn our extra day off if we’re lucky to take it, it’s important to note Memorial Day exists because there are some people who have worked harder than all of us, and died in service to our country. So while we drink the beverages we’ve suggested, all of us at Alcohol Professor ask that you please take a moment to remember our troops for what this day represents. Cheers to all our soldiers everywhere past and present!