Serious Eats: Recipes
Time for a Drink: Cincinnati Cocktail
What are you doing inside on the 4th of July?! Oh, looking up info on the perfect Independence Day cocktail? Look no further: Paul Clarke (The Cocktail Chronicles) has poured you one. Cheers!
Fourth of July celebrations were made for beer. It's cold and refreshing, and low enough in alcohol that you can sip at it over the course of an afternoon or evening. But for a longer celebration - especially one that involves flaming grills and possibly random blasts of fireworks - it's a good idea to slow down the alcohol consumption even further, while keeping hydrated as you go. But it's beer, and beer is delicious--and besides, Fourth of July celebrations were made for beer! If there were only a way to strike a balance...
Enter the Cincinnati Cocktail (and no, I don't know why it's called that) - heretical to some beer-lovers, but before you start tapping condemnations in the comments box, do me a favor and try it first; it's really not bad at all. Dating back more than 120 years, to a time when drinking beer as you worked all day was considered somewhat normal, the Cincinnati Cocktail is immensely easy to prepare, but it isn't, in any true sense of the word, a cocktail: first, there's no spirits or even wine in there; and second, what alcohol there is in the glass is diluted by a lot of fizzy water.
Which is exactly the point. This is along the same lines as the British shandy, another pleasant summer tipple that tones down the beer's effect with a refreshing pour of something light and bubbly. In this case, that bubbly is club soda, which stretches out the drink and keeps the water coming into your system while you enjoy the more gentle flavor of your beer. For best results, use a good, full-flavored microbrew--watering down Budweiser or Coors is pretty much redundant--and keep everything very cold until you're ready to mix. Then, sip slow and easy, toss another burger on the grill and sit back and watch the fireworks. You can have your beer and drink it.
About the author: Paul Clarke blogs about cocktails at The Cocktail Chronicles and writes regularly on spirits and cocktails for Imbibe magazine. He lives in Seattle, where he works as a writer and magazine editor.