Must Have Monday - Cocktails and Mocktails!

I just returned from an incredible family trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico! Not only did it rejuvenate me, but it got me really excited for summer and the months to come. I have some fun things to be excited about this summer (including my birthday in August, the big 3-0!) so my spirits have been somewhat celebratory lately. To keep with the celebratory state of mind, I've been trying out some fun and fresh summer cocktails that I wanted to share. If alcohol isn't your thing or if you are pregnant (but still want to try some amazing flavors in a fresh icy beverage) you can easily turn most of these into a mocktail. Below are a few of my favorite summer cocktails.

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Eastern Standard: I had never heard of this drink until I came upon it at the Soho House one evening. Now, it is my go to whenever we are there. More fun than a vodka soda and perfect for summer! Pair it with a

Ingredients
3 cucumber slices
3 mint leaves
20ml sugar syrup (1:1)
25ml fresh lime juice
50ml vodka or gin (I always go with vodka)
Garnish: 1 slice of cucumber rubbed on the rim of the glass and placed in the cocktail
Muddle the cucumber slices in the shaker tin and add the mint. Add the rest of the ingredients to the shaker with ice and shake, fine strain into a martini glass.

Based on a classic recipe, the Southside, but with the addition of muddled cucumber which provides a refreshing element to this drink. The recipe originated in West Hollywood Soho but the inspiration for this recipe was taken from a trip to NYC when a drink called the eastside was tasted. The base recipe for this drink can be used for almost any spirit. The Eastside was created in NYC at Milk n Honey by a bartender named Christy Pope.

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Vodka Thyme Lemonade: What I like about this drink is the juxtaposition of the sweetness/tartness in the lemon with the earthiness of the thyme. Delicious balance of flavors.

Ingredients

2 cups sugar

12 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for garnish

4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 24 lemon

2 cups vodka

In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups water with the sugar and thyme; bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat; let cool to room temperature.

Pour mixture through into a large glass measuring cup; discard thyme. You should have 2 cups syrup. Cover with plastic; chill.

In a large serving pitcher, stir together lemon juice, vodka, and chilled syrup; garnish with thyme. Divide evenly among eight tumblers filled with ice; serve immediately.

 

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Grapefruit Mojito: I had a lot of these last week in Cabo and they were ah-ma-zing! Probably my favorite summer drink so far.

Ingredients:

1 grapefruit, segmented & juice reserved
20 mint leaves
4 teaspoons agave nectar
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons reserved grapefruit juice
3oz rum (2 shots)
ice
sparkling water

Muddle 4 grapefruit segments, mint, agave nectar and lime juice in the bottom of a martini shaker with the end of a wooden spoon. Add grapefruit juice and rum, then fill the shaker 3/4 full with ice. Shake until very cold then evenly divide between two glasses filled with ice. Top with sparkling water (to taste) and garnish with remaining grapefruit segments.

What are some of your favorite summer drinks? Would love to hear your favorite cocktail choices!