Peach Cocktails

peachcollinsSummer is in full swing. And while I’m not loving the heat, I am loving the fresh fruit. Peaches are a sure sign summer is here. Try these peachy cocktails to cool yourself down.

Peach Mint Julep ~ Bourbon and mint gets a boost from peaches in this twist on my favorite Southern classic.

Peaches and Herb ~ This brandy cocktail pairs fresh peaches with sage for a summer refresher.

Peach-Apricot Lillet Blanc Fizz ~ Lillet gives everything a delicate touch, so it’s the perfect accompaniment to peaches and apricots.

Peach Vodka Collins ~ This is a quick and easy sparkling drink that will hit the spot for day drinking or a hot summer night.

1Twelve ~ White peach, tequila, tarragon, Yellow Chartreuse … excuse me while I run away from the computer and make this one right now.

Photo by Jackson Stakeman

Strawberry Cocktails

Watermelon and Strawberry Vodka Slushies from A Splash of Vanilla

Watermelon and Strawberry Vodka Slushies from A Splash of Vanilla

Strawberries are a perfect cocktail ingredient—sweet with a hint of tartness, compatible with every herb and fruit. Late-spring and early-summer = strawberry cocktail time! Get out the shaker and muddler, then mix up these warm weather drinks!

Strawberry Grapefruit Mimosas ~ A little tequila and some different fruit turns this brunch classic into a surprising (and surprisingly easy-drinking) cocktail for any time of day.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cosmopolitan ~ Strawberry and rhubarb isn’t a combo just for pies! A little honey along with this fruit elevates an underrated and classic vodka cocktail.

Fraise Noire ~ Black pepper and strawberry are a dynamic duo in this unique cocktail made with Old Tom gin.

Watermelon and Strawberry Vodka Slushies ~ Real fruit slushies spiked with vodka is the perfect way to cool down whether it’s a pool party, backyard barbecue or an ordinary Tuesday.

Strawberry Rose Gin Fizz ~ Rose water takes this lovely strawberry sparkler to the next level. Sophisticated, uncomplicated and fun!

DIY Orange Soda

diyorangesodaOrange Crush, Sunkist and other kinds of orange soda are great, even if they taste more like orange the color than like orange the fruit. DIY orange soda has the same mix of sweet and tart as the store-bought stuff, only with the flavor of real oranges.

The citric acid is key to getting that sharp flavor associated with the real-deal orange soda, but it also extends shelf life a little. Leave it out if you like, but then this won’t be as tart and will taste more like OJ than Orange Crush and its kin.

DIY Orange Soda

Zest of 2 navel oranges
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 orange)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon citric acid
Seltzer

Zest the oranges. Be sure to avoid including any of the white pith. Juice one orange and strain out the pulp. Combine the zest, juice, sugar, water and citric acid in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, then let it cool. Refrigerate the cooled syrup and then mix one part syrup with three parts seltzer for each serving.

Adjust the amount of seltzer to taste. I suggest mixing on a glass-by-glass basis and storing the syrup separately, unmixed.

The recipe I created and posted here was first published on Serious Eats in my DIY vs. Buy column

Grilled Cocktails

Grilled Paloma from Barbells and Bellinis

Grilled Paloma from Barbells and Bellinis

Grilling fruit deepens its flavor and takes a bit of the tart edge off. Surprisingly, it doesn’t end up making your drink taste like barbecue. Instead, it takes whatever flavors you have and intensifies them.

It’s grilling season, so why not grill your cocktails! Here are some to try.

Grilled Peach Whiskey Sour ~ Tamarind soda is a surprising addition to this grilled peach and bourbon drink.

Grilled Cherry Old Fashioned ~ This is a fun twist on a classic. Instead of garnishing with cherries, grill ’em up and put ’em in your drink.

Honey Barbecue Plum Cocktail ~ Put some slightly tart plums on the grill to bring out their sweeter flavors, with a little honey liqueur and bourbon to balance out the experience.

Grilled Paloma ~ This refreshing grapefruit cocktail with tequila gets a new spin with a little help from the grill.

Mezcalita de Piña ~ For a new way to enjoy Margaritas, swap in mezcal and add grilled pineapple, jalapeño, and lime for something smoky, sweet and spicy.

Cynar Cocktails

Storm Warning from Serious Eats

Storm Warning from Serious Eats

Cynar is a bittersweet Italian liqueur that doesn’t seem to get much play here in the United States. I got to know it on a trip to Argentina. I like that it gives a little herbal intensity to a cocktail without taking over. Here are a few Cynar cocktails to try.

Little Italy ~ This variation on the classic Manhattan uses Cynar instead of bitters, for a bit of an herbal kick.

Sparkling Mint Cocktail ~ Mint, lime and a little sparkling wine complement the intense flavor of Cynar for a fun summertime party drink.

Storm Warning ~ A fun twist on the Dark and Stormy, this cocktail created by Beloved in Brooklyn is more complex and creamy than the original.

Red Letter Day ~ This one is a refreshing and sophisticated summer sipper made with applejack is not as sweet as the usual warm weather drinks, thanks to Cynar.

Les Paul ~ This is another variation on a Manhattan, with bourbon and maple syrup giving it a sweetness balanced with Cynar and Carpano Antica for depth.

Watermelon Cocktails

watermelonrumcocktailEven though summer isn’t here yet, warm summer weather is. If you’re ready for backyard barbecues, here are some watermelon cocktails perfect for a day in the sun.

Watermelon Fizz ~ Watermelon and gin … a match made in heaven.

Artemisia ~ Tarragon and watermelon are another fun pairing, with the slightly savory herb giving depth to the cocktail.

Watermelon Limoncello Prosecco Slushie ~ The name says it all. I’m ready for this one right now!

Watermelon Tequila Cocktail ~ Blueberries and lime add a little tartness to this fun summer drink.

Watermelon and Thai Chili Cocktail ~ This rum cocktail is refreshing with a bit of a kick.

Photo Courtesy of Brugal

Limoncello Margarita

limoncellomargaritaHappy Cinco de Mayo! I got together with Savvy Housekeeping for a delightful and springy margarita made with homemade limoncello. Celebrate with one today!

Limoncello Margarita

1 1/2 ounce tequila
1 ounce limoncello
1/4 ounce triple sec
1 ounce orange juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly. Strain into a glass.

Photo by Savvy Housekeeping

G’Vine Gin Review

lemonginandtonicThere’s a lot of variety between different styles of gin. From juniper-intense London Dry gin to softer International Gins with a variety of botanical flavors … there’s a gin for every palate. If you like floral gins (which I really do!), I recently tried one from France that I’d highly recommend: G’Vine.

G’Vine is made from Ugni Blanc grapes that are pressed and converted into wine and then distilled into a neutral grape spirit. This base is mixed with grape vine flowers and other botanicals including juniper (of course) ginger, lime and green cardamom. The result is a delicate and lightly sweet gin that pairs really well with fruit and herbal flavors. The ginger balances nicely with the sweeter aspects, giving it a bit of a kick.

If you’re the type who likes to make up new cocktail recipes with fresh ingredients (Ahem, like the recipes the book DIY Cocktails talks about), then this is a good gin to experiment with. If you like Hendrick’s Gin, G’Vine may be right up your alley. (At about $35, G’Vine is at a similar price to Hendrick’s.)

If you only like super intense juniper London Dry gin, this probably isn’t going to do it for you. But it does make a mean Gin & Tonic. I like to use Meyer Lemon instead of lime as an accent for a G&T made with G’Vine. This would also be a good candidate for my favorite variety of G&T: gin, tonic, generous squeeze of grapefruit juice and a few dashes of DIY Rhubarb Bitters.

Pineapple Cocktails

Pineapple Cilantro Margarita from Boulder Locavore

Pineapple Cilantro Margarita from Boulder Locavore

Spring has sprung and the sun is shining. (At least it is here. If it’s not sunny where you are, pretend it is.) The presence of pineapple in a cocktail is proven to increase warm-weather enjoyment. Science! So here are a few pineapple drinks to try this gorgeous spring. Tiny umbrella optional.

Fever Pitch ~ Pineapple mixed with cachaca, basil, Green Chartreues and celery bitters = sophisticated, complex and potentially mind-blowing.

Queen Califa ~ Adding rum agricole, falernum and allspice dram to pineapple puts this drink squarely in the tiki category. So you know it’s a good time.

Low-Cal Piña Colada ~ This “skinny” version has all the coconut and pineapple flavor, without most of the calories. But it tastes great regardless of the calorie count (or lack thereof).

Pineapple Cilantro Margarita ~ This is a good one for a backyard barbecue or lazy afternoon lounging outside.

Hotel Nacional Special ~ Another fun tiki drink … and another one that would be great for sipping outside.

Kumquat Cocktails

Kumquat Margarita from Serious Eats

Kumquat Margarita from Serious Eats

Kumquats are fun! They’re still in season for a little while longer … so put some of these little guys in your cocktails now. Here are some more kumquat cocktails to try.

Kumquat Rose Cocktail ~ Kumquat-infused gin is paired with the lovely Lillet Rose for an elegant and balanced drink.

Kumquat-Ginger Whiskey Cocktail ~ The spicy kick of ginger is a great match for the sweet-tart flavor of kumquats.

Kumquat-Pomegranate Punch ~ This fun vodka punch includes pomegranate seeds and juice for a party-worthy. Now you’re ready to party.

Kumquat Margarita ~ Kumquat is a citrus fruit, after all, so naturally a Margarita is a must.

Kumquat Sour ~ Bourbon, sour oranges and candied kumquats make a festive drink for any occasion.