As a nice antidote to "mixology", The New York Times offers up some simple cocktails for the summer:
Thanks to practitioners like Mr. Wiese, we live in an age of cocktails that isn’t gilded so much as trimmed in platinum, reinforced with titanium and tipped with mercury.They have a pretty nice interactive feature up as well, though the article provides links to additional cocktails not shown in the feature. Generally I've favored a pitcher of planter's punch or mojitos when we've wanted to do something nice, simple, and summery, but I like that these are set up as recipes for individual cocktails... gives you a lot more options and works significantly better (from a not getting wrecked standpoint) in smaller gatherings. Some of them still seem to suffer from the fact that you have to buy some exotic specialty liqueur that you'll never use for anything else, but overall they seem to be strong recipes... a great way to change things up. I'll be bookmarking this for our trip to the beach in August.
But there’s a flip side to this creative efflorescence, looming large as summer tightens its sweaty grip and demand for refreshment grows: The gap between zeitgeist cocktails and stuff you might actually whip up at home has become a chasm.