Summer entertaining season is here and, while you might be inclined to simply pull out the good ol’ box of rosé when guests come a-knockin’, nothing adds a to the sense of festivity like a well-mixed cocktail. If your idea of a mixed drink is some vodka with a splash of cranberry juice, know that (1) it’s OK to live your truth and (2) it never hurts to step it up a notch, if you are so inclined! Here are 7 cocktails, courtesy of our pals over at MeMe’s Diner, that will up your game all summer long. Cheers!

west elm - Best Summer Cocktail Recipes

Base Simple Syrup Recipe

    2 cups Granulated Sugar
    2 cups Water

1. Combine sugar and water in saucepan.

2. Cook over medium-high heat until sugar has dissolved completely.

3. Cool to room temperature, place in clean container in refrigerator until ready for use.

west elm - Best Summer Cocktail Recipes

Thai Basil Tom Collins
Fresh and slightly spicy, we love how complex Thai Basil makes this classic simple cocktail.

Thai Basil Syrup:

    1 cup Thai Basil Leaves, washed
    ¼ cup Baby Spinach Leaves, washed
    ½ cup of Simple Syrup

Cocktail:

    2 ounces London Dry Gin
    1 ½ ounces Lime Juice, freshly squeezed
    ½ ounce Thai Basil Syrup
    Soda Water
    Lime slice and Basil Sprig for garnish

For the Syrup:

1. Place all ingredients in a blender, puree until very smooth.

2. Let rest for 10 – 45 mins in refrigerator

3. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, place in clean container in refrigerator until ready for use.

Note: The baby spinach adds a bright green color without too much vegetal flavor but can be omitted if desired.

For the Cocktail:

1. Fill a Collins glass with ice cubes

2. Add gin, lime juice, and syrup to a shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled.

3. Strain into Collins glass.

4. Top with soda, garnish with lime slice and basil sprig.

west elm - Best Summer Cocktail Recipes

Watermelon Margarita
Simple, fresh, classic on a hot day.

Orange Syrup:

    1 small Orange, sliced
    1 cup Simple Syrup

Cocktail:

    2 cups Watermelon, cubed
    1 ½ ounces Lime Juice, freshly squeezed
    2 ounces Silver Tequila
    ½ ounce Orange Syrup
    Kosher Salt for rim
    Watermelon Wedge and Lime Slice for garnish

For the Syrup:

1. Place oranges and simple syrup in small sauce pan. Simmer for 10 min.

2. Let rest for 10-45 min in refrigerator.

3. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, place in clean container in refrigerator until ready for use.

For the Cocktail:

1. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of a rocks glass. Dip in kosher salt to rim. Fill with ice.

2. Place all ingredients in blender. Puree until smooth.

3. Strain puree into rimmed rocks glass.

4. Garnish with watermelon wedge and slice of lime.

west elm - Best Summer Cocktail Recipes

Mai Tai
Orgeat is a classic Tiki drink staple. Making your own is definitely worth it!

Orgeat:

    2 cups Raw Almonds, chopped
    1 ½ cups Granulated Sugar
    1 ¼ cups Water
    1 teaspoon Orange Flower Water
    1.5 ounces Vodka

Cocktail:

    1 ounce Light Rum
    1 ounce Gold Rum
    ½ ounce Orgeat
    ½ ounce Cointreau
    1 ounce Lime Juice, freshly squeezed
    Mint Sprig and lime slice for garnish

For the Orgeat:

1. Toast almonds on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 4 – 5 minutes. Shake the pan periodically. They should be deep golden and fragrant.

2. Finely grind the toasted almonds in food processor.

3. In a saucepan, combine water and sugar. Cook at medium-high until the sugar has dissolved.

4. Add the ground almonds to the sugar syrup and cook over medium-low until the mixture just comes to a boil.

5. Remove from heat immediately and let rest for 3-12 hours.

6. Strain mixture into a bowl through a fine mesh sieve lined with 3 layers of cheesecloth. Twist the cloth and squeeze out all possible syrup.

7. Mix in orange flower water and vodka. Place in a clean container in the refrigerator for up to one month.

For the Cocktail:

1. Fill a rocks glass with ice.

2. Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled.

3. Strain into rocks glass.

4. Garnish with mint sprig and lime slice.

west elm - Best Summer Cocktail Recipes

MeMe’s Manhattan
Based on what our namesake MeMe has drank every night since 1956

    2 ounces Canadian Whiskey (she loves Black Velvet)
    1 ounce sweet Vermouth (we like Carpano Antica Formula)
    3 dashes Angostura Bitters
    Tiny splash liquor from Maraschino Cherry jar
    Maraschino Cherry for garnish

1. Chill a martini or coupe glass

2. Stir all ingredients together over ice until very chilled.

3. Strain into chilled glass and garnish with cherry.

west elm - Best Summer Cocktail Recipes

Martini
We love a classic “wet” gin martini. Don’t skimp on the vermouth, it makes for a balanced cocktail. Have fun with the garnish!

    2 ounces London Dry Gin
    ¾ ounce Dry Vermouth (we like Noilly Pratt)
    Olives, Lemon twist, or a pickled vegetable for garnish (we use radish)

1. Chill a martini or coupe glass

2. Shake all ingredients together until very chilled.

3. Strain into chilled glass and choose a garnish.

west elm - Best Summer Cocktail Recipes

Old Fashioned
Perfect any time of the year.

    2 ounces Rye or Bourbon
    Small Splash of Simple Syrup
    3 dashes Angostura Bitters
    Orange Peel for garnish

1. Stir all ingredients with ice in a rocks glass until very chilled. Garnish.

west elm - Best Summer Cocktail Recipes

Cherry Kir Royale

Cherry Syrup:

    1 pound cherries with pits and no stems
    ¾ cup sugar
    ½ cup lemon juice

Cocktail:

    ½ oz cherry syrup
    Sparkling wine

1. In a sauce pot place cherries, sugar, and lemon juice and simmer until cherries are soft and released much of their juice.

2. Pour cherry liquid through a fine mesh sieve to strain out fruit and pits.

3. Pour cherry syrup into bottom of champagne flute or coupe glass. Top with sparkling wine.

MeMe's Diner Brooklyn

Bill Clark and Libby Willis believe in dinner parties on a Tuesday, that you should eat cheese balls with your martini, and that entertaining should be simple. Their recipes work from an international pantry (think chili oil, fish sauce, and tahini) combined with farmers market produce and bodega standards (Fritos, potato chips, and wasabi peas) to create distinctly American food. MeMe’s Diner opens in Prospect Heights in 2017. Follow them on Instagram!

Get the Look

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts