Though it’s been shorts-and-short-sleeves weather for a good few weeks already, this weekend we finally reach the officially decreed beginning of of summer.  It’s time to fire up the air conditioner, finalize vacation plans, and prepare for a few months of non-stop leisure – sipping chilled cocktails by the pool, enjoying an icy cold beer at the ballpark, drinking mimosas on the beach, or swigging straight from a bottle of Rum while sitting beneath a coconut tree.

[Note: Alcohol Professor is not responsible for any concussions received from falling coconuts, should you choose to pursue the latter course of action.]

There’s just a mellow vibe to the summertime months that nothing else comes close to matching.  It’s a season of vacations and picnics, baseball and fireworks – tailor-made for relaxation and reflection.

Liquor companies have long been aware of the emotional appeal of summer, so I decided it would be clever to kill two birds with one stone, and feed my sense of nostalgia while spending a few blessed moments away from the hot sun.   And after trawling through shelves, boxes, and stacks of paraphernalia, it’s my pleasure to present you with these warm-weather selections from my climate-controlled archives!

Rums of Puerto Rico ad, 1951

Rums of Puerto Rico ad, 1951

Beer is, of course, a steadfast summertime standby.  Whether it’s popping open a cold one after mowing the lawn, sharing brews with friends on the patio, or bringing the cooler along for an outdoor adventure, it’s a beverage that’s perfectly suited for the lazy hazy crazy season.

Rheingold, 1949 Hamm's, 1949 Ballantine, 1947 Ballantine, 1951 Ballantine, 1957 Schlitz, 1960

But Beer certainly isn’t the only option: Whiskey can also be a soothing accompaniment to sweltering afternoons and steamy summer evenings.

Four Roses, 1938 Seagram's 7, 1946 Sunny Brook, 1950 Seagram's 7, 1950 Seagram's V.O., 1951 Seagram's 7, 1969

After all, there are few things more refreshing on a midsummer day than a perfectly-mixed mint julep.


Old Fitzgerald, 1950

And of course, Gin is another ever-popular summertime standby.  When the mercury starts to rise and the fish are jumping, a chilled G&T or a nice crisp collins will really hit the spot.

Seagram's, 1973 Beefeater, 1969 Seagram's, 1952 Gordon's, 1938 Gordon's, 1959 Tanqueray, 1989

Vodka’s clean and crisp character makes it another perennially popular option for dog day cocktails, and Smirnoff has smartly capitalized on that phenomenon over the years, offering a variety of ads that capture the casual, carefree elements of the season.

Smirnoff, 1957 Smirnoff, 1960 Smirnoff, 1971 Smirnoff, 1971 Smirnoff, 1971 Smirnoff, 1972 Smirnoff, 1972 Smirnoff, 1973 Smirnoff, 1976 Smirnoff, 1976 Smirnoff, 1978 Smirnoff, 1979

One can also beat the heat while branching out, and sip on something slightly less predictable – say, a fine European-style aperitif.

Martini & Rossi, 1959

Martini & Rossi, 1959

Dubonnet, 1954

Dubonnet, 1954

Though it should be noted that warm weather isn’t always about lying back and let the world wash over you – sometimes it’s preferable to take a more active role, seek some excitement, pursue the perfect wave.  (And then enjoy a celebratory cocktail afterwards.)

Walker's, 1960 Canadian Club, 1974 Imperial, 1970

And now that I’ve been looking over all these images and dreaming of summertimes past, I’m feeling the need to get outside myself.  It’s time to face the heat, find an ice-cold cocktail, and celebrate the start of a new season!