Fresh. Seasonal. Farm to table. These words epitomize Summer’s bounty of fresh produce. For many of us the first thing that comes to mind is food not cocktails. Many of the season’s offerings – fresh herbs, berries and fruit can be used to make refreshing adult beverages.
Malta resident, Jay Larkin, is known as “the beverage guy” around the Capital District. His expertise and skills are displayed daily at Schenectady County Community College (SCCC). Jay has authored the Beverage Management, Craft Beer Brewing and the Craft Distillation degrees at SCCC. He is the lead faculty member for all three programs.
He shares three garden fresh summer cocktails made with ingredients fresh from his garden. What could be better than a cocktail made from freshly picked fruit and mint from the garden?
The first thing Jay recommends is to make up a batch of batch of simple syrup.
What’s Simple Syrup?
Simple syrup is consists of equal parts water and granulated sugar boiled together to dissolve the sugar. Cool completely if you are not going to add any other flavor component. Simple syrups can be infused with flavors too. To do that steep the flavoring item in the syrup shortly after removing from heat. For example, to make a rhubarb simple syrup coarsely chop the rhubarb, place in a pitcher/container, pour heated syrup over and let steep until cool. Most simple syrups can last a week to a week and a half if chilled are making.
Making a simple syrup is the best way to sweeten your cocktail.
A tart and refreshing sip versatile enough to be made with a wide variety of spirits.
1.5 oz of your choice of whiskey, citrus vodka or rum
1 oz rhubarb simple syrup (general simple syrup recipe above)
Splash of orange juice
Can be served up or on the rocks. If up pour ingredients (except club soda) over ice in shaker and shake vigorously. Add club soda and strain into martini glass. If on the rocks simply follow same instructions but strain into glass with ice and add club soda to fill. Garnish with a lime and sip.
A subtle spin on a Hemingway favorite.
1.5 oz silver rum
1 oz simple syrup
5 or 6 raspberries
3 mint leaves
In a mixer muddle the raspberries, mint and simple syrup. Add ice and the rum. Shake vigorously and strain into glass filled with ice. Add club soda to fill glass. Garnish with mint leaf skewered with raspberries.
Bright Summer Sangria
A great use for the rare leftover white wine.
Remainder of white wine and perhaps another bottle
8 oz of citrus vodka
8 oz orange simple syrup
Assortment of fresh light fruits (raspberries, blueberries, melon)
Add all ingredients to a pitcher or large container. Stir and let sit. Can be sipped immediately and flavor will enhance greatly the longer it is allowed to sit.