Fig Cocktails

Fig Sidecar from Valley & Co.

Fig Sidecar from Valley & Co.

Figs are the greatest gift of this not-summer-anymore but also not-feeling-like-fall time. And if you can stop yourself from eating them, take a moment to drink them. Here are some more fun fig cocktails.

Fig Thyme Cocktail ~ A pisco cocktail made with thyme and figs? Don’t mind if I do!

Fall Fig Cocktail ~ Using an Old Fashioned as inspiration, this fall drink adds some balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and orange juice to the bourbon for maximum effect.

Fig Caipirinha ~ A new take on the classic cachaça cocktail, this one adds some ginger ale for autumnal bite.

Fig Sidecar ~ A Sidecar made with figs? You don’t have to ask me twice!

Greek Awake ~ If riffing on a classic is too basic for you, try this exciting drink. Brandy mixed with homemade coffee-fig elixir. Ooh la la.

Apricot Cocktails

Apricot-Whiskey Smash from Chow

Apricot-Whiskey Smash from Chow

There’s definitely a “countdown to fall” feeling in the air, but it’s still summer. And that means access to delicious, ripe fruit. What to do with said fruit? Surprise, surprise … I am going to say: Put it in a cocktail! I grew up with an apricot tree outside my bedroom window, so this particular summer fruit is special to me.

Apricot-Whiskey Smash ~ One of the best ways to use fresh stone fruit in a cocktail is to smash it with some liquor. A little Cointreau and rich simple syrup perk up the apricot flavor, while rye provides the boozy goodness.

Apricot Mojito With Lemon Balm ~ Another good way to have fun with fruit is the Mojito. Lemon balm is an intriguing herb choice that adds another new element to this old favorite.

Peach-Apricot Lillet Fizz ~ Juice those sweet little fruits and let Lillet add some delicate flair to your drink. Garnish with cardamom sugar for a multi-layered cocktail.

It’s That Thyme ~ The bourbon-and-fruit smash gets a gourmet upgrade with thyme, quince paste and a few dashes of orange bitters.

Apricot and Mint Cocktail ~ A nice floral gin and mint accent the fresh flavor of apricots in this backyard sipper.

Cucumber Cocktails

Cucumber Mint Tequila Cooler from First Look Then Cook

Cucumber Mint Tequila Cooler from First Look Then Cook

Though the summer heat is not as intense here as it was just a few weeks ago, I still require cooling cocktails, dammit! Cucumbers are delicious and also [cool as a cucumber joke]. Here are some delightful summer drinks made with cucumbers!

Cucumber Basil Gimlet ~ Delicate and sweet (but not too sweet), this little number is just right for muggy summer nights.

Cucumber Lemon Drop ~ Refreshing and light, this twist on a “girly drink” is something everyone can agree on.

Watermelon-Cucumber Refresher ~ When watermelon and cucumber join forces to cool you down, they’re an unstoppably delicious duo.

Cucumber Mint Tequila Cooler ~ Mint and Cilantro give an herbal boost to cucumber, with a little help from agave and tequila.

Green Machine ~ Honeydew adds a sweet touch to this tequila and cucumber drink.

Fancy Free

fancyfreeThis little-known classic cocktail is basically a gussied-up Old Fashioned. While the addition of maraschino liqueur makes it a little sweeter than an Old Fashioned, it also gives the drink a funky kick and subtle bitter almond flavor.

Some people like to strain the drink and serve it up (without ice). I don’t. Controversy! Or, you know, personal preference.

Fancy Free

2 ounces bourbon
1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters
orange twist for garnish

Put several ice cubes (or one large ice cube) in an Old Fashioned glass. Add other ingredients and stir, then garnish with an orange twist.

If you want to learn how to make up your own cocktails based on the classics, buy the DIY Cocktails book. If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the Kindle version for free.

Photo by Jackson Stakeman

Basil Cocktails for Summer

Basil Juleps from David the Tornado

Basil Juleps from David the Tornado

My basil plants are going nuts, and a person can only make so much pesto. So it’s time for more basil cocktails. Basil is a cocktail-friendly herb, so grab a glass and a handful of basil already!

Cucumber Basil Gimlet ~ This delicate and pleasant gin cocktail is perfect for combating the hot-weather blues.

Basil Julep ~ While we’re basil-ing up the classics, this basil-ified take on the Mint Julep sounds just right for summer.

Basil Lime Cooler ~ A vodka highball with an herbal twist is a great sipper for barbecues and leisurely afternoons by the pool.

Chasing Basil Cocktail ~ Watermelon, cucumber, elderflower liqueur and gin! Need I say more? Get on it.

Basil Beerade ~ It’s like lemonade, only with basil and beer. Sounds good to me.

DIY Blackberry Liqueur

diyblackberryliqueur
It’s blackberry season! Depending on where you live, fresh blackberries may just be lurking at every corner. Here’s a fun way to turn that delicious bounty into something drinkable.

If blackberry picking isn’t an option for you, go with the frozen kind, which are preserved when ripe. The blackberries in the produce section tend to be sour and unripe, since a ripe blackberry turns to a mushy purple mess quickly.

I actually prefer the DIY variety to commercial blackberry liqueur (aka creme de mure).

DIY Blackberry Liqueur
2 cups blackberries (defrost first, if using frozen)
3/4 cup brandy
1 1/4 cups vodka
1/2-inch piece of lime zest without pith (optional)
1 cup simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)

In a sealable glass jar, muddle the blackberries and lime zest lightly to release juice and then add brandy and vodka. Seal and shake. Steep for 3 days, then strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing down to extract juice. Filter through a coffee filter or two layers of cheesecloth.

Add simple syrup to the strained infusion and shake in sealed jar. Let rest for one day before use.

The recipe I developed and posted here was first published on Serious Eats.

Fruit Smash Cocktails

Tequila Peach Smash from CaliZona

Tequila Peach Smash from CaliZona

Summertime is fruit time. Take advantage of that juicy, sweet summer fruit by smashing it up in a cocktail! Aside from being delicious, it’s a great way to use up fruit that’s a little on the mushy side.

Plum Smash ~ Plum and thyme is a refreshing combination that only gets better when bourbon is involved.

Balsamic Strawberry Smash ~ Balsamic vinegar gives a new dimension to the ordinary strawberry in this fun cocktail.

Fontana Pisco Smash ~ Pisco, red grapes and Reisling = three times the grapes, for three times the fun.

Tequila Peach Smash ~ How can you not want to drink a boozy peach? Answer me that! Sub in another liquor if tequila is not your thing.

Blueberry Smash ~ Blueberry, vodka and St Germain are a match made in heaven.

Honey Barbecue Plum Cocktail

bbqplumcocktailThe grill is already out for summer anyway, so why not grill your cocktail? (Or rather, grill the fruit that goes in the cocktail. No glasses or shakers on the grill!)

I got together with Savvy Housekeeping, and that’s exactly what we did. And it’s delicious … just not in the way that we expected. We thought it would just add a smoky flavor to our drink. But grilling did so much more.

Putting the plum on the grill for a bit deepened the plum’s flavor and brought out the sweetness and brightness of the fruit. We were using nice plums that were a little on the tart side, and the grilling brought out the natural sugars and helped the plum blend better with the other flavors in the cocktail.

So grilling is a nice way to improve slightly tart fruit (and let’s face it, supermarket stone fruits are usually too tart). Have some fruit that is a little disappointing? Get that grill out! It’ll make a great cocktail.

Honey Barbecue Plum Cocktail

1 plum
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
3/4 ounce honey liqueur (you can make your own)
1/2 ounce agave nectar (sub simple syrup if needed)
1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Cut the plum in half and remove the pit.Grill the plum on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until it begins to caramelize and you see grill marks. Turn over and let it cook on the other side for another 2-3 minutes, until the plum is soft. Remove from the grill.

In a cocktail shaker, combine all the ingredients except the bitters. Muddle the plum thoroughly. Fill the cocktail shaker with ice. Put on the lid and shake for at least a solid minute, or until ice starts to form on the outside of the container. This is especially important if the plum is still hot. You don’t want a warm cocktail.

Strain the drink into a glass. Add a drop or two of Peychaud’s bitters.

Photo by Savvy Housekeeping

Spiked Popsicles

Bellini Popsicles from Honestly Yum

Bellini Popsicles from Honestly Yum

Has choosing between a cocktail or a popsicle been tearing you apart? If so, the answer to this totally-real summertime dilemma is a frozen cocktail pop! They’re easy to make and will satisfy your desire for something boozy and super cold. I’m nothing if not a problem-solver.

Pimm’s Cup Popsicles ~ My love for the Pimm’s Cup as a summer treat is well-documented. The garnishing possibilities of the drink translate into great add-ins for the pop.

Costa Rican Watermelon Mojito Popsicles ~ Watermelon Mojito in frozen form? Case closed!

Campari Cantaloupe Popsicles ~ The bitter aperitif Campari pairs well with sweet cantaloupe for a very grown up frozen treat.

Bellini Popsicles With Edible Flowers ~ A fruity champagne cocktail in a popsicle looks gets even more delightful with the addition of flowers.

Strawberry Peach Vodka Collins Popsicles ~ It’s as if all summer desires were frozen into one delicious popsicle.

Check out even more boozy popsicle recipes