Maybe summer is your favorite time of year because you still have that school's-out feeling (or you're actually on vacation), maybe it's the warm evenings and sidewalks full of happy outdoor diners. Or perhaps you're like us: all about the raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, you-name-it berries that are at their sweetest and juiciest in these sunny months.
We love berries in jam, we love 'em in pies, and we love 'em by the handful. But we really think you should work some berries into your happy hour repertoire, too. Here are 8 fantastic ways to drink your fill.
The perfect peak-season raspberry has a deep, sweet flavor, but still retains a tartness that's highlighted in this easy rum highball. All you need is some raspberries to muddle, fresh lemon, agave nectar, and your favorite spicy ginger beer.
If a drink has bittersweet amaro in it, we're pretty likely to like it, and this guy's no exception. Spicy rye gets a touch of caramel and herb flavor from the Averna, fresh lime keeps things bright, and you can incorporate whichever berries are calling your name.
This riff on a margarita from PDT's Jim Meehan calls for strawberries and... green peppers? It works: the peppers latch into the vegetal flavors of tequila and keep the drink from getting one-dimensionally fruity. A dollop of rich pomegranate molasses adds extra tang.
Blackberry Gin and Tonic
If you tend to make yourself a standard gin and tonic, this is a fun variation to consider. Muddled blackberries give this highball a rich purple color and a wonderful berry flavor. Make sure those berries are ripe for best results!
Cherry Sumac Swizzle
Swizzles are made for hot-day drinking. The basic elements of the classic drink are rum, lime, sugar, and ice. Here, Velvet Falernum (flavored bitter almond, lime, ginger, and cloves) works as a sweetener and adds a little spice. Rather than using lime, this drink features a fresh cherry syrup brightened with tangy sumac.
Boozy Blueberry-Maple Shake
This is the classiest boozy milkshake we know. It's thick with vanilla ice cream and super-cooling, laced with ripe blueberries and the piney flavors of gin. It may sound a little strange, but we promise the combination is delicious, especially once you've added a touch of maple syrup.
A major upgrade from the sort of fruity margarita mixes you can buy pre-batched: fresh berries, tart lime, good tequila and Cointreau. You can adjust the sweetness of your drink to your taste by adding a little agave nectar.
This fresh and fizzy drink isn't too high in alcohol, so you can have a couple at brunch or as an aperitif. An easy raspberry and mint syrup adds fresh flavor to sparkling wine and bittersweet Cocchi Americano.