Welcome to our summer drinks guide. We’ve pored over hundreds of recipes to select the best cocktails of the 2015 season. The recipes are broken down by category: vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whiskey, and beer.
We hope you enjoy our selections and get a few ideas for your summer drinks program.
These are the best rum cocktails:
1 oz. Ancho Reyes chile liqueur
¾ oz. White rum
¼ oz. Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
1 oz. Fresh lemon juice
½ oz. Grapefruit olio (house-made grapefruit/lemon peel syrup)
6-8 Mint leaves
Combine ingredients and hard shake. Strain into bucket glass with fresh ice, garnish with a lemon wheel and mint spear.
Kris Rizatto, bar manager at Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant in San Diego, created this recipe.
Mr. and Mrs. Howell
1 oz. Smith & Cross rum
1 oz. Cynar
½ oz. Giffard Banane du Bresil liqueur
½ oz. Cocchi di Torino
PX Sherry rinse
Dash black walnut bitters
Rinse a coupe glass with sherry. Stir other ingredients together and strain into the coupe. Garnish with an orange twist.
Chris Burmeister of Outpost, in Goleta, CA, created this recipe.
1 ½ oz. Diplomatico Reserva rum
½ oz. Varnelli Caffe Moka liqueur
½ oz. Lime juice
½ oz. Espresso
Shake all ingredients except ginger beer and strain over fresh ice in a tall glass. Fill with ginger beer and stir. Garnish with a lime wheel.
Mixologist Tad Carducci created this recipe.
Tiki Banana Cooler
1 oz. Zacapa Rum 23
½ oz. Banana liqueur
²⁄3 oz. Fresh lemon juice
1 barspoon Demerara syrup
Dash Aromatic bitters
Combine rum, banana liqueur, lemon juice, Demerara syrup and aromatic bitters into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain contents into a Tiki glass over crushed ice. Top with sparkling water. Garnish with banana Tiki dolphin or banana and cherry skewer.
Mixologist Lynnette Marrero created this recipe.
5 oz. Chilled Q ginger beer
2 oz. Cruzan aged dark rum
¼ oz. Fresh lime juice
1 oz. Chilled pineapple juice
1 Pineapple slice, for garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add rum and lime juice and shake well. Pour ginger beer into a highball glass filled with ice, then top with the shaken rum. Garnish with a pineapple slice.
The mixologists at Cruzan created this recipe.
1 ½ oz. Brugal 1888 rum
¾ oz. Ancho Reyes chile liqueur
1 oz. Lime juice
1 oz. Honey-ginger syrup
8-10 Mint leaves, gently pressed
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Add mint leaves to mixing glass and gently press. Add rum, liqueur, lime juice and syrup and shake with ice. Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice and garnish with a mint sprig, lime wheel and bitters.
The mixologists at Bleau Bar at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach created this recipe.
1 ¾ oz. Don Q Cristal rum
¼ oz. Cucumber juice*
½ oz. Simple syrup
½ Lime cut in wedges
6 Mint leaves
Splash club soda
Muddle lime, simple syrup, cucumber juice and mint leaves. Add rum and ice, then shake. Pour into an ice-filled highball glass. Top with splash of club soda. Garnish with cucumber slice and lime wheel.
*For cucumber juice: Place a whole cucumber in blender with 1 oz. of water and ½ oz. of simple syrup. Blend on high until liquefied.
The mixologists at Don Q created this recipe.
1 oz. Captain Morgan Grapefruit rum
½ oz. Elderflower liqueur
¾ oz. Lime juice
½ oz. Honey syrup
2 oz. Coconut water
Combine ingredients in a mixing tin. Shake and strain over ice into a Collins glass. Garnish with ¼ of a grapefruit wheel.
The mixologists at Captain Morgan created this recipe.
The High Top Flip
3 oz. Milk
1 ½ oz. Espresso
¾ oz. Rum
½ oz. Orgeat
½ oz. Carpano’s Antica
4 dashes Angostura bitters
Top with soda
Start by putting the espresso shot into cold milk to begin the cooling process. Combine with all other ingredients. Shake lightly but be careful not to overdilute. Pour into a Collins glass. Add soda while padding back and forth creating the foamy top.
The mixologists at Mr. Espresso created this recipe.
The Dirty Bird
2 oz. Cruzan blackstrap rum
1 oz. Pineapple juice
¾ oz. Lemon juice
½ oz. Jeppson’s Malört
½ oz. Simple syrup
Combine ingredients in shaker and shake with ice. Strain over fresh ice and garnish with a lemon wheel.
Nick Salazar of Villans in Chicago created this recipe.
What I’m Drinking Now
Beverage director for Nashville, TN-based Strategic Hospitality, including The Patterson House, Pinewood Social, and Merchant’s.
Isla De Muerta is a cocktail created by Michael McCollum at The Patterson House.
I immediately fell in love with it—the flavors are not only fantastic, but the mouthfeel is really incredible.
For all intents and purposes, it’s a Rum Old Fashioned that uses two different kinds of rum.
The first is the Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, a rich, primarily pot-stilled Venezuelan rum, and second is the Appleton White, a white Jamaican rum with a little bit of funk and toasted coconut flavors.
Next there is a banana liqueur, a rich demerara syrup, and just a little bit of pineapple juice, which not only help to create some great flavors, but are ultimately responsible for the great mouthfeel. I love the tropical fruit flavors that come from the drink.
At the same time, it avoids the really sharp textures of juices; instead substituting them with the rounder, silkier textures that are found in stirred drinks.
Isla De Muerta
½ oz. Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva rum
½ oz. Appleton White rum
1 tsp. Giffard Banane du Bresil liqueur
1 tsp. Demerara syrup
1 tsp. Pineapple juice
Combine ingredients and stir. Strain into a rocks glass with an ice sphere. Garnish with orange peel.
What I’m Drinking Now
Chef/owner of Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery (Arlington, VA, and Washington, DC), and host of the Travel Channel’s American Grilled
My Backyard NOLA Swingers drink was motivated by a visit from my friend Lolis Eric Elie, who knows just about all there is to know about New Orleans and its rich history and culture. In his cookbook, Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans, Elie includes a recipe with a grapefruit and honey base called N’awlins Nectar. When I hosted him at Bayou Bakery, I used his base idea and jazzed it up a bit with fresh rosemary and jalapeños to give it that NOLA spice.
Backyard NOLA Swingers
(Pictured atop as feature image)
2 cups Wildflower honey
2 quarts Grapefruit juice
8 Mason jars (16-oz.)
1 bottle Dark rum (750-ml.)
8 sprigs Fresh rosemary
1 medium Jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
Stir honey and ¾ cup water together in a large container. Add grapefruit juice, and stir well; cover and chill about 1 hour. For each serving, fill mason jar two-thirds full with ice. Add ¼ cup rum, and fill jar with grapefruit juice mixture. Pour drink into a shaker, and add 1 sprig rosemary and 1 slice jalapeño pepper; cover and shake 10 seconds. Pour mixed drink back into jar; add more ice, if desired.