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.)

Derby Cocktail- 1 oz. Michter's Bourbon, 1 oz Vya Sweet Vermouth, .75 oz Creole Shrubb, .75 oz lime juice, mint

Derby Cocktail

1 oz bourbon (Michter's US*1 Small Batch)
1/2 oz sweet vermouth (Vya)
1/2 oz orange curacao (Clement Creole Shrubb)
3/4 oz lime juice
Add mint leaf

Shake over ice. Double strain into chilled cocktail glass. Smack mint, then garnish.

This cocktail is from Ted Haigh's Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. The cocktail starts with a candied orange, tobacco, and mint nose. There is a tart/sweet entry followed by spiced orange notes, herbaceous botanicals from the vermouth and the charred oak depth of the whiskey. This is an interesting drink in the limited amount of bourbon, which may turn some away, but it's reservation leads to a different beast of a drink, a bourbon cocktail to be sure, but one to be savored rather than shot down the hatch. The Creole shrubb is an amazing liqueur and holds its own with the tartness of the lime, a top choice among orange liqueurs. This is a good cocktail for fans of sour drinks such as the Pegu Club, whom prefer whiskey to gin.

RPM @EaT @HouseSpirits

The weather was perfect and the house was packed inside and out of EaT. We arrived towards the last hour of the event and almost shed a tear as we were walking up one of the waitresses called out "86 kiwi". I knew this meant I would miss out on the Jaded Kiwi (hand presses skinless kiwi, Aviation Gin, Green Chartreuse, fresh lemon juice, Fee Brothers Peach Bitters, soda), one of the more interesting sounding drinks I was looking forward to trying. However we still sampled some truly excellent cocktails.

Pepper Delicious #2:

Krogstad Aquavit
Handpressed bell pepper
Fresh Oregon Peppermint
Citrus (orange and lemon)

Arielle really enjoyed this drink. As with the cucumber from The Pressgurka Smash of last week's RPM, the red pepper was a (pleasantly) surprising pairing for the Aquavit. The nose was a peppery mint, followed by a vegetal/citrus sip. The swallow was mostly caraway spice, and the tartness of the citrus helped to accentuate the flavors of the red pepper and made great use of local, seasonal produce.


1 oz. Krogstad Aquavit
1 oz. Dry Sherry
1 oz. Cynar
1 Dash Fee Brothers Peach Bitters
Lemon twist

Stir with ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass(es)*

This drink is the brainchild of Robert Hess, who considered it one of his "most successful cocktails". I loved it, and as Mr. Hess considered it, "a negroni with more obscure ingredients", it was right up my alley. Nutty amontillado, star anise forward. Cynar on the swallow. Simply delicious.

*The bartender ran out of large cocktail glasses and had stirred up what looked to be enough to fill two large cocktail glasses. However, there were no cocktail glasses to be found, he improvised, and we were the lucky benefactors of this happy accident.

Dutch Heaven- 1.75 oz @BolsGenever, .75 oz grapefruit juice, .5 oz Maraschino, mint


Dutch Heaven:

1.75 oz. Bols Genever
.5 oz. Maraschino
.25 oz. grapefruit juice (white)
1 mint sprig

Shake with ice. Double strain into chilled cocktail glass.

After the Seventh Heaven I thought to experiment with swapping the gin for a genever. A very simple, smooth cocktail emerged. The mint is mellowed as it competes with the mead on the nose. The cocktail had a velvety (though pleasantly so), mouthfeel.The sip is multilayered mint, grapefruit, with the maraschino much less apparent on the swallow in comparison to the Seventh Heaven, again most likely due to the (friendly) competition of the mead and botanical flavors of the genever.