Cocktailing in Spring
By Casey Deyton
Spring offers an amazing opportunity for your cocktails to be the most. The most fun and the most inventive. Your local farmers market is what it’s all about. Whether Dekalb Farmers market is your tried and true staple, or you prefer to peruse the stalls of the Piedmont Park Green Market, either way, using some fresh herbs and fruits in your next round of cocktails will confirm what your friends have known all along, you’re a little bit touched. Touched by Persephone herself that is. Here is a simple little rhyme to help you remember cocktails at springtime, “Fun and fresh should fill your spring glass, if not, each sip you take will taste like ass.” (Thanks Mom) That might sound alluring to some, but on the whole, you want a light and enjoyable cocktail for those long day drinking sessions. This season is about truly enjoying time with your friends-as a functioning adult not messy little Becky passed out in the corner.
Recently returned from a short jaunt to the mountains, I found a cocktail that would make even Crystal Gayle raise her glass, the Coal Miner’s Daughter. It’s a perfect cocktail for transitioning from cooler to warmer weather, a weekly flip of the coin in Atlanta. It blends bourbon, fresh lemon, local honey, lavender and one my favorite ingredients, ginger syrup. I suppose since were using ginger syrup we could call it Soul Miner’s Daughter, funny how a little sugar and new name can give something a country twang. (Right, Ms. Nettles?)
Coal Miner’s Daughter
1 ½ oz Bourbon
1 tsp Ginger Syrup
¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
¾ oz Honey
1 Sprig of Lavender
Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice into an Old Fashioned glass.
Garnish with slapped lavender sprig.
¾ cup ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
Bring ginger, sugar and water to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Let simmer for 30 min. then strain. Let cool to room temperature.
Floral, it’s not just a print for hipster shirts, it’s also a fabulous springtime vodka cocktail with muddled herbs and cucumber. Fun and fresh just like momma said. Make it simple and “borrow” a few sprigs from your neighbor’s herb garden and try it with a cucumber vodka.
1 sprig Rosemary
2 sprigs Thyme
2 slices Cucumber
¾ oz Lime juice
¾ oz Simple syrup or Ginger syrup
1 ½ oz Vodka
Muddle rosemary, thyme, cucumber, lime juice and simple syrup. Add vodka and fill with ice. Shake and strain into coupe glass. Garnish with a cucumber and sprig of thyme.
Every now and then we need a little escape from the big city, we need a little Country Thyme. Being a responsible neighbor, we want to use all the herbs we “borrowed” and can toss them along with some fresh blueberries in this delightfully refreshing mini-escape in a glass.
1 sprig Thyme
1 ½ oz Vodka
¼ oz Honey
Slap and twist thyme, place in bottom of Old Fashioned glass fill with ice. In a shaker muddle blueberries and lemon, add vodka and honey and fill with ice. Shake vigorously, strain into prepared glass.
Warmer weather brings out the pooches and the strut to the dog park. Everyone wants to be best in show. Unfortunately, not everyone can be a winner at the dog park, but you will certainly be a hit serving up the Best In Show cocktail. Strawberries and champagne will have everybody begging for another tasty treat.
Best In Show
1 Orange Slice
1 ½ oz Vodka
Splash of Champagne
Muddle strawberry, orange slice and mint. Add a touch of simple syrup, vodka and ice. Shake and strain into an Old Fashioned glass add ice and top with champagne.
Peaches, love her. Peach flavored anything, love it. Fresh Georgia peaches are the best and tbh I’m quite fond of the peach emoji too. That’s why Screwed Peaches makes a perfect Midtown brunch cocktail.
2 or 3 Fresh Peach Slices (1 oz peach nectar as substitute)
½ oz Ginger syrup or simple syrup
1 ½ oz Vodka
2 oz OJ
Muddle fresh peaches and syrup in a shaker. Add vodka, OJ, and ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice. Top with champagne.
Drinking delicious new cocktails with friends on a beautiful day is essentially a tradition in Atlanta. It’s about being social and enjoying each other’s company, good or bad, we all of course have that one friend. A term I hear more and more is “sessionability”. An in it to win it mentality where drinking great low-abv, low alcohol by volume or lower proof cocktails over the long-haul equals better quality, often more complex, drinks and an introduction to fun unique products you may have never tried. This trend is about switching out higher proof ingredients with vermouths, sherries and aperitifs for a longer lasting day or night out. All while remaining a fully functional adult and being able to remember what an amazing time you had with your friends. Everyone is different, not everyone is interested in a hand-crafted cocktail with ingredients you can barely pronounce. Some would prefer a miller lite and shot of house tequila. I frankly enjoy both drinking experiences, call it versatile. Yes, same definition applies. It totally depends on the mood, the other people involved and, in the end, you’re on your back begging for more. Until next time, happy drinking and please remember to drink responsibly.