behind the bardrinks

The Best of Summer Drinks

by Kristina Gill

I don’t know about where you are, but here in Rome, it’s hot, kind of like Death Valley hot.  Friends who come from hotter places tell me that this weather (heat index of 106F) is actually quite pleasant, but that’s no consolation to me!  So how do I beat the summer heat?  Mostly by scurrying around in any bit of shade I can find, having gelato now and then, lots of water, and of course a refreshing cocktail in an air conditioned spot (or in front of the fan at home).   As I trawled the archives for a cocktail I could make with some of the summer fruit I had on hand, I thought a round up of our best summer cocktails would hit the spot this week. –Kristina

Above, Tara Guerard’s Low Country Lemonade.  Nothing says summer to me like a pitcher of lemonade, spiked or not.  Tara’s is spiked with peach schnaps, and goes perfectly with her shrimp paste sandwiches.

Carrie and Andrew Purcell, food stylist and photographer, shared their Blackberry Smash. It includes plums, blackberries, mint, cointreau, and whiskey. I have no doubt what I will do with all those blackberries on the vine!

See our other summer cocktails after the jump!


Erin Gleeson, illustrator, photographer, and vegetarian food blogger from Forest Feast, shared her Beer Float with us earlier this year.  It combines chocolate ice cream, stout, and raspberries.


Jewelry designer Emily Maynard combines the most refreshing ingredients in her Sweet Tea Sipper:  watermelon, watermelon mint red tea, and vodka.


Food photographer Melina Hammer’s Linden Blossom cocktail is as beautiful as the flavor is delicate and unique.  It’s the perfect drink to serve to friends this summer if you want to do something that will impress, notwithstanding its simplicity.


Talmadge Lowe, founder and drinkist at Pharmacie mixed up a 1966 Cosmopolitan that is one of my favorite cocktails ever.  Just the raspberry tincture alone is tops, but the addition of vodka, lemon juice, and orange blossom flower blend perfectly.  It’s smooth and nice, and if you have fresh raspberries, make a triple batch of the tincture.  You won’t be sorry!


Strawberry season is over, but strawberry ice cream is always available.  Anton Nocito, founder of P and H Soda Company, put the sarsaparilla ice cream float, using strawberry ice cream, back on my radar earlier this year.  His recent recipe book, Make Your Own Soda, is a perfect collection of recipes for anyone who loves to make their own syrups, floats, cocktails, and more.


Product designer and blogger Jean Lee’s Summer Picnic combines honey, vodka, mint, sparkling water, lemons, and cucumber for one of the most refreshing and light cocktails you can make.  You probably don’t even have to make a special trip to the store to enjoy this one!


Chelsea Fuss, prop-stylist, floral designer, and Frolic! blog author, shared her recipe for a summer elderflower cocktail.  Very many of our cocktails reveal how easy it is to make flavored syrups.  You can do this with Chelsea’s cocktail, or you can buy the syrup from IKEA!  If you’re in a pinch for time, this could be just the right cocktail for your next outdoor event.

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