Just in time: Refreshing summer cocktails

July 2, 2014 


The heat of summer is the time for light, refreshing drinks such as this mango mojito.


Climbing temperatures are a cue that it's time to scale back on deep red wines and heavy beers and start pointing customers to more refreshing options: crisp white wines, light beers and mixed drinks swimming with seasonal fruits, herbs and ice.

Here are a few recipes for refreshing summer drinks.

The first two involve two cocktail basics that home mixers should familiarize themselves with: The act of muddling and the production of simple syrup.

Muddling involves mashing fruits and herbs and sugars together to extract their juices.

Simple syrup, a standard in many summer cocktails, is a boiled mixture of water and sugar or water and honey, often infused with other flavors.


Cold water

Granulated Sugar

Combine water and sugar in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear.


Makes one mojito

1/2 lime, cut into small pieces

6 large mint leaves

2 ounces simple syrup

1.5 ounces Bacardi Limon rum

1 ounce mango puree

Splash of soda

Place mint leaves and lime into a sturdy glass. Use a muddler to crush. Add simple syrup and muddle again. Add the rest of ingredients. Do not strain the mixture. Pour over a glass of ice and garnish with lime.


Makes one drink

5 limes quarters

2 cucumber slices

Dash of peach bitters (plain bitters work, too)

1 shot of gin (Hendricks is preferred)

3/4 ounce honey simple syrup


Soda water

Kosher salt

Fresh cracked pepper

Put limes, cucumbers, bitters and gin in a cocktail shaker. Gently muddle mixture. Add honey simple syrup and ice. Shake. Pour into rocks glass. Top with soda water. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.


Makes one drink

1 shot of quality vodka

2 ounces lavender simple syrup (1 part water, 1 part sugar, boiled, then add dried lavender leaves)

Soda water


Lemon wedge


Pour vodka and simple syrup in a tall Collins glass over ice. Add soda water and stir. Garnish with a lemon wedge dredged in sugar or rim the glass with sugar.


Makes 15 to 20 servings

5 ounces orange juice

3 750 ml bottles of red wine

3 ounces Triple Sec

4 ounces brandy

8 ounces pineapple juice

11 ounces simple syrup

Pour ingredients in a bowl or a pitcher and refrigerate overnight. Float thin slices of fresh lemon, lime or orange or maraschino cherries in the Sangria for garnish.


Makes one drink

1 1/4 ounces Ketel One Vodka

3/4 ounce Cointreau

1/4 ounce Rose's Lime juice

Put ingredients into a martini shaker with ice. Shake and pour into martini glass. Drink also can be served over ice.


Makes 1 drink

3 basil leaves, rolled and sliced into thin strips

1/4 lime

1/4 cup pineapple juice

1 1/2 ounces gin


Club soda

Put the basil and lime in the bottom of a glass and muddle. Add pineapple juice, gin and ice cubes, and top with club soda. Garnish with a slice of pineapple, lime wedge or a sprig of basil.

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