Finally, spring has arrived! While children dream of winter wonderlands, adults tend to appreciate more moderate weather. And after this rough winter, most are happy to say “auf wiedersehen” to the snow and “bienvenue”’ to sunshine. Spring represents fruit, flowers, rainbows… basically everything blissful. Now is the time to look forward to lingering outdoors again, picnicking, basking in the sun, and sipping on an aromatic, refreshing, floral, fruity, or herbal cocktail.
Below, in thematic rainbow colored order, are 10 delicious spring drinks. The best part about them? Any unhealthy effects from the libations are compensated for by the healthy flowers and fruit in the drinks. Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves.
1. Port Royal Cobbler
New Orleans Mixologist Ryan Gannon, of Cure, advises that spring drinks, “should be crisp and alive, anticipating warmer weather, but comforting you just in case spring takes it’s time getting there.”
1 ½ oz. Feist Late Bottled Vintage Port
½ oz. Wray & Nephew rum
½ oz. Lemon juice
½ oz. Simple syrup
Shake with crushed ice and 14 drops of Bittermens Tiki bitters. Add a mint garnish.
2. Strawberry and Fennel
New York Mixologist Orson Salicetti of Ariana in Soho, says that springtime “Is the rejuvenating season we all look forward to. Especially after this long, hard winter in New York, light cocktails with fresh fruits and herbs are exactly what we need. These recipes are perfect for spring ”
2-3 fresh strawberries
1 oz. Combier orange liqueur
1 oz. Galliano
2-3 small slices fennel
1 ½ oz. Vodka
½ oz. Lime juice
½ oz. Agave nectar
Cut two to three fresh strawberries in half and flambé them in one ounce of Combier (orange liqueur) and one ounce of Galiano liqueur. In a shaker, muddle fennel. Add cooked strawberries and muddle a second time. Add vodka, lime juice, and agave nectar. Shake over ice and pour into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Top with a splash of Champagne.
3. Rose Margarita
When using the warmer weather as a springboard for cocktails, mixologist Junior Merino explains that, “spring is a time of hope and renewal, signaled by the coming of rain and flowers. Flowers are so diverse in their flavors and intensities; colors are bright and bold. Creating cocktails using flowers, I lean toward light and refreshing flavors.”
1 ½ oz. 100% agave blanco tequila
1 oz. Fresh lime juice
3 Red organic rose petals, washed
¾ oz. Rose syrup
¾ oz. Combier or another liqueur d’orange
Hibiscus and rose salt
Put all ingredients into a mixing glass. Add ice and shake. Pour into a rocks glass rimmed with Hibiscus and Rose Salt.
4. Khurma Cocktail
Orson Salicetti, mixologist at Ariana in Soho, NYC, created this floral concoction. Persimmons symbolize transformation, as do butterflies, budding flowers, and the human spirit as it sips on the Khurma cocktail and forgets its woes.
1½ oz. Persimmon-infused vodka
½ oz. 1889 by Geijer Glogg Swedish holiday liqueur
½ Apple cider
¾ oz. Lime juice
½ Agave nectar
1 Sprig rosemary
Cut four to five persimmons cut into chunks and infuse them in a liter of vodka for two to three days. Pour all ingredients into a shaker and shake with ice. Strain into a highball glass with fresh ice, top with a splash of soda water and garnish with a rosemary sprig.
Another great floral drink by Junior Merino. Like spring, Orchids have symbolized love, fertility, and luxury.
½ oz. Dainzu Ginger Elder?ower Essence
1 ½ oz. Fresh pink grapefruit juice
1 ½ oz. Gin
1 ½ oz. Brut Champagne
Splash fresh lime juice
1 purple orchid, torn
Add all the ingredients into a mixing glass, except the Champagne. Add ice, shake and then add the champagne into the tin. Pour contents into a highball glass and garnish with a whole orchid.
6. Butterfly Martini Cocktail
“Butterflies are self propelled flowers.” ? Robert A. Heinlein, Science Fiction writer.
Butterflies are colorful, airy, ephemeral. Add Grey Goose, elderflower cordial, and a flower on top for the closest you’ll get to recreating that on your taste buds.
1 Lemon zest
1 ½ oz. Grey Goose Le Citron
1 ½ oz. White grape juice
3 Basil leaves
3 Mint leaves
1 tsp. Elderflower cordial
1 tsp. Fresh lemon juice
Fill a cocktail shaker with shredded basil and mint leaves, and combine with all other ingredients. Shake hard with plenty of ice. Strain through a fine sieve and top with a squeeze of lemon rind to release essential oils. Discard rind. Serve in a cocktail glass and garnish with an edible flower. TIP: Try making this one with unsweetened grape juice. The other ingredients will provide all the sugar you need.
7. Basil Martini
Georgia Chef Jennifer Hill-Booker, executive chef and owner of Your Resident Gourmet and contributing columnist for Basil Magazine, explains that, “basil is great for sweet and savory. Color, flavor and aroma.” Her book, Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent, hits bookstores this September. Basil is sweet and mild yet extremely robust with a strong, pungent, sweet and clove-like scent and is similar to anise in flavor.
4 oz. Gin
2 oz. Simple syrup
5 Small, fresh basil leaves
1 oz. Fresh lime juice
1 Cup crushed ice
4 oz. Club soda
2 Basil springs
Pour the gin and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker, add basil leaves and lime juice. Muddle until the basil leaves are broken into small pieces. Add crushed ice and shake about 10 seconds. Pour into a chilled martini glass, top with club soda and garnish with a spring of basil.
8. DeKuyper Blueberry Mojito
“Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb/ Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum/ In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!” -Robert Frost
Possibly the yummiest blueberry picking basket is this mojito cocktail.
2 Parts DeKuyper® Blueberry
2 Parts Cruzan® Light Rum
1 Part simple syrup
1 Part lime juice
2 Parts soda water
14 Sprigs of mint
Muddle mint leaves with lime juice and simple syrup. Top with rum, DeKuyper®, and soda water.
9. The Aviation
The man responsible for this delicious drink, Hugo Ensslin, was the head bartender of NYC’s Hotel Wallick in the early 1900s. His recipe for The Aviation Cocktail was published in his 1917 Recipes for Mixed Drinks. A key ingredient, Crème de Violette, a brandy made with violet flowers, has been hard to find in the U.S. until the recent decade.
2 oz. Aviation Gin
½ oz. Fresh lemon juice
¼ oz. Luxardo maraschino liqueur
¼ oz. Crème de Violette
Combine in shaker with small ice and agitate gently until the shaker is too cold to hold. Strain into an equally chilled cocktail glass, and nestle a homemade maraschino brandied cherry in the bottom of the glass, along with a drop or two of its juice.
10. Lavender Lemonade
The scent of lavender, the taste of lemonade, and the effects of vodka can only you’re your spring picnic more picturesque. When asked how she came up with the genius idea of mixing lemonade with lavender, chef Jennifer Hill Booker explains, “I play around a lot with aromatic herbs in cooking, the color is so pretty and it’s soft enough that the lemon makes it pop.”
4 oz. Organic vodka, such as Rain Organics Vodka?
4 oz. Organic lavender simple syrup?
1 tsp. Organic lavender flowers?
2 oz. Fresh organic lemon juice?
8 oz. Crushed ice?
4 oz. Seltzer water or club soda
Pour the vodka and lavender simple syrup into a cocktail shaker. Add the lavender flowers and lemon juice. Muddle until the lavender flowers are broken into small pieces. Add crushed ice and shake about 10 seconds. Pour into a chilled martini glass, top with club soda and garnish with a slice of lemon. Makes four drinks.
Madina Papadopoulos is a New York-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her on Twitter.