It’s been a long winter in southwest Ohio. Now that the weather is finally starting to warm up, get ready to dust off the patio furniture, throw on sunglasses and bask in the spring sun. While out in the fresh air, why not plan to drink something refreshing?
Instead of just grabbing a cold beer, celebrate the season with a slightly more exotic drink. Need some inspiration? We asked three local restaurants and bars to share their recipes for favorite springtime cocktails.
Many of the drinks they suggested come in tantalizing fruit flavors, mixing in everything from blackberries to apples to grapefruits. There’s also a nice variety of spirits represented, including tequila, vodka and schnapps. Anglophiles might particularly appreciate the cocktail that features Pimm’s, a staple of summertime drinking in England.
Thanks to staff at The Pub in Beavercreek, Mela Urban Bistro in Springfield and Vue Ultra Lounge in Washington Twp. for helping us to enjoy spring a little bit more this year.
VUE’S TEQUILA TEASE
- 2 ounces Avion Silver pure agave tequila
- 1 ounce Dekuyper triple sec
- .5 ounce agave nectar
- Half of a jalapeno, sliced in strips
- 5 strawberries (stems removed)
- Juice from half of a lime
- 1 lime wedge
- Kosher salt or sea salt
- Cane sugar
Muddle four strawberries, jalapeno slices, lime juice and agave nectar in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, add Avion Silver tequila, triple sec and then set aside. Rim a cocktail glass with the lime wedge and then dip in the sugar and then the salt. Add ice and strain ingredients in shaker into the cocktail glass. Garnish with a fresh strawberry.
VUE’S BLACKBERRY MOJITO
- 2 ounces Bacardi Limon rum
- Juice from half a lime
- 1 lime wedge
- 8-10 fresh mint leaves
- 1 sprig of mint
- 6-8 fresh blackberries
- 4 ounces sparkling water
Muddle the fresh mint, blackberries and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Top with the Bacardi Limon rum, fill with ice and shake well. Fill a tall cocktail glass with ice and strain the ingredients of the shaker into the glass. Top with sparkling water. Garnish with a fresh lime wedge.
VUE’S HARVEST MULE
- 2 ounces American Harvest organic vodka
- 4 ounces Goslings ginger beer
- Half of a lime squeezed
- 1 orange wedge squeezed
- Lime wedge for garnish
Fill a cocktail glass with ice. Add the juice of half a lime and orange wedge. Then add the American Harvest organic vodka and top off with Goslings ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wedge.
THE PUB’S GRAPEFRUIT AND BASIL MARTINI
- 2 ounces Ketel One vodka
- 2 ounces fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
- ¾ ounces simple syrup
- 6 basil leaves (3 if large)
- 1 pristine basil leaf for garnish
Fill a shaker tin two-thirds full with ice. Tear the six basil leaves in thirds and drop in tin. Add Ketel One vodka, grapefruit juice and simple syrup to tin. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with one pristine basil leaf.
THE PUB’S PIMM’S CUP
- 1 ½ ounces Pimm’s No. 1
- ½ ounces Ocean Spray sour mix
- 4 fresh cucumber halves
- 3 ounces Sprite
Drop two cucumber halves in the bottom of a mixing tin. Fill tin two-thirds full with ice, then add Pimm’s No. 1 and Ocean Spray sour mix. Shake vigorously and strain into a 14 ounce glass. Fill with Sprite. Garnish with two fresh cucumber halves tucked into drink.
MELA URBAN BISTRO’S SPRING MARTINI
- 1 ounce Grey Goose pear vodka
- 1 ounce peach schnapps
- 1 ounce Pama pomegranate liqueur
- 1 ounce Chamborde
- ½ ounce pineapple juice
- ½ ounce sour mix
- 1 ounce sprite or 7UP
- 1 orange slice
Mix the pear vodka, peach schnapps, pomegranate liqueur, Chamborde, pineapple juice, sour mix and Sprite in a shaker with ice. Strain into an up (martini) glass. Garnish with an orange slice.
MELA URBAN BISTRO’S RED APPLE MARTINI
- 2 ounces Smirnoff green apple twist vodka
- 1 ounce red apple liqueur
- 1 ounce sour mix
- 2 ounces apple juice
- 1 fresh apple slice
Mix the green apple twist vodka, red apple liqueur, sour mix and apple juice in a shaker with ice. Strain into an up (martini) glass. Garnish with a fresh apple slice.
Essential accessories for a home bar
To make the perfect cocktail, you need the right tools. We asked Rachel Jensen, Vue Ultra Lounge’s mixologist and event planner, for suggestions on setting up a home bar. She shared these accessory recommendations:
Jigger: “A jigger comes in a metal hourglass shape. It has a 1 ½-ounce cup at one end and ¾ or 1-ounce pony on the other, to quickly flip from one standard cocktail measurement to another with ease.”
Muddler: “This device is great for mashing fruits, citrus, syrups and sugar together for your mojitos and custom cocktails. Remember, always mash in the shaker or the glass that you’ll be using.”
Citrus squeezer: “The best cocktails are made with fresh juices, and this handheld metal press — which accommodates lemons, limes and small oranges — is the quick, efficient way to get the most juice with the least amount of pulp.”
Shaker: “A shaker tin and glass is the classic industrial two-container unit preferred by experienced bartenders for quick mixing and cleanup.”
Strainer: “A Hawthorne strainer, as it’s known, allows just the liquid — and the ideal amount of tiny ice chips — into your glass.”
Bar knife: “It’s best to have a small sharp knife on hand for cocktail prep work.”