Bid adieu to the heavy buttered rums and hot toddies of winter — spring has arrived, accompanied by new cocktails bursting with fresh herbs and fruit. So make time to drink in the season with one of these three delectable garden tipples:
Ginger Mint Julep. What cools down a warm spring day better than a splash of bourbon topped with a sprig of mint? A dash of ginger, says wine director Richard Hanauer of Chicago’s Five-Star L2O. Sommelier Allison Frey came up with this take on the classic mint julep, which adds ginger beer and a dollop of housemade ginger syrup for a little more “early spring” flavor. It’s a balm for hot, humid days, which call for a light Pappy Van Winkle’s bourbon, Hanauer says, “but the cooler is it outside, the darker the bourbon.”
Mamma Mia. Here’s an invigorating cocktail that will make your tongue tingle — the Mamma Mia takes red-pepper-and-parsley-infused tequila and shakes it with fresh sour mix, brown sugar and cucumber. The pepper isn’t strong enough to be truly spicy, but creator Brian Diaz, bar manager at Il Mulino New York in Miami, says it’s enough to add a kick. His housemade sour mix, composed of lemon juice and egg whites, gives a soft froth to the shaken drink, which he likes to serve straight up in a martini glass.
Violet Turning Violet. To us, a bit of fresh lime always tastes like warm weather, but this cocktail has enough depth to hint at darker spring weather as well. Find it at Stonehill Tavern, Michael Mina’s Four-Star restaurant at The St. Regis Monarch Beach, in Dana Point, Calif. With a mixture of acai-blueberry vodka, yellow Chartreuse, St-Germain, lime juice and muddled blueberries, it has a well-balanced profile of herbs, fruit and flowers that makes it supremely drinkable on a sunny day.
Photo courtesy of Stonehill Tavern