Spring has officially arrived. And I celebrated by going to my local 7-Eleven and buying all of their discounted Reese’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs. I really know how to class up the joint. But what’s this about some places still with snow in the forecast? Snow or not, who’s ready for a spring cocktail (raises both hands). I’ve got you covered. Today I’m featuring a couple of my best spring cocktails I’ve made recently, as well as a few spring cocktail recipes from the experts, several of which are from a few of my favorite restaurants, bars, and hotels, including the Four Seasons Los Angeles, Miku, and Morimoto.
The first couple of drinks below, the Huckleberry Jam, Peach Whiskey Smash, and Blueberry Rum Smash, come from yours truly. When I mention simple syrup below, I’m simply referring to one part sugar (usually one cup) and one part water, which is then brought to a boil, cooled down and refrigerated (usually good for a few weeks). The infused simple syrups, such as the peach simple syrup, have the addition of fresh fruit (peach in this case) that is added while boiling (and then steeped) to give it additional flavor. The Blueberry Rum Smash was inspired in part by a recipe The Kitchn (and where the photo comes from) published, though I modified based off the ingredients I had lying around.
- 1.5 oz. of your favorite spirit (Tequila, vodka, or gin work best)
- .75 oz. lemon or lime juice
- 2 spoonfuls of your favorite jam (In this case, huckleberry, which I naturally brought back from Montana, because huckleberry)
- Garnish with fruit of your choice
This is seriously one of the easiest and most delicious cocktails to make, using ingredients you probably already have lying around. Other jams that are great include blackberry, raspberry or any other jam you may have in your fridge. Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and muddle the jam to break it up. Add ice, shake, and strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with your favorite fruit.
Peach Whiskey Smash
Combine lemon juice, simple syrup, and peach slices in a cocktail shaker and muddle. Add whiskey and ice and shake. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and garnish with mint leaves.
Blueberry Rum Smash
Add sugar cubes, lemon juice, and blueberries to a mixing glass. Muddle just enough to crush blueberries and release juice. Pour in rum and stir. Add to a rocks glass filled with ice and top with ginger beer.
Fig & Walnut Julep, Fig & Olive, Los Angeles
- 2 oz. bourbon
- .75 oz. St. Germain Elderflower liqueur
- .5 oz. Lime Juice
- .25 oz. Tawny Port
- .25 oz. Simple Syrup
- 2 Black Figs (muddled) + 2 slices of fig for garnish
- 3 mint leaves + 1 mint sprig for garnish
- Grated walnut for garnish
Combine figs, tawny port, simple syrup, and lime juice into a mixing glass or shaker and muddle. Add ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain contents over ice in a rocks glass and garnish with a fig and mint.
Che Figata, Culina at the Four Seasons, Los Angeles
- 2 oz. reposado tequila
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- .5 oz. strawberry simple syrup
- .5 oz. jalapeño agave syrup
Add all ingredients to a shaker, fill with ice, and shake. Pour over crushed ice in a rocks or highball glass. As an additional note, this drink is off of Culina’s new Crudo Hour menu (See my Tastemade video for more details).
- 1 oz. Absolut Citron
- .25 oz. Pama pomegranate liqueur
- .25 oz. Elderflower syrup
- 1 oz. Indigo Wind sparkling sake
- 2 gooseberries for garnish
Combine ingredients into a shaker and fill with ice. Shake and then strain into a martini glass and garnish with gooseberries. For added froth and creaminess, add an egg white and dry shake to emulsify the egg before adding ice to do a standard shake.
Pomegranate Mint Margarita, Isabel’s Cantina, San Diego
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with mint and lime.
Blueberry Mojito, The Duck Dive, San Diego
- 1.5 oz. Bacardi Oakheart
- .75 oz. lime juice .
- .75 oz. simple syrup
- Several mint leaves
- 5-8 blueberries
- Club soda
Add blueberries, mint, and lime juice into a shaker to muddle. Add simple syrup, rum, and ice and shake. Strain into a rocks glass with ice and top with club soda.
Pineapple Mojito, Morimoto, Waikiki
- 1 oz. Skyy pineapple vodka
- 1 oz. Bacardi rum
- .5 oz. lime sour
- 2 pieces of pineapple wedge
- Several pieces of mint
- Club soda
Add pineapple, mint, and lime to a cocktail shaker to muddle. Add vodka, rum, and ice and shake. Pour into a rocks glass with ice and top with soda and sprite.
Peter Rabbit, Searsucker, San Diego
- 2 oz. Pimm’s Cup
- 1 oz. basil lemon (1 cup fresh lemon juice to 1 tbsp. of fresh basil)
- 1 oz. simple syrup
Combine all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake. Strain into a rocks glass with ice and garnish with a pickled carrot and basil leaf.
Ginger on the Bay, Sally’s Seafood on the Water, San Diego
Add all ingredients (except ginger beer) to a mixing glass or shaker and muddle. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Top with ginger beer.
The Chesapeake Chill, Watershed Distillery, Columbus
- 1.5 oz. vodka by Watershed Distillery
- .5 oz. Cherry Heering
- 2 oz. fresh Pineapple juice
- .5 oz. ROOT23 Vanilla Ginger Syrup (Make regular equal parts simple syrup and steeping it with ginger root and vanilla beans or vanilla flavoring)
- 2-3 dashes Bitter Truth aromatic bitters
- Blackberry jam for garnish
- Mint for garnish
Combine all ingredients (except the jam and mint) in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Pour over a highball glass filled with crushed ice. Top with blackberry jam and add a sprig of mint for garnish. Serve with a spoon, as the idea is to taste some of the jam while drinking along the way.