It wasn’t easy narrowing them down to 3 finalists, so we chose 4—which wasn’t much easier. I wanted to try almost every cocktail suggested by you, my fine readers. But in an effort to preserve our livers and live to drink another day, we narrowed down the competition to these fantastic finalists. We were looking for something seasonal, creative and delicious—these all qualified.
In reviewing the submissions, I noticed some trends. Strawberries made their way onto the list several times, as did pineapple, basil and other fresh herbs. Several of you suggested cucumber-based drinks, which I love. Many of you were inspired by drinks you had at favorite bars or restaurants and these final nominees are really an homage to modern mixologists.
So, without further delay, I present to you the 4 finalists for the 2010 Drink of Summer:
Cocktail #1: The Moon Safari
Submitted by Caitlin Dentino (who has a nice blog!). Caitlin didn’t have a recipe, but she did have a great idea. She enjoyed this drink at The Breslin in NYC, which I can confirm has some lovely cocktails. This is our attempt at recreating that cocktail. We got our pineapple juice by pureeing pineapple in a blender and then straining it into a glass. It seems like 1 pineapple will give you just shy of 2 cups of juice using this method.
The Moon Safari (inspired by a drink at The Breslin)
- 2 oz. fresh pineapple juice
- 2 oz. blanco tequila
- 1/2 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
- fresh tarragon
Combine pineapple juice, tequila, lime juice, and a sprig of tarragon in a cocktail shaker. Add some ice, shake, strain into rocks glass full of ice. Garnish with a spear of pineapple and a sprig of tarragon.
Cocktail #2: The Red Ruby
Submitted by Susan. Inspired by a cocktail she had when she was at a Melbourne bar. She thinks it might have been called a Red Ruby, so we’re running with that. Be sure to look for really flavorful and ripe berries.
The Red Ruby
- 3-4 very ripe strawberries
- 1 teaspoon super fine sugar
- 3 basil leaves, torn
- 1/8 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 oz. gin (preferably Hendrick’s) or vodka
Mash strawberries with a teaspoon of caster sugar and pass through a sieve into a cocktail shaker.
Muddle with torn basil leaves, balsamic vinegar and pinch of freshly cracked black pepper.
Add in some ice cubes, pour in 2 oz gin and shake. Serve with a slice of strawberry, a basil leaf and another pinch of black pepper on top.
Cocktail #3: The Silent Encore
Submitted by Elizabeth from A Rockridge Life. The original cocktail is from Drink Well who was inspired by a Silent Order at Drink in Boston. Love that string of connections! Yellow Chartreuse is French liqueur made by the Carthusian monks. Yellow Chartreuse is the milder, sweeter cousin of green Chartreuse. And yes, the color was named after the liqueur.
The Silent Encore (adapted from Drink Well)
- 1 oz. Yellow Chartreuse
- 1 oz. gin
- juice from half a lime
- 5 basil leaves
Shake it over ice and strain it into a cocktail glass.
Cocktail #4: The Uva Bella Cocktail
Submitted by Kathryn, a reader in Los Angeles. The original is served at The Bazaar by Jose Andres.
Uva Bella Cocktail
- 5-6 green grapes, plus 1 for garnish
- 2 ounces gin, preferably Plymouth
- 1/2 ounce St-Germain elderflower liqueur
- 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
- Dash orange bitters
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the grapes. Add the gin, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice and bitters, then ice. Shake vigorously for 6 seconds and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a grape.
How about those amazing colors?! As always, remember that these can all be adjusted to suit your taste. You might like your cocktail sweeter or dryer than I do. Also, feel free to figure out creative ways to make batches of these. Because sometimes you want a pitcher full of drinks.
Voting: Scout’s honor with this voting. Vote once, and vote for whichever drink you’d most like to spend the summer with. If you have the time and energy, try some of them out. Hopefully we’ve set it up so that only one vote can be cast from each IP address. You can vote until Sunday, June 20th at noon CDT. I will announce the winning drink on Monday, June 21st—the first official day of summer!
Thanks to everyone who took the time to submit an idea. The best part of this whole process is the original list of suggestions. So, next time you are looking for a good cocktail recipe check the list out. I’ll be trying more of your suggestions as the summer progresses and will check in with favorites.
*** Special thanks to Bryan’s dad, Mitch, for helping to fund this operation! And thanks, as always, to Bryan for drinking with me at 7am to get good light and for lending his expertise.