We had a nice visit with friends this past Friday night, July 4th. Three couples and kids for dinner and North Carolina-legal fireworks. It seemed like a good time to mix some drinks for the grown ups. I’m still trying to figure out what to do with Campari so I took that along with a few mixers. I wanted some objective feedback on the drinks we had tried. Campari is an acquired taste. I wanted to get honest comments on the drinks before I made them part of our household repertoire. The other grown ups are rum fans, and had some white and aged rum we could use if the Campari did not go over well.

I made a list of about ten rum and Campari drinks I could mix with the ingredients I had. I spent a little time before the party squeezing lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange juice, and had those chilled down by the time we got together.

The Campari didn’t click. I tried Americanos, Campari and OJ and a Campari, OJ and soda. a Campari d’Asti was pretty good and well recieved. This came from William Hamilton’s book that collects some of his NY TImes Shaken & Stirred columns. I have not found the citation for the original article, so I assumed it was a column that never ran in the paper. Great dink though, Campari, Cointreau and grapefruit juice toped with Moscato d’Asti sprtizy wine. A Papa Double Daiquiri and my first attempt at a Mai Tai were quite good. The daiquiri recipe came from Eric Felten’s recent column. These were made without a blender, I just shook them really hard in the cocktail shaker to get some ice fragments. They are very dry. Next go round I’ll mix the grapefruit juice with some simpe syrup, maybe 2 to 1 juice to syrup. The Mai Tai recipe came from Science of the Drink – get blog, with good info. Small Screen Network has Robert Hess making one in a recent video. We used an 8 year old Mount Gay rum. I’ll spend a little more time with these sources before the next go round to get my technique just right. Definitely a drink to repeat. Just need to get my garnishes up to speed.

Overall, a great night. We polished off a couple of nice reds with dinner, a hearty 2004 Prima Toro and more refined 2005 Chapellet red blend.

I think I over did the number of drink selections. Next time we get together, I’ll probably come up with a menu of three or four drinks at most.