If you need an excuse to raise a glass, this weekend is it. Three days of national events worthy of a cocktail kick off Friday. Tequila is king on Friday, celebrating Cinco de Mayo; bourbon shines on Saturday with the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby; and vodka takes center stage on Sunday, National Cosmo Day.
Prep for the weekend with these recipes. (Some spirits were sent for editorial consideration.)
Cinco de Mayo celebrates tequila, and a Classic Margarita is always a crowd-pleaser.
1 part blanco or silver tequila, like Patron Silver
1 part Cointreau, a nod to the original recipe containing Cointreau
1 part lime juice
Preparation: Add all ingredients to an ice-filled shaker. Shake until cold, and strain into a salt-rimmed, ice-filled glass. Garnish with a lime.
To get you in the mood for summer vacations, head to the islands with a Pineapple Pepper Margarita.
1 part Patrón Silver
1/2 part Patrón Citrónge Orange
1/2 part fresh lime juice
1 part pineapple juice
2-3 slices jalapeno
1/2 part simple syrup*
Preparation: Combine ingredients in an ice-filled shaker. Shake until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge.
*Simple Syrup: Add equal parts sugar and water to a saucepan over medium heat, and stir to dissolve sugar. Cool before using.
Reposado Tequila and smoky mezcal create a spicy Mezcal Margarita.
1 part Roca Patrón Reposado
1 part mezcal, like Montelobos
1 teaspoon grated ginger
Splash orange juice
Juice of 1 fresh lime
Preparation: Combine ingredients in an ice-filled shaker. Shake to chill. Strain into an ice-filled, salt-rimmed glass. Garnish with a lime and orange slice.
For Saturday, bourbon from Kentucky is the standard, and the Mint Julep is classic.
1 ½ parts Maker’s Mark Bourbon
10 fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons simple syrup
Splash of water
Preparation: Mix simple syrup muddled with mint, Maker’s Mark Bourbon, and water. Fill glass with crushed ice, and pour mixture over the top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Garnish with mint.
For a bubbly twist, a Champagne Julep
2 parts Maker’s Mark Bourbon
2 parts Champagne
½ part St. Germain
8 mint leaves
Preparation: In a shaker, muddle mint, then add remaining ingredients. Stir until cold. Pour over crushed ice, and garnish with lemon twist.
Though Kentucky bourbon is the standard, we make too many great Texas bourbons not to include a few. From the first legal distillery in Texas, Garrison Brothers, a Peach Mint Julep.
3 ounces Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey
1 teaspoon sugar
1 yellow peach, sliced
Preparation: In a shaker, muddle six mint leaves, peach slices, and sugar together. Add ice and the bourbon. Stir until cold. Strain into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with mint.
From Fort Worth’s Firestone & Robertson, a Ginger Julep.
1 1/2 ounces Firestone & Robertson Texas Straight Bourbon
1 ounce Cointreau
1 1/2 tablespoons ginger infused simple syrup and muddled with mint
Preparation: In a chilled glass, combine the bourbon, Cointreau, and ginger syrup. Stir well. Fill the cup with crushed ice and stir. Garnish with mint.
Create one of the world’s easiest cocktails on Sunday for National Cosmopolitan Day. But, if the cocktail isn’t made just right, the drink will fall flat. (Don’t omit the Cointreau, or stir instead of shake.) This Classic Cosmo recipe is tried and true.
2 parts Tito’s Vodka
1 part Cointreau
1 part cranberry juice
Juice of 1/2 lime
Preparation: Add all ingredients to an ice-filled shaker. Shake until very cold. Strain into a martini glass with a lime twist.
Turn your Cosmopolitan White with Grey Goose pear vodka.
2 parts Grey Goose La Poire
1 part Cointreau
Juice of half a lime
2 parts white cranberry juice
Preparation: Add ingredients to an ice-filled shaker. Shake until very cold. Strain into a martini glass.