For all its reputation as a warm-weather refresher, on a truly hot afternoon when you're relaxing outside with the smoke from the grill blowing across the yard, a beer has a hard time keeping up. No matter how thick your beer cozy, by the time you reach the bottom half, the heat of the day has sapped the beer's refreshing character right out of the bottle, leaving the rest of your drink tepid and disappointing.
Fortunately, there's this stuff called ice, and it has a wonderful way of keeping your drink cold even on the most sultry Fourth of July weekend. Pack a highball glass with big chunks of very cold ice, add a measure of something sharp, and leaven it with something crisp and bubbly, and you've got a drink that keeps its backbone long after your average beer has turned flaccid and unappealing.
Here's a highball that's easy to prepare and immensely refreshing. Named for an opera singer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Mamie Taylor was quite fashionable at the turn of the last century, though by the middle of the 20th it had almost completely disappeared. For fortification, the Mamie Taylor relies on blended scotch, but while this dark spirit can evoke the cooler months, fresh lime juice lightens the spirit's ponderous demeanor, and a spicy ginger ale or ginger beer places it firmly in summer-cooler territory--making it just the thing to help celebrate a long holiday weekend.
Adapted from Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails, by Ted Haigh.
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.
- 2 ounces blended scotch whisky
- 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
- Ginger ale or ginger beer, the spicier the better
Fill an 8-ounce highball glass with ice and add scotch and lime juice. Fill with ginger ale or ginger beer and gently stir; garnish with a lime wedge.