The next time you want to impress friends with your kitchen skills, think brunch. Most of the dishes are far easier to prepare than anything you’d make for dinner, and everyone’s a lot more relaxed. Okay, and because it’s the perfect excuse to have a cocktail before noon. Since most of your friends have probably had more than their fare share of the usual offerings, something new will be a welcome change.
Thanks to Trisha Antonsen, chief cocktail officer at Drizly, your cocktail prayers have been answered. She’s whipped up six spring cocktails perfect for your next brunch. Happy sipping, friends.
While delicious, bellinis can feel a little stiff. Make the cocktail a lot more fun by replacing the peach nectar with a scoop of your favorite sorbet. You can have a lot of fun with this drink since there are so many varieties of frozen desserts at the grocery store. You can even pick a selection and let guests create their own blends.
- Prosecco or other dry sparkling wine
- Fruit sorbet of choice
Directions: Scoop a teaspoon of sorbet into a champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine and serve.
Your friends who like a savory spin on drinks are likely sick to death of having a bloody Mary every week. Even versions that look to offer a new twist taste roughly the same, so take things in a totally different direction with Antonson’s twist on a martini with carrot-orange-ginger juice. Though you’ll have to plan ahead to make the infused vodka, the resulting flavor is worth it.
Making your own juice is the easiest way to get the perfect blend of carrots, oranges, and ginger, but you can also head to a local juice bar to have them squeeze it for you. If neither of those options work, pick up a bottle each of carrot and orange juice at the store. Mix the two together, then add some ginger juice by coarsely grating the root, then wringing it out in a clean kitchen towel over your carrot-orange mixture.
- Lemon peel
- Mint leaves
- Cucumber slices, halved, seed removed
- 4 to 8 ounces vodka
- 1½ ounces spa-infused vodka
- 2 ounces carrot-ginger-orange juice
- Carrot slices
- Cucumber slices
Directions: Fill a clean glass jar about one-third of the way to the top with lemon peels, mint, and cucumber. Add the vodka to cover, seal with a lid, and let sit on the counter for 2 to 3 days to infuse. Turn and gently shake jar a few times per day. Once infused, strain, and keep stored in the refrigerator.
To make a cocktail, combine vodka and juice in a shaker. Add ice and shake until cold. Strain into a martini glass, garnish with carrot and cucumber, and serve.
Particularly health-conscious friends can sometimes feel left out when their only options are so caloric. Since no one should have to miss out on a great cocktail due to their diet, try offering Antonsen’s lighter take on a margarita. It’s tart, just sweet enough, and even has a bit of a kick thanks to some cayenne pepper. Best of all, it clocks in at just 120 calories.
- 1½ ounces tequila
- 2 ounces lemon juice
- 1 ounce water
- 1 teaspoon agave
- Cayenne pepper
- Lemon wedge
Directions: Combine tequila, lemon juice, water, agave, and a small pinch of cayenne in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until cold. Pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge that’s been dusted with salt and a touch of cayenne.
Alternatively, use a purchased cleanse beverage with lemon, cayenne, and agave. Combine 3 to 4 ounces with tequila in a cocktail shaker and proceed as above.
4. Can’t Feel My Face Gin Bucket
Making individual cocktails for a small group of friends can be fun, but the same isn’t true for larger gatherings. In these instances, batch cocktails are the way to go. This one, named after The Weeknd’s popular song, is as strong as you’d expect thanks to a hefty dose of gin and sparkling wine.
Never heard of low-sugar soda? A handful of different producers now make these soft drinks. If you can’t get your hands on one, you can use a mix of regular orange soda cut with a bit of seltzer.
- 16 ounces gin
- 1 (750-milliliter) bottle brut sparkling wine
- 2 liters low-sugar orange soda, such as DRY
- 16 ounces fresh lemon juice
- 4 fresh lemons and limes, sliced
Directions: Combine gin, lemon juice, and orange soda in a large pitcher or punch bowl. Fill with ice, add lemon and lime slices, then top with sparkling wine. Serve at once.
5. Raspberry Mule
If you dig a Moscow Mule, you’ll love this spring twist with raspberry liqueur. This cocktail’s a particularly good choice for those who aren’t master mixologists because all you have to do is add the ingredients to an ice-filled glass, stir briefly, then get to sipping. For an even prettier presentation, float a few fresh berries on top.
- 2 ounces vodka
- 1 ounce Chambord or other raspberry liqueur
- ½ ounce lime juice
- Ginger beer
- Lime wedge
- Mint sprig
Directions: In an ice-filled Collins glass, combine vodka, liqueur, and lime juice. Top with ginger beer and stir gently to combine. Garnish with mint and lime. Serve.
6. The New Irish Breakfast
Though the combination of banana-infused Irish whiskey and orange juice might sound a little strange at first, Antonsen’s creation is pretty much like combining a tall glass of OJ with a slice of banana bread. As with the carrotini, you’ll have to plan in advance to make the infused spirit. Banana whiskey also tastes pretty great on its own, so it’s worth the bit of extra prep.
- 2 ripe bananas, sliced
- ½ (750-milliliter) bottle Jameson or other Irish whiskey
- 2 ounces banana-infused whiskey
- 1 to 2 ounces fresh orange juice
- Black sugar sprinkles (optional)
Directions: Combine sliced banana and whiskey in a large jar and close with a lid. Let sit on counter in a dark spot, turning once per day, for four or five days. Strain to remove pieces, then pour whiskey through a coffee filter back into jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Combine banana whiskey and orange juice in a shaker. Fill with ice and shake until cold. Pour into an old-fashioned glass over one large ice cube. If desired, garnish with sprinkles. Serve.
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