At last, it's summer. And, it's hot (assuming you don't live near my home in Seattle, where it's finally hitting the mid-70s). In the late afternoon or early evening—when the heat and humidity can suck the chill right out of a beer in three minutes flat—you need a refresher that's a little more durable, yet simple to make. After all, when the heat strikes, the last place you want to be is in the kitchen, muddling up mojitos for a growing crowd of guests.
This drink requires the simplest of preparations, yet it's almost wholly unexpected by the average imbiber. For assertiveness, it uses a good, amber rum—Appleton Extra is a good choice, as are Angostura 1919 and Bacardi 8— and for unparalleled refreshment impact, chilled coconut water.
Once only found in neighborhood bodegas and Asian food stores, this juice from a green coconut—which looks and tastes almost nothing like the more familiar coconut milk—is on the ascendance, and canned or Tetra-packed versions can be found in many natural-food stores and better-stocked groceries. Of course, it can also be found on the inside of green coconuts; if you feel like doing a little work for your drink, pick up one or two (Asian markets are still a good place to find these), make sure it sloshes interestingly, then hack a hole in the top using a large kitchen knife or cleaver (for best results, do this before starting on the rum). You may wish to strain the coconut water—even the canned versions include a bit of pulp—but its light, slightly sweet tanginess pairs beautifully with a rich, vanilla-toned rum.
While the temperature outside continues to hold steady, your internal temperature will take a nice, soft glide down. And if that doesn't say "ultimate summer refresher," I don't know what does.
Rum and Coconut Water
- 2 ounces amber rum
- 4 ounces chilled coconut water
Fill a highball glass with ice. Add rum, top with coconut water. Insert straw. Relax.