You don't need us to tell you that summer was genetically engineered to provide the ideal setting for the consumption of cocktails. It only makes sense then, that we asked some of our favorite bartenders from some of the best cocktail joints from around the New York area to share some drinks that are perfectly engineered for the summer. What follows are nine matches made in boozy heaven.
Adam Miller, Flagship, New York
"I think people tend to look at bourbon and brandy as cold weather spirits. But I think they play really nicely with summer flavors. People shouldn't feel like their favorite spirit is not summer-appropriate. Apple, almond, and lemon with a bit of bitters is your answer to a fun summer bourbon cocktail."
The Kick Back
Fresh mint leaves
1 oz. Laird's Applejack
1 oz. Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon
.75 oz. almond orgeat syrup
.75 oz. lemon juices
4 dashes Angostura bitters
Put fresh mint leaves at bottom of a Pilsner glass and cover with pellet ice. Whip and shake all ingredients except bitters and pour over ice. Add more crushed ice and then float the Ango bitters. Add more pellet ice and garnish with a mint bouquet and a dehydrated apple wheel.
Jessa Vida, Blacktail, New York
"The Hugo Bracer is a great summer cocktail because it's refreshing with hints of stone fruit and a little sriracha spice. We use a sriracha tincture, along with fresh lemon juice and local apple brandy and bourbon, as the base. The drink is modified with aquavit, shrub, and pomegranate syrup for extra layers and depth."
The Hugo Bracer
1 oz. Laird's Straight Apple Brandy
1 oz. Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon
.75 oz. lemon juice
.5 oz. pomegranate molasses
.5 oz. Clement Creole Shrubb
.25 oz. cane syrup
.25 oz. Linie Aquavit
1/2 tsp sriracha tincture
Shake all the ingredients, pour in a glass, and garnish with lemon twists.
Aaron Polsky, Harvard & Stone, Los Angeles
"The Garden Collins is great for late summer both because the produce that you can use as garnish is at its prime, and also because, after a summer of partying, this is a nice way to take a break and enjoy the weather and the outdoors."
The Garden Collins
2 oz. Seedlip Garden
.75 oz. simple syrup
.5 oz. lemon juice
A dash of celery bitters
Splash of soda
Shake all the ingredients, top with soda, and garnish with mint if desired.
Lucinda Sterling, Middle Branch, New York
"Hold the gin. This summer-ready aperitif-style drink showcases the smooth silkiness that is unique to Slane Irish Whiskey, with tonic water opening up the gentle flavors of vanilla and caramel which pair nicely with the notes of rose from the Italicus. The citrus-meets-floral palate, along with a top-off of tonic, makes this the perfect fair weather sipper that you can enjoy from day to night, while the whiskey's warmth makes it ideal for pairing with grilled meats and other summer favorites."
Into Thin Air
1 oz. Slane Irish Whiskey
.5 oz. Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
.5 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Splash of tonic water
Combine whiskey, Italicus, and fresh lemon juice in a Collins glass with ice. Top with tonic water. Garnish with a lemon wedge.
Pam Wiznitzer, Roosterspin, New Jersey
"The Jersey Get Down is the perfect summer drink because it drinks like a glass of iced tea, uses great spirits, and won't break the bank!"
Jersey Get Down
1 oz. Four Roses
.5 oz. Laird's Straight Apple Brandy
1.5 oz. Oolong tea
.5 oz. simple syrup
Combine and stir all ingredients, then pour into highball with fresh Ice. Garnish with a dehydrated lemon wheel.
Meaghan Dorman, Raines Law Room, New York
"We love the earthy, floral notes of pisco in the summer. A touch of peach keeps this cocktail bright and fresh."
The Blossom & Six
1.5 oz. La Diablada Pisco
2 oz. chilled hibiscus tea
.75 oz. grapefruit juice
.75 oz. Giffard Crème de Peche
A splash of Perrier
Combine all ingredients except Perrier, shake briefly with ice, strain into a stemless wine glass, and top with Perrier. Garnish with lemon twist.
Ash Hausserman, Dear Irving, New York City
"Named for a mention in Frank Sinatra song, this cocktail is smooth and elegant. Inspired by Italian sodas, it's also lightly floral and fluffy."
The Lady Charmaine
1 oz. pisco
2 oz. rosé wine
1 oz. cream
.5 oz. St-Germain
.5 oz Giffard Crème de Peche
Splash of soda water
Splash of blossom water
Whip, shake, and strain all the ingredients except soda and blossom waters into a glass with two ice cubes. Add club soda, and the drink will fluff up as the cream gets carbonated. Mist with orange blossom water, garnish with dried rosebuds, and serve with a metal straw.
Meaghan Dorman, The Bennett, New York City
"Fresh and fruity, this cocktail is all about strawberry, raspberry, and citrus notes. It's our way to add a cocktail spin to the 'rosé all day' mantra of summer."
The Strawberry Letter (for a group)
21 oz. rosé wine
10 oz. Perrier
7 oz. Aperol
3.5 oz. Strawberry Shrub
Build in a carafe with ice. Serve in stemless wine glasses over ice and garnish with strawberry slices.
Nick Bennett, Porchlight, New York City
"The Gun Metal Blue is a good summer cocktail because it is refreshing and delicious. But that’s what makes every good summer cocktail. The Gun Metal Blue is a great summer cocktail because of its playful nature. The bright blue color is reminiscent of every vacation drink that you might come across on a cruise or island resort. A guest will see us making one and, more often than not, they will order one because, let’s face it, if you see a blue drink, you drink a blue drink."
The Gun Metal Blue
1.5 oz. Vida Mezcal
.5 oz. blue curaçao
.25 oz. peach brandy
.75 oz. lime juice
.25 oz. bitter cinnamon syrup
Shake all the ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a flamed orange coin.