Design Sponge Courier - August 2, 2013
Design Sponge Newsletter

D*S Loves: Summer Cocktails

French 75Martha's Thyme LemonadeMint JulepMicheladaPimms Cup

1. French 75 -As soon as the mercury starts rising, we reach for the bubbly. There's something about the cool, dry carbonation of a good Champagne or Cava that really perks us up. Sometimes, though, you want a little more kick and the French 75 is just the way to get it. Gin and lemon are shaken and topped off with Champagne for a clean and deceivingly strong cocktail.

2. Martha's Thyme Lemonade - The centerpiece of more spring and summer brunches than I'd like to admit, Martha's Thyme Lemonade is a longstanding favorite. It requires a bit of prep work but, oh man, is it worth it. Prepare the thyme-infused simple syrup the night before and make a lot of it! The aromatic reduction pairs beautifully with the sweet and sour lemonade in the recipe, but it also makes a lovely homemade soda when mixed with a cool glass of seltzer.

3. Mint Julep - There's something meditative about making a perfect mint julep. Of course, everyone has their own version – par for the course with such a historically iconic drink. We like to pluck the fresh mint from the stem, muddle the leaves with a spoonful of sugar, crush the ice by hand and then pour the bourbon on top and watch it all melt together. If you're looking to slowly sip through the afternoon, gently rocking on a porch swing, the Mint Julep is for you.

4. Michelada - The Michelada is the Mexican Arnold Palmer; half beer, half limeade. There are plenty of variations, some with spices and peppers mixed in and some heading into Bloody Mary territory with added clam and tomato juices, but the yummy, brewed base stays the same. It's a great salt-rimmed, savory cocktail to enjoy at brunch... some even say it's the perfect “hair of the dog” remedy, but we're not in a hurry to find out.

5. Pimms Cup - Similar to the Mint Julep's Derby Day association, a Pimm's Cup is the drink of Wimbledon – but it needn't be reserved for court-side enjoyment. Originally created to soften the blow of unrefined gins, Pimm's now comes in 6 spirit-based varieties including vodka, brandy, and rum. To make the classic Cup (a light cocktail safe for repeated pourings) simply mix with lemonade over ice and throw in a few pieces of fruit for flair!

Cutting Room Floor: Bar Essentials

We see so many gotta-have-it products every day that we can't possibly feature them all on the blog, so today we're introducing our D*S "Cutting Room Floor"  for all the things we can't forget but couldn't fit in!

Sun Stripes Napkins, $12  Japanese Ice Pick, $59.95 An Illustrated Guide to Cocktails by Orr Shtuhl, $20
Hella Bitter Bitters, $20 Orb Copper Jigger, $9.95 Wud Walnut Platters, $49.95
Sun Stripes Napkins, $12; Japanese Ice Pick, $59.95; An Illustrated Guide to Cocktails by Orr Shtuhl, $20; Hella Bitter Bitters, $20; Orb Copper Jigger, $9.95; Wud Walnut Platters, $49.95

Five Questions with Orr Shtuhl
      Orr Shtuhl

Generally we like to write our own introductions for our interview subjects, but Orr Shtuhl's bio is just too good to mess with (he is a writer afterall!):

Orr Shtuhl writes and drinks, often in that very order. For a time, he ran a not-so-legal speakeasy out of his basement, followed by a shorter-lived but fully legitimate cocktail night. His other alcoholic pursuits include writing a regular beer column for Serious Eats, which follows his three-year stint as the writer of the cheeky beer column Beerspotter for the Washington City Paper. Orr has also written for NPR, Gastronomica, The Morning News, and The Los Angeles Times.

Thanks to Orr and his talented illustrator Elizabeth Graeber for raising a glass with us this week!

Hey, Orr Shtuhl, what's your favorite...

Sight? The skyline.
Sound? A pencil on paper. Or, Belle & Sebastian.
Smell? Coffee! Straight out of the grinder.
Taste? I know this is about cocktails, but coffee again.
Feeling? Waking up rested, then doing a bunch of stuff.

What is your favorite summer cocktail? Negroni! It's light, refreshing, and just bitter enough to be grown up. The recipe's easy to riff on (equal parts gin/vermouth/Campari). Swap gin for whiskey, and it's a Boulevardier. Swap for champagne and it's a Negroni Sbagliato. I love it so much we gave it 6 pages in the book -- a real centerfold treatment.

And, hey, Elizabeth Graeber, what's your favorite...

Sight? Colors and patterns.
Sound? Flipping threw a book or sketchbook.
Smell?  Fresh rosemary. Or any herbs.
Taste? Olives.
Feeling? A sunny crisp day.

What is your favorite summer cocktail? A mint julep.

Illustration above by Elizabeth Graeber.

Free Download: Bar Essentials Poster
     Bar Essentials Poster by David Saracino

To get you in a booze-brewin’ mood at home, we've pulled together our 14 essentials for crafting your own at-home bar, illustrated by the talented David Saracino. Read all about the tools of the trade and then click here to download a high-res file, perfectly sized to fit an IKEA poster frame!

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