Floral Cocktails

Elderflower Old Fashioned from Saveur

Elderflower Old Fashioned from Saveur

It isn’t just time for flowers in the garden. It’s also time for flowers in our cocktails! Whether it’s a liqueur, syrup, infusion, or simply a garnish … flowers are where it’s at, man.

Violet Vermouth ~ A low-alcohol, two ingredient cocktail of creme de violette and dry vermouth sounds lovely. Add a violet garnish and you’re good to go.

Garden Elixir ~ Peppery nasturtiums make an intriguing garnish for this gin cocktail that includes cilantro, celery, and apple among its garden ingredients.

Lavender Collins ~ A Tom Collins spruced up with some lavender syrup and Parfait Amour? What’s not to love?

Elderflower Old Fashioned ~ Sub some St. Germain for the sugar in an Old Fashioned for a spring twist on a classic.

Hibiscus & Ginger Champagne Cocktail ~ Ginger and hibiscus flowers (in rosewater syrup) and champagne? Yes, please!

Cocktails to Celebrate Spring

Lavender Bees Knees from Honestly Yum

Lavender Bees Knees from Honestly Yum

It’s official: Spring is here! Time to celebrate with cocktails. Here are some intriguing spring cocktails to help you ditch those winter blues.

Agricole Guava Cooler ~ Rhum agricole is a type of rum made in the West Indies using sugarcane juice instead of molasses. This gives it a lovely grassy flavor that is perfect for spring drinking. Mix it with guavas, which are coming in season now, and you have an unexpected and refreshing seasonal drink.

Lavender Bees Knees ~ Lavender, honey, gin, and lemon … a lovely spring-y drink great for early spring, since not all our favorite fruits are ready for us yet.

Kiwicha ~ Kiwi fruit is the star of this gorgeous green cocktail made with Pisco.

Pink Collins ~ Strawberries, grapefruit, and elderflower liqueur give a light spring touch to a vodka Collins.

Kumquat Lemongrass Rum Punch ~ Lemongrass and kumquat are a bright spring cocktail combo you can’t ignore!

Meyer Lemon Cocktails

Meyer Lemon Rosemary Gin Fizz from Crumb

Meyer Lemon Rosemary Gin Fizz from Crumb

I’m just going to say it: Meyer lemons are better than other kinds of lemons. (Suck it, Eureka lemons!) They’re an ideal cocktail lemon, and this time of year they’re plentiful. Meyer lemon cocktails are where it’s at, man. Here are some to try:

The Honey Bee’s Knees ~ Lavender and lemons are a delicious combo. Add gin, and you have a lovely cocktail for this lovely almost-springtime.

Meyer Lemon Fig ~ Fig is the name of the drink—there are no figs in the recipe. Just whiskey, ginger, vanilla simple syrup and meyer lemon, topped off with a little seltzer. Very refreshing.

Oaxacan Daisy ~ Smoky mezcal combines with sweet and tart meyer lemon for a complex-flavored (yet easy to make) cocktail.

Meyer Lemon Rosemary Gin Fizz ~ Herbaceous lemony good times … perfect for porch or backyard sipping.

Uncommon Threads ~ Instead of lemon juice, this uses lemon oil along with gin, Cocchi Americano and saffron-infused honey. Get it!

More Grapefruit Cocktails

Thyme Paloma from 10th Kitchen

Thyme Paloma from 10th Kitchen

We’re oh-so-close to Spring! This means that a lot of the exciting fruits we’re waiting to cocktail with aren’t in season yet. Don’t fret. Our friend the grapefruit is here to help. It’s one of my favorite cocktail ingredients, because of its subtle tartness and light touch. Grapefruit cocktails are refreshing and a little unexpected. Here are a few for you to sip on:

Grapefruit Margarita ~ This twist on the Margarita offers a nice bridge between a tart and strong traditional Margarita and the sweet and fruity ones, like a Strawberry Margarita. So good!

Dirty Diana ~ “Tastes like fresh grapefruit sprinkled with brown sugar” + dark rum? I’m in.

Thyme Paloma ~ Tequila or mezcal pair so well with fresh grapefruit, and a little thyme adds a new herbal dimension to this classic refresher.

Hemingway Daiquiri ~ Hemingway knew how to write, yes. But he also knew how to drink. Adding a little grapefruit to a traditional Daiquiri was a great idea.

Little Tybee Latitude ~ Basil, grapefruit, and gin are best friends. Yum. Best friends, I say!

Fernet Branca Cocktails

Fanciulli Cocktail from Serious Eats

Fanciulli Cocktail from Serious Eats

When it comes to bitter liquors, none elicits such fierce loyalty as Fernet Branca. It has a strong bitter-herbal-licorice flavor that can be a turn-off to many. But I live near San Francisco, where it’s a bartender’s drink of choice. Last year when I went to Argentina, where it is the most popular beverage hands-down, I was offered shots of Fernet or Fernet & Coke everywhere I went. So I’ve learned what it can do. And I like it. While I’m still not crazy about the shots, it does make for an interesting cocktail ingredient. Here are some drinks that tame Fernet a bit while still letting it shine.

Pimm’s Italiano ~ The very British (and delicious) Pimm’s Cup gets an Italian makeover with the help of some Fernet Branca. Light with bite!

The O’Hara ~ Bourbon, Benedictine, blackberries … and Branca. Herbal with a hint of sweetness, to prepare you for spring.

Fanciulli Cocktail ~ It’s a twist on the Manhattan, with Fernet stepping in on bitters duty. Can’t say no to that!

Fernet Flip ~ Apparently Carpano Antica and Fernet Branca are good friends. An egg and chocolate bitters make this a unique treat.

The Smoking Gun ~ Why tame the Fernet? Go bigger with some scotch! A rich brown sugar cordial and some bitters tie the whole drink together.

Champagne Cocktails for Valentine’s Day

Lillet Sparkler from a Crimson Kiss

Lillet Sparkler from a Crimson Kiss

I don’t need an excuse to enjoy Champagne! But Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to dress up your bubbly for an elegant cocktail. Here are some champagne cocktails that are just right for romance.

The Little Kiss ~ Here’s another take on a chocolate and strawberry cocktail that uses sparkling wine, strawberry shrub, and creme de cacao. I’m imagining sipping this one in front of a cozy fire.

Lillet Sparkler ~ I love Lillet Rosé! Add Champagne and grapefruit bitters, and you have a simple yet special aperitif.

Shrinking Violet Cocktail ~ Champagne and flowers are a proven Valentine’s one-two punch, so here’s a fun way to combine them. Garnish with a violet, viola, or pansy for maximum gorgeousness.

Rosé French 75 ~ Rosé sparkling wine and blood oranges add a lovely twist and pink hue to the classic French 75.

From Russia With Love ~ Chocolate, raspberries, and Champagne. Romantic, no? Yes!

More Valentine’s Day Cocktails

Tea Cocktails

Sweet Tea Bourbon Cocktail from Joy the Baker

Sweet Tea Bourbon Cocktail from Joy the Baker

Tea has deep and complex herbal flavors that will mix up your cocktail mixing routine. Whether hot or cold, tea cocktails are where it’s at, man! Here are a few to try.

High-Tea Cocktail ~ Black tea, cardamom, and ginger accent the botanicals in the gin. Sweet vermouth and orange bitters elevate the drink into fancy-pants territory.

Maple Bourbon Chai Tea Toddy ~ This creamy, spiced cocktail calls for maple bourbon, but you can just as easily use plain old bourbon and maple syrup.

Green Tea and Ginger Cocktail ~ Gin and tea are BFFs! In this case, green tea is a good accompaniment to ginger liqueur and a break from the usual black tea.

Sweet Tea Bourbon Cocktail ~ While the bourbon is southern, this sweet tea isn’t. Agave syrup, orange, and mint make the sweet tea for this specialty cocktail.

Hot Rum Tea ~ If you need something to warm you up, this tipple is up for the job!

Fennel Cocktails

Cranberry Fennel Refresher from The Boys Club

Cranberry Fennel Refresher from The Boys Club

I love fennel! It has a fresh, mild licorice flavor that complements so many ingredients. It’s also a surprising element that will shake up your cocktail repertoire. Here are a few drinks to try that get a little help from fennel.

Fennel Delight ~ I’ve seen a lot of beautiful grapefruit in stores lately. Mix it with fresh fennel, a hint of lime, and smoky mezcal for a unique winter sipper.

Campari Fennel Aperitif ~ If you have a few leftover fennel fronds, muddle them with lemon, simple syrup, Campari, and sparkling wine in this sophisticated Italian aperitif.

Golden Bowl ~ This one gets points for combining flavors I never would have thought would be pals! Fennel, ginger, rye, orange, absinthe, and lemon (along with a hint of sugar and salt) come together for a creative cocktail.

Cranberry Fennel Refresher ~ Fennel syrup turns the familiar vodka-cran-lime combo into a special occasion.

The CSA Cocktail ~ Cinnamon, juniper and a variety of citrus adding complex layers to a vodka cocktail. Cucumber and fennel are the fresh flavor stars of the drink, though.

Rosemary Cocktails

Rosemary, Baby! from Serious Eats

Rosemary, Baby! from Serious Eats

Come winter it’s a little harder to get your hands on fresh herbs. However, rosemary is less temperamental than a lot of the herbs commonly used in cocktails. And the good news is, it’s just as fragrant and delightful as any of them. I live in California, so it might not be the case where you live, but I can’t go two feet without seeing a full rosemary bush. (In general, they are hardy plants so you likely see them around or have one yourself, too.)

Rosemary pairs well with most fruit and booze. Hurray! Don’t forget, sprigs of rosemary make great garnishes, too. Use ‘em as spears!

Ruby Red and Rosemary Honey Cocktail ~ Ruby Red grapefruit, vodka, honey simple syrup with a little lemon and rosemary … tastes fresh and refreshing. It would also be good with gin instead of vodka.

Apple Ginger Rosemary Cocktail ~ This vodka-based cocktail balances the wintry and exciting flavors of apple, ginger, and rosemary with a hint of lemon to tie it all together.

Rosemary, Baby! ~ I love everything about this, including the fun name. Aperol infused with rosemary adds an herbaceous touch to a bourbon and honey sparkling punch. Party time.

Rosemary Refresher ~ Another grapefruit-rosemary combo that works like a charm. This time it’s a margarita-like tequila drink batched for a crowd. Party time, part 2.

Mistral Mauve ~ Sparkling wine and creme de violette (one of my favorite combos) is spiced up with a little rosemary-infused simple syrup. Garden flavor in your glass!

Orange Cocktails

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Seven Foals Cocktail from 10th Kitchen

While some of these cocktails are orange in color, I’m talking about orange the fruit! Here in winter time, a lot of the exciting fruits aren’t available. (Or if they are, they’re not in top form.) So let’s not forget the trusty (and delicious) orange. Winter cocktail time!

Roasted Orange Negroni Sbagliato ~ This Negroni variation made with vermouth has an extra level of oomph, thanks to the flavor of a charred orange wedge.

Red Lion Cocktail ~ This simple concoction of gin, triple sec, lemon and orange juices is refreshing and light. Best of all, it’s made with ingredients most home bars always have on hand.

Seven Foals Cocktail ~ For a more complex and layered drink, try this one. Orange, fennel, dry vermouth, aquavit, and celery bitters and a Pernod rinse! (You can use homemade aquavit, DIY celery bitters, and even  homemade pastis.)

Painkiller ~ Tiki Time! Orange, coconut, pineapple, and rum will make you feel like you’re on a sunny beach no matter what winter throws your way.

Orange Basil Gimlet ~ The original is made with blood oranges, but you can also use plain old oranges for an amazing gimlet twist.