Like a sudden ray of light breaking through a cloudy sky, spring has finally sprung. Now each day will get a bit warmer and progressively longer. It’s time to welcome this beautiful season with a range of tasty cocktails made using the freshest ingredients. Enjoy!
Bartenders are increasingly adding floral accents to their beverages. To give a fragrant tickle to a recipe, try steeping pressed petals from edible flowers in simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water) or infuse a good unflavored vodka with them. But make sure the other components aren’t overpowering.
Just because it’s getting warm doesn’t mean you can’t use teas or tisanes in cocktails. They’re a great way to keep drinks light, flavorful and exotic. Some well-known combinations are bergamot (the chief ingredient in Earl Grey tea) with gin, hibiscus with tequila and jasmine with vodka. A deeper, more tannic black tea or tisane works nicely with darker, mature spirits like bourbon, rye and cognac. Delicate white and green teas combine deliciously with gin, vodka, pisco and white rum.
Has anyone seen my manquat? Hybrid fruitsare becoming more readily available than ever before and are showing up on bar menus across the country. Creations like tangelos, nectaplums and Pluots are inspiring mixologists. Microgreens—tiny, immature versions of veggies—are also an attractive, aromatic and functional garnish for spring drinks. (Check out The Chef’s Garden for a dazzling array of specimens.)
For an afternoon gathering outside, make a refreshing white or rosè wine-based cocktail. These concoctions are generally lower in alcohol and pair extremely well with food. Try a crisp Sauvignon Blanc Spritzer (two parts wine, one part club soda) topped with a splash of fresh apple juice and garnished with a cherry blossom and lemon zest. Serve it by the pitcher and leave the long winter behind you.
Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake well and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a single mint or microgreen leaf.
. *Lemongrass-Infused Simple Syrup
4 cups Sugar
4 cups Water
6 stalks Lemongrass
Stir together the sugar and water until the sugar dissolves completely. Remove the outer layer of the lemongrass and slice off and discard the ends. Cut the stalks into small pieces and combine with the sugar mixture in a blender. Blend until the lemongrass is finely chopped. Let stand for one hour and strain before using.
. Charlotte Voisey is the official mixologist of William Grant & Sons USA.