A couple of weeks ago I asked for drink ideas to sip all summer. You came through in a big way with lots of really wonderful suggestions.
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.
June 15th, 2010 at 11:14 am
I voted for the Moon Safari, but I would be happy to drink any of these, any time.
June 15th, 2010 at 12:09 pm
thanks for voting, Nicole!
June 15th, 2010 at 12:19 pm
interesting that 3 of the drinks related to gin…
my vote is for moon safari…sounds great! t
Dawn (KitchenTravels) says:
June 15th, 2010 at 12:44 pm
“…for drinking with me at 7am to get good light.” You have no idea how very much I can relate to the concept of scheduling food/drink around optimal lighting conditions. ;) But 7 a.m.?!? Wow. I hope you and Bryan had some hearty brunch fare to soak up all those cocktails!
Dawn (KitchenTravels) says:
June 15th, 2010 at 12:47 pm
p.s. I am torn, so I plan to try a couple this weekend – on the patio, wearing a wide-brimmed hat, hopefully catching a bit of color on my glaring white legs. Depending on the outcome of that taste test, I will case my vote accordingly. Hooray for the Drink of Summer!
The French says:
June 15th, 2010 at 2:46 pm
I voted for the Moon Safari as it’s the one I would most likely drink again and again; I’m more o a marg drinker than a martini drinker, but honestly it was hard. They are all very creative. Balsamic and strawberries? Come on. And I’ve never heard of grapes being used in a drink, so that’s genius. Either way, I’m getting my drink on. Maybe I’ll make all four and then let you know if I should change my vote!
June 15th, 2010 at 4:11 pm
Moon Safari- no gin! But I guess I’m in the minority there.
June 15th, 2010 at 8:04 pm
Ooh tough. We’re staying with friends in Oregon & came up with an ‘interim cocktail’, interim as we have to buy our ingredients for Singapore Slings in shifts as it’s SO expensive, but I doubt ours is anywhere near as good at these!
I think we’ll be trying these out, though. My vote goes to The Red Ruby – it looks sensational, and I love the thought of the pepper & balsamic, two things that make strawberries even better.
June 16th, 2010 at 7:42 am
The all look so amazing. I am wavering between 3 of them, with the Moon Safari slightly in the lead.
June 16th, 2010 at 8:16 am
I’d like one of each, please!
Lisa (dinner party) says:
June 16th, 2010 at 11:12 am
The photos are so gorgeous, I want to try them all! So hard to decide.
June 16th, 2010 at 12:08 pm
Thanks for all of the nice comments, everyone.
I’ve been enjoying watching the race and I am excited to see which drink wins!
June 16th, 2010 at 12:10 pm
Silent Encore all the way! muddling cilantro and mixing with lime juice and hendricks is ALSO really good
June 16th, 2010 at 12:32 pm
i like the silent encore for its look, name and ingredients.
but the alcohol content will kick your ass!
(although the yellow is a bit milder, the green chartreuse was known for being over 110 proof)
June 17th, 2010 at 1:06 pm
Go Team Moon Safari!
June 18th, 2010 at 10:28 am
I’m with the Moon Safari. It sounds like something me and my friends would enjoy next to some nice juicy ribs :)
August 5th, 2010 at 12:15 pm
So I was sitting in a wine bar/restaurant in Pasadena, CA (Red, White, and Bluezz) on a quiet afternoon – just having a peaceful glass of wine at a corner table near the bar. The bartender threw some grapes in his mixing glass and I thought, “I think I know that drink!” After much hoopla, including one employee introducing the bartender to everyone and singing his praises and telling us how lucky we were to have him there, he mixed, he shook, he poured, and he announced, “This is a very special drink. It’s called Uva Bella and you’re going to love it.”
I wanted to say, “Oh, that? Old news. Lottie and Doof was all over that months ago…”