Saturday, June 27, 2015

10 Awesome Summer Cocktails!

It's Summer Cocktail Time at Go Ahead... Take A Bite!!

So pull up a stool,  grab a notepad and a pen (or use the "print friendly" feature that's at the bottom of each post) and jot down a recipe or two. Heck, why not get 'em all down on paper so you can be ready to rock like a pro mixologist with this whole line-up of awesome cocktails at your next summer gathering!!

I'm going to include the brand names of some liquors or get specific about other ingredients in the cocktails listed here today, but please note that I have not been compensated for mentioning or sharing my opinion about these products. They are simply just my preferences.

All amounts are for one cocktail, unless **otherwise specified. I've made sure to include tips for making the best cocktails that you can. Of course, here at GATAB, we always drink responsibly.  Please don't ever drink and drive!


 Blood Orange Martini

I discovered this cocktail at a very nice restaurant that Hubbs and I visited while on vacation. I only had a tiny sip, since I already had my cocktail of choice in front of me. (that would be recipe number 3, in case you were wondering.) If I hadn't, or if I was a two cocktail kind of gal these days, I'd have ordered one of these in a heartbeat!
  • 4 Oz Vodka
  • 1/2 Oz Triple Sec or other Orange flavored Liqueur
  • 2 Oz Blood Orange Juice
  • Slice of Orange for garnish
Combine all ingredients (except the orange slice), with a generous amount of ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for a few seconds. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with the orange slice.

 Tom Collins

This cocktail (or technically "highball") can be made with either Gin or Vodka (Vodka Collins) which is my personal preference. It's a light and refreshing summer thirst quencher that goes down smooth and easy on a hot summer day, so try not to get too carried away!
  • 2 Oz Gin
  • 1 Oz Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tsp Superfine Sugar (or 1 Tbls Simple Syrup)
  • 3 Oz Club Soda or Collins Mix
  • 1 Maraschino Cherry
  • 1 Orange or Lemon Slice
In a shaker that is half-filled with ice cubes, combine the gin or vodka, lemon juice, and sugar. Shake well. Strain into a tall glass filled with more ice. Add the club soda. Stir gently and garnish with the cherry and orange or lemon slice.


 The Dirty Martini

This is one of my favorites, on the rare occasions that I treat myself to a cocktail. I don't drink much alcohol these days, because of some of the medications I take, but when I do.... well, let's just say that I like my Dirty Martini's extra dirty. ;~) If you like (or love, as is the case with moi) green olives, then you'll go bonkers for this smooth and savory libation!
  • 2 Oz Grey Goose (unflavored) Vodka
  • 1 Oz Brine from the Olive Jar
  • Splash of Dry Vermouth
  • Olives for garnish
Pour just a bit of Dry Vermouth into a chilled martini glass and swirl it around a couple of times. Pour it out. (yes, I said pour it out - it should just be a whisper) Pour the rest of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker full of ice. Shake well and strain into the chilled martini glass. Garnish with as many olives as you can fit on a toothpick or one of those cute cocktail spears.

Gin and Tonic

This is another well know, established cocktail in the "highball" category. According to what I've always been told, it's considered the "official" cocktail of Great Britain. I found this recipe in magazine article interviewing an American ex-pat who'd been living in England for several years and what follows is his recipe for "THE Perfect Gin and Tonic". I do like to try and defer to the experts when it comes to such classic food and libation, so cheerio, let's go! 
  • 3 Oz Bombay Sapphire Gin (or "Mother's Ruin")
  • 4 Oz Schweppes's Tonic Water (the use of any other brand of tonic is likened to treason - or so I've heard)
  • 1 Tbls Lime Juice (fresh... never bottled, also as per above mentioned reason, but I do agree)
  • Lime Wedge for garnish
Pour the Gin over ice in a tall glass. Add the Tonic and the Lime Juice and stir gently.  Garnish with the Lime Wedge. Now, I've also been told that one should make a batch of ice cubes out of the tonic water, specifically for these beloved G&T's, but it isn't mandatory. I'll leave that up to you.

The use of Bombay Sapphire gin is also highly recommended by many Brits, but since I despise all things Gin, I'll leave that up to you. I must admit that the idea of rimming the glass with the wedge of lime before adding it as a garnish, is a great one and I actually recommend it highly for just about any highball recipe. 


 Limoncello Spritzer

Limoncello is an Italian Lemon Liqueur made by simply taking handfuls of fresh lemon rind and soaking it in grain alcohol (Vodka works perfectly) for a couple of weeks. It can be as smooth or as hearty as you like it to be, depending on the amount of lemon rind you use and the length of time that you allow it to steep.

It's great on it's own as an aperitif or even better in this luscious summer cooler. Just be sure to take only the yellow skin from the lemons, leaving as much of the white pith behind. It's the most bitter part of the rind.
  • 3 Oz Limoncello
  • 1 Oz Frozen Lemonade Concentrate
  • 4 Oz Sparkling Water
  • Lemon Wedge for garnish
Pour the Limoncello over a glass filled with ice. Add the Frozen Lemonade Concentrate (in a small amount first and then taste for desired sweetness) and top it off with the Sparkling Water. Stir gently and garnish with a Lemon Wedge.
(I also recommend rimming the glass with a bit of lemon juice and sugar! Yum!)


 Cosmopolitan (or Pink See-Thru)

Here's another favorite of mine that I tend to gravitate toward in the warmer months. It's best known as the drink of choice for four very famous (although fictitious) New York City ladies named Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte & Samantha!

Some recipes I've seen call for a full ounce (or more) of Cranberry Juice, but the majority of bartenders that I've asked, say to use "just a splash" to give it color. The splash is my preference, but if you like more Cranberry, by all means, be my guest!
  • 2 Oz Gray Goose L'Orange Vodka (or unflavored)
  • 1 Oz Cointreau
  • 1 Oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1/2 Oz (splash) Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice
  • Slice of Lime for garnish
Pour all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice.  Shake well. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a wedge or a slice of lime.


Watermelon Martini

I've never made this yummy drink myself because well... frankly, I'm a bit too lazy to make the Watermelon puree/juice.  It really isn't that difficult to do, but it's a few more steps than I usually feel like taking when I'm in the mood for a cocktail! The best way to remove my laziness from the equation of course, is to make the puree a day ahead so that it's right there in your fridge, ready to build a delicious fruity summer treat. (a treat that's just for the adults, though!)  **This recipe makes two drinks.
  • 1 Cup Watermelon Juice (press fresh watermelon chunks through a sieve or cheesecloth)
  • 1/2 Cup (4 oz) Vodka
  • 1/4 Cup Simple Syrup (we've done that a couple of times... check here for the recipe)
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • Ice
  • Watermelon Slices, for garnish
In a shaker that's half filled with ice, add the Watermelon Juice/Puree, Lime Juice, Vodka and Simple Syrup. Shake vigorously. Strain into chilled martini glasses and garnish with fresh watermelon slices.  Now, that's refreshing!


Ahhhh! The ubiquitous, yet always festive Margarita! Now, I must confess that I simply cannot drink a Margarita made with "bar mix". Bar mix is that pre-made lemon-lime mixture that some bars use for cocktails requiring a citrus base. Not only do I not care for the taste that this concoction lends to a drink, but it gives me horrific heartburn too. So.... why use the stuff?  Especially when it's just as easy and quick to do it the right way?  You can certainly make your drink the way that you want to, but I really think if you try it my way, you'll never go back to a mix!
  • 1 1/2 OZ Tequila (100% agave is what we prefer)
  • 1 1/2 OZ Triple Sec or Cointreau (for this basic version I use Triple Sec)
  • 1 to 1 1/4 OZ of Fresh Lime Juice
  • Salt for the rim of the glass
  • Wedge of Lime for garnish
Pour all ingredients (except lime wedge and salt) into a shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a well chilled margarita or martini glass that has been "rimmed" with the lime wedge and dipped in salt. I use coarse Kosher Salt, but if you like, you can use Sea Salt, regular Table Salt or no salt at all.

Creamsicle Martini

This cocktail is one that I consider to be more of an after dinner drink. You could call it, dessert in a glass, really. It's rich, creamy and icy cold. What better way to end the perfect Summer meal? Or, maybe just to have as a treat after a long day of work?
  • 2 Oz Vodka
  • 1 Oz Triple Sec
  • 1 Oz Orange Juice
  • 1 Oz Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tbls Sugar, mixed with the zest of 1/2 an Orange
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass, rimmed with the Orange and Sugar.


Classic Mojito

What would a list of Summer cocktails be without the classic Mojito! This drink has been around for many years, but has regained it's popularity within the last decade or so. It's often referred to as Earnest Hemingway's favorite drink, during his years spent living & writing in Key West Florida, but that's not exactly true. 

The drink that "Papa" Hemingway made famous, (first in Cuba and then in the Keys) is actually called a "Hemingway Daiquiri" and while the ingredients are somewhat similar to a Mojito, it's flavor is different. And quite tasty, at that!

(I'm feeling pretty generous today, so as a bonus, I'll include the recipe for this lovely concoction as well. Consider it my little gift to you! But first, let's get on with the Mojito, shall we?)
  • 8 fresh Mint Leaves, stems removed
  • 1/2 Lime, cut into fourths
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Superfine (or "bar") Sugar
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 2 OZ Cruzan or Bacardi White Rum
  • 4 OZ Club Soda
Place the mint leaves and 2 wedges of lime into a rocks or highball glass. Crush the lime and mint leaves with a muddler to release the oils from the mint and the juice and oils from the lime. Add a third lime wedge and the bar sugar, and muddle a little bit more, until you've released as much lime juice as possible and the mint leaves are in tiny pieces.

Here's the part where you might want to, but please don't, strain the drink. Fill your glass 3/4 full with ice. Pour in the rum, then top it off with the club soda. Give it a stir, then give it a sip. If it's a little too bitter for your tastes, just add another 1/2 to 1 tsp. of sugar and stir it in. Garnish the glass with the last of your lime wedges and enjoy!

11) Bonus!!

The Hemingway Daiquiri

So, here it is... The little bonus cocktail that I promised to share! (see above) My first experience with this drink was at an awesome restaurant in Jensen Beach Florida, called Conchy Joe's. They serve the "HD" in icy cold metal mugs with a piece of sugar cane to use as a stirring stick. Talk about refreshing!

If you've never tried this cocktail before, I highly recommend that you give it a go! If you have the opportunity to experience one (or three) of them at Conchy's, all the better! 
  • 2 & 1/2 ounces White Rum, like Bambu (or Bacardi)
  • 1 ounce fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 ounce fresh Grapefruit Juice (please don't use the concentrated stuff)
  • 1/2 ounce of a good Croatian Maraschino Liqueur, like Maraska
Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker full of ice and shake it up vigorously. Strain the drink into a large rocks glass (or a metal mug, if you've got one) add a wheel of lime to the rim and if you just happen to have one on hand, a short stalk of sugar cane... and enjoy!

Earnest "Papa" Hemingway

Enjoy!  And please remember to drink responsibly... Please don't drink and drive!

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(This Post Was Formerly Titled Seasonal Food Friday: Week Seven)


  1. Ooh the limoncello spritzer sounds heavenly!!
    Thank you for stopping in and visiting my blog!! I am on a bit of a blog slow down for the summer but will be checking in form time to time. I am following you now too and look forward to it!!

  2. The lovelies would enjoy this list! I'm going to send them the link to your blog!

  3. I’m feeling a little woozy … I’ll get back to you with a comment later! ;-D

  4. Oh sweet Mrs. B you had me at limoncello spritzer, giggle. Thank you so much for your bloggy friendship and for leaving wonderful comments on my blog. I hope you know how much I appreciate you. Big Hugs and have a great weekend ♥

  5. Vodka Collins brings me back to my first drinking experience. Gin and Tonics bring me back to a semi-formal dance with a boy/man I swooned over. This post brought a treasure trove of memories...even though I rarely the drink hard stuff any more. When I do, I go out to the garden, pick some mint and make a mojito!

  6. the drink theme post...I have a summer cocktail contest going on...stop by!

  7. Cheers! This is my first visit to your blog and I've spent sometime browsing through your earlier posts. I'm so glad I did that. I've had a great time and will definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  8. LTD: You're very welcome! I'll be sure to stop in now & then and check for updates over the summer!

    Empty Nester: I have a feeling my "lovely" would appreciate them too! Hope your girls enjoy!

    Holly: I hope you didn't end up with a wee hangover! LOL

    Katherine: Oh, that's so sweet of you to say. I so enjoy popping in to see what's going on in your world! Thank you for being such a great blog buddy to me too!

    Liza: Ahh.. Mojitos! I don't know why I didn't include them?! I'm so glad I could bring back some fond memories for you. I don't really do much drinking anymore either, but once in a while, an ice cold cocktail or even a frosty beer can be so good... Especially on a hot summer day!

    KOPO: Thanks! I'll have to stop by and check it out!

    Mary: Thank you so much... I'm so glad you found some things that you liked. Please do drop by often and say hello. I'm enjoying your blog a great deal too!

  9. OOOOOO, they all look divine.
    I've been wanting to make Mojitos for a while. How refreshing w/ that mint.
    And the martinis. Oh-My!
    thank you for the recipes.


I love comments! I read every one and they truly make my day! I no longer allow anonymous comments due to increases in spam, etc. SUBSCRIBE to the COMMENTS on this post (below) to get a notice of my reply via email! Thanks for stopping by and for absolutely making my day! XOXO Mary

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