I’m not much of a home bartender. I’ll happily hit the town and enjoy a gin fizz, but I’d rather crack open a beer or a canned cocktail when I’m chilling solo. Unless, of course, I’m making what I call a Fridge Clean-Out Cocktail. To qualify as a Fridge Clean-Out Cocktail, a drink must meet the following criteria: It must take less than five minutes to make; it must easily scale up for groups; most importantly, it must contain ingredients I already have in my fridge. Here are three of my favorites.
Half cheap red wine, half Coca-Cola, the Kalimotxo is one of many sensory delights to spring from Spain’s Basque region. I’ve visited Spain a few times, and I remain convinced that a Kalimotxo is the best way to cool off after traipsing through hot, sunny plazas. Now, I pass the dog days of summer with a two-liter bottle of Coke and a steady supply of cheap Tempranillo in my fridge. All you need is:
- 1 1/2 cups red wine, chilled
- 1 1/2 cups ice-cold Coca-Cola
Add wine and cola to a pitcher filled with lots of ice. Garnish with lime if you must. Drink barefoot.
My advice if you want a low-effort cocktail that’s light on the palate: Keep La Croix stocked. It mixes well with most spirits, especially tequila and gin. Here’s what you need for a low-lift paloma:
- 2 ounces tequila
- 1 ounce grapefruit juice
- Pamplemousse La Croix to taste
When life gives me lemons, I ask: What am I supposed to do with all these frickin’ lemons? The answer: Throw ’em in a deceptively simple Prohibition-era cocktail. The Bee’s Knees is an impossibly easy three-ingredient concoction. It does require a few minutes of stove time, but it’s well worth it.
For two-minute honey syrup:
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup water
Throw the honey and water into a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the honey is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let the syrup cool before throwing it into the cocktail. Stash leftovers in the fridge for up to a month.
For the cocktail:
- 2 ounces gin
- 3/4 ounce lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce honey syrup
Throw a lemon rind on the rim of your coupe if you’re feeling fancy.