Unshucked cobs of corn are piled up all over farmers market stalls right now in what’s arguably the best time of the year for fresh produce. But forget about grilled ears slathered with butter and salt for a second. Turns out that corn-based whiskey is what you really need to get you to the official end of summer, in the form of frozen bourbon drinks with watermelon, mint, peaches and the rest of summer’s bumper crop. These blended drinks are splendid by the pool or on the patio.
Guests at Villa Azur in Miami experience dining, drinks, entertainment, music and art in a distinct space that combines the atmosphere of South Beach with that of Mediterranean France’s La Côte d’Azur. Bar manager Carlos Ramos’ fresh take on a Julep was inspired by the tropical vibes, culture and eternal summer of Miami. “The bourbon complements the refreshing mint flavor to give you something that stimulates the senses and quenches your bourbon craving,” he says.
HomeMakers Bar in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood is named for both the watering hole’s welcoming feel and its midcentury design inspiration. This frozen concoction is an elevated version of the high school party trick of upending a bottle of vodka in a watermelon. Here, the fruit is allowed to absorb bourbon and fennel-infused Cocchi Americano before it’s frozen. “By freezing the watermelon and its ingredients, we can preserve and hang on to summer as long as we want,” says co-founder and manager Catherine Manabat. “Nothing says summer more than watermelon.”
Sarah Turbett, the bar manager at Oak Steakhouse in Nashville, came up with the idea for her brain-freeze-inducing creation thinking about her favorite flavors of summer and fall growing up in Tennessee. “Tennessee whiskey, summer peach and vinegar notes brighten up fall spices, orange peel and licorice, transporting your palate from the warm end of summer to the early crisp autumn breeze,” she says. “Light enough to enjoy during the heat but complex enough to hold up to a piece of pumpkin pie, this cocktail is the perfect drink for the end of summer. Imagine sipping on this frozen cocktail on your porch in a great wooden rocking chair, watching the sun go down in a golden sky over amber fields.” Sounds just peachy.
After Hailey Coder, the lead bartender at The Park Bistro & Bar at the Lafayette Park hotel in Lafayette, Calif., topped some fresh local peaches with a big dollop of Chantilly cream, the bar team began brainstorming ingredient combinations, from almond, vanilla and honey to lemon juice and blackberries. Coder mingles all of them in this decadent summer sipper that thankfully can be more frequent an indulgence than Halley’s Comet, its similarly named astronomical occurrence. “Peaches are in season toward the end of summer and partner perfectly with bourbon,” she says. “You can imagine peaches, blackberries, almond and cream combining to make a perfect dessert, so why not a cocktail?” It’s easily scalable and batchable for backyard barbecues or summer soirees.