This summer, celebrate with cocktails that are as fresh and sunny as the season.
Whether you’re throwing a fourth of July garden party or just having a few friends over for an alfresco evening dinner, mix up some drinks that make use of the season’s trendiest recipes and ingredients.
1. Sparkling Liqueurs
Champagne isn’t the only thing you should reach for when you’re craving a little bubbly. New sparkling liqueurs like LeSutra and Absolut Tune combine the fizz of your favorite sparkling wine. These labels contain some extra booze and subtle floral and fruity flavors - meaning you can drink them on their own with some ice or mix them up in a wide array of cocktails. Replace the Champagne in your favorite cocktails with one of these new sparkling liqueurs - a good recipe to start with is the Berry Bellini
Nope - we’re not talking about the bushes on your patio. Shrubs are a variety of cocktail that is made with drinking vinegars as a base - the tart ingredient is sweetened and not at all like what you toss onto your salad. It can be easily made at home and goes well with gin, champagne and other spritely flavors of the season. The blogger at My Man’s Belly
has some handy recipes along with a primer on how to make the essential ingredients.
3. Artisanal Vermouth
The craft spirits movement hasn’t passed over vermouth, which is treated like an afterthought on the bar even though it’s an essential ingredient in classic drinks like the Manhattan
and the Negroni. Brands like Atsby are creating new botanical blends that amp up those classics. Though the differences are subtle, you’ll definitely notice some new life given to those dusty old drinks.
Another type of herbal liqueur making inroads with drinkers is Suze, a French aperitif that recently became available in the United States. The yellow liquid contains floral and earthy notes (the spirit’s flavor comes from the herb yellow gentian) and can be added to a glass of champagne for a totally easy cocktail. Get the full story on this trend
5. Local Spirits
If you’re cooking a dinner with produce sourced from local farms, you should follow suit with your beverages. An increased awareness of locality along with a rise in small-batch distilleries across the United States has led to locally made gins, rums and other spirits being made around the country. When you go to the liquor store, ask the folks there if you can make that same drink but with an ingredient from nearby.
6. Ginger in Your Glass
The revitalizing bite of some ginger is a great way to add some extra kick to your summer cocktails. The ingredient is always a nice surprise, especially in classics like the penicillin or Moscow mule. This is also an excellent ingredient to use for friends who like a refreshing beverage but may not be fans of sugary fruit. You can add a dash of ginger with a flavored liqueur like Canton or by whipping up ginger simple syrup
7. Sherry Cobbler
This classic American cocktail encapsulates two trends that you’ll see on the beverage scene. The first is the use of fresh fruits, as a classic cobbler is stuffed with oranges, strawberries, blueberries (and pretty much any fruit that you’d care to throw in). The second is sherry, which is dusting off it’s reputation as grandma’s tipple and showing up front and center in cocktails. Fill a wine glass with sherry and ice and stir in the fruit along with a spoonful of sugar. Done and done.
8. Juleps, Without the Mint
Sure, mint juleps are classic for a reason, but you can do a lot more with that stainless steel cup and crushed ice. A julep doesn’t need mint to still be a julep. It doesn’t even need bourbon. You can pour your favorite spirit over that crushed ice, add a sweetening agent, and voila, a julep is born. Try making a basil strawberry julep by muddling the two ingredients together with some simple syrup, mix in 3 ounces of gin and the pouring it over the ice. Garnish with a strawberry slice and a sprig of basil. nybarfly knows his drinks and also where to get the best sauce in Manhattan. Check out his blog site, NYBarfly and his Tablespoon profile — be sure to continue to check Rock UR Party for more tips and suggestions for discovering new bevvies.