As the mercury starts to rise, certain unspoken rituals are observed: lunch moves outside, sun seekers overtake city parks and sidewalk cafes suddenly do a roaring business. Summer, happily, is here once again. The change in weather also means a change in what we drink. The season’s vibrant colors, aromas and flavors inspire both home and professional mixologists. Here are a few key ingredients to get you started.
Add a Citrus Zest:
Any successful warm-weather cocktail needs to be refreshing, so it’s no surprise that citrus drinks are a summer staple. Juicy lemons, limes and grapefruits give your drinks a delightful crispness, but for a bright acidity try the lesser-known Asian citrus fruit yuzu, which has a highly concentrated flavor.
In the UK, the sight of a Pimm’s Cup is the first sign of summer. But you don’t need to be British to enjoy the quaffable mixture of gin-based liqueur, cucumber, mint and sparkling lemonade. There are also many modern variations of the drink, like the Jimm’s Cup (see recipe below). These lower-alcohol aperitif cocktails are a wise choice for a prolonged session of daytime drinking.
Make It Floral:
Fresh elderflower, lavender and rose can do more than just decorate your glass. Steep flowers in simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) for several hours and the floral notes will “pretty up” your cocktail. Edible flowers are also a great garnish and are available at gourmet groceries across the country.
Spirit of Summer:
Rum has been patiently waiting its turn to bask in the attention of the cocktail elite. Light, aged, spiced or infused, rum is now in fashion and is ready to be mixed. Try the Rosa Verde from the new New York City rum bar Cienfuegos.
Contributed by: Jim Ryan
- 1.5 oz Hendrick’s Gin
- .75 oz Fresh orange juice
- .5 oz Fresh lemon Juice
- .25 oz Fresh lime juice
- 1 oz Simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water)
- 4 Dashes Angostura Bitters
- Small thumb fresh ginger
- 3 Medium strawberries
- 2 teaspoons Cucumber foam*
- Garnish: Mint sprig
- Glass: Double rocks glass
In a shaker muddle the strawberries, ginger and simple syrup. Add the remaining ingredients, except the cucumber foam, and ice. Shake well and strain into a double rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Top with an optional, but preferred, 2 teaspoons of cucumber foam and garnish with a mint sprig.
Take a seedless cucumber, with its skin on and tips cut off, and pass it through a juice extractor. Pour the juice into a quart container. Shake the closed container a bit to get the foam to rise to the top. Open the container and skim off the foam. When you need more foam, shake the closed container again.
Contributed by: Cienfuegos
- 1.5 oz White rum (Flor de Caña)
- 2 oz Fresh watermelon juice
- Heavy sprinkle of cracked pink peppercorn
- 2 Dashes celery bitters
- .5 oz Fresh lime juice
- .5 oz Arugula infused simple syrup*
- Garnish: Fresh arugula sprigs
- Glass: Cocktail
Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with fresh arugula sprigs.
Arugula Infused Simple Syrup*
Add several arugula leaves to simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) and let steep for up to 12 hours. Taste the syrup often until you like the flavor. Once it’s ready, strain the liquid into a clean bottle.
Charlotte Voisey is the Mixologist for William Grant & Sons USA.