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It's summertime, and we're thirsty. Luckily, we think we've found the path to ultimate refreshment: fresh fruit combined with one of our favorite liquors. Our epiphany was born of practicality; we often bought too much fruit that demanded immediate use or prompt burial. We created cocktails to satisfy our souls, slake our thirsts and please our palates. So can you, if you follow our simple rules for great summer drinks.

Rule One: Don't choose the least expensive brand of liquor, even though the nuances of the finest spirits will be masked by the fruits and other ingredients. Name-brand products cost a little more, but they bear fuller flavors than spirits with names that you don't recognize. 

Rule Two: Keep lots of fresh citrus fruits on hand. A squeeze of lemon or lime makes flavors sparkle. 

Rule Three: Don't let the dominant fruit flavors make you forget that each of these drinks contains about two ounces of alcohol. We think these proportions produce the best results, but you may want to ease up on refills. 

GARY AND MARDEE HAIDIN REGAN are the authors of The Book of Bourbon and Other Fine American Whiskeys.(Chapters Publishing)

Published August 1996
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