With the golden mile of summer officially upon us, reach for these four spirits to make the most of the sunny weather

    1 of 5 2 of 5

      As much as beer, beer, and beer are three of our most-favourite summertime drinks, sometimes you want to mix things up. Yes, concocting a Mint Julep, Margarita, or Flaming Rum Punch takes a little more effort than popping the top on a goddamn adorable Miller High Life pony, but no one ever achieved greatness by taking the easy route.

      Here are four offerings that serve as perfect home-cocktail springboards as we head into the golden mile of summer (that would be August, the one month on the West Coast where you can officially stick the umbrella on storage). All of them go great by themselves on ice—a respectable option for the month where living is supposed to be easy. Don’t let that stop you from reaching for the shaker. 

      X by Glenmorangie

      Below the giant silver X (inlaid with a smaller white one) you’ll see the small type reading “Made for Mixing”. If the folks at Glenmorangie are aware of one thing, it’s that many fans of the brand tend to fall under the umbrella of purists. When sitting on a bottle of Glenmorangie Pride 1978, the last thing you want to be doing is dumping it in a glass and then topping with Jolt Cola and squeeze of ReaLime. The Scottish distillery is billing its budget-friendly single malt “as wonderful mixed with any flavour you choose (and as you’d expect, it is also delicious neat)”. All candied orange and Christmas fruitcake when you’re swirling it in the glass, X suggest dark chocolate and sun-dried apricots. But we’re here to unleash our inner mixologist. You won’t be disappointed by swapping out bourbon for this unfussy and smooth scotch in a classic Mint Julep—as long as, that it, you’re not adverse to the slightly peppery kick. Or keep things less labour-intensive with a Glenmorangie X BBQ, which calls for equal amounts of X and ginger beer, a squirt of fresh lime juice optional. ($60.99 at BC Liquor Store)

      Dillon’s Single Grain Rye Whiskey

      Starting with pure rye grain and nothing but, and then aged three years in Ontario, American, and first-fill bourbon oak casks, Dillon’s Single Grain doesn’t lack for confidence. When it landed in B.C. liquor stores earlier this summer, it was the promise that each bottle contained nothing less than “liquid truth”. Offering beautifully nuanced notes of fresh vanilla bean and dripping honeycomb, Dillon’s is nothing if not complex—fiery rye spice offset by smooth oak, creamy butterscotch, and bruised mint. While perfect for sipping during the early hours, hand-rolled Cuban cigar option but encouraged, Dillon’s Single Grain Rye also plays wonderfully in cocktails. Spend 10 minutes pulling together a peach-and-lavender simple syrup, get yourself some ginger bitters and fresh lemon, and you’re three-quarters of the way there to putting a new summertime spin on a classic Whisky Sour. ($49.95 at dillons.ca)

      Baileys Colada

      Every tried making coconut-infused liquor from scratch, with rum the typical go-to. First, you’ve got to get your hands on a couple of coconuts at the Persia Market or Norman’s. Then, safety goggles in place, you get busy with a drill to get the milk out, crack the shell with an axe or Kramer Stainless Damascus kitchen knife, spend a couple of hours trying to extricate the flesh that seems glued on, and then begin the shredding. After that it’s into a mason jar with the rum, and then two or three weeks of patiently waiting, the result often not exactly flavour-bombed. Baileys does the heavy lifting for you with the limited-edition Colada, which puts a decidedly tropical spin on its famous cream whisky. Where we normally associate Baileys with something that we put in our coffee at breakfast, Colada is decidedly happy-hour focussed. Smelling deliciously of tropical pineapple (the coconut takes a back seat), the whiskey-based liqueur is about as no-fuss as you’re going to get for summer. Pour it directly on ice, and you’ve got what tastes like a pre-mixed cocktail: silky, smooth, and the next best thing to a happy-hour seat by the pool at the Goldeneye Hotel and Resort in Jamaica. Pour on shaved ice, and you’ve got a perfect summer sno-cone—with the warning that you won’t be stopping at one. ($29.49 at BC Liquor Store)

      Diplomático Mantuano

      Summer might be all about flip-flops, over-sized sunglasses, mammoth sun hats, and beach-attire that leaves almost nothing to the imagination, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t serious. The folks at Diplomático rum are looking to get your attention on a couple of fronts. One of them is it’s, well, rums, which makes sense here as rum is in inarguably the most summer-friendly (and tiki-perfect), of any spirit. And Diplomático Mantuano has long been both top-shelf go-tos for those who wish every day could be happy hour under a palm tree with Trader Vic and Don the Beachcomber. Just as importantly, Diplomático is asking consumers to start thinking seriously about the planet that we live on. We’ve only got one Earth, and we won’t be singing the “pass the tanning butter” part of Rock Lobster is we’re sitting on a beyond UV-fried beach in full-body reflective sun suits. Diplomático has spent the past few years introducing sustainability initiatives that have included promoting reforestation and reducing water use at its Venezuela distiller by 50 percent. This summer its introduced a line of cocktails designed to help reduce the waste in your own kitchen by making the most of berries past their pull date, and citrus peels from last-night’s happy hour. Go here for the recipes. Now put down that beer, and don’t let anyone tell you that you look anything less than fabulous in that bathing suit. ($53.72 at Legacy Liquor Store)