Cocktail Spotlight - "Enticing Summer Elixirs From Around The Country"

Enjoy this diverse mix of craft cocktails being served up this summer at great cocktail bars in the good U.S.A. Visit one of these bars for your summer travel plans and have them mix you up one of these delectable and visually aesthetic elixirs or make at home for pool partoes or summer parties. Bars listed under each cocktail recipe. Subsititute brand names as needed. In many cases, I offer you an alternative brand or type of spirit for those hard to find products...Cheers!

(Photo courtesy of Imbibe)

Pearl Diver

In 2007, Beachbum Berry’s Sippin’ Safari revealed the long-secret recipes for a number of classic tiki concoctions such as this 1950s-era drink from Polynesian-style pioneer Don the Beachcomber.

  • 1½ oz gold Puerto Rican rum, such as Appleton Estates
  • ½ oz Demerara rum, such as El Dorado
  • ½ oz. fresh lime juice
  • ½ oz. fresh orange juice
  • ½ oz. *Don’s gardenia mix
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • ½ cup crushed ice

Glass: Pearl Diver glass, or other tall, decorative glass

Garnish: banana leaf or pineapple leaf

Prep - Combine ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 20 seconds. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a glass and add fresh crushed ice to fill. Garnish.

Don’s Gardenia Mix -  Using a spatula or an electric kitchen mixer, cream 1 oz. of honey with 1 oz. of softened, unsalted butter; add 1 tsp. of cinnamon syrup, ½ tsp. of vanilla syrup and ½ tsp. of allspice liqueur. Refrigerate the remainder for up to 1 week.


Decoded from an encrypted recipe by Jeff Berry, Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29, New Orleans


Pink Squirrel

(Photo courtesy of Imbibe)

Creamy and sweet, the classic Pink Squirrel is great for sipping after dinner, and perfect for fans of the Grasshopper.

  • 1½ oz crème de noyaux or almond liqueur
  • 1½ oz. white crème de cacao
  • 1½ oz. heavy cream

Glass: coupe or Nick and Nora

Garnish: Peychaud’s bitters

Prep - Combine all ingredients in a shaker and dry shake. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a glass and garnish.


Juliet Bar, Austin

Watermelon Sangia

(Photo courtesy of Imbibe)

Juicy watermelon couldn’t find a better liquid match than tequila. When supported by a chorus of spicy ginger, tangy lime and bittersweet Aperol, you’ve got a summer sipper primed for poolside parties.

  • 1 oz. blanco tequila
  • 1 oz. Aperol
  • 1 oz. fresh watermelon juice
  • ½ oz. fresh lime juice
  • ¼ oz. ginger syrup (1:1)

Glass: rocks

Garnish: watermelon balls soaked in Fresno chile juice (optional) and mint sprig

Prep - Shake ingredients together in a shaker tin with ice. Strain into a fresh rocks glass. Garnish.


Simbal Restaurant, Los Angeles


Mexican Firing Squad

(Photo courtesy of Imbibe)

A classic first illustrated in Charles H. Baker’s The Gentlemen’s Companion, the Mexican Firing Squad is a tequila cocktail that deserves attention. It’s served at Ward III in New York City, where bartender Kenneth McCoy says he added it to his summer menu because “it’s fun and delicious and a bit more under the radar than a Margarita or a Paloma.”

  • 1½ oz. blanco tequila
  • ¾ oz. fresh lime juice
  • ¾ oz. grenadine
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Splash of soda

Glass: Collins

Garnish: lime wedge and cherry

Prep - Shake first 4 ingredients in a shaker tin with ice. Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice. Top with a splash of soda and garnish.


Ward III, New York City


Juke Cup

(Photo courtesy of Imbibe)

Bartender Danny Shapiro uses the spice-fueled sweetener as the base of the cocktail, rounded out with a bit of fresh cucumber, lime and honey. The rhum agricole in the drink is a subtle touch, adding whispers of grassy sweetness to the mix.

  • 1¼ oz. Falernum (If you can't get, use a mixture of orgeat syrup (almond syrup), lime juice, and vanilla extract equaling 1 1/4 oz)
  • ¾ oz. high-proof rhum agricole, such as Appleton, Mount Gay, or Zacapa
  • ¾ oz. fresh lime juice
  • ¼ oz. honey syrup (1:1)
  • 2 cucumber slices
  • 1 pineapple wedge
  • Ginger beer

Glass: Collins

Garnish: pineapple wedge, cucumber slice

Prep - Add 1 cucumber slice, lime juice and honey syrup to glass. Muddle. Then add falernum and rhum agricole. Add ice cubes. Top with ginger beer and garnish.


Sink/Swim, Chicago


TV Party Vodka Cocktail

(Photo courtesy of Imbibe)

A 1980's hardcore anthem lends its name to this simple but delicious vodka cocktail.

  • 2 oz. vodka
  • ½ oz. fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ oz. simple syrup (1:1)
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 4 oz. sparkling black cherry soda

Glass: Collins

Garnish: lemon wheel

Prep - Combine ingredients in ice-filled glass and stir to combine. Garnish.


Occidental, Denver


Taken A Break Rose Cocktail

(Photo courtesy of Imbibe)

Bartender Mindy Kucan adds a little island flair to rosé season. Lemon and perky grapefruit-cinnamon syrup help transports this highball into tropical territory.

  • 2 oz. Rosé wine
  • ½ oz. Gin
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. *grapefruit-cinnamon syrup
  • 1 oz. sparkling water

Glass: Collins

Garnish: spring flowers, mint sprig

Prep - Combine the wine, gin, lemon juice and syrup in a Collins glass. Fill with crushed ice and top with 1 oz. sparkling water. Stir. Garnish with spring flowers and a mint sprig.

*Grapefruit-Cinnamon Syrup: Combine 1 part sugar and 1 part water in a pot and bring to a boil. Once the sugar is dissolved, add ground cinnamon to taste. Wait until the mixture cools, then add 1 part grapefruit juice. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.


Hale Pele, Portland, Oregon

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