5 Cocktails To Say "Goodbye, Summer"
Labor Day is upon us, which means it’s time to round up a shortlist of great cocktails for your long weekend. We’re leaning into late summer flavors (grilled peach and whiskey, anyone?) but don’t let September fool you– in the MidSouth, you’ll still need a heaping scoop of ice to keep you (and your drink!) fresh and cool.
In our opinion, a good drink doesn't have to be complicated. With these recipes, you’ll need a few key ingredients, some ice, a quick shake or stir, and you’re on your way to a Labor Day libation that requires very little labor. So who’s thirsty? Let’s get started!
Late summer peaches are bursting with sweetness. Pop some peach halves on the grill for a lightly charred smokey flavor, shake it up with your favorite whiskey, and you’ve got yourself the perfect drink for summer evening sipping. Note: you’ll need to let the grilled peach simple syrup sit overnight to reach maximum flavor, so plan accordingly.
- 1 ½ oz Whiskey of your choice
- ½ oz Grilled Peach Simple Syrup (see recipe below)
- ½ oz Fresh lemon juice
- 3 - 4 Slices of grilled peach (more for garnish, if desired)
Peel and slice a peach in half, removing the pit. Place the peach halves face down on a hot grill and sear until charred. Next, slice the grilled peaches, add to a cocktail shaker, and muddle. Pour in the whiskey, grilled peach simple syrup (see recipe below), lemon juice, and a handful of ice. Give it a good shake for 10-15 seconds, then double strain over a glass of ice. Optional: garnish with a grilled peach or lime slice. Cheers!
Grilled Peach Simple Syrup
- 4 Peaches, halved
- 2 Cups water
- 2 Cups granulated sugar
Place the peach halves on a hot grill and cook until charred. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring constantly. When the sugar is completely dissolved, remove from heat. In a glass bowl, pour sugar and water mixture over the grilled peaches. Wait for the simple syrup to cool to room temperature, then cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight. When ready to use, strain the simple syrup and discard the peaches.
The Last Hurrah
This fruit-tastic cocktail celebrates summer’s last hurrah, and we’re here for it. This sweet treat is perfect for a last-minute cocktail fix. Just gather your favorite fruits and choice of vodka and you’ve got a cocktail ready to go in seconds.
- 3 oz. Vodka
- A handful of assorted soft fruits
- Granulated sugar
- Club soda or lemonade
Precision isn’t necessary with this recipe, so measure with your heart, not a spoon. Gather a handful of your favorite summer fruits in a glass (mangoes, strawberries, and blackberries are a good place to start–you’re looking for soft, juicy fruits). Add a spoonful of granulated sugar and bash to release the juices and make a sweet, juicy sludge. Add 3 ounces of vodka then top with club soda or lemonade. Don’t forget a generous scoop of ice and a little sprig of mint if you’re feeling fancy.
Hazelnut Espresso Martini
Espresso martinis are everywhere again, and we’re not sad about it. After all, what’s not to love about soft clouds of espresso froth and a creamy concoction of vodka and coffee liqueur? Our twist on a classic drink introduces a new flavor profile: hazelnut. We’ll be going nuts for this drink long after Labor Day.
- 2 oz Hazelnut vodka
- ½ oz Coffee liqueur (we like Kahlúa)
- 1 oz Freshly pulled espresso (or cold brew concentrate)
- ½ oz simple syrup
- Coffee beans for garnish
Add all ingredients into a shaker and fill with ice. Shake until well-chilled (you won’t want to skimp on the shaking–this is how you get that soft layer of foam on the top, so don’t be shy and shake, shake, shake). Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with a few well-placed coffee beans. Voila! You’re ready to level up with a little caffeine.
The Third Man
Named after a 1949 film noir, this drink tastes complex but isn’t a mystery to make. With bright, tangy grapefruit and warm notes of bourbon, your guests will take one sip and ask “whodunnit?”
- 1 ½ oz Bourbon of your choice
- 1 oz Grapefruit juice
- ¾ oz Lemon juice
- ¾ oz Campari
- ½ oz Simple syrup
Pour all the ingredients into a shaker and fill with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a glass with ice. Garnish with a grapefruit twist for a lovely presentation.
Chasing Summer Mocktail
Ah, the last days of summer. It’s a bittersweet time, but with this mocktail in hand, you’ll only taste the sweet side of summer’s end. Don’t be put off by some unusual ingredients below–this drink captures a hint of Autumn’s approach with the spice of chai, while the passion fruit juice packs a burst of summer flavor. You won’t regret mixing this mocktail up on a summer evening.
- 4 oz Chai sun tea (see recipe below)
- ¾ oz Passion fruit juice
- ½ oz Sweetened condensed milk
- ¼ oz Balsamic vinegar
- Ice cubes, plus crushed ice for serving
Combine the chai sun tea, passion fruit puree, condensed milk and vinegar in a shaker. Fill with ice cubes and shake well. Strain into a chilled glass over crushed ice.
Chai Sun Tea
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