Wine & Spirits

By Meredith Clinton Bell

Summer will soon be in full swing and what better way to celebrate than with a brand new signature cocktail? Lucky for you, I grabbed the shaker and played bartender in order to find some easy, do-it-yourself recipes that are stylish for the season. With fresh ingredients and fun flavors, these options can all be adapted to quench the masses, making them perfect for barbeques and brunches. So call the girls and head to your nearest roof deck because summer isn’t endless and the cocktails are calling…

Skinny Pineapple-Coconut Spritzer

Ingredients:
1½ parts Skinnygirl Island Coconut Vodka
1 Part Pineapple Juice
6 Parts Club Soda or Sparkling Water

Method: Pour all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake. Garnish with lime or pineapple slice.

After a little mixing and shaking, this cocktail poured out light and refreshing. Admittedly, this one is the easiest, but I was still pleasantly surprised with the result. Part of Bethenny Frankel’s newly-released line of Skinnygirl brand vodkas, the coconut vodka gives the drink its stand-out flavor while the pineapple adds a faint hint of sweetness and a little color. The fizz from the club soda makes the whole sipping experience simply delectable.

If you want to make it ahead of time, consider mixing the vodka and the pineapple juice in bulk, then pouring the club soda over ice for each order. But without many ingredients, it’s also easy enough to make one by one. None of the flavors are too overpowering, so it’s a light option that will appeal to people with all tastes. Most importantly? Per cocktail, this drink is less than 100 calories.

Herradura Refresher

Ingredients:
2 oz. Herradura Silver Tequila
½ oz. Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
½ oz. Simple Syrup
1 Inch Cucumber (diced)
6 – 8 Mint Leaves
Top with Soda

Method: Place mint then cucumber into a cocktail shaker and gently crush with a muddler. Add the Herradura Silver, simple syrup, and lime juice to the shaker. Fill shaker with ice and shake vigorously to break down the mint and cucumber. Strain through a fine strainer (to remove all the little bits of mint) into a hi-ball glass filled with cubed ice and top with soda. Garnish with a cucumber disc and mint sprig.

Simple Syrup Recipe
2 parts water
3 parts granulated sugar

Method: Combine in sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to let boil, stirring, until sugar is fully dissolved. Then remove from heat and let cool before using.

This concoction has a lot of fun things going on for the taste buds. The ingredients complement each other so well that with each sip you’ll taste something new, and the cucumber adds a refreshing element that keeps the drink from being too sweet.

Certain to impress your summer party-goers, the Herradura Refresher is, however, a little more challenging to make drink by drink for a large number of people. Try setting up a DIY assembly line with all the ingredients, then everyone gets to play bartender. You can also just tweak the recipe and make a big batch ahead of time.

Cruzan® Strawberry Rosemary Punch
created by mixologist Jesse Card

Ingredients:
1 750ml Bottle Cruzan® Strawberry Rum
6 Parts Fresh Lime Juice
24 Parts Ginger Ale
6 Rosemary Sprigs
Rosemary Ice Blocks

Method: Pour rum into a punchbowl and add four sprigs of rosemary. Give it a quick stir, making sure to fully immerse the rosemary. Let the mixture sit for one hour at room temperature. After one hour, remove the sprigs of rosemary from the bowl and discard them. Add the lime juice to the rosemary-infused rum and chill in the refrigerator until you’re ready to go. Then add rosemary ice block and ginger ale to the rum punch mixture. Serve over ice in a punch glass. Garnish with a small piece of rosemary sprig.

Rosemary Ice Block Recipe
Fill a couple of round plastic containers with water and submerge some rosemary sprigs in each. Put it in the freezer. When serving your punch, float the ice blocks in the punch bowl for an added effect.

It requires some planning ahead, but this yummy rum punch is quite simple to make. I modified it to make just one cocktail, but clearly this recipe is perfect for a cookout with a larger crowd. The fresh rosemary smells amazing, and the ice blocks complete the presentation — while making you look like you know your stuff.

The rum itself has a strong strawberry flavor, so the lime and ginger ale do a good job of toning it down a bit. Be sure to include the rosemary sprig garnish — it gives the drink a pleasant scent as you sip.

All in all, this cocktail-making venture was a success. And while it’s always a treat to frequent the nearest cocktail haven, it’s also nice to know that it’s not too difficult to make fresh, interesting cocktails at home. So, break out your shaker and start mixing.

Originally published June 2012
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