Unexpected Summer Cocktails - IMBOLDN
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The temperature is flirting with triple digits, you’d rather move than mow the lawn, and the promise of fall has faded into a ghostly illusion that whispers of cool breezes and sweater weather. Until hope once again rises from the cracks in the sizzling asphalt and Mother Nature smiles on all her sunburnt children, there’s only one solution: drink.

Upgrade your seasonal beverage repertoire with these unexpected summer cocktails that vacillate between wonderfully weird and irresistibly delicious.

Sangria Slushie

Blender drinks can sometimes feel like you’re trying too hard to recapture your 20s, but there are alternatives to the pina colada and strawberry daiquiri you enjoyed at TGI Fridays back in the day. The Sangria Slushie is grown up drinking with a twist. All it takes is a bottle of red wine, a couple ice cube trays, hard liquor for fortification, and a frozen bag of mixed berries. It’s the kind of beverage you can whip up last minute as people head over for an impromptu pool party, and it looks gorgeous whether you serve it in a crystal goblet or plastic tumbler.

Rhuby Daiquiri

Speaking of daiquiris, here’s a variation that blows the drink you know and abhor right out of the water. Forget everything you know about those syrupy concoctions laced with dribbles of cheap rum and try this recipe that harkens back to the original cocktail conceived in Havana and loved by Ernest Hemingway.

Forget everything you know about those syrupy concoctions laced with dribbles of cheap rum and try this recipe that harkens back to the original cocktail.

The Rhuby Daiquiri, the branched of bartender Katie Loeb at Philadelphia’s Chick’s Café & Wine Bar, blends a white West Indian rum, pink grapefruit juice, lime juice, maraschino liqueur, and rhubarb syrup. Loeb recommends adding ginger and five-spice powder for an even more surprising finish.

Strawberry Basil Vodka Cocktail

Summer is the perfect time to pillage the local farmer’s market in search of the best produce money can buy. Strawberries and basil are typically a major part of that seasonal farm-to-table haul, and they also form the basis of this drink. Juicy strawberries, the sweet green note of basil, fizzy 7UP, and a slug of vodka come together to form a beautifully balanced whole. You’ll need to whip up some strawberry syrup, but it takes mere minutes to create a batch big enough to last you and your guests all night long.

Lychee Rosé Mimosas

Brunch is an excuse to flick up your pinky finger and let your posh flag fly, and these Lychee Rosé Mimosas are designed for just such an occasion. Grab a bottle of sparkling rosé, pour over some lychee syrup and rosewater, and garnish with a few of the lychee fruit. It’s refreshing, subtly floral, and just sweet enough to cut through rich breakfast dishes like eggs benedict or a fluffy pile of french toast. Don’t be fooled by the pink tint — this isn’t cotton candy in a glass, especially if you eschew “blush” wines and instead opt for a minerally, more complex sparkling rosé from France or Spain.

Whiskey Devil

If the rosé mimosa and polite conversation aren’t really your thing, flip the switch and swap refined and fizzy for full-flavored and fiery. The Whiskey Devil is one of those drinks rumored to help put hair on your chest, whether you like it or not. Bourbon, jalapeno, blood orange soda, and a dash of ginger ale — that’s all it takes to shake up your idea what a summer cocktail has to be.

The Whiskey Devil is one of those drinks rumored to help put hair on your chest, whether you like it or not.

Bonus: Spicy food helps you sweat, which in turn cools you off. Perfect for those high-temp days when you’re torn between camping out in the AC and heading outside to grill some Flintstone-sized ribeyes.

St. Germain Margarita

Serving up unexpected summer cocktails can be fun, but it can also confuse guests who lack your more adventurous palate. For those occasions when mixed company demands you pour something at least vaguely familiar, there this St. Germain Margarita. It’s the basic recipe containing silver tequila and lime juice, but instead of triple sec, there’s St. Germain, an elderflower liqueur that provides a delicate counterpoint to the hardier tequila.

Passionfruit and Pink Peppercorn Gimlet

Piquant pink peppercorns play off sweet-tart passionfruit and gin’s botanical bouquet in this interesting take on a gimlet. Use fresh passionfruit, if you can find it, or hunt down the frozen puree so you have access to everything you need to make this fascinating drink all summer long. The first sip might leave you perplexed, but by the third or fourth sampling, your brain and your taste buds will be equally convinced.

Mezcal Paloma

Mezcal is like tequila’s smokier, more rough-and-tumble cousin. If you like the deep, caramelized qualities of good bourbon of the peaty notes present in scotch, you’ll like love everything mezcal has to offer, this cocktail included. The directions are ridiculously simple: Pour the mezcal and lime juice in a tall glass, add ice, top with grapefruit juice and club soda, and stir. Garnish with a slice of lime or grapefruit, as desired, and enjoy the interplay between the hazy depth of the booze and the bright, zesty zing of fresh citrus.