Rambutan possesses a pleasant sweet-tartness that becomes much richer when you take it on a quick trip to the grill, where the sugars caramelize beautifully. The resulting slightly nutty flavors pair wonderfully with tequila, while fresh lime and grapefruit juice highlight the floral and tart elements of the rambutan in this drink.
When I start to think about making a punch, I get really excited. I'm not talking garbage-pail college drinks, but the real thing, historically made with an oleo-saccharum, which is just a fancy phrase for a mix of sugar and citrus peels that's packed with concentrated and complex flavor. This refreshing version calls in earthy gunpowder tea, gin, and both lemons and limes.
I set out to design a bourbon cocktail that Dad would want to drink for Father's Day and all summer long: something refreshing and a little savory, thanks to spices he never would have expected to find in his patio pitcher.
Right now rhubarb is all over the farmers market, most of it destined for pies. And I'll be frank: this sweet and tangy base of this cocktail, made with rhubarb and some woodsy, spicy vanilla, does taste like a pie in delicious liquid form. That familiar pie flavor plays really well against two unexpected cocktail ingredients: Scottish ale and Peruvian pisco.
This easily batched pitcher drink will be my barbecue go-to from here on out. It pairs fresh, vibrant IPA with a tangy pineapple shrub, sweetened with a little orgeat, an almond-tinged syrup that often appears in tiki drinks. The beer brings in a savory side—piney and herbal and bitter—that cuts through the cocktail and balances the richer elements.
Mezcal will play nice as long as you have some strong players to mix it with, like bittersweet Aperol, the herbal orangey liqueur that some call Campari's little sister.
This cocktail pays homage to both the egg and the colorful arrival of spring. It begins with lemongrass, which offers a more subdued grassy and just-bloomed floral flavor than the punchy citrus we've been eating all winter. Vodka provides a neutral backdrop so the lemongrass can shine.
St. Patrick's Day is coming up. But as a kid growing up in Rhode Island, I experienced another holiday when my Irish Catholic school burned down under suspicious circumstances (it wasn't that great of a part of town) and I transferred to an Italian parochial school.
Pisco is especially delicious in a light cocktail like this brunch drink inspired by the extra-flavorful grapefruits that are at their peak this time of year. You'll batch it up in advance to make hosting brunch a little easier.
Made with London Dry gin, fresh tangerines, white balsamic, and a touch of chamomile, this tangy Valentine's Day cocktail can be prepped in advance for a no-stress cocktail hour.
This beer cocktail is somewhat similar to a michelada, but with a secret savory ingredient: steak sauce. Fresh citrus and muddled bell peppers round out the drink.
Blended Scotch can be a very good buy, and it's great mixed with nutty sherry, spiced chai, and Angostura.
Punches tend to bring together an element of sour, a bit of sweetness, something boozy, and something weaker to carry the flavors through (and make sure people can drink cup after cup). That stretching element here is earthy, smoky Lapsang Souchong tea, which provides unusual depth without stealing the spotlight. The fact that you can (and should) do the majority of the work ahead of time is another holiday hosting bonus.
I feel pretty strongly that hot toddies should not be an excuse to just take whatever brown spirit you have around the house and pour some hot water on it. You can do better.
Fresh apple cider married with brown sugar, tart lemon, and rich Carpano Antica vermouth makes the ideal not-too-boozy fall drink. (Make this for Thanksgiving, and you can keep refilling glasses without worrying that Uncle Al is going to wind up under the coffee table.)
Cranberry cocktails don't get much respect. Perhaps that's because they tend to be pretty boring: just sweetened juice spiked with whatever booze is handy. While cranberries are one of fall's signature flavors, a cranberry-vodka or a Sea Breeze feels a little too summery. And a bit too casual for serving at the holiday dinner table. But this cranberry cocktail, enriched with sherry and a splash of rum, is a different beast altogether.
Apple juice is pretty weak in a cocktail, so instead, we reach for unfiltered apple cider and cook it down until concentrated. Then, the drink is spiked with apple brandy and hard cider for a punch of fall flavor.
We can do better than store-bought juices and food dye. Seasonal fruits—and even vegetables—are great additions to a classic daiquiri base. Chilling the booze overnight in the freezer helps keep your blender drink from getting overly diluted.
The best way to capture the sweet, slightly floral flavor of a cantaloupe for drinks to come is an easy jar-and-wait infusion. After you've strained the mix, it stays bright and fresh in the fridge for months: you'll be thanking me when all that's at the farmers market is a pile of potatoes.
In this easy 3-ingredient drink, elderflower liqueur amps up the floral side of bittersweet Suze.
This ballpark-inspired cocktail is mixed in advance, chilled to ice-cold, and tossed ever-so-casually to your buddy as he or she walks in the door. No stirring and straining, no fancy glasses, no fiddling with garnishes or even ice.
The slightly smoky side of Zucca makes it a perfect companion to Scotch in this delicious cocktail made fizzy with bitter lemon soda.
One of the best parts about late spring/early summer: berry season. One of the worst parts about berry season: picking seeds out of your teeth.
Sometimes a cocktail over ice just doesn't cut it. Sometimes, when the sun is blinding you, and you're shaking hot sand out of unusual places, you want something as close to frozen as possible. What you need, my friend, is a Frozen Negroni.
You don't have to be behind a fancy bar to play with transforming cocktails. This drink starts as a light, fruity, tiki-inspired cocktail, evolving into a richer, heavier, and more savory beverage, just through the process of melting ice.
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