In summer, it can be tempting to stock your fridge to the brim with beer and call it a day. But this is the time of year when fruit and herbs and all those lovely things that make cocktails so great are in season. If ever there were a time to stray from your beer habit, summer is it.
“Coffee actually pairs really beautifully with tequila,” says Pam Wiznitzer, a mixologist at the critically acclaimed Seamstress in New York. “We use cold brew because it’s exceptionally strong, and almond milk because it creates this fluff on top.” She adds that you should feel free to add more cayenne pepper if you like things hot.
1 ½ parts CRUZ Reposado
1 ½ parts old brew coffee
¾ part almond milk
½ part maple syrup
½ part Ancho Reyes Liqueur
3 dashes angostura bitters
Cayenne pepper (garnish)
Shake all ingredients together with ice and pour over fresh ice in a lowball glass. Garnish with a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Summer Mint Meadow
This recipe is courtesy of Scott Turnbull, the sommelier and beverage manager at the Michelin-starred Solage Calistoga. He says that his ideal summer cocktail is “balanced and that evolves as you drink it. Sometimes summer cocktails can be a little on the sweet side, so they get boring. I try and create things that are interesting.”
1 oz Junipero gin
1 1/2 oz St Germain
5 mint leaves
4 cucumber slices
3 ginger coins
1/2 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz lemon juice
Muddle mint, cucumber and ginger, then add liquids. Shake and double strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a slapped mint leaf.
Van Gogh's Garden
Turnbull loves Art in the Age’s sage-flavored spirit, calling it “this really cool, complex spirit. It’s just a few clicks away from gin, it’s very herbaceous.”
1 oz Art in the Age SAGE
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/4 oz lemon juice
1/4 oz lime juice
1/2 simple syrup
Combine all ingredients in ice-filled shaker. Shake and pour entire contents (ice included) into highball glass. Garnish with lime twist.
Why choose between a beer or a cocktail when you can have a beer and a cocktail. This recipe, again from Turnbull, pairs a refreshing pilsner with a bold shot of tequila.
12 oz pilsner beer (or other lighter lager style)
1 oz silver tequila
1 oz orange juice
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz triple sec
optional splash grenadine (1/4 ounce max)
Take everything but the beer and combine in an ice filled cocktail shaker. Shake to chill. Salt the rim of your glass if you’re feeling so inclined (but it’s optional). Take the beer, and pour into 16 ounce pint glass. Then, slowly pour chilled tequila mixture down the side to prevent too much bubbling. The beer will take on a nice rosy golden hue from the OJ . Garnish with a lime.
It's Always Sunny
This recipe comes courtesy of Kyle Reutner, a mixologist in Honolulu, where it is truly always sunny. Reutner also owns the Hawaii Bitters Company, so bitters make appearances in lots of his drinks. This one uses a sweet syrup called falernum, which you may have to order over the Internet. Yeah, you can leave it out, but trust us; it’s better if you leave it in.
2 oz Kohana Agricole Rum
1/2 oz lime
1/2 oz falernum (optional but delicious)
craft ginger beer
Fill a tall glass with ice. Pour each ingredient into the glass then add an ounce or two of craft ginger brew. Stir gently and garnish with a lime wheel.
This is Reutner’s twist on the traditional Tom Collins, using a Japanese whisky in place of gin. Lemon juice and Meyer lemon bitters make this extra refreshing on a hot day.
2 oz Hakushu Japanese whiskey
3/4 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz simple syrup
Dash of Hawaii Bitters Co. Meyer Lemon Bitters
Shake ingredients, except the bitters, with ice. Strain into an ice filled glass. Fill with soda water (1 ounce or so). Shake in a dash of the Meyer lemon bitters and garnish with a lemon.
Fernet Branca is a super bitter, herbaceous liquor often served as a digestif. Here Reutner adds a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a touch of simple syrup to liven it up and make it summer-appropriate.
1 1/2 oz Fernet Branca
3/4 oz lime juice
1/2 simple syrup
Combine all ingredients and shake hard with ice in a cocktail shaker. Double strain it into a cocktail glass.
Tailor Made Punch
Wiznitzer says she likes this punch because it serves a crowd. “I look at bottle service as, here you’ve paid all this money for this beautiful bottle and then they bring you really crappy mixers. This is a way better option.” Plus, a punch is ideal for a summer pool party, because you can make it in whatever quantity you want, then stick it in the fridge and send people in for refills as needed.
12 parts Maker’s Mark
6 parts Cointreau
6 parts lemon juice
4 parts Earl Grey tea
4 parts demerara
4 parts water
Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl and allow the ingredients to marry for a few hours. When ready to serve, add a large ice block, garnish with fresh nutmeg and ladle out into individual punch cups.
“I’ve always been a fan of beer cocktails,” says Wiznitzer. “They’re refreshing and the beer adds an array of flavors and dimensions to the drink.” Definitely don’t skip out on the orgeat syrup in this recipe, the almond-flavored syrup is crucial to bringing the cocktail together.
1 ½ parts Menagé à Trois Citrus Vodka
¾ part lime juice
½ part orgeat syrup
3-4 fresh peach slices
1 bottle of hefeweizen, chilled
In a shaker, muddle the peach and add in the vodka, lime juice and orgeat syrup. Shake with ice and strain over fresh ice into a Collins glass. Top with Hefeweizen and garnish with a peach slice.
Few things bring around summer nostalgia like cold, fresh watermelon. But in the hoedown, watermelon gets an adult upgrade by being mixed with a maraschino liquor and a summer white beer.
1 large watermelon, rind removed
1 cup maraschino liquor
4, 12-ounce summer white ales
Puree your watermelon in a blender. You’ll likely have to do this in batches. Then pour it through a strainer. Mix in the maraschino liquor and chill the juice in the fridge. Once cold, in a large container gently mix the watermelon juice with the cold beer. Stir gently to combine and serve.