High Spirits: Cool Cocktails For A Hot Summer


Why is summer is our favorite season? True, it’s when the warm sun kisses our face and a parade of skin goes on display. But more importantly, it’s the season when daytime drinking is socially acceptable. The right cocktail can set the perfect scene, whether you’re chillin’ by the pool, partying with friends or cranking up the grill. NewNowNext sat down with New York cocktail expert Jordana Rothman to get the skinny on three of her favorite unique summertime elixirs—where to find them and how to make the classic versions at home. Bottoms up!


Hey Rube at Alder

The Hey Rube at Alder in the East Village, NYC

Jordana gets misty when thinking of the Pimm’s Cup, a classic of the garden-party set that sees chopped fruit and fizzy lemonade setting off the namesake English liqueur. She clued us in to the variation at Wylie Dufresne’s new East Village gastropub, Alder: “[Bartender Kevin Denton] takes the drink a few steps further, adding seasonal produce like tart springy rhubarb to make it a real masterpiece.”

The Brancolada at Donna in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

“Jeremy Oertel’s improved piña colada does the Lord’s work on a hot New York summer day,” raves Rothman. “His version is made with aged rum, coconut cream, orange and pineapple juices and a bit of Branca Menta—the minty, bitter Italian amaro—to keep it from getting too treacly.” The refreshing concoction is then served over a mound of crushed ice in a flute glass.  “I give some real Ginger Grant realness when I’m sipping this one,” teases our cocktail queen. “Tiki kikis are the best kikis, after all.”

Spicy Paloma

Spicy Paloma (Photo: Claire Benoist)

The Spicy Paloma at Mayahuel in the East Village, NYC

Margaritas get all the love when it comes to Mexican cocktails, but Jordana’s favorite south-of-the-border thirst-quencher is the Paloma, which blends tequila, grapefruit soda and lime juice. (It’s actually far more popular in Mexico than the ’rita.) “You can make it at home but I like the tweaked version at Mayahuel, which adds an extra level of heat via jalepeno-infused tequila,” says Rothman. We’re getting hot just thinking about it.

Making It At Home

Piña Colada
Combine 4 Cups of Ice, 1 cup Puerto Rican rum, one small can pineapple juice, one cup cream of coconut and 3 spears of fresh pineapple in a blender. Blend, pour and enjoy! (Adapted from Trader Vic’s)

Classic Paloma
Rub the rim of a highball glass with a grapefruit wedge and dip in kosher salt. Combine a tablespoon fresh lime juice, 1/4 cup pimms 3fresh grapefruit juice and a teaspoon sugar in a glass, then stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in 1/4 cup mescal or tequila, add ice and top off with 1/4 cup of club soda and a grapefruit-wedge garnish. (Bon Appetit)

Pimm’s Cup
Pour 2 oz Pimm’s No. 1 and 1/4 oz lemon juice into an ice-filled highball glass. Top off with ginger ale, stir and garnish with a cucumber slice. (Imbibe)


jordana rothman

Jordana Rothman
is an acclaimed cocktail writer who contributes to New York magazine and other outlets. Follow her on twitter.

Editor in Chief of NewNowNext. Comic book enthusiast. Bounder and cad.