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Six Expectation-Defying Summer Cocktails

Out of the ordinary tequila, whisky and rum drinks that impress the palate

Cocktails, much like characters, extend from archetypes. It’s variations on the tried and true (and familiar) that primarily populate even the most innovative mixed drinks menus. Only once in a blue moon does a cocktail defy this logic and extend from a place unknown. And yet, any consumer that isn’t your average creature of habit is in search of the next, new flavor profile when sitting down at a bar. The following six drinks surpassed our expectations. These feature many modifications to classics, driven by the introduction of new ingredients, unusual processes or the swapping of base spirits. With so many masterminds out there developing new drinks, no one needs to have the same cocktail twice—unless of course that’s what you’re looking for.

En Tu Marco (On Your Mark)

If one were to amp up a Moscow Mule with ginger liqueur in addition to the ginger beer and then swap out the vodka for Herradura Silver, you’d almost be at the En Tu Marco (On Your Mark). The vision of Kevin Vanegas, the National Tequila Ambassador for Brown-Forman, this drink counters the sweeter elements like agave nectar with fresh lemon, mint and cucumber. This is dynamic drink with vivacity as an undercurrent.

1 oz. Herradura Silver

.5 oz. ginger liqueur

.5 oz. fresh squeezed lemon

.25 oz. agave nectar

2 cucumber slices

4 mint leaves

Ginger beer

Muddle cucumber and mint leaves in a mixing glass, add all items except the ginger beer with ice and shake hard so that some of the ice melts. Strain into a tall glass with fresh ice, then top with ginger beer. Garnish with cucumber and mint leaves.


Created by Tommy Warren of Bedford & Co. at The Renwick, the Zelda features in their new Writer’s Collection cocktail series. Inspired by Zelda Fitzgerald, there’s a sweetness and spice at play. Further, various citrus notes lend their strength to extend the drink’s depth.

2 oz. Cimarron Blanco tequila

.5 oz. Cointreau

.5 oz. lime juice

1 oz. grapefruit juice

Jalapeño disk

Add all spirits into a shaker, including one jalapeño slice, fill with ice and shake 10 times. Strain over fresh ice into an etched rocks glass. Garnish with one jalapeño disk floater.


Unveiled during the inaugural Maison St-Germain in NYC, St-Germain‘s celebration of the elderflowers harvested for their liqueur, the Abeille plays off of the classic Old Fashioned cocktail. A bit of the French tipple’s been added—and rather than rye or bourbon, there’s beeswax blended Scotch. Developed by Camille Ralph Vidal, St-Germain’s Global Ambassador, it gives a delicate illusion but that’s really a veil for the deliciously potent base.

2 oz. Beeswax Dewar’s 12 Blended Scotch Whiskey

.5 oz. St-Germain

2 dashes angostura bitters

Orange twist

Nasturtium flowers

Shake Scotch and St-Germain over ice. Pour into rocks glass, with one whisky cube. Spritz orange oils from twist and discard. Garnish with flowers.

Ceremonial Cha

Arguably the most uncommon cocktail that we’ve included, the Ceremonial Cha hails from NYC’s acclaimed Indian restaurant Junoon. Hemant Pathak constructed the cocktail, employing the increasingly popular Matcha tea. When countered with Japanese Plum liqueur and Scotch, it’s a flavorful force to be reckoned with.

1.5 oz. Matcha tea infused Dewar’s 12 Blended Scotch whisky

.75 oz. Umeshu Japanese Plum liqueur

.5 oz. lemon juice

.5 oz. Aquafaba

.25 oz. Matcha tea syrup

.25 star anise

Lightly muddle star anise inside the shaker, add rest of the ingredients and shake vigorously with ice. Double strain in a coupe glass. Garnished with Matcha tea dust.

Rey de Leon

The signature sipper from Diego—the classy Diego Rivera-inspired bar at NYC’s new Public Hotel—Rey de Leon pairs one of our favorite spicy alcohol creations (Ancho Reyes Verde) with a bright, light rum. Watermelon adds summertime freshness and lime balances it all out for an altogether surprising and seasonally-appropriate affair.

1.5 oz. Brugal Extra Dry White Rum

.75 oz. watermelon syrup

.75 oz. lime

.5 oz. Ancho Reyes Verde

Shake all ingredients. Serve with a sugar/salt/cayenne pepper rim in a coupe.

Rum and Cola, made with Fernet

While it might sound like a simple play on one of the easiest drinks to order, BlackTail‘s Rum and Cola, made with Fernet is far more. First, it’s cola syrup not the soda itself—and when it’s punched up with champagne, it takes on a substantial new meaning. This is a blast of effervescence in a way most have never tasted before.

1 oz. Bacardi facundo NEO

.75 oz. Cola Syrup

.5 tsp Fernet

1 Dash Orinoco Bitters

4 oz. Champagne

Build and serve in a rocks glass over a big rock. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Hero image courtesy of BFA for St-Germain, Ceremonial Cha image by Benjamin Lozovsky, all other images courtesy of respective brands


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