Building a Summer Bar for LearnVest


I’m so happy to share this array of homemade cocktails with you today. I have a post up on LearnVest all about summer drinking, with the goal of answering this question: how can serve your friends delicious cocktails that seem like they come from a fully stocked bar but in fact are built from a shelf of booze and mixers assembled with thrift in mind?

With four bottles of booze, some triple sec and bitters, and a lot of limes, lemons and oranges (a bit of an investment), and a quick stop at the farmers’ market, you can get started on the dozen drinks I developed below.

You can read all about the drinks, and get the recipes, over on LearnVest’s site. Check out the post here. But I figured I’d take you through the process of creating and testing all these drinks too. 

To start, I played around with bourbon, my favorite liquor to imbibe on its own. I mixed the bourbon with ginger beer and lime; oranges, berries, and ice; and tea concentrate and lemon to make a Manhattan Iced Tea that’s much classier than its Long Island counterpart. The Berry Smash (upper right) was my favorite.

Then I moved to rum territory. I chose a light rum for its versatility, and I played around not just with the contents of my fruit drawer but with ingredients from my vegetable drawer too. Blackberries and muddled ginger flavor the first drink, then you’ve got cucumbers and tarragon, and last but not least, blueberries and mint.

For tequila, I knew I had to make margaritas. That turned into Raspberry Margaritas, the glowing pink drink you see below. For my second cocktail, I muddled peaches with brown sugar for a sweet drink with honey-ish under tones. Last, inspired by the Pisco Sours we drank in Peru, I shook tequila and lime with egg whites to create a frothy Tequila Sour.

Finally, I used my new shaking and stirring skills to make the tastiest vodka drinks I’ve mixed yet. For a girl who’s fine with vodka, soda, and lime, fancy-ing up vodka didn’t come naturally to me. But I figured it out. I started with an Orange-Lime Rickey, which turned out to be one of my favorite of all the drinks. Then I moved on to a minty rendition of the Lemon Drop, and – for another burst of bright pink – a Raspberry Gimlet.

You can read more and get all the recipes on LearnVest! Here’s to summer drinking and making cocktails at home. Cheers!

Posted in: Drinking
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