Six Refreshing Summer Cocktails

Mezcal and rum mingle with sherry, whiskey with a touch of chamomile, reposado tequila shaken with raspberry and more

Forever on the quest for intriguing new flavor combinations in cocktails, we’ve parsed through recipes and traipsed between bars to assemble a list of six particularly special mixed drinks. Even in the sweltering summertime conditions, whiskey finds representation here—working with brighter components like citrus and mint. Of course, rum and tequila (stalwarts of summer alcoholic beverages) appear among our selections. But the final inclusion—drawn from the menu at NYC’s Fine & Rare—isn’t one drink but three variations of a classic, served side by side. Some recipes are simple, others are simply worth the effort.

Courtesy of Athena Calderone and Basil Hayden

Chamomile Honey Whiskey Sour

Developed for Athena Calderone‘s “A Better Brunch with Basil Hayden,” the Chamomile Honey Whiskey Sour (which we sipped at NYC’s Veranda Soho) emphasizes seasonality and simplicity. In fact, it starts with the preparation of an elegant, floral simple syrup that works in tandem with the bourbon. The flavors are bright enough to be refreshing, but the Basil Hayden makes the drink something substantial.

2 oz Basil Hayden bourbon
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz chamomile simple syrup*
2 dashes citrus bitters
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and vigorously shake with ice.
Strain cocktail into a coupe glass. Garnish with gently crushed dried chamomile flowers.

Chamomile Simple Syrup

2 tbsp dried chamomile flowers
1 cup honey
1 cup boiling water
Mix boiling water and chamomile flowers in a medium bowl and let stand for two minutes. Muddle the chamomile with the back of a wooden spoon, releasing its fragrance. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on the chamomile to release all water. Immediately stir honey into the camomile mixture and stir until well combined.

Courtesy of Araceli Paz

Una Noche

The first way eager sippers should approach award-winning Agua Mágica mezcal is neat or over ice. Of course, that means the ultra-premium product also blends well into cocktails and the Una Noche has been designed to highlight its scrumptious flavors. It begins with taking the time to infuse Cocchi Americano with passion fruit—and it ends with a champagne top-up. Not only is the end result herbaceous, it’s also effervescent.

.50 oz Agua Mágica mezcal
.75 oz passionfruit infused Cocchi Americano
.25 oz Manzanilla sherry
1.5 oz champagne
Stir all ingredients to temperature in a chilled mixing glass. Strain into a cold Nick and Nora glass and top off with one and a half ounces of champagne. Garnish with a fancy lemon twist.

Two Exits Past Manhattan

Courtesy of Holmes Cay Fiji

Founded by Eric Kaye, Holmes Cay typically offers small-batch, limited edition and single cask rums selected from exceptional distilleries around the world. Now, they’ve released their first-ever single origin liquid, a super-premium blend from South Pacific Distilleries in Lautoka, Fiji. The molasses-based blend features liquid produced in both pot and column stills. And no cocktail illuminates the tipple—and its notes of honey and clove—quite like the Two Exits Past Manhattan cocktail, imagined by Natasha Bermudez of NYC’s Japanese-Peruvian hybrid restaurant, Llama San. Sherry and vermouth pull out the peppery notes from the rum and transform it all into a dynamic and delicious mixed drink.

1.25 oz Holmes Cay Fiji rum
1 oz Amontillado sherry
1 oz sweet vermouth
1 dash cherry bitters
Stir ingredients together, strain into a Nick and Nora glass and garnish with a cherry.

Red Raspberry

Courtesy of El Tequileño

Featuring the legendary tequila brand El Tequileño‘s Reposado Gran Reserva, the Red Raspberry cocktails is—as the name implies—fruity and fun, but it’s also punctuated by the premium agave tipple, which has been aged for at least eight months in American Oak and blended with a small amount of añejo, too. Third-generation master distiller Jorge Antonio Salles oversees the liquid. And tequila lovers will rejoice at the way the Red Raspberry feels both familiar and unexplored.

2 oz El Tequileño Reposado Gran Reserva
1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
.50 oz raspberry liqueur
.50 oz agave syrup
2 oz cranberry juice
6 raspberries
Add all ingredients to a shaker over cubed ice. Shake until ice cold. Strain into a highball glass over cubed ice. Garnish with fresh raspberries and edible flowers.

Courtesy of Wild Turkey

Wolf Ticket

Initially designed by Eric Johnson of the Sycamore Den in San Diego to highlight the flavors within Wild Turkey, the Wolf Ticket certainly comes to life when crafted with premium Wild Turkey sibling Russell’s Reserve 10 Year as a replacement base spirit. It’s the introduction of peach that works so well with the finesse of Russell’s Reserve, and the cocktail’s complexity is remarkably refreshing.

1.5 oz Russell’s Reserve bourbon
.50 oz simple syrup
.50 oz peach liqueur
.75 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 dash of Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake, and strain over ice into rocks glass. Garnish with lemon peel.

Courtesy of Fine & Rare

Gin & Tonic Three Ways

A comparative botanical immersion, Fine & Rare‘s Gin & Tonic Three Ways is comprised of three variations of the classic, served side-by-side with different brands as the base and presented with a smattering of garnishes that accentuate the notes that make them distinct. There’s no better way to discover the influence of gin styles on this light-and-easy drink than by trying three, responsibly, in succession.

Part 1

.75 oz Hendrick’s Gin over ice
Top with Fever Tree Indian tonic, serve with bottle
Present with cucumber, rose petals, lemon twist

Part 2

.75 oz The Botanist Islay Dry Gin over ice
Top with Fever Tree Indian tonic, serve with bottle
Present with star anise, orange peel, mint

Part 3

.75 oz Monkey 47 over ice
Top with Fever Tree Indian tonic, serve with bottle
Present with lime, blueberry, raspberry, Fever-Tree Indian tonic

Hero image courtesy of Athena Calderone and Basil Hayden