I just got back from my first ice cream of the not-winter season at Dessart and while it’s still pretty chilly in the evening, and it’s still too early to plant our vegetable garden, and the tree outside the prairie dog office still isn’t showing much in the way of signs of life, that hit of ice cream got me thinking about summer.

Now, last year, I declared the Pimm’s Cup the Official Mixed Drink Of Summer In Regina 2010. And that means I have to come up with an Official Mixed Drink Of Summer In Regina 2011 and I’ve decided I’ll trawl for input from all the sozzled readers of Thursday Night Loaded. Make suggestions in the comments below or email me at pauld{at}prairiedogmag.com.

There are a few ground rules, however….

1. No Collinses. (For those who don’t know, a Collins is a spirit — usually gin — mixed with sugar, lemon juice and club soda.) As yummy as they are, they’re too obvious a pick.
2. Please, not the Mojito. Again: yummy. But too fucking trendy.
3. Same goes for the Sangria.
4. And any variation on the Caesar.
5. All ingredients have to be available in Regina.
6. Extra points for coming up with something really strange or exotic.

I’ll announce this year’s summer drink sometime in June, probably just before Canada Day, so if nothing is immediately popping into your head you’ve got a little over a month to do research and test out recipes. I recommend testing out many recipes as often as humanly possible. That’s the only way you’ll know for certain you’ve got something truly worthy of being the Official Mixed Drink Of Summer In Regina 2011.

To wrap up, here’s a Tiki cocktail to plant the seeds of summertime in your hearts (and livers)….

Mai Tai
1 oz light rum
1 oz gold rum
1/2 oz orange curaçao
1/2 oz orgeat (a type of almond syrup)
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
Shake well with ice. Pour into an old-fashioned glass. Top up with ice. Float 1 oz of dark rum on top of drink. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and cherry.

This is one of those drinks that gets made many different ways but this recipe is the original, as created by Trader Vic. Unfortunately, the Mai Tai is disqualified from Summer Drink 2011 contention because you can’t buy orange curaçao in Saskatchewan.

If you do try to make this anyway, don’t swap blue curaçao for the orange. The flavour might be close, but the colour you’ll end up with will be putrescent. Better off to go with a triple sec. It’s an imperfect substitute, but honestly, you probably won’t taste the difference.