Scott Palmer's Drinks To Beat The Heat

As August wanes and the temperature settles itself in the sticky 90s, we're officially in the dog days of summer. Scott Palmer, beverage director of Dino (pictured by his home bar, above), has a few drinks to help you beat the heat and break out of your gin and tonic rut. (If you do stick with the G&T, Palmer says up the ante with premium ingredients like Distillery No. 209 gin with notes of citrus and cardamom, Fever Tree All-Natural Tonic and maybe even a little Fever Tree Bitter Lemon.)

Here, Palmer shares some recipes and thoughts on his favorite summer drinks:

"A favorite of mine in the summer is sparkling wine, either on its own or made into a sparkling cocktail. I tend to go off the beaten path and venture outside of the 'Champagne box.' I look to Prosecco from Italy’s Veneto region or Cava from Spain’s Catalan region. One of my favorites on my current cocktail list is the Settantacinque Italiano, or Italian 75 (a spin on the classic French 75). It’s a simple cocktail to make at home with the right ingredients. The drink has a slight sweetness balanced by the bitter/floral component of the elderflower and the bright acid from the lemon juice. The home bartender could easily change the flavor profile of the cocktail just by substituting another liqueur for the St. Germain, such as Cassis, Cointreau orange liqueur, or Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur."

Settantacinque Italiano
serves 1
1⁄2 oz Distillery No. 209 gin
1⁄2 oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1⁄2 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Shake with ice until cold but not diluted. Strain into a champagne flute. Top with Prosecco (or other dry sparkling wine). Garnish with a long twist of lemon peel.

"For summer entertaining, I love to make a punch. Punches are making a resurgence due in large part to the movement of many bartenders back to pre-Prohibition-style cocktails. Prior to Prohibition, greater care and attention was placed on ingredients and techniques used in making cocktails. A classic rum punch is my standby. One I’ve made recently is something I call Three Sisters’ Punch — named for the three different rum spirits from three different islands in the Caribbean. The pronounced spiciness of this punch comes from Velvet Falernum, a sugar cane-based liqueur from Barbados infused with lime, almonds and cloves. If you can’t find Velvet Falernum, you could substitute spiced rum."

Three Sisters’ Punch
serves 20-30

1 750 ml bottle of dark rum (I use Gosling’s Black Seal)
1 750 ml bottle of light rum (I use Cruzan)
1/3 750 ml bottle (250ml) of Velvet Falernum or a spiced rum
6 oranges (3 peeled and juiced, 3 sliced)
6 lemons (3 peeled and juiced, 3 sliced)
20 limes (3 peeled and juiced, 3, sliced, 14 juiced)
1 knob of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1⁄2 cup of superfine sugar
ginger ale
dry sparkling wine
large block of ice (freeze filtered water in a bowl that is 1/3 the size of your punch bowl overnight)

In a medium-sized bowl, muddle the citrus peels, ginger and sugar with a few dashes of bitters (I use Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Bitters). Add to punch bowl. Add all of the liquors and fruit juices and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add sliced fruit. Chill in refrigerator for at least an hour, but overnight is best, to fully develop the flavors. When ready to serve, place the large ice block in the bowl and add 1 liter of ginger ale and a 1⁄2 bottle (375 ml) of sparkling wine and stir. Have plenty of ginger ale and sparkling wine for guests to add to their liking, as this drink is a tad strong. Serve over ice.


Scott said...

I've tried both of these drinks and they get my highest rating! Be careful with the punch, though, it's an extra-potent potable, to borrow an expression from Jeopardy!.

Sarah said...

YUM! At what time of day is it ok to start on these cocktails? Say 1pm on a Tuesday?

Aaron said...

A surplus of Palmer's "Three Sisters' Punch" probably would have ended the Rum Rebellion of 1808 in less than a day. You've crafted a great drink and documented--for all to see--the delicacy in the details. Thanks!

Amanda said...

Sarah - No one here's gonna judge you if you whip out the gin at 1pm. ;)

L.J. said...

where are a couple good places to choose from where i could find elderflower liqueur in d.c.?

Amanda said...

LJ - I just bought a bottle last weekend at the liquor store beside the Whole Foods on P St.

Meaghan said...

I've never had a Scooter Palmer drink that hasn't wowed me. There's many a reason I flock to his bar after a long day of work. Always happy to see his loyalty, passion and talent being properly recognized.

Kathryn said...

Is elderflower liquor called eau de vie in France?..the St Germain label gives me a hint. Or is there something different that is a "liquor". I hope so because calling an "eau de vie" a "liquor" seems like calling a burgundy wine alchohol.

Amanda said...

Kathryn - They call it a liqueur artisanale and it is made from a grape spirit (or eau de vie), elderflowers, citrus and cane sugar.

And if you want to read an interesting tale of sibling rivalry, check out this story from the WSJ about the two brothers who created St Germain and Domaine de Canton (the latter I've had the pleasure of meeting).

Danielle said...

This reminds me that I need to get back to Dino soon!

Kathryn said...

Thank you,Amanda. I am no longer perplexed over liqueur vs. eau de vie. It was all cleared up with the WSJ connection to Chambord which I definitely understand to be a liqueur. As I am a devotee of all eua de vie especially an elderflower one I first tasted in Sedona years ago, I think it is time for me to get myself to Dino's.

Scott Palmer said...

Thanks for all the kind words folks! Come see me at Dino!