Summer is right around the corner. This means that the days of darker spirit-based cocktails are behind us. An old fashioned or Manhattan is perfect for a dreary, cold winter evening — but, sunny, warm weather calls for lighter rum, vodka, gin, mescal, and tequila-based drinks.
With June just days away, everyone is wondering what the cocktail of Summer ’17 will be. Luckily for us, talented bartenders from all over the country have chimed in with advice for what we should be sipping all summer long.
Alex Riddle, Roka Akor in San Francisco
“This summer, people should be drinking smashes of all kinds. Light and refreshing with a bit of citrus, smashes are the perfect warm weather drink.”
Hillary Brainerd, Americano at the Joule Hotel in Dallas
“I think an Aperol Spritz is the drink of this summer. It’s a light, approachable cocktail made with Aperol, Prosecco, and Club Soda. It’s low ABV makes it a sessionable cocktail that is a great introduction to the Aperitivo style of drinking.”
Clay Livingston, Red Herring Cocktail Lounge & Kitchen in Louisville
“When summer rolls around I think tiki style drinks. They were made for warm weather and to remind us of beaches, tropical locales, and vacations. The drink that I think covers these thoughts best is the Mai Tai.”
Paul Fradeneck, Mabel Gray in Detroit
“My summer crusher is a variation on the classic Corpse Reviver #2, called Lazurus of Bethany. Its herbaceous and citrus notes are perfectly refreshing for the hot summer days. The recipe is: .75 oz Long Road Distillery Aquavit, .75 oz Cocchi Rosa, .75 oz Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur. .75 oz Lime, and Green Chartreuse rinse.”
Clayton Rollison, Lucky Rooster in Hilton Head, S.C.
“Amaro and soda with a lemon or orange twist, depending on the amaro, for me is the summer drink of 2017.”
Keri Smith, Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar in Louisville
“Let’s get away from the Moscow mule! Nothing against it. It’s a great, classic cocktail that goes down quick in the summer heat, but I’m all for the tiki vibes. Drinks that remind me of the beach and carry a punch in the mouth, preferably with fresh juices.
One of my coworkers, Jeremy Cross, created a great tiki-esque cocktail that actually features bourbon as its main spirit. It’s super light and easy. He calls it “Toes in the Sand,” and it consists of Old Forester 86 proof bourbon, Kalani coconut liqueur, fresh squeezed lemon juice, a homemade sea salt coconut syrup, and a dash of Bitterman’s ‘Elemakule Tiki Bitters. Served that over crushed ice and you got yourself an adult slushie.”
Matt Palacios, The Root Restaurant & Bar in White Lake, Mich.
“My favorite cocktail has to be the boulevardier. Sweet, bitter and smooth. A Manhattan and Negroni variation of sorts with a more robust flavor profile. It’s a great balance with enough bite to keep it interested.”
Jordy Sadler, Union Common in Nashville
“There are two drinks I think people should be drinking this summer. The first is a Plantation Pineapple daiquiri. What Alexandre Gabriel, at Maison Ferrand has done to flavored rum has changed the game for the spirits industry in my opinion. The second drink is a Tom Collins, with today’s talent behind the stick, I think play on this classic should have a spot on many summer cocktail menus.”
Lauren Vigdor, co-author of Drink Like A Bartender
“Anything low in alcohol, especially if the sun’s still out. Low in alcohol doesn’t necessarily mean low in flavor though. We like an Americano or a daiquiri made with an amaro instead of rum.”