3 Simple Summer Cocktails

We put up with the rain all year in Portland, but it is well worth it for the spectacular summers filled with blooming flowers, bountiful gardens, back-yard barbecues, and of course- plenty of drinking! While grabbing a twelve pack of microbrew beers is a great route for outdoor entertaining, it's great to be able to offer your guests a boozier option that showcase summer flavors. KATU News, AM Northwest was kind enough to have me on their show to mix up some drinks. You can watch the full video clip at the bottom of the post. 


Lavender Lemonade:

1.5 oz Vodka (Crater Lake) or Gin (Corsair)

1 oz. Lavender Simple Syrup* 

1-1.5 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

Cucumber slice (optional)

Mint Sprig (optional)

Soda Water

Add first four ingredients to old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Top with soda water. Gently stir. Garnish with lavender sprig. 

Lavender Simple Syrup: Add 1 cup sugar to 1 cup water. Add zest of 1 lemon. Gently heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add 1 cup lavender blossoms. Let steep overnight, and strain into food-safe glass jar for storage.



2 oz Cachaca (Novo Fogo) 

1/2 lime 

1.25 tbsp sugar

Remove the white pith from the lime and discard it. Cut the remaining lime in slices; toss them into the glass. Muddle them with sugar in the glass. Fill the glass with ice. Add cachaça and pour everything into a shaker. Give it a go; pour everything (including the ice) back into the same glass.


Cucumber Cooler:

1 1/2 oz. Gin (Corsair) or Vodka (Crater Lake

3/4 oz St. Germain

3/4 oz lime or lemon juice

2 slices cucumber

2 sprigs mint

soda water

Add first three ingredients and 1 sprig of mint and 1 cucumber slice to cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and double-strain into old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with cucumber slice and mint sprig. Top with soda water if desired.

(If you're reading this on a mobile device you can watch the video here.)

The Avondale from The Rum Club PDX

The Avondale- Cachacha, Cynar, Egg White, Pineapple Gomme, Lemon, Bitters

 Pineapple Gomme and egg white cocktails create an amazing smooth cream topper in this earthy and fruit forward cocktail. The Cynar keeps the drink from being too sweet and adds a vegetal depth that pairs nicely with the cachaca. The lemon juice helps the rest of the flavors to pop and keeps the cocktail on the bright side, with a great warm spice nose from the Angostura bitters. An absolutely delicious cocktail. If you like this you might want to try the Elixir de Cognac which also makes great use of egg whites and pineapple gomme.











Crystal Caipirinha- @novofogo @jacobgrier @teardroplounge

Crystal Caipirinha:

2 oz Novo Fogo Silver Organic Cachaça
1 oz clarified lime juice
0.75 oz simple syrup
Stir with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a lime zest expressed over the drink and dropped in as a twist.

Jacob Grier describes how to make clarified juice along with some other tasty clarified cocktails.

Beat the heat with Cachaca

I've found nothing cuts through the scorching heat of 90 degree plus days like a caipirinha. This naturally led to further cachaca experiments with most of the inspiration (and recipes themselves) from #cocktailvirgin as well as a nice seasonal variation, and experimentation with different brands (Boca Loca at #clydecommon,Leblon, and Cachacha 51"brazils best-selling cachaca"), resulting in Leblon emerging as the clear favorite. Something about it's grassy, earthy funkiness contributed flavors that made all of the drinks sing. Cachaca is a distilled liquor made with fermented sugar cane that is currently classified as a rum (rhum agricole) though is seeking it's own designation a a separate spirit class (more info can be found here). I make my caipirinha as follows:

3 oz cachaca (Leblon)
1 tsp cane sugar
Half lime

Cut the lime cross-hatched so that the half remains intact but scored. Place 1 tsp cane sugar in lowball. Add lime with pulp side on sugar, skin facing up. Gently muddle, in a circular motion until sugar is mostly dissolved. The muddling helps to bring out the aromatic and pleasantly bitter essential oils in the lime peel in a preferred manner than simply juicing the lime. Cracked ice is preferred due to 3 oz of spirit tasting a bit strong (other recipes may call for less) and in need of proper dilution (the cracked ice accelerates this process), with Leblon as an exception as it is quite drinkable neat.
For those who like simple tinkering, strawberries (though any seasonal berries are well suited) can be added to the muddling mix for a berry variation.

The cocktailvirgin variations can be found here Maison Leblon and Grand Elixir.They are both exceptional. There are a number of other excellent recipes using cachaca that I will soon post, and I hope that we start seeing this spirit offered at more locations as well as receiving it's proper designation.