Category Archives: spring/summer cocktails

How to end summer

You’ve got an abundance of basil in your garden. Your farmer’s market still has cucumbers. You’re not quite ready to say goodbye to summer produce. You’re not quite ready to say goodbye to summer itself. And you want a cocktail.

We give you the cucumber basil gimlet.

This refreshing summer beverage was adapted from a recipe found over at What’s Gaby Cooking (but originally inspired by a Miss Mojito post from a few years back). Gaby probably had some time to think about, and plan for, her preparation of this cocktail. Ms. S&C’s preparation was a little last minute, and she didn’t have the patience for simple-syrup-making and pureed-cucumber-straining. So, her adaptation went something like this. (With more time, she would recommend the simple syrup making and cucumber puree straining.)

Ingredients:

  • Cucumber
  • Basil — large handful
  • Agave nectar
  • Lime — one half per cocktail
  • Gin

Directions (for one cocktail):

Peel cucumber, slice and puree until finely chopped. Fill glass with spoonful of pureed cucumber, 7 or so basil leaves, a squirt of agave nectar, juice of half a lime, and then muddle. Fill glass with ice, add an once and a half of gin and stir well (or preferably, transfer to a cocktail shaker to mix). Garnish with a cucumber wheel and sprig of fresh basil.

As a bonus: maybe you’ve got some extra tomatoes. Maybe that arugula became the bumper crop you never expected. Pick up some pre-made naan, whip up some arugula pesto, and top with whatever is around (maybe some parmigiano-reggiano,  maybe some goat cheese, and maybe fresh basil). And perfetto! Summer ingredients at their best.

posted by Ms. S&C

Last Sips of Summer

Come late August, it’s all too common to hear the complaint, “I can’t wait for fall. I’m so ready for summer to end.” Now, this typically comes from folks who are tired of sundresses and swimsuits, and who are a tad too obsessed with their boot collections and ready to get back into a pair of jeans. And honestly, I’m one of those girls, generally speaking. My fall wardrobe has more options, more depth, more oomph.

But that does NOT mean that I will ever utter the words, “I’m just ready for summer to be done with already.” Nun-uh, no way. I want to eke the most out of every last drop of summer goodness, from the too-hot-to-handle days to the late afternoon storms.

What does this mean for Miss Mojito? Well, wearing my wrap-up espadrilles one last time, for one. And, perhaps most importantly, it means indulging in summer-friendly cocktails with as much frequency as possible over these few last precious days.

A friend whipped up this oh-so-tempting jug-full of Pimm’s Cup last weekend for a lovely picnic, and while the quintessential English cocktail is nothing new to readers of this blog, it was far too pretty a picture to pass up posting. And I love the idea of using a stem of fresh mint to stir your cocktail!

I’m a bit late in the game on the Pina Colada train thanks to a life-long predilection to disliking coconut. But as the flavor has grown on me, this Pina Colada Mojito sounds more and more attractive. The ingredient list is a bit involved, so I’ll have to report back and let you know if the shopping list is worth the effort.

The last item on my list sounds perfect for long summer evening of porch-sittin’: Spiked Cherry Tea. This particular version relies on black cherry rum and prepared ice tea – but I can’t help but wonder if a mix of black cherry juice and Firefly tea-flavored vodka might not hit the spot.

Here’s to summer – enjoy it while you can!

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Mango Madness

Miss Mojito finally had the chance to test out a recipe for Mango Margaritas. They’re so refreshing, sunny and dare I say easy that I had to report back on the results. Make the most of your summer and whip up a batch this weekend!

Now, the mango is a notoriously difficult fruit to cut. But that’s the beauty of this recipe – you don’t have to dice the mango into neat, even cubes (although here’s a helpful tutorial for when that’s your goal). It’s perfectly acceptable to butcher the fruit as you see fit, since you’ll be pureeing the whole lot in a blender or food processor later.

Mango Margaritas
Serves five.

  • 2 very ripe mangos
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 10 oz. tequilo blanco
  • 4 oz. triple sec
  • 8 oz. grapefruit soda (I used the Izzie brand)

Remove as much flesh as possible from the two mangos.

If you’re using a blender: Puree all the ingredients in the blender until you reach a smooth consistency.

If you’re using a food processor: Puree the mango and lime juice together until smooth. Poor into a pitcher and add the tequila, triple sec and soda. Stir well.

Serve over ice in chilled glasses.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

S&C patriotism

If money were no object, the 4th of July holiday weekend footwear may look a little something like this:

For the picnic, or the baseball game (the Nationals have a double-header on Saturday, you know), let’s don these adorable Kate Spade sandals. That bow, the grosgrain fabric, the basketweave heel — nothing could say casual American holiday better.

For the night out, how about this classic Burberry espadrille paired with a flowy black sundress? Love the combination of red patent leather, espadrille midsol, and the check pattern.

For the wide-leg white linen pants (or the white linen anything), how about these striking Diane Von Furstenberg wedges? Yes, the height, the bold color, the multi-pattern wedge heel would contrast beautifully with white.

And what to drink this Independence Day? Well, we’ll have to get back to you on that, but these Black and Blue Mojitos and this Campari Cup are strong contenders (particularly given the amount of fresh mint we have growing over at chez S&C).

Happy fireworks, barbecues, picnics, baseball games, Declaration of Independence reading, patriotic song singing, parade going, blue-and-white sprinkled, sparkler waving holiday!

posted by Ms. S&C

Drinks at the lake

Here’s the final installment of Ms. S&C’s Seneca Lake recap. Over the course of three fun-filled days, here’s what you could find friends imbibing by the water, on a sailboat, by the grill, on the porch, on a swing, playing games, by the bonfire (did I miss anything?): Grapefruit Crush, Bloody Mary, Mai Tai (for the luau-themed dinner), Gin & Tonic, Dark ‘n’ Stormy, Pimm’s Cup (and variations of), Beer, Wine, Champagne.

One specialty cocktail (that was planned in advance): Five Island Punch.

The Five Island Punch was made with Banks Rum, a new rum on the market that is a blend of aged rums from five island distilleries. Ms. S&C doesn’t know a whole heck of a lot about rum (not like this guy), but she certainly loved it in this cocktail. And naturally, fresh watermelon this time of the year is a perfect mixer for cocktails.

The Banks Five Island Punch

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Banks rum
  • 1 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 4 oz watermelon puree

Directions:

Shake all ingredients together, serve over ice, and garnish with mint sprig and lime wheel.

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Another specialty cocktail (that was totally random and totally awesome): Iced Double Espresso.

Coffee is probably the one beverage Ms. S&C can’t live without (actually, coffee may have to fight it out with Champagne). So, when another friend came with a surprise bottle of Van Gogh Double Espresso vodka, she couldn’t have been happier to make iced coffee drinks. Then, the drinks were paired with these amazing orange glazed cookies. The lake is like a culinary wonderland.

Iced Double Espresso

Directions:

Pretty simple stuff: fill glass with ice, pour a few ounces of coffee-flavored vodka, add a dash of cream, milk or half-and-half, and stir.

Ms. S&C’s has a three-part series covering her favorite weekend of the year. Part one: Sights of the lake. Part two: Overheard at the lake. Part three: Drinks at the lake.

posted by Ms. S&C

Collaboration

Miss Mojito thought she was really on to something when she decided to whip up a batch of Cherry Bourbon Lemonade for a bourbon-loving-pal’s recent summer birthday picnic celebration. Sweet, dark cherry juice and tart lemonade would be the perfect companions in this delectable punch.

And they were – sort of. The punch was good. Very good, in fact. But something was. . . missing. The drink was sweet, but not too sweet. It packed a lovely, bourbon-y punch. But it just wasn’t spectacular.

So, what is any responsible cocktail-maker to do when faced with such a conundrum? Why, collaborate, of course! A friend and fellow picnic-goer came up with an idea that turned this cocktail into something truly special: a splash of sparkling wine gave my Cherry Bourbon Lemonade a bit of light fizz.

+ + + = YUM

I highly recommend you make the most of this recipe before the last days of summer slip away!

Fruity Bourbon Fizz
Serves one.

  • 1.5 ounces bourbon (nothing too fancy, Miss Mojito used Jim Beam)
  • .75 ounces cherry juice
  • Large splash lemonade
  • Small splash sparkling wine or champagne

Mix bourbon and cherry juice in a large glass. Top off with a healthy splash of lemonade and a slightly smaller splash of sparkling wine – just enough to add some fizz. Serve on ice and garnish with maraschino cherries, fresh cherries or lemon slices.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Get ready, waves coming

As Ms. S&C mentioned in her recent Rehoboth Beach update, the “crush” may be the perfect beach cocktail, which means it may be the perfect summer cocktail. It is certainly a damn refreshing cocktail. And, it is a cocktail that is very easy to make. Did you hear that? It is a cocktail that is super easy to make. Make one. This weekend.

There’s one month before Labor Day, so Ms. S&C begs you — pleads with you — to make a “crush” before summer is over. Did I mention how it is so easy? And, how it tastes like a summer drink is supposed to? If there is one thing Ms. S&C can give you this summer, it is the Grapefruit Crush.

Ms. S&C’s favorite cocktail of this hot, hot summer?
The grapefruit crush.

Grapefruit Crush
(recipe adapted from Going Out Gurus, and what they claim to be a proper and traditional recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz.  Grapefruit Juice — preferably ruby red, and the fresher, the better
  • 1 oz. Vodka — the original recipe calls for grapefruit-infused vodka (i.e. Absolut Ruby Red)
  • Lemon Lime Soda — Ms. S&C also plans to try it with Fresca
  • Lime wedges — for garnish

Directions:

Fill a collins-style glass with ice. Combine one part vodka, two parts juice, and top with soda. Stir. Garnish with lime wedge.

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When you’re beachside or poolside or lakeside — or, wishing you were beachside, poolside, lakeside — here’s a playlist that can help set the mood.

Some of the songs are on the playlist because of name alone. Beach House is one example  (I’m glad the band name works because I’m totally digging their Teen Dream album right now). The Velvet Underground’s “Ocean” is another (I think the song is about heroin?). Some of the songs are, naturally, from surfer bands: The Beach Boys and Jan & Dean. And bands who are inspired by surfer bands: The Morning Benders, Caribou, and Surfer Blood. (And, good god, it was hard not to pick most of the songs from The Beach Boys’ Surfer Hits album, or from Pet Sounds, which is actually my fave.)

Perhaps Ms. S&C was destined to surf because all these songs come directly from the S&C music library. They’ve just been waiting to be compiled on a playlist, and to be heard with a grapefruit crush in hand.

Surf Songs

  1. Swim – Surfer Blood
  2. The Tide is High – Blondie
  3. Surfer Girl – The Beach Boys
  4. Charlie Don’t Surf – The Clash (this may be my favorite on the playlist)
  5. Ripple – Janes Addiction (yes, the Grateful Dead cover)
  6. Surf City – Jan & Dean
  7. Ocean Breathes Salty – Modest Mouse
  8. Ocean – The Velvet Underground
  9. Redondo Beach – Patti Smith
  10. Wipe Out – The Beach Boys
  11. Inaudible Melodies – Jack Johnson (or any Jack Johnson for that matter — he’s a Hawaiian surfer for crying out loud)
  12. All Day Day Light – The Morning Benders
  13. Melody Day – Caribou
  14. Zebra – Beach House
  15. Tides of Time – The Soft Pack
  16. Surfin’ Safari – The Beach Boys
  17. Sea of Love – Cat Power
  18. Wouldn’t It Be Nice – The Beach Boys

Ms. S&C would like to know: Do you have favorite songs that remind you of the beach? What songs should be added to the surfing playlist? Please share!

posted by Ms. S&C