For a zippier, more refreshing cocktail (that's what summer drinks are about, right?), it's all in the wrist. Muddling extracts essential oils to deliver maximum herb impact. Tarragon flavors the boozy lemonade here, but basil makes an excellent sub. And while muddled mint is essential to a Mojito, you won't believe what it can add to a Margarita. Shake up a few and see.
BLT MARKET in New York offers a delicious way to use those peak-of-the-season raspberries with this refreshing summer drink. The recipe specifies for Hendrick's Gin, which is infused with cucumbers and rose petals, giving the cocktail a sophisticated twist.
Inspiration for the creation of a new cocktail comes from unexpected places. Take the Leland Palmer by Damon Boelte, bar manager at Prime Meats in Brooklyn, for example. "I was in Los Angeles visiting my girlfriend, enjoying my favorite hangover drink, the Arnold Palmer, and watching an episode of Twin Peaks, where Leland Palmer almost whacks Agent Cooper with a golf club. Sometimes things just make sense," says Boelte. For his adult version of the popular drink that's half lemonade and half iced tea, Boelte combines gin, jasmine tea, limoncello, lemon juice, and grapefruit juice in a pitcher. It's summer's essential back-porch sipper, and, Boelte adds, "It's definitely much better than a golf club to the head."
A Gin Rickey is a mix of gin, lime juice, and club soda. We've added crushed raspberries and rose water, which makes the berry flavor sing. Any gin will work, but the cucumber and rose notes of Hendrick's are particularly good here. Garnish with lime slices and whole berries.
In 18th-century America, any decent saloon, tavern, or inn featured a proprietary bowl of punch on the bar. Thanks to bartenders like Julie Reiner and her new Clover Club bar in Brooklyn, serious punch is back. Algonquin Bar Punch, which Reiner serves in vintage punch bowls, is a classic drink once served at the famous Manhattan hotel of the same name. Drink up, but—as the Clover Club's menu reminds—remember to share. To make the ice block this recipe calls for, fill a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with water and freeze it solid. Dip the pan into hot water to release the ice block.
Damon Boelte was aiming for something simple and accessible when he concocted this extremely refreshing, very British cooler. "Like a traditional Pimm's Cup, this recipe works well with other spirits, including bourbon, rum, and tequila," he says. "You have my permission to experiment." St-Germain liqueur, made from Alpine elderflowers, brings a floral note.
As far as clear spirits go, gin might be our absolute favorite. Its herbal flavor lends itself to refreshing cocktails like gimlets, punches, and smashes, and even does well in boozier drinks like martinis. And there's nothing better in the summer than a limey G&T.