The dog days of summer have almost come to an end, but that doesnt mean the days of thirst-quenching, cool summer cocktails have to wind down, too. Here are my top five favorite fun summer cocktails.
* note- one standard shot is equal to 1 ½ oz. For ease of pouring, all volumes here will be in shots unless otherwise mentioned.
The Porch Swing. This summer cooler, adapted from a recipe found on Smitten Kitchen, is a twist on the classic Pimms Cup except with more alcohol. That said, although it tastes refreshing, beware! This ones got a kick.
1 shot Hendricks gin
1 shot Pimms No. 1 liqueur
1/2 cup homemade lemonade
1/2 cup sprite or 7-Up
5-6 mint leaves
1-inch slice of cucumber (I used English cucumber), quartered.
Add all ingredients except the soda to a tall glass and muddle well. Add the one-half cup sprite (or other lemon-lime soda), a couple ice cubes, and enjoy.
The Spicy Senorita. This is my twist on the classic Paloma- I'm a sucker for cocktails with a little heat to them, so naturally adding hot peppers to this classic drink seemed like a good choice. You can play around with how spicy you want your drink to be by adjusting the amount of jalapeño you use, or omit it entirely for the classic drink. Ideally you should use 3/4 cup grapefruit soda (I like San Pellegrino) instead of the juice + soda combo, but it can be a bit hard to find and there's no harm done by using the substitution listed below.
1 1/2 shots tequila blanco
2 shots grapefruit juice
2 shots lemon-lime soda
thin jalapeño slice- a little goes a long way!
Juice of half a lime (about 1 tablespoon)
Combine the tequila, lime juice, pinch of salt, and jalapeño slice in a tall glass. Muddle well, then add the grapefruit juice and soda (or grapefruit soda!). Mix, then top with ice and garnish with a lime wedge. Yum.
Cane and Abel. This might be my favorite cocktail on the list, but it's also the most complicated to make (go figure). The only place I've ever seen it served is at Barrio in Seattle, WA... which leads me to believe they invented it, so thanks guys! They serve it over crushed ice so it has a somewhat smoothie-like consistency, but I wouldn't recommend throwing it in the blender as an alternative.
1 shot black strap rum
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
small slice Serrano pepper (BEWARE- these are HOT!!)
2-3 whole fresh strawberries
honey to taste
1/2 cup good ginger beer (gosling's or reeds are the easiest to find)
Add the rum, lemon and lime juice, strawberries (washed and green tops removed), honey, and pepper to a glass and muddle well--you want the strawberries to end up the consistency of thick jam by the time you're done muddling. Add the ginger beer, then serve over (ideally crushed) ice. Make a lot; this one goes down easy.
Blackberry Gin Fizz. This is the perfect end-of-summer drink and a great way to use all those cartons of blackberries popping up on sale at the grocery store. This recipe is originally from Bon Appetit, but Smitten Kitchen also has a great adaptation. The version below is my own twist on the two.
1 small container fresh blackberries (usually 6-8 oz)
4 tablespoons sugar (or more/less to taste)
3 shots Hendrick's gin
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
several sprigs of sweet basil
Purée blackberries and sugar in a blender. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved--this will take about 10 minutes. Taste your (now macerated) blackberries and add more sugar if desired. Strain blackberry purée through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher, then stir gin and lime juice into pitcher. When ready to serve, add 1 part of this gin-blackberry mix to 1-2 parts club soda. Top with ice, garnish with the basil, then sip away!
Tinto de Verano. This Spanish drink is like a lighter, more refreshing spin on traditional sangria. Tinto de Verano translates to "red wine of summer" and that's more or less what it is- though you could try this recipe with white or rose wine if the red stuff's not your thing.
1/2 cup red wine (variety not important, but not something you'd balk at drinking on its own)
1/2 cup San Pellegrino Aranciata soda
Combine the wine and soda in a glass and fill to the top with ice. This orange-and-red-wine version is my favorite, but you could also try sprite, orange soda, or even a different flavor of San Pellegrino soda instead of the Aranciara.