The abundance of berries, pears, and tropical fruits just may be my most favorite part of summer. And it isn’t a coincidence that summer fruits make for refreshing, creative summer cocktails. Here are some recipes to round out the last days of laying in the sun, and watching the heat wave over us!
Vodka and Watermelon Cooler
Watermelon is, according to my not-so-humble opinion, the best summer fruit. It’s sweet, refreshing, and ever so full of crisp and soft texture. One of my favorite summer moments this year is having a vodka-free version of this drink in Chinatown. Because I love watermelon so much, I can’t recommend this recipe from Epicurious enough. Though a Vodka and watermelon cooler can be made in different ways—the easiest being blending a large amount of watermelon with your favorite amount of vodka—I think this recipe add a bit more flavor to the classic mix. Here is what you will need:
- 3 pounds watermelon, rind and seeds discarded and the flesh cut into pieces,plus thin slices of watermelon for garnish
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 1/4 cup Triple Sec
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
According to Epicurious‘s instructions a sieve is needed to funnel out the watermelon pulp. I say, take a ride on the wild side, throw everything in the blender at once, and enjoy the blend, pulp and all. For the full recipe, click here.
Blueberry Mojito Cocktail
I eat blueberries a lot, and in the course of a summer, maybe a couple of pounds of them. They are little bullets of berry flavor, and carry their own natural sweetness, with a tangy note right at the end. I also love mint. I want it in my soap, on my food, and especially in my mojitos. Is there anything more refreshing on a hot summer day than some mint flavored anything! Add rum to the party, and I am all IN.
If you are anything like me, you find that mojitos are hard to make. Restaurants seem to have their own favorite hit or miss recipes. This simple recipe from Inspired Taste gives you the option to make your own blueberry mojito cocktail from home that comes out perfect every time—though that might be the rum talking. Here is what you need:
- 8 blueberries (fresh or frozen and thawed), plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 8 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) white rum
- 1 cup ice
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) club soda
- lime slice for garnish
- cocktail shaker
The recipe asks that you start with the lime juice, blueberries, and mint first. Muddle them together in your cocktail shaker with a spoon. Then add the rum and stir some more. Pour the mixture over ice, leaving some room to add a bit of club soda and VOILA, you have a PhD in Mixology. I would suggest adding coconut rum, instead of white variety to add a little more tropical flavor to your blueberry mojito! TIP: If you are looking for a fair trade certified and organic rum, buy the ethically made Papagayo Rum.
Strawberry Champagne Cocktail
What would summer be without strawberries? The warmer months is when the tart, red, fruit really get to shine! I love strawberries in cocktails even more than I like them on shortcakes. By far the simplest recipe on this list, and it requires three ingredients.
- 1 pint strawberries
- 1 mint leaf
- Mint for decoration
The no blender version from The Clean Dish is my favorite. Cut up some strawberries, pick your favorite champagne or sparking wine, poor it over the strawberries, wait a bit—a couple of minutes or an hour or two, depending on how concentrated you have the berry flavor and enjoy yourself.
You can also try it Bellini style. Take some frozen organic strawberries place a pound in a blender, add the amount of champagne desired, and you are set for an early brunch!
- 6 to 10 Seckel pears
- 4 cups (32 ounces) vodka
- 1 cup sugar
- 12 sprigs fresh rosemary plus more for garnish
- 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) pear nectar
- 4 cups (32 ounces) sparkling water
I suggest you use whatever pears you have on hand. The type of pear available may vary in different parts of the country. Go ahead and improvise.
Frozen Papaya and Passion-Fruit Rum Cocktail
I grew up eating papayas. My parents proudly grew two trees in our backyard that would bloom and become these long and fragrant fruits every summer. I have had papaya in savory foods, and in smoothies. I can even remember sneaking pieces of papaya from my mom’s bowl as she prepared to make us a creamy papaya smoothie recipe popular during hot South Florida summers. The summer isn’t complete without this papaya and passion fruit cocktail recipe from Epicurious. Simple to make, here is what you will need:
- 1 cup light rum
- 4 1/2 cups chopped peeled papaya (2 pounds)
- 1 cup thawed passion-fruit purée
- 2/3 cup superfine granulated sugar, or to taste
- 4 cups ice cubes
If you cannot get your hands on some passion fruit pulp, substitute any other tropical fruit juice like pineapple, or guava. I also think that a spiced rum would go well with this recipe.
As the summer rounds out, get in as many seasonal fruits as you can, even in a naughty way like in a classic cocktail! Want more cocktail recipes? Try the herbs in your garden.