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Editors’ Picks: Labor Day Drinking Guide

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Hemmingway Daquiri

Hemingway Daquiri. Photo © Wendell T. Webber.

While summer officially end until September 22, Labor Day weekend serves as the final warm weather blowout. Here, F&W editors’ drink picks for celebrating the season’s last hurrah.

Last Word: "My Labor Day drink is the resurrected classic, Last Word. It's gin based; I vote gin the best summer booze. But it also has green chartreuse and maraschino liqueur in it, which gives it kind of an herbal kick and gets you ready for fall. The only ingredient besides those is lime juice; so as long as you're stocked up on those three spirits, plus limes, you're good to go. And I just love the name—supposedly it's called that because it's such a powerful drink, it gets the last word." —Kate Krader, Restaurant Editor

Daiquiri: "I've been drinking a lot of daiquiris, both the classic version and the Hemingway daiquiri. Daiquiris had their reputation ruined by endless amounts of frozen strawberry versions and other such crap; a classic daiquiri is a great cocktail though, and perfect for summer." —Ray Isle, Executive Wine Editor

Light Red Wine: "As one of those fall-loving weirdos who starts pulling out her wool sweaters at the first dip below 72 degrees, Labor Day always marks the return of red wines into my rotation. It's definitely not time for big Cabernets or Syrahs yet, but I love to chill down some lighter reds, like the 2010 Jean-Paul Thevenet Vielles Vignes Morgon or the 2010 Estrela Mencia, and drink them with the gorgeous tomatoes that are so perfectly ripe this time of year—panzanella's a favorite weekend dish." —Megan Krigbaum, Senior Wine Editor

Home-Brewed IPA: "This past Memorial Day I made my first-ever batch of home-brewed beer, 5 gallons of what turned out to be a surprisingly delicious Memori-Ale IPA (every time I pop a bottle, I re-experience the shock that it actually tastes good, and I made it!) I've been drinking it all summer so now my stock is running low; as I savor my last few bottles, I'm already thinking about what my next batch will be, maybe just in time for Labor Day weekend...Labored on Labor Day Pale Ale?" —Daniel Gritzer, Associate Food Editor

Oatmeal Stout: "Having recently arrived in Copenhagen, I will be heading to one of the city's essential gastronaut stops: Mikkeller Bar from the terrific indie microbrewery of the same name. (Think cool projects like barleywine aged in bourbon and red wine barrels.) The bar has a really interesting design for an upmarket pub—surrealist schoolhouse style with white walls, mismatched chairs and chests of draws floating up the walls—and 20 taps listed online. I'm eyeing the Beer Hop Breakfast, an ultra hoppy and bitter oatmeal stout brewed with coffee, in hopes that it will cure jet lag." —Alex Vallis, Digital Features Editor

Paper Plane: "I've actually been a bit anxious to start drinking the shorter, stronger, savorier drinks of fall, and mixologist Sam Ross's Paper Plane is a great cocktail for the transition. It gets a slight bracing bite from Aperol and lemon juice, but bourbon and Amaro Nonino make it warm and spicy as well." —Lawrence Marcus, Senior Digital Editor

Cherry Beer: "I’m not typically a fan of fruity beers but the cherry-infused Cerise from Founders is one of my favorite drinks right now—and it’s only available in summer. I’ll be stocking up on any bottles I can find and toasting the season’s unofficial close with the extremely tart, malty, refreshing brew." —Justine Sterling, Assistant Digital Editor

Related: Ultimate Summer Grilling Guides
Cocktails for Grilling
Summer Fruit Cocktails

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