9 Easy Cocktails To Help You Impress Even Yourself

When you feel like shelving the champagne…

1. Eli Mason Mint Julep Recipe Here

A creaking porch swing, the twang of an acoustic guitar, the only blinking lights are fireflies, the only tweets from nesting birds. Cell phone’s long forgotten, the digital world’s at bay — in your hand instead, a frosty glass of ice, mint, and bourbon. The easy life just got easier. No muddler? No mint? No problem. One part mixer; two parts bourbon. Most commercial mixers just over-sweeten your booze, but this Nashville-made syrup highlights, not hides. Made from pounds of fresh mint, cane sugar, and real gomme syrup — that’s the old-school granddaddy of simple syrup, made with gum Arabic to make your drink as silky smooth as a southern breeze.

2. Barbados Rum Punch Recipe Here

Corner-store colas and over-sweetened juices won’t cut it in quality cocktails. That’s why most bars worth their rim salt make their own mixers, like this old-school gum syrup. Where canned juice is tongue-numbing sharp, this syrup is a smooth island breeze of tropical flavor, thanks to real-deal gum arabic, a natural tree resin and the secret to a true Barbados rum punch’s creamy feel, no matter how many limes you add.

3. Owl’s Brew Arnold Palmer Recipe Here

We’re talking summertime sweet tea. The weather outside might be frightful, but click-clacking ice cubes and spinning suns of sliced lemon will soothe even the bitterest chill — or defeat. And it couldn’t be easier to whip up a pitcher: icy vodka, a bottle of lemonade, and a healthy pour of Owl’s Brew. New York–mixed but classically southern, Owl’s is the first tea made specifically for cocktails. Their Classic is a traditional English black with a hint of citrus, sweetened with all-natural agave.

4. Big Hibiscus Tea Sangria Recipe Here

For pepper-heads, the best part of truck-stop tacos is sometimes the styrofoam big gulp of sweet-tart jamaica you chug to extinguish a hubris-induced chili burn. Steven Smith balances that refreshing hibiscus zing with a pinch of ginger, sweet rose, and exotic Indian sarsaparilla. Cold, with a squirt of honey, handful of summer fruit, and shot (or two) of your booze of choice, it’s a perfect sangria; piping hot, a morning-after soother.

5. Thai Basil Margarita Recipe Here

Andy Ricker has done for American Thai Food what mall food courts haven’t. His Portland joint Pok Pok, which recently set up outposts in NYC is helping properly introducing America to Northern Thai Cuisine. People flock for his fiery, fragrant dishes armed with authentic flavors foreign to the ubiquitous take-out variety, washing it all down with refreshing gulps of Pok Pok Som which is served in all of Ricker’s restaurants. Ricker suggests 4:1 soda to Som or nab our unauthentic Thai Basil Margarita recipe at Mantry.com.

6. Dark & Stormy Cocktail Recipe Here

Enjoying a well crafted cocktail doesn’t have to mean paying 15$ in a pretentious bar. Morris Kitchen’s handcrafted ginger syrup reminds us quality cocktails at home can be cheaper than coors light. Go for the Dark & Stormy, just fill a glass with ice, add 3 oz seltzer, ½ oz Ginger Syrup and lime. Slowly pour 2oz rum on top to keep color separate, garnish with a lime. Make a round of these and we promise nobody will care you may not have the proper glassware…

7. La Paloma Cocktail Recipe Here

It can be tough to remember that tequila expands beyond the cuervo soaked college kids of Cancun and neon green blended slushies, but the “Paloma” is worth its salt. Traditionally, a combo of tequila, grapefruit soda and lime in a rimmed glass and more popular than margaritas in many areas of Mexico, we sub in Liber & Co’s Grapefruit Shrub. A shrub is an infusion of fruit, vinegar and sugar that traces back to American colonial days and a couple Texan boys pay tribute to their hometown grown Rio Star grapefruit with this one. Mix with soda for a fresh-off-the-tree brightness that’s fit to wash down any plate of chorizo and eggs (Paloma Recipe: Mantry.com/recipes)

8. Bourbon Sarsaparilla Float Recipe Here

Sarsaparilla is small, deciduous woody vine, historically used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes which eventually stocked the shelves of Wild West saloons in the form of a soda in the 19th century. Commonly referred to as the “original” Root Beer, P&H’s take boasts a lighter, cleaner flavor extracted from the real thing with no chemical crap. We recommend introducing the float to adulthood by filling a frosted mug with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, Sarsaparilla and an ounce of Bourbon.

9. Jack Rudy Tonic & Gin

If 2 L plastic bottles of Tonic are the bottom shelf, you’re surely going to need a step ladder to reach Jack Rudy Small Batch. This concentrate features the traditional ingredient of quinine paired with lemongrass and orange peel to create a concoction that dates back to the early 19th century. British officers sought the malaria fighting benefits of quinine but often mixed it’s extract with gin in order to make the drink more palatable. Look no further than Hendrick’s Gin and the recipe on the side of the bottle to re-discover the Gin & Tonic.

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