Okay, summer’s been in high gear for a couple weeks already and you’ve probably been wondering, “What the heck should I be drinking to cut this infernal heat? Pimm’s is so 2010. Where is Thursday Night Loaded when I need it?”

Never fear. When all seems lost, like the goddamn Batman I swoop in in the night to provide relief. A beat down on your thirst.

I have been deliberating for weeks. Weeks! And finally the white smoke is rising from the chimney of my alcoholism and I have made my summer drinking decision. To coincide with the release of prairie dog‘s second annual Drink! issue (which is on newsstands as I type), I will now announce the Official Mixed Drink Of Summer In Regina 2011.

But before I get to what you ought to be drinking this summer, I will look at what you can also be drinking….

2 oz Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
3 oz ginger beer
Build in an ice-filled highball glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Back when I polled the TNL readership (such as it is) about what they want to be 2011’s Official Mixed Drink (here and here), the Dark and Stormy was the clear favourite. And it is a worthy summer cooler. 100% delicious. I will definitely be revisiting it in a future column.

The only reason I didn’t choose it is because I found something even better….

The Official Mixed Drink Of Summer In Regina 2011: THE AMERICANO!
1 1/2 oz Campari
1 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
Mix in an old-fashioned glass. Almost fill glass with ice. Stir. Top with soda.

This is serious refreshment. It’s bitter and sweet and bubbly. Just like life! I’ve been drinking these nonstop since the summer hit and I want to share the Americano’s complex and difficult pleasures with everyone.

Story goes, this drink originated in Italy back in the 1860s and after a while, the Italians noticed it was very popular among American tourists. And that’s how it got its name.

Oh, how times have changed. A drink featuring Campari is not likely to be embraced so eagerly these days, I’ve discovered. I’ve tried this drink out on a lot of people in the lead up to writing this column and based on their reviews I can guarantee that this pick is not going to go over well. But I can’t help it. I LOVE the Americano.

Still… I confess I did at first fret over rejecting the advice of readers and test audiences. But then, in putting together my contribution for the Drink! issue (did I mention it’s on newsstands right now?) it came up that the Americano was one of the drinks that James Bond was known to imbibe (in Casino Royale and A View To A Kill) and that clinched it. How can you argue with James Bond? He’s liable to kill you.

Happy summer, Regina! I hope you enjoy your Americanos! See you next week.