The Seersucker 751/Cocktail and photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

The Seersucker 751/Cocktail and photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

Donna asked to shoot a cocktail. I said, “Go ahead.” She said, “I want to do a Sidecar.” I said, “It’s summertime and hot, how about something refreshing?”

She remembered a bottle of limoncello that she’d bought in a moment of nostalgia, recalling a time when she’d enjoyed drinking it with my mom. “I want to shoot ice-cold shots of it,” she said. But then she tasted it straight. She found it cloyingly sweet and knew she’d never drink it like this (and wondered how she could have such fond memories of it). She did a little research and found a limoncello cocktail using gin. She tried it. The gin clashed with the limoncello. She found one calling for grilled thyme. I told her I didn’t like thyme in beverages, grilled or otherwise (grilled?!).

She moved to the more neutral vodka, which worked better. But it needed a little oomph, as limoncello is basically lemony, 40-proof simple syrup. Grand Marnier, I thought, would give it some complexity and maintain the citrus motif. Correct! And with the two sweet liqueurs, a bold squeeze of fresh lemon juice for brightness and balance. Topping it off with fizzy water, we had a truly refreshing cocktail for the summertime heat. If it’s daylight and hot, add more soda water and you won’t get bombed before dark.

The Seersucker 751

  • 0.5 ounce/15 grams Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur)
  • 1 ounce/30 grams limoncello
  • 1.5 ounces/45 grams vodka
  • 2 to 4 ounces/60 to 120 grams soda water (or to taste)
  • 1 solid squeeze of lemon
  1. Combine the Grand Marnier, limoncello, and vodka in a highball glass.
  2. Fill the glass with ice and add soda water to taste.
  3. Squeeze a wedge or disc of lemon into the drink.

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© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.