Is that six pack of beer or generic brand of gin in your gin and tonic tasting a bit lackluster?
We thought so. The good news is, you don’t need to be a professional bartender or mixologist to create the perfect summer cocktail, or even the perfect summer non-alcoholic drink to quench your thirst.
But to give you a few ideas and recipes for Memorial Day weekend entertaining, we thought we would as local professionals for some advice when it comes to making cocktails at home.
Director of beverage at Echo & Rig Butcher and Steakhouse, Robert Wank, said a good cocktail depends on good ingredients. He suggests home mixologists buy the best spirits, juices, mixers and liquors they can afford.
He suggests talking to a bartender about choosing the best ingredients because higher price doesn't always mean better quality.
Wank said the restaurant will be releasing its summer cocktail in a few weeks. One of the biggest sellers in the summer is the Black and Blueberry Mojito.
Black and Blueberry Mojito
3 Fresh blackberries
4 Fresh blueberries
7 to 8 Sprigs fresh mint
1.5 oz Atlantico Platino Rum
3/4 oz Simple syrup
3/4 oz Fresh lime juice
Shake with ice and dump into glass
Top with club soda
For a refreshing non-alcoholic summer drink, Wank suggests a popular mocktail from the restaurant.
Muddled lemon grass
Topped with ginger ale
Pour over crushed ice in a collins glass
Garnish with sliced pear
Pam Dylag is the co-owner and bartender at the Velveteen Rabbit. Their summer cocktail menu will be out in June. She says people ask for something refreshing and easy drinking in the summer. However, that doesn't mean it needs to be filled with sugary syrup.
One of their newest cocktails is a reworking of the classic whiskey sour.
2 oz Bourbon - Old Granddad recommended
2 quarters fresh lemon juice
Fresh mint sprigs
Shake over ice and strain into glass
Dylag says fresh ingredients can make all the difference in a good cocktail, which is why she recommends double straining before pouring into a glass.
Another item of the summer menu is:
Butterfly pea concentrate
Cava - sparkling
For non-alcoholic drinks, Dylag suggests using ginger beer, which has more of a ginger flavor than ginger ale, as a base for virgin Moscow mules.
Davey Marsh from the Downtown Cocktail Room says making a summer cocktail is not just about seasonal ingredients but about reflecting the things that happen in the season not just the flavors.
He said that bourbon can be sweeter while scotch has a smokier flavor, both can be used in summer cocktails, if they're used properly.
"It's our challenge to put that into a refreshing drink," Marsh said.
The Downtown Cocktail Room offers several punches that are meant to be shared by the whole table. He said the punches are more fruit forward and shouldn't have a strong flavor because it should be for the whole group.
Robert Wank, director of beverage, Echo & Rig Butcher and Steakhouse; Pam Dylag, bartender, Velveteen Rabbit; Davey Marsh, bartender, Downtown Cocktail Room