Summer Cocktails

Summer Cocktails - Cucumber Lime Basil Martini 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.

Summer Cocktails - Cucumber Lime Basil Martini 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*
Crushed ice

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.

The Rosebud The Rosebud
Adapted from Cucina Urbana.

10 chunks fresh watermelon**
2 oz. / 2 shots Watermelon Rosemary Infused Vodka
Crushed ice

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.


  1. says

    I love your friend’s approach to entertaining, as I too have been known to get my guests looped on cocktails. However, my are not as imaginative as the ones posted on your blog. I’ve enjoyed basil and strawberry gelato but I never thought of using basil in a drink, let alone rosemary. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. says

    These cocktails look great – i absolutely love serving a signature cocktail at parties, and the flavors of these two are so perfect and summery. I just made a watermelon basil based jelly shot this weekend, but your watermelon rosemary combination intrigues me to do some more tinkering!

  3. says

    Oh I must have a cocktail immediately, these look amazing. Do oyu have a favorite vodka or is it Square One? I like’s gluten-free you know :-)

  4. says

    Beautiful colors! I have made watermelon cocktails before, but they didn’t turn out yours. I’ll have to make yours, if it’s not to late for local watermelon.

  5. Brandon Matzek says

    @Anna Basil works well in many drinks. I recently had a Basil Gimlet that was amazing! Thyme, rosemary and tarragon are other herbs that work well in drinks. Strawberry and basil is a great combination! Earlier in the year, I made a strawberry, basil , balsamic soda. Very tasty.

    @Michelle Watermelon and basil sounds wonderful. I might just give that a try this weekend!

    @Karen I like garnishing with a big sprig of rosemary (when appropriate) – the shape is so dramatic and the leaves give off a beautiful, woodsy fragrance. Plus, rosemary grows wild all over San Diego, so I can easily walk outside and snip some.

    @Gree When I am doing a vodka infusion, I like to get a middle of the road vodka (smirnoff, skyy or absolut). If I am shaking up the vodka straight up, I like to get Kirkland Vodka (Costco’s vodka). Kirkland Vodka is comparable to Grey Goose and costs a fraction of the price! Square One does make a great Cucumber Vodka, but I used my own Armenian Cucumber Vodka for this recipe.

    @Rosemary I wasn’t aware of the contest! But thank you for the heads up. I will keep my eye on their Kitchen Challenges.


  1. […] When I learned that local food delivery company Greenling had local watermelons available, I knew I had to have one. However, to get one of those beauties I had to order $25 worth of food. There was plenty of local produce to select from and I ended up with some armenian cucumbers. I remembered seeing this Kitchen Konfidence post about using armenian cucumbers to infuse vodka.  I love cucumbers! I bet I will also love these Cucumber Lime Basil Martinis. […]

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