Once again, Mother Nature has mercifully ended winter and replaced our frigid days with the warmer breezes of summer. Why not celebrate the change of seasons with a few fresh cocktails? Consider these three great choices:
Many people only associate a Mint Julep with horse racing—namely, the Kentucky Derby. Granted, it is a long-standing classic, but it is well worth adding to your list of summertime favorites (horses need not be present to enjoy!)
3 sprigs of fresh mint
2 oz of Black Maple Hill Bourbon
½ oz of Simple Syrup (combine equal parts hot water and sugar, dissolve completely and cool)
Using a highball glass, muddle two sprigs of the mint with ½ oz simple syrup.
Fill glass ¾ full with crushed ice.
Add bourbon and stir.
Fill a separate glass with crushed ice and remaining sprig of mint, pour in your julep mixture and enjoy!
Lemon-Thyme Vodka Lemonade
This kicked-up lemonade gets a new flavor profile by the addition of the earthy, slightly lemony flavor of thyme:
3 fresh lemon wedges
¼ cup Lemon-Thyme Syrup (recipe follows)
¼ cup of citrus vodka
¼ cup club soda
1 sprig of lemon thyme (you may substitute regular thyme if your grocer does not have lemon thyme)
Run one of the lemon wedges over the rim of a tall glass; then dip the rim in sugar. (Save the lemon wedge.)
Put the other two lemon wedges in a cocktail shaker with the lemon-thyme syrup and vodka. Muddle this mixture hard, so that the lemon wedges release their oils. Cover and shake.
Carefully fill your sugar-rimmed glass with ice. Pour syrup mixture and the lemon wedges into your glass.
Top off with club soda, and then squeeze the remaining lemon wedge over the top.
Garnish with a thyme sprig and enjoy.
To Make Lemon-Thyme Syrup (1 cup)
¾ cup sugar
1 small bunch of lemon thyme or regular thyme (about ½ oz)
Heat 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar in a saucepan until it boils and stir until sugar completely dissolves.
Remove from heat and cool completely.
Strain through a fine sieve, and cover and refrigerate as long as 3 days in advance of use.
Slice of Life (If you’re a fan of watermelon, then you’ll love this one!)
1 ½ ounces of Gin (try St. George Terroir)
½ oz honey water (mix equal parts honey and water; stir until completely combined)
¾ oz watermelon juice
1 Slice of watermelon (for garnish)
Fresh Basil (for garnish)
Combine all ingredients and shake with ice in a carbonated shaker.
Strain into your cocktail glass; garnish with watermelon slice and basil.
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