Desperately Seeking Daisy

It's time to give the sour’s sibling its day in the sun.

When the temperature tips past 75 degrees, Margaritas and Daiquiris start settling into their summer homes on happy hour menus across the country. But following the same foolproof sour formula of spirit, sweetener and citrus, the un-loved daisy boasts an added layer of effervescence thanks to a finishing splash of soda water, boosting the category’s inherent drinkability.

Take the New School Gin Daisy, for example. Following the template of its old-school sibling, the recipe maintains the critical citrus and sparkling components, but dials back the gin, adding grenadine in place of orange liqueur for a fruitier flavor. The Shady Lane, on the other hand, takes a more baroque approach, straddling floral, sweet and tart all at once. To the expected gin and soda water, Lillet Rouge and blackberry-lime syrup bring a freshness to the formula, while shiso’s peppery aromatics tie the whole thing together.

The daisy’s adaptable makeup means it can take on virtually any spirit so long as it’s spruced up with soda. At Brooklyn’s Diamond Lil, Nathan Venard adds a measure of dry Curaçao and sweet vermouth to his pisco-based Valparaiso Daisy, while Alex Day calls on rhum agricole. Complemented by Lillet Rouge, lime and pineapple gum syrup, his Pins & Needles reads like the lovechild of a Daiquiri and spritz.

In a similar crossover, Shelly Lindgren’s Dusty Trails possesses the spirit of a cobbler with the spice of a buck. Fresh, muddled strawberries combine with rye, ginger syrup and soda water, for a drink that balances all the makings of a summer crusher: sweetness, tanginess and of course—fizz.

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