Choosing a beer for any occasion used to be simple – for the most part, Americans were limited to the light lagers and pilsners that were readily available at any corner store, regardless of season. With the eventual rise of imports, diversification of large American breweries, and the influx of smaller craft breweries in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, however, beer has become much more nuanced. In fact, as American tastes became more adventurous, beer brewing – and beer drinking – has taken on a seasonal component once only seen in wines and cocktails. However, there’s no reason choosing the perfect summer beer can’t be simple. Just think of what your taste buds crave during a long, lazy day in the sun, and you’ll be on the right track. If you’re still not sure, consider this list of light, easily drinkable summer beer varieties:
This category consists of everything from the traditional German radlers (a mix of lemonade or citrus soda and pilsner) to the more diverse British shandies (ale mixed with lemonade) and every watermelon ale and blueberry stout in between. The hottest days of summer are the perfect time to try these easy to drink, often lower-alcohol, beers.
IPAs and pale ales
Pale, hoppy, a little bit bitter, but somehow still refreshing, pale ales and their India pale ale cousins truly come into their own in the summer. IPAs have a stronger hop profile than pale ales, but you can find both in hazy, filtered, and even citrus-centric varieties for summer.
Many a brauhaus serves its traditional hefeweizen or Belgian wit with a tiny bit of fruit juice (typically banana or orange) at the bottom. American wheat beers are similarly hazy and have a unique bit of spiciness that lend themselves perfectly to an orange or lemon garnish. No matter which you choose, wheat beers of nearly all varieties lend themselves to some refreshing summer drinking.
While sometimes marketed as a “sour saison” or similar, not all saison beers are sour. In fact, most are considered dry and pleasantly spicy with pale malts and very subtle hop flavor – and some even contain a hint of cucumber or fruit rind flavoring. Whichever you choose, these tasty brews are perfect for summer drinking.
Perhaps the most classic of summer beer styles, blonde ales are lighter, easier-drinking, and more approachable than their darker counterparts. In addition, most blondes are brewed without a focus on citrus, fruit, in-your-face hops, or any of the other complex flavors you’ll find in other summer beers – making them a perfect crowd pleaser for the beach or barbeque.
Lagers and pilsners
Although there are numerous types of easy-drinking summer beers crafted especially for the adventurous crowd, there’s nothing wrong with appreciating a classic American or European lager. These brews are produced at a cold temperature with
fermenting yeast to produce the signature mild flavor. If you need something even lighter, grab a pilsner – a traditional type of lager with a paler color and spicier, more refreshing taste.
At Payless Liquors, we have an extensive selection of summer beers – from craft-brewed fruity varieties to the traditional American lagers you love. Alternatively, change up your summer drinks and ask about our wine and liquor offerings. Call ahead or fill out an online order form to ensure we have your favorite summer beer ready for curbside or in-store pickup.
Watermelon is the official fruit of summer. Perform an internet search for cocktail ideas, however, and you’ll soon be inundated with suggestions for watermelon mint lemonade coolers, blueberry watermelon granitas, and the like. While each of these recipes likely results in a delicious, refreshing drink, when you have adult family members poolside or are partaking in a social-distancing neighborhood block party, the last thing you want to do is stand behind a counter and muddle mint leaves. Instead, we suggest taking the direct route: simply infuse your watermelon with liquor, slice, and serve. The process, known as “corking a watermelon” by some and “hairy buffalo” or “drunken watermelon” by others, results in a refreshing, flavorful treat that doesn’t even require a glass. Just follow these simple steps:
1. Select your watermelon. The average size of a watermelon is about 20 pounds and can be divided into 30 or so 1 ½ inch slices. Depending on the size of your gathering, you may need a larger or smaller melon. In addition, you’ll want a watermelon that’s a bit flat on one side for stability.
2. Select your liquor. Traditionally, a corked watermelon is made with vodka – we suggest a fun, fruity vodka to amp up the refreshing, fruit flavors. However, you’ll have just as much success with any plain or fruit-flavored white rum or tequila blanco. For larger melons, you’ll need a 1.75L bottle; 750mL should be sufficient for average-sized melons.
3. Prep your melon. Place your melon on a table, surrounded by towels to stop it from rolling, if necessary. Using your liquor bottle as a guide, trace a circle on the melon’s top using a permanent marker. Be sure to make the circle slightly larger than the widest part of the bottle’s neck.
4. Cut your hole. Using a sharp knife, cut around the circle you traced. Make certain to cut through the rind and into the top layer of watermelon flesh. Remove the circle and use a spoon to scoop out enough melon so your bottle will fit inside the hole.
5. Place your bottle. Open the bottle of liquor and quickly overturn it into the hole you’ve created in the melon. Push it in far enough so that it will stay securely in this position for several hours. If you find you need to widen your hole slightly with the knife, do so gradually.
6. Infuse your melon. Allow your melon to rest for 4 to 12 hours – the liquor will slowly seep into the watermelon flesh during this time. Depending on the size of your melon and liquor bottle, as well as the overall juiciness of the watermelon you chose, the melon may not absorb all of the liquor. If you have room in the fridge, this is an excellent time to
begin chilling your watermelon.
7. Chill and serve. Once the melon flesh is infused with liquor, remove the bottle and use a paper towel or cork – if you can find one that’s a similar size – to prevent liquor from sloshing out. Chill until cool, slice as normal, and serve.
Payless Liquors has a large selection of flavored vodkas, rums, and tequilas perfect for your next melon corking as well as an extensive beer and wine assortment for your everyday needs. Stop in or complete an online order form to schedule an easy pickup.
The current state of the world has undoubtedly increased our coffee consumption. It’s hard to get motivated while sheltering in place, but a big mug of java certainly helps. However, spring is here and temperatures are rising, so it’s time to move on to iced coffee drinks for the warmer months. With the popularity of quarantine happy hour at home, boozy iced coffee is the next logical progression, right?
Take a look at a few of our favorite iced coffee cocktails for the season and try a few at home. Some of these recipes may even amaze those strange folks who claim they don’t like coffee.
1. The Wanderlust Kitchen’s Boozy Iced Coffee
This one is pretty basic and very easily adaptable to any palate. To create this refreshing cocktail with a kick, you simply start with a cup of strong chilled coffee, add a shot of your favorite booze, and serve over ice. If you like cream in your coffee, add enough to suit your fancy.
2. Patrick Smith’s Espresso Martini
To create this martini, you will have to make a little demerara syrup. Simply combine equal parts hot water and raw sugar, stir until dissolved, and then chill. Mix a half shot of the syrup with a shot of vodka, half a shot of vanilla liqueur, ¾ shot of espresso, and ¾ shot of coffee liqueur. Shake the ingredients over ice and serve straight up in a martini glass. Top the drink off with a garnish of three coffee beans for health, happiness, and prosperity.
3. The Spruce Eat’s Vanilla Latte Cocktail
If you are a fan of fancy coffee drinks in general, this one may be for you. A twist on a traditional latte, this recipe is served cold and boozy – perfect for a spring afternoon. Start with a glass of ice and two shots of cream liqueur. Build the next layer with a shot of vanilla vodka, then top off with two shots of chilled coffee. Give it a stir and enjoy!
4. Dorda Cafe Cocktail
If decadence is your thing, this cocktail may find a forever home with you. Dorda Double Chocolate Liqueur is the base for this delicious beast. Start with an ounce and a half of that, toss it in a shaker with an ounce of espresso and a half ounce of amaretto, and ice. Shake until well chilled and pour over a glass of ice. For the final touch, top the drink off with steamed milk foam or whipped cream. This cocktail is every bit as rich and wonderful as it sounds.
5. The Cookie Rookie’s Tiramisu Martini
The concept for this cocktail comes from one of the most popular desserts ever. Its smooth, rich taste is nearly as rich as the last one, but certainly with its own unique properties. To construct this drink, mix equal parts Kahlua, Rum Chata, Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, and heavy cream. Shake the ingredients on ice and pour into a martini glass. This tasty treat wouldn’t be complete without a garnish of whipped cream, chocolate shavings, ground coffee or cocoa, and lady fingers.
Payless Liquors is the only name you need to know when you are stocking up on ingredients for your coffee cocktails or just restocking your adult beverage inventory. We have everything you need. Please use our online order form to make your selections and schedule a social distancing pickup time.
Sangria is perhaps one of the most versatile and satisfying drinks to ever exist. Even for those who can’t develop a taste for wine, this wine-based creation seems to be a perennial favorite. One of the most wonderful things about sangria is that it is a pretty simple concept: wine, fruit, juice, and liquor combined in a variety of forms and amounts to make some of the tastiest and unique beverages at the bar. The vast selection of possible ingredients mean that this is an easy drink to make at home and to tailor to any season. The beauty of making it in larger batches means that you don’t have to mix a drink every time you are thirsty. Just keep it in the refrigerator and pour over ice!
Origins of Sangria
Sangria is a Spanish drink, named from the Spanish word sangre, meaning blood. A very basic traditional version of the drink consists of red wine, orange juice, and chopped fruit, which is blood red in color. The specific origins of the drink have been lost over the years, but many believe that it was created because the water in Spain was not potable at the time. If you can’t have water, is there really a better choice than sangria? The drink was first introduced to the states by Spain in 1964 at the New York World’s Fair. Since then, it has not only gained popularity in the U.S., but in bars and restaurants around the world.
Variations of Sangria
There are really countless ways to make a good sangria. Some purists stick to wine and fruit, but things get really interesting when you factor in other variables. Fruit juices add a bit more sweetness, while any number of flavored liqueurs contribute not only to the strength of the drink but to its unique flavor as well. Some like the deep complexity of a heavy red wine base, while others prefer a light semi-dry Riesling, or any number of varietals in between. Finishing the drink off with a splash of club soda or sprite also gives it a little fizz, which always makes it feel like spring.
Our Favorite Sangria
It’s hard to choose just one favorite sangria recipe, as almost every variation out there is delicious. Our top choice at the moment is the Pretty in Pink Sangria. It is a perfectly refreshing choice for spring, easy to drink, and it couldn’t be easier to make. Start with two bottles of white zinfandel, and add two cups of pineapple juice, a liter of ginger ale, a can of frozen lemonade concentrate, and 20 ounces of frozen strawberries. The great thing is you can change things up however you like. Consider trying a dry rose, ginger beer instead of ginger ale, or your favorite juice in place of pineapple. Pomegranate would be a nice touch with this particular recipe. No matter what you choose, have fun. It’s sure to be delicious.
If you don’t have any wine on hand for your sangria, Payless Liquors is the best place around to pick some up. Use our online order form to make your selections, and you can pick them up social distancing style. While you’re at it, stock up on any beer and spirits you may need to make 5 o’clock a little happier during quarantine.
The Old Fashioned is a cocktail that never seems to go out of style. One of the oldest known recipes for the drink is from a bartender’s guide published in 1862. The recipe in this book is similar to the “modern” Old Fashioned but was actually not a whiskey-based drink at all. The story of the recipe we know today dates back to 1880, when a bartender in Louisville, KY created the drink and took it on the road – right to the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, to be exact. This is said to be the birthplace of the Old Fashioned. The cocktail is mentioned in other books and periodicals over the years, but the basic recipe has always remained the same.
In today’s competitive bartending scene, it seems like such a simple recipe would fall by the wayside, forgotten in the sands of time as artisan cocktail creations move to the forefront of the bartending world. But its classic ingredients and familiar taste never goes out of style. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t change it up a little and add a modern touch to an old school cocktail. Take a look at these two new versions of the Old Fashioned as you hone your bartending skills while social distancing.
1. Gin Old Fashioned
If you are not a fan of whiskey and bourbon or you’re simply looking for something a little lighter and more refreshing for spring, this twist on the classic recipe is going to be a game changer for you. It bears some resemblance to a classic Negroni, but the unique characteristics that compose an Old Fashioned really come through and make this new creation stand out from the crowd. Build your drink with a two ounce gin base and a splash of simple syrup. A splash of bitters and some muddled orange and lemon rind complete the drink, as you stir it up and pour it over ice to cool your warm spring and summer days.
2. Coffee Old Fashioned
This one is for the coffee connoisseurs out there. Espresso martinis are played out, and hot coffee drinks are more suited to chilly autumn nights than golden summer evenings. This cocktail will definitely change the way you think about the traditional Old Fashioned. Start with two ounces of coffee liqueur and add a few splashes of orange bitters. No need for sugar in this one, as the liqueur adds a touch of sweetness. Stir over ice and then pour into your favorite beverage glass or serve it straight up with a lemon twist if you prefer the feel of a martini. Either way, you are sure to love it!
When you need a few ingredients for new cocktails like these, Payless Liquors is your go-to spot. We have everything you need for happy hour, including a great selection of domestic and import beers and wines. Whether you’re still or quarantine or just like the convenience of easy pick up, we can help. Use our online order form to make your selections today and pick them up with minimal contact.
The spring season is finally here. With it comes warm sunny afternoons outside with a nice sweet cocktail. The unusual days we’re living in have made things a little different than past years, as most bars and restaurants around the country are not open for sit-down service. Never fear, spring happy hour will just have to move to your backyard patio!
Perhaps you have tried some of the cocktails from our previous blog on drinks you can make for quarantine happy hour. If so, you know how fun and rewarding making your own adult beverages can be. Give these four new cocktails a try, as you enjoy the afternoon sun on the veranda.
This classic cocktail is named in honor of Guiseppe Garibaldi, a 19th century Italian general, who contributed to the unification and creation of the Kingdom of Italy. The ingredients are simple and elegant: 1.5 parts Campari liqueur to 4 parts orange juice, served over ice. This one is easy to make, easy on the eyes, and easy to drink. The vibrant red is symbolic of Garibaldi’s freedom fighters, dressed in red, and the orange represents Sicily. This cocktail is one you can wow your friends with, while giving them a bit of a history lesson as well.
2. Ginger Beer Margarita
If you love the subtle bite of ginger beer, but you’re growing tired of the same old Moscow mule every time you have a cocktail, this drink is for you. There is nothing like an icy cold margarita on a spring or summer afternoon, and the ginger flavor is a perfect complement to the lime juice, salt, simple syrup , and tequila. This may quickly become your signature drink.
3. Grapefruit Martini
The spunky pink of a ruby red grapefruit martini practically screams spring. This martini is quick and easy to whip up. It satisfies the taste buds without overwhelming the senses. It is sweet, but not overdone, and tastes like a drink you would get at a 5-star restaurant. Simply combine 2 parts ruby red grapefruit juice with 1 part vodka, 1 part triple sec, and a tablespoon of sugar over ice in your shaker. Then, give it a hefty shake and pour it into your martini glass. You won’t regret it.
4. Fig and Bourbon Fizz
If you love the uniquely sweet flavor of ripe figs, try adding the zing of fresh mint. This simple addition means you’ve got a spectacular cocktail unlike anything else you’ve tried. Some would say it’s a twist on a traditional mint julep, but the unique flavor combination here really sets it apart. Place one fig, a small handful of mint leaves, and a few raw sugar cubes into your shaker and muddle them together. Add a shot of bourbon and shake until well chilled. Pour the mixture onto a glass filled with ice cubes, top off with a hefty splash of ginger ale, and enjoy.
No matter what your tastes are, Payless Liquors has you covered this spring. You can get the ingredients for these drink recipes, along with a vast selection of your other favorite wine, beer, and spirits while social distancing by using our online order form. Place your order today and get to mixing