It's always fun trying out new drinks at the bars or restaurants where I'll discover some of the most memorable, creative cocktails. Nothing beats that crisp, refreshing, intriguing taste that dances in my mouth and relieves my physical stress as I unwind from a long work week. Why not bring that delightfulness into your own home with these recipes?
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Summer drinks take me back to those days outside when I relaxed on a friend's balcony grilling steaks or when we spent late afternoons at the biergartens in New York sipping on cold beers and refreshing cocktails.
When we're all stuck at home, the next best thing is to figure out how to replicate these cocktails at home. These are recipes that are much easier than you think and you can brag about your classy creations at your next virtual work happy hour. Here are a few of my favourites that I've recreated.
To Level-Up your novice bartending experience, I recommend purchasing a cocktail shaker kit. I didn't think I needed it, but my drinking glasses are far too delicate to shake ice cubes in and stirring granulated sugar around until it dissolves in an ice cold drink isn't practical - since it probably won't dissolve without a good shake. The cocktail shaker kits usually come with strainers to help you remove the pulp and seeds of fruit while making your drink and they also have pouring nozzles that you can attach to your liquor bottles or your simple syrup bottles - which is what I use it for. For the price and all that's included, this kit is a steal.
Some of these recipes call for simple syrup. You can technically use granulated sugar if that's what you have at home, since simple syrup is made from granulated sugar. But it's much easier to use simple syrup since it'll mix easily with your cold cocktails. And it's actually very easy to make at home. So I usually make a cup of simple syrup, put it in a empty glass cooking oil bottle to up-cycle and attach the pouring nozzle from the cocktail kit.
Here's how you make simple syrup.
1. Place 1 cup of white granulated sugar and 1 cup of water into a small pot. 2. Boil the pot over low heat while continually stirring until the sugar completely dissolves. 3. Take the pot off of the stove and let it cool. You can then store it in a glass bottle refrigerated for up to one month.
A strawberry mint fizz is very easy to make and can change your mood around after a long workday with its refreshing, cooling taste. It's perfect for a weekend brunch or weekday happy hour since you can make a large pitcher of it to share. Feel free to change out the strawberries for other berries you like such as raspberries or blackberries.
Ingredients for Strawberry Mint Fizz (per serving)
2 Strawberries, hulled 5 mint leaves, or more to taste Vodka - 1 oz Soda Water - 6 oz Sugar, granulated - 1 tbsp Ice
How to Mix:
Muddle the strawberries, mint and sugar in a cocktail shaker.
Add vodka and 2 large ice cubes to the shaker. Then, shake until cold.
Add ice cubes to a serving glass and strain vodka mixture into glass.
Fill remainder of glass with soda water.
Frosés have a special part in my heart lately. I'm not an alcoholic by any means. But one of my last memories before leaving New York for London is walking along the NYC Highline with friends and sipping on frosés at an outdoor bar despite it being a tad too cold. Every time I recreate a frosé at home it's linked to that memory, those friends, and those feelings of happiness.
Ingredients for Frosé (per serving)
Frozen rosé - 200 mL Sugar, granulated - 1 tbsp Lemon, juiced - 1/2 ounce (about 1 lemon) 2 Large Strawberries, hulled
How to Mix:
Place the rosé in a baking pan (ie. 9" x 13") or a bread tin and freeze for at least 6 hours. Keep in mind it won't freeze completely solid due to the alcohol content.
Blend the strawberries in a blender and strain (to remove seeds).
Add frozen rosé, strawberry puree, sugar and lemon juice into the blender and blend until smooth.
Pour the mixture into serving glasses and garnish with a strawberry or lemon slice on the rim.
Mojitos are perfect for pretty much any time of day - brunch. lunch, happy hour, late nights, throwing it back at home. I love drinking them out at bars because I never knew how easy it was to create. And now I can recreate my favourite drink any time at home and so can you.
Ingredients for Mojito (per serving)
Rum, white - 2 oz Lime - 1/2 oz (1 whole juiced) Mint - 12 leaves (or more to taste) Simple Syrup - 1/2 oz (from earlier) Soda water - 1 oz Ice
How to Mix:
Muddle 10 mint leaves and lime juice in a shaker.
Add muddled mixture, rum, and simple syrup with two large ice cubes into shaker and shake until cold.
Strain mixture into a small serving glass with ice (ideally crushed).
Add splash of soda water.
Garnish with remaining mint leaves.
Which drink screams "SUMMER TIME" to you? It's a daiquiri for me. Of course you can make a daiquiri with pretty much any sweet fruit, but I love how the strawberry brings out a beautiful red colour in this ice cold drink and adds a wonderful sweet flavour that gives me reprieve from a hot summer day.
Ingredients for Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri (per serving)
4 Large Strawberries, hulled Rum, white - 2 oz Lime, juiced - 1/2 oz (about one lime) Simple Syrup - 2 tbsp (add more if strawberries are not as sweet) Ice - 1.5-2 cups Garnish - lime, strawberry, or mint
How to Mix:
Blend strawberries in a blender. Then strain back into the blender (removing seeds). If you don't mind the seeds, skip this step.
Add rum, lime juice, and ice into blender and blend until smooth. (I pulsed it about 8 times.)
Pour into a serving glass and garnish with a lime slice, mint, or strawberry.
Gin and tonics (G&T) are a go-to for many people. It's often served with cucumber, which is refreshing. But I recently drank one with a lemon zest and it opened my eyes! Then, I started thinking how great of a twist it would be with an orange zest! So I gave it a spin and it was a hit! I have to say that I now prefer my G&Ts with orange because of its sweet tart flavour. Give it a try. You won't regret it.
Ingredients for Orange Gin & Tonic (per serving)
1 Orange, fresh - three 2-inch zest peels Lime, juiced - 1/2 oz (about one lime) Gin, dry - 2 oz Tonic water - 4 oz Ice
How to Mix:
Add gin, lime juice, and two orange zest peels with two ice cubes in a shaker. (Use a vegetable peeler to peel off long pieces of zest without getting the bitter pith.)
Strain mixture into a serving glass with ice.
Garnish with the remaining orange peel.
Since the warm weather can turn your cold drinks to lukewarm, melted ones pretty quickly consider chilling your serving glasses before use. Throw them in the freezer for about 30 minutes beforehand - assuming they're not fragile ones like mine.
Now that we've gotten some refreshingly cold and delicious drinks in you, I'm sure you're very happy you tried out these cocktail recipes at home. Make pitchers of it for you and your friends. I can't think of a better way to spend days at home with a great drink in hand, the sun shining, and laughter all day with your loved ones. Kick back and relax. May it be a relaxing and memorable weekend for you.
The Palette Cleanser