Five fresh and easy spring adult drinks
Spring is in the air, and now is the time to break out the alcohol with a few fruity cocktails to start the season. As a former bartender, there are a few tricks of the trade that I can share with you before going off into the drinks.
Cooking changes flavors of ingredients, as many of these are made into syrups and shrubs for drinks, so something to think about is having raw ingredients. The ingredients of these drinks call for fresh, raw fruit, and they will not taste as good with syrup substitutes.
While you may not have a cocktail shaker, there are a few substitutes, including a blender or a water bottle. With these things in mind, let’s get to my top five favorites for spring drinks.
Editor’s note: Please drink responsibly.
Blueberry Rum Smash (Cocktail)
This drink is simple and easy to make, consisting of a few simple ingredients that you can obtain at the grocery store.
To make 1 serving
Fresh (or frozen) blueberries
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¾ ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about one lemon)
2 part rum
1 part ginger ale
Note: If you can’t find any fresh blueberries, frozen works as well. Just running them under some hot water with a strainer for a few minutes will thaw them out nicely.
You make this drink in a mason jar, however a regular glass suffices. Put the blueberries in first, making sure they cover the bottom of the cup. Add the brown sugar and lemon juice in, then smoosh (or muddle) the three ingredients with the back of a spoon until the sugar is melted. Keep in mind that you just want to break the skins of the blueberries, not turn them into juice. Fill the glass with crushed ice, then add the rum and ginger ale. Stir until blended.
English Rose (Martini)
One of my favorite types of alcohol is apricot brandy. It is a must-try if you haven’t had it, and it also an ingredient in this next drink.
To make 1 serving
2 ounces of gin
1 part dry vermouth
1 part apricot brandy
½ ounce of lemon juice (about half a lemon)
1 teaspoon grenadine
1 maraschino cherry for garnish (optional)
Pour all ingredients in a container and shake well. You’re supposed to strain the drink into a glass, so you can use a single fine mesh strainer if you have one at home, although any strainer will do. Strain the drink into a glass, garnish if you so choose, and enjoy.
Bees Knees (Honey Whiskey Sour)
Whiskey sours are a common, well-known drink in the bar scene. However, for spring, let’s sweeten it up a tad to make this drink more tasty to those who don’t have a taste for sour.
To make 1 serving
2 parts whiskey
3/4 oz lemon juice (about one lemon)
2 tablespoons of honey
1 part hot water
1 lemon slice for garnish (optional)
Let’s stress the importance of hot water for this recipe; it allows honey-water syrup to blend with the drink. Put the honey and hot water in the mixer. Stir until the two liquids blend to make the syrup. Pour in the other ingredients as well as ice. Shake well and strain into a glass. If you choose, add the garnish and drink up!
Strawberry Basil Margaritas
Margaritas tend to get a bad rap for being difficult to make. While being tasty, it is easier to go out and buy one rather than making it yourself. However, this recipe is simple, quick and easy to make. We are going to get technical in this recipe as it makes an entire pitcher instead of one glass.
To make 1 pitcher, or about 8 servers
1 can (12 ounces) frozen limeade concentrate
8 basil leaves
2 ½ cups of tequila
Note: If you do not want the drink as strong, you can take up to a cup of tequila out.
Pour the concentrate into the pitcher and then pour 2 ½ cans of water (fill the can that contained the limeade with water) into the pitcher. Pour in the tequila. After this, rinse off the strawberries and cut off the stems. Place the flat side on the cutting board, and slice the strawberries into about 3 to 4 pieces. After each cut, add them to the pitcher. In order for the basil flavor to be released into the drink easier, crumple the leaves up into the pitcher. Now stir for about 1 to 2 minutes. Cover the pitcher with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for four hours. After about four hours, the drink will become a pale pink color and is ready to serve.
‘OH MY GOD MARIA’S LEG IS ON FIRE’
This is a drink found awhile back and the name was so outrageous, it needed to be tried. While there isn’t any real evidence if it is a real drink that can be found anywhere at a bar, or if the bartender who came up with it made it up on the spot, it’s actually quite a tasty blend of fruity flavors:
To make 1 serving
2 parts Maker’s Mark Bourbon
½ part Burnt Valencia Orange Syrup*
¼ part Cherry Heering
¼ part Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer
2 dashes cherry bitters
2 dashes orange bitters
Use these specific ingredients and brands as this brings out the best flavors. Specifically the beer, as just any beer will not be a substitute. Seriously.
*This drink requires you to make the Burnt Valencia Orange Syrup separately:
Burnt Valencia Orange Syrup
1 Valencia orange
16 ounces of water
1 cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Peel the orange and slice the fruit in half. Place both the peel and fruit on a pan and bake for 10 minutes or until the peel has browned almost completely. Add the water and sugar to a small saucepan over low heat and bring to a simmer. Add the baked orange pieces and simmer for 10 minutes. Let it cool completely and strain.
Now to make the drink, add ingredients to a mixer with some ice (about 4 or 5 cubes per 8 ounces is recommended) and shake well. Strain into a glass that has one ice cube and you can garnish with the orange peel. A preferred glass to put this in would be a mini pilsner, which is a glass that looks like what a pint beer is typically served in at a bar.
While the last one was a little more complicated than the rest, you should go out and make some of these delightful and tasty drinks!
Graphic by Jennifer Wu.