What To Drink Now: Cocktails for Spring

Spring has sprung, toast the season with one of these refreshing cocktails.

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Spring is in the air, and relaxing on patios is on our minds. What goes better with kicking back on a patio than a tasty beverage, preferably infused with an even tastier spirit. Here are few springtime recipes to enjoy throughout the season and on into summer. A few selections were sent for editorial consideration.

skyy grapefruitWe do love our ruby red grapefruit here in Texas, and it has happily been the inspiration for many spirits through the years. Most recently it has found its way into a new spirit infusion for SKYY vodka, their SKYY Infusions Texas Grapefruit. I like the infusion products SKYY makes, including their sister products infused with ginger, moscato grapes and vanilla bean. Where some flavored vodkas tend to have a fake, chemical filled flavor, the SKYY Infusions have an authentic flavor from natural ingredients stirred into their 4 time distilled, 3 times filtered American vodka. The grapefruit infusion is perfect on its own, simply stirred into a bit of club soda with a lime, or try a twist on a salty dog, as noted below.

Blood Orange Salty Dog
2 ounces SKYY Infusions Texas Grapefruit
3 ounces blood orange juice
Salt
Squeeze of fresh lime
Preparation: Rim a rocks glass with salt. Add the remaining ingredients over ice and garnish with a lime.

deep eddyDeep Eddy Vodka has done an incredible job in the past 5 years of launching their Austin based Sweet Tea Vodka, followed by their straight vodka, cranberry, grapefruit and most recently, Deep Eddy Real Lemon. I love this vodka. Authentic, real lemon flavor with a punch of juicy citrus and zest for a sweet sunshine filled flavor, that also has good acidity to make it perfect simply mixed with sparkling water and a sprig of lemon thyme. For a cocktail that sings of spring, try the martini below, infused with fresh basil.

Real Lemon Basil Gimlet
2 oz Deep Eddy Real Lemon Vodka
1 oz fresh lemon juice
½ ounce simple syrup
(1:1 sugar and hot water)
5 Small Basil Leaves
Splash club soda
Add basil to the bottom of a shaker with the lemon juice and muddle together. Fill shaker with ice, simple syrup and vodka. Shake vigorously. Strain and top with splash of soda. Serve in a rocks glass garnished with basil.

bulleit swizzleSome might think bourbon and scotch are more for wintertime, but they don’t have to be, especially with ultra premium spirits like Bulleit Bourbon from the heart of Kentucky. Since their start in 1987 Bulleit has perfected their recipe, based on the mash blend that founder Tom Bulleit’s great grandfather, Augustas Bulleit, created in the mid-1800’s. The spirit includes not only corn and barley, like most bourbon, but also rye, to add a complexity and depth to the product. Most save their rye to produce Rye, which Bulleit does as well, but adding the additional grain into their proprietary mash adds an extra layer of flavor filled with sweet spice, maple, toasted caramel and toffee.

Bulleit Swizzle
1.3 oz. Bulleit® Bourbon
1 oz. lemon juice
0.75 oz. simple syrup
0.25 oz. ginger syrup
3 mint sprigs (take off leaves, remove stems)
3 dash Angostura bitters
3 dash Peychaud’s bitters
Dry shake, pour into a highball glass, top with ice & swizzle, keeping the mint on the bottom and top with more crushed ice. Garnish with 3 dashes each of Angostura & Peychaud’s bitters, a mint sprig and candied ginger.

sapphireThe herbaceous flavors of gin meld so beautifully with fresh herbs, transporting your palate to a beautiful garden. Bombay Sapphire Gin is infused with 10 different herbs and botanicals, including coriander, lemon, licorice, angelica, all with the juniper base, for a well rounded, aromatic spirit. When mixed with the fresh, floral flavors of St. Germain a beautiful, fragrant cocktail is born, as noted through the punch below.

St-Germain Rosemary Punch
1 cup Bombay Sapphire Gin
1 cup St-Germain artisanal French elderflower liqueur
½ cup fresh lemon juice
4 cups freshly brewed jasmine tea
10 dashes orange bitters
8 rosemary sprigs
Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl and stir well with plenty of ice to chill. Ladle into punch glasses or rocks glasses. Serves 4-6 people.

St-RitaFor a twist on your favorite margarita, consider substituting the Cointreau for St. Germain, enhancing the sweet, floral notes of the tequila, especially a 100% estate grown blue agave tequila like Milagro, maintaining every element of production from maturation and harvesting, to slow roasting, fermenting, triple distilling and aging before it finally is bottled.

St-Rita
2 ounces Milagro Silver Tequila
1 ounce St-Germain liqueur
3⁄4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
Stir together over ice in a rocks glass. Add a garnish of fresh mint to further enhance the herbal and floral notes if you like.

london no 1Spain’s favorite cocktail, a simple gin and tonic, can easily become ours as well with the incredible herbal, floral and botanical flavors of The London No 1 Gin. Created by Spanish company, Gonzalez Byass, who established themselves as leading sherry producers before delving into wines, like Beronia and Seacastilla, created their London No 1 Gin as a reflection of how gin was made in the 18th Century, using 12 different botanicals, herbs and spices from around the world, like orange, licorice, cinnamon, lily, coriander and juniper, melding harmoniously for a smooth, refined and truly special gin. Add the gin into and ice filled a bowl shaped glass, or wine glass, to truly appreciate the aromas of the spirit. Mix with high quality tonic, like Fever Tree, and garnish with anything from green apple slices to a lemon twist to fresh berries and mint leaves, for a refreshing start to spring. The product is just being introduced to the state so keep an eye out for it.

franceTransport yourself to the center of Paris with a refreshing cocktail from Courvoisier, the premium cognac prouder which started in France in 1835, and was served at the opening of the Eiffel Tower in 1889. Though most would say to serve it straight, usually at the end of a meal or evening, mixing their VS into light and lively cocktails, like the citrus filled one below, perfect for a sunshine filled day.

An Afternoon in France
2 parts Courvoisier VS
1 part  fresh squeezed grapefruit  juice
.5 parts fresh squeezed lemon juice
.5 parts honey syrup
Shake and strain into a rocks glass over one big ice cube. Garnish with a grapefruit and lemon twist.

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