HOME > Chowhound > Spirits >


Do you have a "go-to" recipe source for summer cocktails?

I've got a pantry, fridge, liquor cabinet and herb garden stocked with what I'm sure are the makings for many different delightful summer coolers, but I have no idea how to combine them into a drink I'll really enjoy. I wish there was a website where I could enter my list of ingredients, click on "submit" and see recipe options that use all or some of my ingredients. If there were such a thing, for tonight I'd probably enter: limes, seltzer, mint, pineapple, agave nectar and tequila. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Cindy, if you make a list of your liquor and post here I am sure you will get suggestions.

    1. If you have rum, your fresh mint and limes will make a great mojito. Basil, if you have it, also pairs well with many fruits (think strawberry basil, lemon basil, etc). Pineapple might go with tequila; obviously lime and agave nectar do. What other herbs do you have? Like JMF said, which liquors?

      1. with what you have you can make variations on the margarita.

        2 oz tequila
        3/4 oz lime juice

        to start with
        then add 1 oz of a liqueur
        maybe 1/2-3/4 oz agave syrup

        a few chunks of pineapple or mint or both, muddle, shake on ice, and strain, either up or on the rocks. If you want to lighten it into highball, strain into an ice filled tall glass and top off with seltzer. Stick a big stalk of mint and a straw, so that your nose is right in the mint as you sip.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JMF

          Which liqueurs would work well here?

          1. Okay... based on JMF and Tinnywatty's suggestions, for anyone who'd like to help me combine ingredients, here's a list (or partial list) of what's on hand. But I would like to request that you include approximate measurements or ratios for drink mixing. Thanks!

            Liquors: Tequila (Blanco and reposado), Rum -- aged rum and citrus rum; Vodka; Gin; Limoncello; Cachaca; Cassis; Disaronno. Herbs: Mojito mint and pineapple mint; Genovese basil and African blue basil; Spice Islands Rosemary; Italian parsley; oregano. And I can get hold of most fruit, berries, veggies, chiles, etc.

            Oh -- I should mention that I always have a good supply of Prosecco on hand.

            I'm already looking forward to this. So... where do I begin?

            4 Replies
            1. re: CindyJ

              Blackcurrant / Mint Batida

              2 oz cachaca
              .75 oz cassis
              .75 oz lime
              1 spring mint muddled.

              Muddle lightly, shake, double strain, rocks, mint garnish.

              www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

              1. re: EvergreenDan

                This sounds really good. Can you explain what you mean by "double strain"? Thanks!

                1. re: CindyJ

                  double strain is using a small strainer to pour through while holding back the ice with the hawthorne strainer. It holds back pieces of muddled stuff and tiny ice shards so you have a drink without floaties.

              2. My "go-to" summer cocktail though is Campari or Cynar and something. For example,

                2 oz gin
                2 oz Cynar
                .5 oz lime
                1 oz Tonic

                I had this last night and loved it. A bit big by modern craft standards, though.

                2 Replies
                1. re: EvergreenDan

                  When I was in Italy, it seemed that everyone was drinking Campari at the cafes in the afternoon. It's such a pretty drink, and I really wanted to enjoy it, but I just couldn't acquire a liking for it.

                  1. re: CindyJ

                    Keep trying every few years. Took me 2 decades. ;)

                2. Mojito cocktails. Get a shaker, mint, simple syrup, fresh lime juice, rum. Shake all ingredients with ice, pour into chilled martini glasses.......

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: Maggie19

                    Mojitos should be made with sugar, not simple syrup, to properly abrade the mint leaves. They should also generally be served on the rocks - summer drinks need to stay cold.

                    1. re: tinnywatty

                      I disagree about sugar as opposed to simple syrup, and so does Wondrich, DeGroff, etc. Mojitos need to be treated delicately. The mint should barely be muddled. And you should never have to spit out tiny pieces of mint.

                      1. re: JMF

                        I usually muddle the lime wedges with sugar, then add the mint and muddle lightly once the sugar is dissolved. Should have been more specific- I really meant that the sugar abrades the lime zest. I generally don't end up with broken mint leaves.

                    2. re: Maggie19

                      A mojito should not be shaken. It is built in the glass. The proper way is:

                      1 1/2 oz rum
                      3/4 oz fresh lime juice
                      3/4 oz simple syrup
                      1 mint sprig, and 4-6 leaves. 1 oz soda water
                      In a tall glass gently muddly the mint leaves with the simple syrup. Add lime juice and rum, fill glass with ice, stir gently, then top with soda water, gently stir again, and garnish with mint sprig.

                      1. re: JMF

                        I never really stopped to consider the distinction between "stirred" and "shaken." I can understand how the choice could would affect the final outcome, but what's the "rule of thumb" on which technique to use when? And, should a margarita be stirred or shaken?

                        1. re: CindyJ

                          Built drinks, as in built in the glass, this can include the old fashioned, are gently stirred. Or drinks with fizz like a gin and tonic.

                          As for shaking and stirring. If it has cloudy or opaque ingredients you shake, such as sours and drinks with juice of some type. For 20 seconds and with lots of ice in the shaker. Weird as it sounds but if you don't have enough ice you get an over-diluted drink. It takes about 17-20 seconds for the drink to reach equilibrium or as chilled as it can get, and at this point no more ice will melt. Shaken drinks are vibrant and alive.

                          A dry shake is used when you have egg or cream. First you shake all the ingredients without the ice to emulsify, shake 30-60 seconds. Then add the ice and shake for 20-30 seconds. This gives you a very creamy cocktail.

                          Stirred is for when the ingredients are clear such as a martini or Manhattan. You should stir for at least 35 seconds to reach equilibrium. Stirring gives you a silky, oily, sexy texture.

                          The last category of mixing is rolling. Mostly used for a Bloody Mary. The ingredients are put in the shaker, but you don't close it, instead you pour the drink back and forth between the two halves to incorporate the ingredients without getting them all aerated and foamy.

                          1. re: CindyJ

                            Traditionally a Margarita is shaken. The frozen Margarita is of course made in a blender, but using the same recipe, they create a completely different drink. I prefer a traditional Margarita over frozen.

                            2 oz. tequila (or mezcal)
                            1 oz. cointreau / triple sec / orange liqueur
                            3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
                            1/4-1/2 oz. simple syrup (optional)

                            Shake on ice and strain into a chilled glass. You can salt half of the outside of the rim. Don't get salt on inside of rim.

                            1. re: JMF

                              That's very similar to the recipe I generally use, except I use agave nectar instead of simple syrup. Can you tell me what agave nectar contributes to the end result that is different from what simple syrup does?

                              1. re: CindyJ

                                simple syrup is relatively flavorless. Agave syrup tastes like agave, so will bring in more complexity. But some people don't like the flavor of agave syrup. I personally don't, even though I really enjoy tequila and mezcal.

                          2. re: JMF

                            My mojito isnt proper but i like it all the same - this recipe is adpated from Tap-Tap in Miami, who won the best mojito in Miami for a few years running

                            2 oz rhum barbancourt 5 star (can get it at bevmo)

                            1 tablespoon superfine sugar

                            juice of half a lime or between .5-.75 oz of lime depending on how tart you like your drink, i trend toward less tart so go more toward .5

                            10-12 mint leaves

                            few pieces of crushed ice, and muddle everything in the bottom of a shaker tin

                            add some more crushed ice and shake the tin in a boston shaker

                            Then use a Hawthorne Strainer to strain the mixture into another (Collins) glass filled with crushed ice, add 4 oz of club soda or seltzer water, garnish with mint sprig

                            I like to strain the mojitio so you dont get broken pieces of mint leaf in your drink and stuck in the straw, so if you do that make sure to garnish with a mint leaf on top so you can still see and smell the mint :)

                        2. "limes, seltzer, mint, pineapple, agave nectar and tequila. Any suggestions?"

                          How about mixing them together? Keep trying until you get the proportions right. By the third try, it ought to taste pretty good. Use tyhe lime for garish

                          1. Cindy, there is an iPhone/iPad app, called iBartender, that has a feature that allows you to check off a list of the ingredients you have at hand (spirits, juices, mixers, etc.) and it will provide you with all the cocktail recipes that call for those ingredients. I think this is the sort of thing you were asking about in your original post.

                            2 Replies
                              1. re: AgentSix

                                This same app recently became available on Android, too, in case anyone was wondering.

                              2. The NY Times has had good summer drink recipes the last two summers (maybe more, but those are ones I saw). This years is almost a slot machine to come up with the ingredients.



                                The cherry caiprissima in the first article is one of my favorites.