Summer Sipping

Summer demands some libations to quench one’s thirst. So, NoDef turned to Empire Bar at Broussards’ Paul Gustings. The beverage director at the storied French Quarter destination offered up some suggestions, but as he likes to say, “I do everything contrary to everyone else.” Gustings on garnishes? “I don’t understand the point.” Gustings on tasting his products? “Why? I know when I’ve made a good drink.” Gustings on his one new-age affinity, acid phosphate? “It’s good for you.”


As far as the criteria for a summer drink, the contrarian stayed fairly mainstream. He told NoDef, “They should be refreshing, not necessarily high in alcohol, something that you can have a few of without getting drunk.”


Gustings suggested four summer drinks to NoDef. He is partial to punches which he attributes to their ease. He says, “They take work, time, and care, but they are not complicated. Plus, it’s not something that you can go out and just buy in a store.”


However, the prophet of punches does add a caveat. “During the summer, there are flies. Serve them out of a bottle or inside.”


Pimm’s Cup

Gustings describes the Pimm’s Cup as “the ultimate New Orleans hot summer drink.” The classic cocktail is made with Pimm’s No. 1, the most common remaining variety of the once bountiful Pimm’s family. No. 1 is a juniper based liquor, but Gustings notes that does not mean it’s gin. “Juniper berries happen to be prime ingredient in London Dry gin.”


Everyone has their own recipe for the classic. The recipe served at Broussard’s is “not easy,” says the creator. First, Gustings takes blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, cucumbers, lemons, limes, and oranges and juices them. Then he takes the debris from them as well and lets the mash sit in a container mixed with Pimm’s No. 1 for a week. Then, he strains it a couple of times and mixes it with lemonade and tops the mix with a splash of Seven-Up.


For the home enthusiast, the professional suggests improvising and simply using a potato masher to break up the fruit, letting it sit in a container, and then putting the concoction in a glass over ice with lemonade.


Garden District

Gustings next suggestion is not a punch. It begins with Citron Savage, a local Bittermen’s product described as a slightly grapefruit tasting liquor. He suggests this drink for its ease of creation. With only three ingredients, the simple preparation makes it perfect for impromptu guests or some much needed relief after work.


Garden District

  • 1.5oz Aperol
  • 1oz Lillet
  • .5 Citron Savage

Mix and serve in a tall glass over ice. Finish with soda water.


Glutton for Punishment

For the enthusiast, Gustings offered up a more complex recipe. The Glutton takes nearly two weeks before it is ready to drink. So plan in advance. Gustings describes the drink as “like a bitter lemon, but not really.” His instructions are less of a formula and more of a feel. So read through the steps a couple of times.


First Step

  • Take one bottle of arrack and one bottle of Smith and Cross rum and mix them together.
  • Cut up 12 lemons cut really thin.
  • Mix that together and let it sit for a week


Second Step

  • Then take the lemons without squeezing them, and put them in a container. (Reserve the rest of the mixture.)
  • Next, you’re going to add 12 ounces lemonade and 60 ounces of tonic water to the lemons
  • Then, let that sit for a day


Third Step

  • Take an immersion blender and blend it.
  • Let it sit for two days. 
  • Strain it. 
  • When you’re ready to serve, fill a tall glass with ice, 1.5 ounces of gin, 0.5 ounces of Lillet, and fill up the with the juice.



With the reserved rum and arrack solution from the first step, you can make a second drink.

Swedish Punch

  • 16 oz. sugar water
  • 20 oz. orange pekoe
  • All of the reserved rum and arrack

Mix it all together and serve in a tall glass over ice.

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