Drinks to Put a Spring in Your Step

It seems that spring is finally here—the temperature is starting to rise, cherry blossoms are in full bloom, and we may be starting to a pattern where the days of sunshine outnumber those with rain clouds. And so to celebrate, we’ve curated a list of warmer-weather drinks, perfect for sipping in the sun.

Spicy Margarita

With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, a margarita is the perfect accompanying cocktail. Why not shake up your standard recipe a bit (literally) with some fresh jalapeños?

  • 1 1⁄2 oz tequila (your best bet is a silver, aka blanco, varietal)
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice (roughly one lime)
  • 1⁄2 oz triple sec
  • 1⁄2 oz agave syrup
  • 2 slices of jalapeño coins (seeds removed)

Muddle the jalapeño slices with the agave syrup in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the remaining ingredients, fill with ice, and shake until chilled. Strain into a salt-rimmed* rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.

*Salting tip: Rub the rim of your cup with a lime first, then place upside down onto a shallow plate filled with rock salt.

Mint Julep

With the Triple Crown races popping up on our calendar, raise your hat (or fascinator) to the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, the Mint Julep. While traditionally served in a silver julep cup, a highball glass will suffice (also, since bourbon is the only liquid in this concoction, make sure it’s one you’ll like to drink. And be sure to drink ’em slow.)

  • 2 oz bourbon (2bar Bourbon is a great local option)
  • .5 oz Simple Syrup
  • 8 fresh mint leaves
  • Crushed Ice

In a julep cup (or a highball glass) muddle 6 mint leaves with the simple syrup. Then fill the cup 3/4 full with crushed ice; add bourbon and stir. Fill the rest of the cup with crushed ice and top with remaining mint leaves.

Sparkling Espresso With Mint

For those days when you want something a little fun but without all the booze, this concoction is sure to put a pep in your step. (And if you don’t want to make this yourself, visit Broadcast Coffee and get the Disco Pony. You won’t be disappointed).

  • 2 tablespoons simple syrup
  • 8 sprigs of fresh mint
  • 2 oz espresso
  • sparkling water
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add simple syrup, fresh mint, and espresso; shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Strain contents into a glass filled with ice and top with sparkling water.

Shandygaff

The basic version of this beer cocktail is what you may know as simply a Shandy (or perhaps even a Radler). At it’s most basic, it’s beer mixed with Sprite (or sometimes ginger ale or grapefruit juice). One Meddler team member was introduced to the concept by her great-grandmother, who used to drink them while playing golf. Her fail-proof recipe? Half lite beer (she preferred Miller Lite), half ginger ale, served over ice.

Apparently, there is a much preferred, dare we say more legitimate recipe. Nana would approve.

  • 6 tsp orange Brandy liqueur (like Grand Marnier)
  • 4 tsp or so of lemon juice (juice from 1 1/2 lemons)
  • 10 oz English-style ale
  • 10 oz ginger beer
  • Twist of lemon peel, for garnish

Pour the brandy and lemon juice into large pub glass, along with a few ice cubes. Top off with the ale and ginger beer. Stir gently and garnish with the lemon peel.

Barbadian Swizzle

Because if spring reminds of us of anything, it may be the carefree days of yesteryear when spring break was actually a thing we could participate in. This cocktail is a twist on the classic Caribbean drink, the Swizzle*, by using rum from Barbados.

  • 1 tsp superfine sugar
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 2 oz. Barbadian rum (Mount Gay is a good bet)
  • seltzer
  • 6-8 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir together the sugar and lime juice in a tall glass, then add the rum. Next, fill the glass with finely cracked ice, then add seltzer to fill. Swizzle until the glass frosts; shake in the Angostura bitter to cover the top.

*The swizzle gets its name from the swizzle stick—no, not those plastic sticks you get in your drink—but rather a stick broken off from an evergreen tree, known as the swizzlestick tree, and native to the Caribbean. The naturally prong-shaped end of the stick would be used to mix and froth drinks and is done so by placing the stick in the drink, then spinning the stick between one’s palms.

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