5 Fancy New Cocktails to Shake Up Summer

- article by Colleen Graham

May 13, 2016

Summer was made for entertaining and cocktails often become a signature of the most memorable parties. It can be a challenge to find something exciting and new to serve. Sure, you could blend up a few margaritas or mix up a round of daiquiris, but sometimes you want to share a drink that's different and really exciting.

These are the times when we need to look to the pros and see what some of the hottest bars in the country are serving. The summer of 2016 promises to be a great one for imbibers, especially when we have great drinks like these to enjoy!

Coco Loco

Let's kick off this summer celebration of drinks with a fun and easy recipe from Salsera in Dallas, Texas. If you enjoy a good Pina Colada, the Coco Loco will be the drink you want to try.

The base of the Coco Loco is that popular and creamy RumChata liqueur that we cannot get enough of. When a hint of chocolate and a couple of coconut-flavored additions are made, we have an exciting and absolutely delicious drink to enjoy poolside.

The real beauty of this drink is how easy it is! Unlike some of the other recipes in this collection, there is nothing exotic here and one trip to the store should set you up just fine.

Place all the ingredients in a pint glass with ice and shake vigorously. Strain over rocks. Top with a cherry.

Pear Cobbler

Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Dallas and Houston are featuring a special sherry cocktail this summer and it is also very easy to mix up at home.

This Pear Cobbler is a cocktail I'd serve up at a barbecue though it's also an interesting addition for a casual summer brunch. The sherry base is very interesting and the manzanilla style is a pale sherry that is known for its dry profile, making a perfect foundation for a sweetened pear syrup.

Now, if you're a garnish skipper, this is one instance where you need to break the habit! The grapefruit peel is a nice touch, but the fresh black pepper is an essential finishing touch that should not be overlooked. It is that single ingredient that takes this Pear Cobbler over the top and into the realm of truly great drinks.

  • 3 oz. Valdespino Manzanilla en Rama Sherry
  • 1 oz. pear syrup* (instructions below)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • Grapefruit peel and cracked black pepper for garnish

Combine ingredients in a shaker tin and fill with ice. Shake for 10-15 seconds. Fill glass with fresh ice and strain into glass. Garnish with a grapefruit peel and cracked black pepper.

*To make the pear syrup: Combine equal parts pear puree and granulated sugar. Blend on high for 1 minute.

Bedroom Eyes

If you stop by Wildhawk in San Francisco this summer, you will find Bedroom Eyes on the menu and it is a very fun twist on the julep family of drinks.

To make this cocktail, you will first need to do a quick infusion of rooibos tea in Absolut Elyx. (Don't worry if you're not an Absolut fan. Elyx is their answer to vodka drinkers' desire for high-end vodkas like Ketel One, so you may like this one!) The infusion should take just 1-2 hours and you will want to taste it periodically until you get that nice red tea flavor.

Next up, you will need to find Batavia Arrack. This is an old-fashioned ingredient that made an appearance in many classic cocktails and punches. It is similar to rum, made with sugarcane and fermented rice.

Once you have those ingredients, grab your favorite Reisling wine and you're ready to mix up the drink. Is it worth the effort? If you are up for a new experience, absolutely! Cocktails are an adventure and this is a nice side trip.

  • 1 3/4 oz. Absolut Elyx infused with Rooibos
  • 1/2 oz. Batavia Arrack
  • 1 oz. Riesling
  • 1/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz. simple syrup
  • Cobbled ice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin and fill with ice. Fill a julep cup with cobbled (or crushed) ice and strain cocktail over ice. Garnish with an orange peel wrapped around the straw.

Three Kings Punch

The last two recipes in our summer collection are designed to quench the thirst of a crowd. We will start off with this amazing Three Kings Punch from Ox & Son in Santa Monica, California.

There is so much to love about this punch recipe: sparkling wine, soju, ginger beer, and a possible introduction to oleo-saccharum! The recipe has an old-fashioned flair and a lot going on. It's definitely a punch that is designed to impress, but it's actually quite easy.

The one ingredient that is likely to require a bit of explanation is oleo-saccharum. Essentially, this is sugared oil with a citrus twist. Michael Dietsch has everything you need to know about it on Serious Eats.

Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl and garnish with citrus wheels & rosemary sprigs over ice

Pimm's Cup Queen Vic

We'll finish up this collection with a complex punch variation on the popular Pimm's Cup. The original drink is the ultimate summer cocktail and this 'improved' Pimm's Cup from The Queen Vic Pub & Kitchen in Houston, Texas builds on that with modern style.

Don't let the length of this recipe ingredients or instructions scare you off. It really is very simple when you break it down... Make up a fresh ginger syrup before anything else. To prep the punch, muddle the fresh ingredients, add the liquids, strain and serve in a punch bowl or pitcher.

Yield: 8-10 people

  • 20 oz. Pimm's No. 1, chilled
  • 5 oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao, chilled
  • 5 oz. fresh lime juice, chilled
  • 5 oz. ginger simple syrup* (recipe below)
  • 3/4 of an English cucumber, sliced in 1/2 inch wheels
  • 1/2 medium-sized orange, sliced into segments
  • 3/4 oz. mint leaves (generally the size of packaged mint sold in grocery stores)
  • 12 oz. ginger beer
  • Cubed ice to chill
  • Garnish (optional)- Cucumber Ribbons, Orange Wedges, Frozen Grapes

*To make ginger syrup: 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup water and 2 inches fresh ginger peeled & sliced. Heat sugar and water in pan stirring regularly. Add ground ginger and let heat for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let it steep for 30 minutes or until room temp. Strain ginger pieces out.

In a large bowl or serving pitcher, muddle the cucumber, orange segments and mint together until juice has been extracted from the fruits & mint has been bruised. Add Pimm's No. 1, dry curacao, lime juice and ginger simple syrup along with about 2 cups of ice. Stir vigorously for about 30 seconds or until all ingredients are well incorporated.

Using a fine strainer, pour contents into a container to separate ice, cucumber, orange, and mint pulp. Serve with a ladle into individual glasses, adding fresh ice and optional cucumber ribbons, orange wedges, & frozen grapes to each glass.