The three hottest cocktail trends for summer are drinks made with absinthe, fresh fruit and organic ingredients. Leading mixologists around the country are adding absinthe cocktails to their menus, brightening up classic cocktails with fresh seasonal fruits, and meeting the demands of eco-conscious consumers looking to be green even with their drinks. Here are three trendy cocktails for you to sip and be hip this summer.
“Seasonal fruits and fragrant flowers add a pleasing twist to summertime cocktails,” shares leading mixologist Ben Scorah of New York’s Beekman Bar & Books. “From lychee, cherimoya and dragon fruit to summer favorites such as juicy strawberries, peaches and plums — the bigger the chunks the better, especially during the heat of the season.” Here is one of Scorah’s signature summer drinks.
Fresh seasonal fruit, such as strawberries, kiwi, or passion fruit
1/4 ounce Lucid Absinthe*
1-1/4 ounce cachaca
1/2 ounce Spanish brandy
1/2 ounce orange liquor
1 ounce red wine
In a cocktail shaker, thoroughly muddle the fruit with Lucid, cachaca, brandy and orange liquor. Pour mixture into a wine glass. Float red wine on top of cocktail. Stir and enjoy.
*Lucid Absinthe is the first genuine absinthe to be legally available in the US after 95 years of prohibition. Though you might be surprised to find absinthe in sangria, Lucid is actually an extremely versatile spirit that adds balance and a familiar sense of warmth to this refreshing cocktail.
This peachy aperitif is a signature cocktail from daring mixologist Jamie Boudreau, who is known for his eccentric ingredient combinations. Boudreau, who honed his predinner drink mixing skills at Vancouver’s legendary restaurant Lemiere (now run by Daniel Boulud), is planning to soon open his own place. This refreshing Asian Peach sipper, along with over a dozen of Boudreau’s other signature drinks, is featured in Food & Wine Cocktails ’09, a newly released cocktail book of the most popular drinks from the top 100 bars around the country.
1/4 fresh peach
2 ounces sake, preferably daiginjo
1/2 ounce gin
1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/4 ounce lemongrass syrup*
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the peach. Add ice and remaining ingredients and shake well. Double strain into a chilled coupe.
*To make lemongrass syrup: In a small saucepan, bring 6 ounces simple syrup to a boil. Remove from heat and add 1 coarsely chopped fresh lemongrass stalk. Let cool, cover and refrigerate overnight. Strain syrup into a jar, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
Purple Basil Gimlet
Paul Abercombie, author of the upcoming Organic, Shaken and Stirred (The Harvard Common Press, October 2009), shares this eco-friendly drink. He recommends purple basil to lend a more intense flavor and lovely lilac hue.
2 ounces organic gin
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed organic lime juice
1/2 ounce organic agave nectar
5 organic purple basil leaves
Combine gin, lime juice, agave and 4 of the basil leaves in an ice cube-filled cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously, the strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass. Float remaining basil leaf (preferably the smallest of the bunch) on top of the drink.