A good friend of mine once said, “The key to a successful dinner party is to start with great cocktails.” His reasoning is that if your guests are boozed up, they won’t notice any of the mistakes you make and your food is guaranteed to taste good! While I certainly think this is valuable advice, I like to serve mixed drinks for a different reason. Providing your guests with signature cocktails can really give your party an elevated, restaurant-like feel. Continue reading for two Summer Cocktail recipes: Cucumber Lime Basil Martini and The Rosebud.
Cucumber Lime Basil Martini
8 fresh basil leaves
1 half lime
2 oz. / 2 shots cucumber vodka (Square One makes a good Cucumber Vodka or you could make your own)
¾ oz. / ¾ shot simple syrup*
Additional fresh basil leaves (optional)
Thinly sliced cucumber (optional)
Fill a cocktail shaker about half way with crushed ice. Muddle in fresh basil leaves (mash them up with the ice). The leaves should look pretty beat up and the ice should start turning green. Squeeze in 1 half lime. Add cucumber vodka and simple syrup. Cap your shaker and go to town. Strain mixture into a martini glass and garnish with a fresh basil leaf or thin cucumber slices.
Makes 1 drink.
Adapted from Cucina Urbana.
10 chunks fresh watermelon**
2 oz. / 2 shots Watermelon Rosemary Infused Vodka
Fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)
Fill a cocktail shaker about half way with crushed ice. Muddle in watermelon chunks (mash them up with the ice). Add watermelon rosemary infused vodka and shake until cold. Strain into a short tumbler and garnish with a fresh rosemary sprig.
Makes 1 drink.
* To make simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water (I usually do 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water) into a saucepan. Stir sugar and water over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool completely before using. Using simple syrup is a great way to sweeten cold drinks (cocktails, iced tea, lemonade, iced coffee, etc.).
** The amount of watermelon chunks needed for this drink depends on how juicy your watermelon chunks are. If you strain your drink and find that you do not have enough juice, simply muddle up some more chunks and strain again.