We are officially in the season of sensuality. Private sunsets and late night slow dancing on the street. On any given balmy night a summer fling could catch fire. You want to be able to serve something cool to keep up with that heat. I recommend these three fruit-based cocktail coolers — Sandia Sundial, Spicy Solstice Margarita, and a Classic Havana Mojito — that are as sultry to taste as they are stunning to admire.
A watermelon juice cooler for gin, tequila or rum.
This perfect mid-summer cooler is just right for a picnic with your date. The rosy hue and sweetness of the nectar consipires to be flirtatious and dangerously easy to suck down. The sugar notes and hydrating quality of the fruit make it an agreeable base for tequila, rum or gin. I sourced this recipe from my days living in Costa Rica where bebida de sandia (watermelon juice) was popular on hot days and nights.
Ingredients for 4 drinks:
1 small to midsize watermelon
1 sprig Fresh mint
1 bottle of seltzer
8 oz- Rum, Tequila or Gin
Extracting the Nectar: 15 minutes
Fresh crushed watermelon juice is key. It requires a little bit of work, but once you make the juice the rest of the prep is really easy. Remove the rind and cut up the flesh into parts small enough to put in a blender. Before you start the blender, place a colander over a medium-sized pot. Fully pulverize the fruit and then pour into the colandar to separate out the pulp. Push down on pulp to extract all the juice.
The sandia juice is great “virgin” as well.
Note: You can achieve the same success by just crushing the fruit into a pot and then straining out the juice. The fruit breaks down fast.
Mix and serve: 5 min
1) Fill glass ¾ with crushed ice
2) Fill glass ½ full with watermelon juice
3) Add 2 ozs of gin, tequila or rum or to taste.
4) Splash of seltzer
5) Garnish or dunk mint leaves
Enjoy under the sun!
A jalepeno, three citrus, raspberry, pomegranate margarita. (created by Weston Pew)
People wait to RSVP for my parties until they know that Weston Pew will be in attendance. He’s not only a great entertaining presence, he’s also developed a deadly recipe for a margarita. I have had neighbors I barely know show up to get a taste of Weston’s drink. This complex cocktail has all the right elements for a summer party. A spicy kick is balanced by invigorating fresh fruit that combines for a sexy taste and look. It requires a little bit of time and effort, but the results are show-stopping.
Ingredients for 4-6 drinks:
1 fresh pomegranate or seeds
4 tablespoons of “turbinado” or big crystal brown sugar
8 oz of Tequila (avoid “Cuervo Gold”)
Tequila Infusion: You obtain the heat in this drink by infusing your tequila with jalapeno. All that means is cutting the pepper in half and dropping it into the booze. Do that in a sealed container a day ahead or at the very least a few hours in advance.
Instant infusion: Chop up the jalapeno and place in a citrus squeezer with a lime rind as backing. Squeeze into container of tequila.
1) Juice all grapefruits, orange and lime into a mixing bowl
2) Open pomegranate and remove seeds, set aside for garnish
3) Mash raspberries into pulp in separate container
4) Pour berry pulp into juice. Your citrus juice is now red.
5) 1 to 1 mix of booze and juice.
Mix and Serve:
1) Wet rims of glasses and spin on plate of sugar.
2) Ice to the top.
3) Pour booze and fruit mix.
4) Garrnish with mint and pomegranate seeds.
Arriba! Al Centro! Al Dentro!
Lime, mint, sugar and rum.
Channel your Papa Hemingway with this rum classic. The author enjoyed many rum daiquiris in the Cuban capital that loved him back. The mojito is my favorite. It’s simple, elegant, energetic and pura Cubana. A mojito is easy to make and derives its refreshing, sharp tang from the many shades of green from the mint and lime. It’s a great drink to learn about muddling fresh ingredients and sugar.
Ingredients for 4 Cocktails:
6 fresh limes
1 sprig of fresh mint
8 Tablespoons of sugar
8 oz of rum (“blanco”)
1) Juice 4 limes into bowl, cube 2 and set aside
2) Chop up mint leaf to medium pieces.
3) Set out your glasses. Spoon 2 tlbs.of sugar for each glass. Add equal parts lime juice to each glass
4) Add mint and equal amounts cubed lime to each glass.
5) With a wooden handle grind contents together so that they are fully integrated.
6) Pour in 2 oz of rum or more to taste.
7) Pour glass contents into booze shaker or separate glass.
Mix and Serve:
8) Add ice halfway up serving glass.
9) Pour booze, lime and mint into glass.
10) Add splash of seltzer.
Viva Cuba! Viva el Papa!
Read more from Ben at BK + MTL Kitchens.
Originally published June 2013; updated June 2014