Cocktail & Other Recipes Occasion Spring

10 Essential Cocktails for Your May Parties

Honey Kumquat Caipirinha. Image: Darren Edwards

Spring means more parties, longer days and the promise of all that summer is going to bring. It’s time to celebrate with a good cocktail or two. Whether you’re toasting to Cinco de Mayo, cheering on horses in the Kentucky Derby or simply enjoying the clement weather, we have you covered with these 10 cocktails.

  • Rhubarb & Strawberry Collins

    Rhubarb and strawberries are a classic combination that you won’t be able to get enough of this month. Your choice of gin or vodka plus Aperol provides a boozy backbone for rhubarb syrup, lemon and strawberry juice. Top with club soda for a bit of fizz, and garnish with a pickled rhubarb stalk and a lemon wheel.

  • Mint Julep

    The Kentucky Derby is at the beginning of May, but you’ll want to sip a cocktail this good straight through to September. Simple syrup, mint and bourbon are all you need to make this classic drink. For a true Derby experience, make sure you serve it over crushed ice and in a traditional Julep cup.

  • Turf Club

    Turf Club using Libbey Master's Reserve glassware. Tim Nusog

    Looking for something a little more spirit-forward? We have you covered. This distant relative of the Martini has been around for more than a century and for good reason. Gin, sweet vermouth, orange bitters and Angostura bitters combine for a cocktail that’s well-rounded, smooth and perfectly boozy.

  • Red Snapper

    Tim Nusog

    Swap vodka out for gin in this take on a Bloody Mary. The spirit gets a savory spin from tomato juice, lemon juice, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. Serve in a glass rimmed with celery salt and pepper, and garnish with a celery stalk and lime wedge for a show-stopping presentation.

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  • Spring Fever

    Welcome mid-spring with this fruity and bubbly cocktail. Sparkling rosé gets a floral boost from elderflower syrup and a dash of fruit flavor from fresh strawberries, while lemon juice and rhubarb bitters help to keep it all from becoming overly sweet.

  • Summerthyme Screwdriver

    Summerthyme Screwdriver. Tim Nusog

    If you’re hosting a crowd for Memorial Day celebrations at the end of the month, mix up a batch of this bright punch to welcome the new season. Lemons bring a sunny flavor to vodka, Aperol and fresh orange juice. Top with club soda for a little effervescence, and garnish with fresh thyme for an herbal scent.

  • Suffering Bastard

    Tim Nusog

    Bourbon and gin are your best friends in this hangover-curing concoction. The spirits are mixed with lime juice, bitters and ginger ale to soothe your morning-after blues. This recipe is flexible, so feel free to adjust the amount of ginger ale to reflect how you’re feeling.

  • Sorrentino

    Sorrentino. Tim Nusog

    Sweet, bitter, citrusy—all three describe this Italian springtime cocktail. Sweet vermouth, limoncello and Campari are stirred with ice until chilled, then the whole thing is topped with soda water and garnished with a thyme sprig and an orange slice for a simple afternoon drink you can make all season long.

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  • Rum Rangoon

    If you can’t take a tropical vacation, at least you can drink like you’re on one. This combination of two kinds of rum, lime juice, sugar cane syrup, and Angostura and orange bitters will make you think you’re sitting on a beach with your toes in the sand.

  • Honey Kumquat Caipirinha

    Honey Kumquat Caipirinha. Darren Edwards

    Clover honey syrup and fresh kumquats take a classic Caipirinha to a new level. Muddle the fruit with half a lime, then shake with ice, cachaça, Velvet falernum and the honey syrup. Pour unstrained into a double Old Fashioned glass so you can enjoy all the fruity goodness.