The Best Summer Cocktails

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August 20th, 2010 Original Article

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Warwick Bramble at Fort Defiance
Fort Defiance owner St. John Frizell classes up gin and juice at his sunny Red Hook bar. A mash of pulpy blackberries-the last of this season’s haul-gives the fruity, invigorating Warwick its purple hue. Shots of gin, lemon juice and black-currant liqueur provide the quaff’s botanical backbone. 365 Van Brunt St at Dikeman St, Red Hook, Brooklyn (347-453-6672). $9.

Roman Candle at Double Crown
The Greenmarket’s brief red-currant season provides the tart flavor base for this fizzy, ruby-hued sipper. Brawny aged rum, sweet maple syrup, and slugs of citrusy Lillet Blanc and sparkling wine balance the berry’s mouth-puckering effects. 316 Bowery at Bleecker St (212-254-0350). $12.

Rosa Verde at Cienfuegos
Aged rum packs a rich, boozy wallop in this summery punch, which pairs mellow flavors (watermelon juice, celery bitters) with bracing ones (hot pink peppercorns, crisp arugula). Enjoy a glass or several-the Rosa Verde can be ordered by the bowlful. 443 E 6th St between First Ave and Ave A (212-614-6818). Glass $14, bowls $38-$110.

Green Mary at Rouge Tomate
This almost virtuous cocktail, a take on the classic Bloody, blends late-season farmers’ market finds like green tomato and tomatillo with jalapeƱo and pickled onions to create a spicy, verdant juice. You’d swear it was a health tonic-until you taste the vodka. 10 E 60th St between Fifth and Madison Aves (646-237-8977). $14.

Corn Cocktail at En Japanese Brasserie
August’s dwindling corn crop means this luscious nip isn’t long for this world. Ripe, sweet local kernels are dried in-house and blended with sake, cream, salt and sugar; the resulting libation is milky and rich, like a boozy, vegetal milk shake. 435 Hudson St at Leroy St (212-647-9196). $13.

Spring Rickey at Raines Law Room
This easy-sipping, effervescent concoction is as pleasant to behold as it is to drink. Tart muddled raspberries dye the tipple-a blend of ambrosial elderflower liqueur and Beefeater Summer gin, infused with black currants and hibiscus-a deep, sultry red. A squeeze of lime and a dose of club soda cut the sweetness. 48 W 17th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (no phone). $13.

Caprese at Annisa
House-grown basil provides the dominant flavor-and bright green color-of this blended, vodka-spiked riff on the classic Italian summer salad. Local grape tomatoes contribute sweetness, while egg-white froth stands in (convincingly) for creamy mozzarella. 13 Barrow St between Seventh Ave South and W 4th St (212-741-6699). $13.

Strawberry Lovage Letter 23 at Huckleberry Bar
A bouquet of savory herbs distinguishes this unusual gin drink, featuring tarragon simple syrup, celery bitters and lovage (a lemony cousin of celery). Tart-sweet muddled strawberries add color and round out the herbaceous edge. 588 Grand St at Lorimer St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-218-8555). $11.

Sugar Plum Mimosa at Marc Forgione
A jammy syrup made with Red Jacket Orchard sugar plums anchors this delicate, subtly sweet take on the mimosa. When the plums run out, look for other seasonal champagne cocktails (a Concord grape version drops in early fall). 134 Reade St between Greenwich and Hudson Sts (212-941-9401). $12.

Cucumber Collins at Franny’s
Local Maxwell’s Farm cucumbers are pureed-skins and all-to give this Tom Collins variation its pale green tint. Bubbly club soda, bright lemon basil and crisp Hendrick’s gin make this an ideal warm-weather quencher. 295 Flatbush Ave between Prospect Pl and St. Marks Ave, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-230-0221). $11.
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