It’s always a little sad to say goodbye to summer when Labor Day rolls around, but that one last, lazy weekend is reason to celebrate. Beer and wine are always popular at warm-weather, outdoor gatherings, but there are also some unique cocktail ideas that can make your weekend special.
What makes for a great Labor Day cocktail? The use of seasonal fresh fruit is one factor. “My cocktail of the moment is the Desert Rose. Fizzy and refreshing, this drink makes great use of seasonal fruit,” says Jeremy Strawn, mixologist at the Black Hound Bar & Lounge in New York.
Cocktail historian David Wondrich takes the fresh produce concept a step further by incorporating corn and tomatoes in his cocktail called The Corn Goddess, which also incorporates gin and Campari.
Fresh garden herbs play a key role in these end-of-summer cocktails as well. “The addition of tarragon makes this a perfect way to celebrate summer with garden-fresh ingredients,” says Bryan Odgen, chef at Odgen’s Hops and Harvest in Las Vegas, about his signature drink The Ogden.
You can also use fresh herbs to infuse your spirits, as Dan Bronson, beverage director/mixologist at The Strand Smokehouse in New York, does for a cocktail called In The Hedges. “If you find yourself with an extra hour or so, put some extra thyme in your gin to steep,” he says. “Those summery herbs play so well with gin.”
2 oz. Skyy Infusions Moscato Grape vodka
¾ oz. Fresh lime juice
¾ oz. Simple syrup
3 Medium watermelon chunks
1 Thyme sprig
In a cocktail shaker, muddle thyme and watermelon. Add the rest of the ingredients. Shake and finely strain over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with thyme sprig.
Los Angeles mixologist Lindsay Nader created this recipe.
2 oz. Cognac
1 oz. Cointreau
¾ oz. Agave syrup
¾ oz. Ginger agave simple syrup
½ oz. Gelatin
½ oz. Freshly squeezed orange juice
3 Sprigs of tarragon
Orange peel for garnish
Add all ingredients to a shaker and shake well. Clap the tarragon in your hands to release aroma and flavor from the herb and add it to the shaker. Shake well and double-strain into a snifter that’s been sprayed with an Absinthe mist. Garnish with a flamed orange peel.
Bryan Odgen, chef at Odgen’s Hops and Harvest in Las Vegas, created this recipe.
1 ½ oz. Campari
1 oz. Gin
2 tbsp. Fresh corn kernels
4 Cherry tomato halves
In a mixing glass, muddle corn, tomato halves and gin, add Campari. Shake well with ice and double strain into chilled cocktail glass. Float a sage leaf on top as garnish.
Cocktail historian David Wondrich created this recipe.
In The Hedges
2 oz. London Dry gin
6 oz. Bitter Italian lemonade
3 Sprigs of thyme
Grapefruit bitters (optional)
Fill a Collins glass with ice and add gin and soda. Twist together the thyme sprigs to make a swizzle of sorts and stir to your heart’s content. A couple drops of Grapefruit bitters goes a long way and makes the nose of the drink so refreshing and intriguing (Bitterman’s is best if you can find it).
Dan Bronson, beverage director/mixologist of The Strand Smokehouse in Astoria, NY, created this recipe.
1 ½ parts Skinnygirl Island Coconut vodka
3 parts Pineapple juice
4 parts Sparkling water
1 cup Sliced mango, frozen
Mango wedge for garnish
Pour over fruit and ice. Garnish with a mango wedge.
The mixologists at Skinnygirl developed this recipe.
1½ oz. Herradura Silver tequila
½ oz. Lemon juice
½ oz. Agave syrup
1 oz. Orange juice
1 Strawberry, muddled
1 oz. Rosé champagne
Shake hard and strain into a wine glass over ice and top with rosé champagne.
Jeremy Strawn, mixologist at the Black Hound Bar & Lounge in New York, created this recipe.
2 oz. Belvedere Lemon Tea vodka
2 oz. Coconut water
2 oz. Cloudy apple juice
Combine ingredients in a glass with cubed ice. Garnish with an apple fan.
The mixologists at Belvedere developed this recipe.