The summer cocktail season is in full-swing and rather than mindlessly reach for the shaker and ice we decided we needed a lesson or two (or ten).
We asked ourselves, what are all the cool people drinking?
To answer this we went to the source and rounded up a few of our favorite food and drink bloggers in Connecticut to share their favorite summer cocktails with CTbites.
I guarantee these cool summer drinks will have you planning meals AROUND your drinks.
And if you feel inspired, please share your favorite summer cocktail as a comment below.
Chris Preovolos | The Lunch Break Chronicles
Micheladas loosely refer to a beer-based drink seasoned with lime, hot sauce, Worchester sauce and often tomato juice.
Think of it as a Mexican bloody Mary — but with beer.
It's something of an acquired taste, but I really do enjoy these in the summer. You will probably have to tweak this to suit your palate and it's always a safe bet to go heavy on the lime at first and adjust the savory and spicy components later.
Thomas Hooker Watermelon Ale
It was one of those late-February scenes when everyone’s already sick of cold and shoveling and slush, a day when it seems like the heat and relaxation of halcyon summer days would never come. All I wanted was a taste of that light, crisp, melon-infused brew, with a flavor slightly reminiscent of Jolly Ranchers.
But the snow ended, and the ground thawed, and on April 30 I went right to the Bloomfield brewery and requested two growlers of my beloved seasonal beer. Despite the date, in my eyes, summer had officially begun.
The Watermelon Ale was once made with natural flavorings, but this year incorporates real watermelon puree, which is added during the mash process. That fruit comes from Simsbury’s Rosedale Farms, a fact locavores will love.
Cucumber Gin Fizz
Lauren Fister | Chat 'n Chow
Makes 2 cooling cocktails
- 2 Inch piece of cucumber diced plus some for garnish
- 4 Sprigs dill finely chopped plus 2 for garnish
- 2 Wedges lime plus more to garnish
- 4 oz (4 shots) Gin Tanqueray No. 10
In a cocktail shaker muddle cucumber, dill and lime. Add gin & ice. Shake well and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Top off with tonic and give a quick stir. Spritz with lime and top with a sprig of dill & or a slice of cucumber.
For different drinks I like different types of gin. Tanqueray has a complimentary to use in this cocktail since it's not too herbal yet still has a nice clean flavor. Garnishes are an important clue as to the flavor in a drink especially if serving at a party and the flavor is a bit unusual.
Chef Emily’s Post-Chore Saturday Afternoon Tonic
Emily Brooks | Edibles Advocates Alliance
- ½ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
- 2 oz really good Vodka
- 1 ½ oz fresh watermelon juice
Throw fresh, seedless watermelon chunks into the blender. Puree until smooth and strain through cheese cloth or fine mesh collander. Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint growing in your garden specifically for this purpose. Serve with something uber-salty like prosciutto and local, creamed blue cheese mixed on a platter with the melons, strawberries, grapes, and green apple slices (for the blue cheese, of course)! It is probably best accompanied by a really good friend or two, Garrison Keillor or Bessie Smith (depending on your mood), a grill sizzling with local lamb rubbed in oodles of garlic and, of course, fresh mint, and a salad of shredded summer carrots, apples, and turnips tossed in a hint of cumin, lemon juice, lemon zest (don’t waste your peels!) watermelon pulp (well . . . . you don’t want it in your martini, do you?) and sea salt. The Nutritionist’s Guide of Chef Emily recommends 2 Post-Chore Saturday Afternoon Tonic’s on Saturdays as part of a mentally and emotionally healthy lifestyle.
Emily Cahill | A Change of Eatery
White peach sangria has to be my favorite warm weather drink- it's so delightfully light and refreshing. I stumbled upon this recipe a few summers ago on allrecipes.com and have made it many times since. It's great for picnics, 4th of July festivities, and spur of the moment casual gatherings. The list of ingredients from the original recipe yields 32 servings; party-sized proportions are necessary since no one refuses a refill. :)
- 1/2 cup peach schnapps
- 1/2 cup cognac
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 4 oranges, sliced into rounds
- 2 mangos, peeled and sliced (sliced peaches are a good addition or substitute)
- 4 (750 milliliter) bottles dry white wine, chilled
- 1 liter ginger ale, chilled
- In a pitcher, combine wine, peach schnapps, cognac and sugar; Stir gently and add sliced oranges and sliced mangos. Chill for at least an hour.
Add ginger ale or club soda to top off drinks just before serving. If you'd like to serve your Sangria right away, use chilled white wine and ginger ale and serve over ice.
I also toss in a handful of fresh raspberries or sliced strawberries for extra color and flavor. (I often substitute the mango for sliced peaches as well)
- Fill a tall Collins glass with ice.
- Add Champagne, then St-Germain, then Club Soda.
- Stir completely.
- Garnish with a lemon twist, making sure to squeeze the essential oils into the glass.
Minty Vodka Lemonade
Meg Robustelli | Fairfield County Child
I don't have a recipe but this summer cocktail can't really get any simpler. Just add ice to a glass, pour some vodka over it and add some tart lemonade (Newman's Own Virgin lemonade is my favorite). I love mint so not only do I garnish the drink with a sprig but I shred some and actually add it to the drink.
A real recipe exists at Epicurious for those who like something a little sweeter.
Watermelon Cucumber Saketini
Jennifer Spaide | Green Chic Life
Makes 1 drink
- 1/3 cup Watermelon Cucumber Juice (see below)
- 3 oz sake
- ½ oz orange liquor
Combine ingredients in shaker with ice cubes. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds, pour into martini glass and garnish with melon balls.
Watermelon Cucumber Juice
Makes about 1 1/3 cups (enough for 4 drinks)
- 2 cups chopped watermelon
- 1 cup peeled & chopped English cucumber1 tbsp orange zest
Combine ingredients in blender and puree for 1-2 minutes. Strain and chill until ready to use.
Dark & Stormy
Amy Kundrat | motoamy & Ctbites
The Dark & Stormy is my quintessential summer cocktail. This simple yet satisfying drink always reminds me of trips to Bermuda, salt water, regattas and of course, summer.
2 ounces Gosling’s Black Seal rum (a must, don't even think about using spiced rum)
4 ounces Ginger Beer (Goslings, Barritt's or Regatta)
Fill a tall glass with ice and add the rum. Top with the ginger beer and enjoy!
Nicole Straight | Chef & Founder, Time to Eat!
I'm not a big drinker, but I always love a white sangria when the weather gets hot.
There are a million ways to make one, but basically I start with a nice bottle of sauvignon blanc, mix it with about 1 C. of fresh OJ, and 1 C. of seltzer water. Add diced white peaches, finely diced watermelon and honeydew, and a few thin slices of lime and lemon.
You could really add almost anything you have. It's delicious, light and fruity.