When I was a girl of 7 or 8 my favorite drink was plain tonic water, on the rocks. On midsummer Saturday afternoons, my parents would come home from playing tennis with friends and mix stiff gin cocktails to sip on the patio — and I’d clamor for a glass of my own. Mom would stack one with ice cubes and fill it to the top; fizzy and bitter, the bubbles may have tickled my nose and made me giggle — but even then I sensed instinctively that the taste on my tongue was thoroughly adult.

Of course, I’m adult now too — and have long since starting mixing my tonic water with stronger stuff — but I’m still utterly devoted to the peculiar charms of quinine. Which is why I felt an immediate kinship a few years ago, when over a (rather debauched) beach weekend, a college friend introduced me to his father’s standard summer drink. No reinvention of the wheel, it was essentially a traditional gin and tonic with the gin swapped out for a generous glug of dark rum. But it tasted delicous and felt somehow mischievous: like a salty-dog twist on a blueblood standard. In honor of my friend’s pop, I immediately dubbed it The Bill Hoyt. And I’ve been hoisting it to celebrate summer (and sand between my toes and striped towels and trashy mystery novels) ever since.

2 1/2 oz. dark rum (I use Mount Gay)
2 oz. tonic water
1/2  lime

Fill an old fashioned or collins glass completely with ice. Pour in rum. Top with tonic water and juice of 1/2 lime. Stir. Garnish with lime wedge. Put your feet up.


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