Decorating & Entertaining Ideas

3 Wildly Refreshing Summer Cocktails

3 Wildly Refreshing Summer Cocktails
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These cool cocktail recipes are perfect for three of summer’s most common entertaining scenarios—a picnic, brunch with friends, and a cocktail party—all courtesy of bar manager Nora Furst of the trending San Francisco rooftop bar El Techo, a favorite around our office. Cheers!

Photo by Aubrie Pick

Photo by Aubrie Pick

THE SHINDIG: A group picnic

THE DRINK: A pitcher of sangria

NORA SAYS: “Sangria is a festive, go-to party drink that adds color and life to any gathering. At El Techo we kick it up a notch with pineapple, which provides a natural sweetness that balances the tannins in Spanish wine and the savory clove and star anise. It’s a perfect make-ahead option that’s more fun than a basic bottle of wine.”

Makes 1 pitcher

1 bottle (750 ml) red Spanish wine
1/2 ounce brandy (El Techo swears by Osocalis)
1/2 ounce Amontillado sherry (Hidalgo is El Techo’s fave)
1 ounce orange juice
1/2 ounce pineapple juice
1 clove
1/4 cinnamon stick
2 arms of star anise
1 ounce 1:1 simple syrup
1 orange (with peel), diced
1/4 of a pineapple, cored, peeled, and diced
1 apple, unwaxed, cored, and diced

Combine all ingredients, stir, refrigerate, and let chill 12 hours before serving over ice in a wineglass or a rocks glass. Garnish with orange or pineapple slices

Photo by Wes Rowe

Photo by Wes Rowe

THE SHINDIG: Brunch with friends

THE DRINK: The Chilcano

NORA SAYS: “This recipe is a spin on a classic Chilcano de Pisco—pisco, lime, and ginger ale—but we add a little island soul and brightness to it with passion-fruit syrup. It’ll make you feel like you’re sitting on the beach somewhere in the sun.”

Makes 1

2 ounces pisco (El Techo loves Huamani Acholado)
3/4 ounce passion-fruit syrup*
1/4 ounce ginger syrup**
3/4 ounce lime juice
1/4 ounce cane sugar
1 ounce soda
Creole bitters
Angostura bitters

Shake together pisco, syrups, lime juice, and sugar. Pour soda into a collins glass, then add in the pisco mixture. Top with crushed ice and two dashes each of Creole bitters and Angostura bitters. Garnish with a lime wheel.


*Ingredients for passion-fruit syrup:
Makes 1½ cups

1/2 cup passion-fruit pulp
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer until syrup, about 15 minutes. Transfer to bowl, cover, and chill. (Can be made two days ahead.)

**Ingredients for ginger syrup:
Makes 1 cup

3/4 cup of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then gently simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Strain, then cool to room temperature. (Can be made two days ahead.)

Photo by Brian Smeets

Photo by Brian Smeets

THE SHINDIG: A cocktail party

THE DRINK: Mezcal-spiked margaritas

NORA SAYS: “While this recipe is approachable, fun, and easy, the mezcal adds depth, and the Mandarine Napoléon orange liqueur lends body.”

Makes 1

1 ounce silver tequila (El Techo uses Ocho Plata)
3/4 ounce mezcal (El Techo prefers Fidencio Clásico)
3/4 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce Combier Liqueur d’Orange
1/2 ounce Mandarine Napoléon
1/8 ounce 1:1 simple syrup

Combine all ingredients with ice in a shaker. Shake for 6 seconds. Pour mixture into a double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with lime wheel.

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