It’s cocktail hour. It’s hot. You want a drink with the taste of summer and a bit of a kick to restore your spirit. We have recipes to quench your thirst.
The refresher is a light and bubbly Prosecco cocktail flavored with cucumber. It could be the perfect beverage for the moment. A cucumber watermelon mojito made with soju instead of rum won’t hit you quite as hard as a mojito made with actual rum. If you want something a little stronger than either of these, perhaps a cool cucumber martini, emphasis on the cool, is more your speed. If a martini sounds good but the cucumber doesn’t, try a gingertini. Replacing gin with vodka upholds the clear, floral spiciness of the ginger.
Muddling — mashing herbs and/or fruit to elicit their flavor and essential oils — and low-alcohol spirits are on trend this year. This Thaipirinha, a take on the Brazilian caipirinha, muddles basil along with limes and sugar before adding the cachaça — that light and fruity Brazilian rum — and topping it off with soda water. An IPA-lada is a take on the Mexican beer cocktail michelada. A grapefruit IPA rather than a Mexican lager gives it a welcome brightness. If wine is more your thing, a Port wine sangria is a different kind of wine cocktail, made with ginger beer.
Sometimes, rather than a potent boozy cocktail, you just want a simple, icy cold beverage. Aguas frescas to the rescue! Neither sodas nor fruit juices, aguas frescas, which hail from Mexico and other parts of Latin America, are light, subtly flavored not overly sweet drinks. Horchata is a classic agua fresca. It is made from rice that has been soaked overnight and then blended and gently flavored with cinnamon or almonds. Stunningly beautiful strawberry jamaica agua fresca is made from a vivid magenta hibiscus tea and a puree of macerated strawberries. Even simpler, a citrusy yuzu spritzer is a nice alternative to lemon or lime. The soda water softens the sharpness of yuzu’s unique tang.
Don’t let the summer heat — and this summer’s humidity — dampen your spirits. If you’re feeling wilted at the end of the day, revive yourself and your companions with one of these super pick-me-ups. Stir up a glass, or a pitcher, put your feet up and relax into the cooling evening. Ah, summer!