Summer time is lazy time. When the days are at their longest and the sun at its hottest, smart mixologists turn to recipes that are easy to make, easy to like, and play nice with whatever is searing on the grill.
Here are five cocktail recipes sure to turn up the fun and have you sipping sunshine in no time.
1. The Lillet Fizz
Lillet is a French aperitif wine made just south of Bordeaux. Blended with orange peel and macerated liqueurs, Lillet is available in blanc, rosé, and rouge. A splash of club soda or even flavored sparkling water really ups the verve. Sunday brunch drink, anyone? This simple cocktail whips up in a jiffy and is all about refreshment.
- 2 ounces Lillet Blanc
- 4 ounces of light white wine (such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc)
- Club soda
- Lime wedge
Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour in the Lillet and wine. Squeeze the lime wedge into the mixture and stir. Top with Club soda and serve.
2. A Ginger-Lime Spritz
On hot days drinks with ginger stimulate and refresh the palate. This bright and tangy spritz brings lots of ginger flavor to the party without the thick, syrupy taste of ginger ale. The fresh lime juice (and it must be fresh) counters the ginger perfectly. A few of these are right at home with a big plate of grilled coconut shrimp.
- 8 ounces Prosecco or other dry sparkling white wine
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup or agave nectar
- Juice of 1/2 lime
Muddle the ginger in a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Add the lime juice and simple syrup and shake vigorously until cold. Strain into a rocks-style glass. Fill with chilled Prosecco and gently stir. This can be garnished with a mint leaf or piece of candied ginger in the glass.
3. A French 75
Known in France simply as Soixante Quinze, this classy cocktail harkens back to the days of World War I where it is rumored to have been created at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. The name refers to the strength of the drink resembling that of a 75-millimeter field gun. Some serve it in a Champagne flute, others in a highball glass. Whichever you choose, make sure to use a good sparkling wine if not a true Champagne. The more refined flavor and texture really comes through in this fanciful summer sipper.
- 2 ounces London dry gin
- 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
Combine gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously until outside of shaker is cold, about 20 seconds. Strain the mixture into a sparkling wine flute. Top with Champagne and stir gently. Garnish with a lemon twist if desired.
4. Sangria Blanca
Most people think red wine when they think sangria, and it’s understandable. So popular is this Spanish cocktail that the name itself is legally protected! Any version made outside Spain must be labelled with the country (for example, “German Sangria”). Fortunately, white sangria has no such pedigree or history. A fairly recent creation, sangria blanca is every bit as refreshing as its famous red cousin but a perfect match for grilled seafood or summer salads.
- 2 peaches, pitted and sliced thinly
- 1 orange, thinly sliced
- 1 cup green grapes, cut in half
- 1/2 cup berries such as blueberries or raspberries
- 1/2 cup Cointreau or orange shrubb
- 1 bottle crisp, dry white wine such as Grüner Veltliner, Albariño or Sauvignon Blanc
Combine everything except the wine in a large pitcher. Use a potato masher or wooden spoon to gently mash the fruit to release the juices. Add the wine and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or overnight (longer is better here). Serve over ice in large wine glasses.
5. The San Francisco Sangaree (pictured above)
While the name shares the same root meaning “blood” as sangria, the Sangaree actually predates the Spanish concoction by nearly two hundred years. First seen in a British gentleman’s magazine around 1774, this combination of red wine, sugar and fruit is every bit as thirst-quenching today as it was then. Careful, though. The bourbon really packs a wallop after a couple rounds.
- 2 ounces Merlot
- 1 1/2 ounces bourbon
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- 4 fresh cherries
Muddle cherries in cocktail shaker. Add ice and the remaining ingredients. Shake vigorously and strain into a rocks-style glass over ice. Garnish with whole cherries if desired.