There’s no denying it — summer is in full swing, and Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day are the season’s main events. Many classic songs pay homage to these long-awaited few months – some are nostalgic, some eager, while others bemoan the endless summer heat. We enlisted some cocktail specialists for drinks that get in rhythm with these songs. Turn the volume up, and gulp down these tasty libations!
(Recipe courtesy of Beautiful Booze)
British rock band Mungo Jerry came into prominence in 1970 with their hit single, In the Summertime. The breezy beats and laid-back tempo of the song reflect a carefree summer, with lyrics about fine weather and finding love. Popsicles embody a summery spirit, and spiking them with some Caribbean rum and fresh mint brings together the innocence and exploration of summer. These are perfect for a day of dancing on the beach.
1/2 cup of rum
3/4 cup of chopped peaches
2 cups of limeade
4 oz. of fresh lime juice
8 mint leaves, chopped
6 wooden popsicle sticks
Preparation: This recipe is based on 6 popsicle molds at 5 ounces each. Mix all ingredients together, and then evenly divide mixture into popsicle molds. Chill popsicle molds in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes or until the liquid is slightly frozen. Add wooden popsicle sticks and freeze over night. Run warm water over molds to loosen popsicles and serve.
(Recipe courtesy of Brooklyn Gin)
This 1966 hit by The Lovin’ Spoonful talks about a gritty city, incorporating sounds of blaring horns and a jackhammer. During the heat of the day, it’s miserable, but in the darkness of night, the hustling and bustling city takes on a different light – intimate encounters, secret gatherings, and fast life. To capture that hidden quality, we’ve recreated a classic prohibition era cocktail called the Bee’s Knees.
2 oz. Brooklyn Gin
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice.
3/4 oz. honey syrup (equal parts honey and warm water)
Preparation: Shake with ice and serve in a rocks glass. Garnish with a fresh slice of lemon.
(Recipe courtesy of Feast and West)
Ah, the ’80s. They were known (and lamented) for many things, such as shoulder pads, crazy hair, and sub-par cocktails. But boy did that decade birth some great songs. With its fast, upbeat tempo, Boys of Summer by Don Henley is a quintessentially ’80s song, and a staple of the ’80s were blue cocktails. Feast and West blog serves up a fun and refreshing margarita that hearkens the color of the warm sky.
4 oz. silver tequila (100% agave)
2 oz. blue curaçao
2½ oz. lime juice
4 oz. agave nectar
3 cups of ice
Sea salt, for rim
lime wheels, for garnish
Preparation: Place salt on a plate. Run the edge of a lime slice around the outside rim of a margarita (or cocktail) glass. Roll the outer edge of the rim in the salt until coated. Repeat on four cocktail glasses. Set aside. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend on the highest setting until completely smooth. If necessary, scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Garnish with a lime wheel. Serve immediately.
(Recipe courtesy of Whiskey Blue)
Vodka had its heyday in the ’80s, and so did beloved Bryan Adams. With lyrics like, “nothing can last forever,” Summer of ’69, epitomizes the nostalgia of being young with high hopes and few responsibilities. This simple yet refined cocktail tips its hat to the always dependable “vodka and juice,” while looking back nostalgically on all the good times of youth.
2 oz. Grey Goose vodka
3 dashes of grapefruit bitters
3 oz. tonic water
Preparation: Add all ingredients in Collins glass over ice. Top with fresh grapefruit juice. Garnish with a grapefruit slice down side of the glass.
(Recipe courtesy of The Attic Rooftop)
Summer weather is nice, but sometimes it can get too hot – as Banarama points out in their 1983 song, Cruel Summer, “Hot summer streets and the pavements are burning / I sit around, trying to smile / But the air is so heavy and dry.” The video was shot in a blisteringly hot New York City summer, juxtaposing the heat and the scalding concrete to demonstrate a less than idyllic summer, as they sing about a cruel, long, and lonely summer. Such a terrible summer calls for a strong and delicious drink. The tequila, mezcal, and jalapeño pack a spicy and stiff punch, giving at the same time an intoxicating yet sobering effect.
2 muddled grapefruit slices
1 oz. blanco tequila
1 oz. mezcal joven
1 oz. grapefruit juice
1 oz. amber agave infused with jalapeno
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
Preparation: Shake all ingredients vigorously, strain over fresh ice into a Collins glass and garnish with chili/pepper salt on rim and a fresh grapefruit slice.
*Agave Infusion: Bowl amber agave syrup with 2 full jalapeños or more (sliced) to achieve desired spice level
*Chili Salt: Mix sea salt, black pepper, dash of cayenne, dash of cumin, dash of celery salt
(Recipe courtesy of Danny Neff at Holiday Cocktail)
Bottoms up, top hats down. Listening to Alice Cooper’s song that regales the end of school brings to mind rebellious youth, one that’s ready to have fun and make some possibly poor decisions (even if they’re just fashion faux-pas). Cooper’s rugged and thrashy joie-de-vivre is inebriating, so to match his rough style is an upscale version of the Boiler Maker.
equal parts Aperol and Snow Leopard vodka
dash of sugar
sprinkle of lemon
squirt of salt solution
Victory Prima Pilsner Beer
Preparation: In a shot class, mix equal parts Aperol with Snow Leopard Vodka then add a sprinkle of lemon and a squirt of salt solution. Drop the shot glass into a pint of Prima Pilsner Beer, bomb style, and chug!
(Recipe courtesy of Home Bar Girl)
Ice Cube’s 1992 song tells about a perfect day, exuding gratitude for a relaxing day where everything goes right. The video is shot in Sunny South Central Los Angeles. The Mai Tai cocktail also originates from sunny California, and bears that chilled vibe in Ice Cube’s song.
3/4 oz. Cachaça Yaguara
3/4 oz. Grand Marnier
3/4 oz. orgeat syrup
3/4 oz. lemon juice
large mint bouquet
Preparation: Combine ingredients over ice and shake like a rocket. Strain into double Rocks glass over crushed ice. Garnish with the biggest mint bouquet of all time.
(Recipe courtesy of Porch Parties by Denise Gee)
Country singer Kenny Chesney’s Summertime perfectly captures the picturesque, laid back, southern summer. To match it, this cocktail brings together the quintessential flavors of the season down south: sweet tea, fresh mint, and a splash of Bourbon. So put on some “cheap shades” to block that “93 degree” sun, and “sing along” to the “perfect song on the radio” because “it’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip” of the South.
6 cups of water
2 cups of strong tea*
2 cups of Four Roses Bourbon
1 cup of sugar
1 6-oz. container frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 12-oz. container frozen lemon juice concentrate, thawed
Preparation: Combine the water, tea, bourbon, sugar, orange and lemon juice concentrate in large container or bowl and mix until sugar dissolves. Pour into two gallon-size freezer bags. Freeze until an hour before serving. Place the frozen punch in a large bowl and let thaw, breaking up every 15 minutes. When punch is melted add more ice or water as desired. Serve in punch cups. Garnish with mint sprigs or lemon slices if desired.
*Strong tea: Boil 3 cups of water. Add 4 tea bags and let steep until cool. Discard the tea bags and set aside. Measure out 2 cups for recipe.
(Recipe courtesy of Invite Only)
California band Sublime infused a sexy but grimy style to their ska-punk sound. They mixed lyrics from Gershwin’s classic Summertime and overlaid it with a story about a guy getting cheated on by his girlfriend. Similarly, this drink has notes of sweet and sad. The berry fruit brings in the sweet while the citrus brings in the refreshing when they’re met with a jolt to the heart from a dash of cayenne and a shot of Bourbon.
1/2 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. Elijah Craig bourbon
1/2 oz. lemon juice
Preparation: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with raspberries and a dash of cayenne. Served in a rocks glass
(Recipe courtesy of Hudson Terrace)
Calvin Harris’ song Summer has that summer nightclub vibe, conjuring up memories of dancing and romancing. Rosé, a romantic summer favorite, mixes divinely with cocktails, giving them that floral and fruity flavor. New York’s riverside rooftop lounge, Hudson Terrace, uses White Girl Rosé as its base for this cocktail – which seems a fitting choice for the club goer.
3 oz. White Girl Rosé
1 oz. raspberry vodka
1 oz. Apricot brandy
1/2 oz. triple sec
1 oz. orange juice
Cut up orange slices, apples and strawberries.
Preparation: Combine White Girl Rosé, raspberry vodka, Apricot brandy, triple sec and orange juice into a glass filled with orange slices, apples and strawberries and topped off with ice. Pour and serve.
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