When spring changes to summer, bartenders follow suit.
Climbing temperatures are a cue that it’s time to scale back on deep red wines and heavy beers and start pointing customers to more refreshing options: crisp white wines, light beers and mixed drinks swimming with seasonal fruits, herbs and ice.
“People like refreshing drinks because it gets so hot in the Kansas summers,” said Brooke Russell, whose husband, Travis, is one of the founders of Public at the Brickyard in Wichita, Kansas.
At Public, where the staff is busy getting the menu ready for summer, several citrusy mixed drinks have become warm-weather favorites.
One is called Gordon’s Cup, a gin-based drink that mixes two ideal summer flavors: lime and cucumber. (And it can be made in large batches, which makes it ideal for parties.)
The drink involves two cocktail basics that home mixers should familiarize themselves with: the act of muddling and the production of simple syrup.
Muddling involves mashing fruits and herbs and sugars together to extract their juices. Simple syrup, a standard in many summer cocktails, is a boiled mixture of water and sugar or water and honey, often infused with other flavors.
“We like to do a lot of muddling and smashing and mixing up of all ingredients,” Russell said.
Gordon’s Cup is made with honey simple syrup and finished with a shake shake shake in a cocktail shaker. It’s poured over ice in a rocks glass, finished with a splash of soda water and seasoned with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
The following are two of Public’s summer cocktail recipes, as well as a few from some other popular watering holes that home mixologists can sample this summer.
Basic Simple Syrup
• Cold water
• Granulated sugar or honey
Combine water and sugar or honey in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear.
Gordon’s Cup From Public • 5 limes quarters
• 2 cucumber slices
• Dash of peach bitters (plain bitters work, too)
• 1 shot of gin (Hendricks)
• 3/4 ounce honey simple syrup
• Soda water
• Kosher salt
• Fresh cracked pepper
Put limes, cucumbers, bitters and gin in a cocktail shaker. Gently muddle mixture. Add honey simple syrup and ice. Shake. Pour into rocks glass. Top with soda water. Sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Public’s Lavender Limonata
• 1 shot of Tito’s Vodka
• 2 ounces lavender simple syrup (1 part water, 1 part sugar, boiled, then add dried lavender leaves and strain)
• Soda water
• Lemon wedge
Pour vodka and simple syrup in a tall Collins glass over ice. Add soda water and stir. Garnish with a lemon wedge dredged in sugar or rim the glass with sugar. Sabor’s Red Sangria • 5 ounces orange juice
• 3 750 ml bottles of red wine
• 3 ounces Triple Sec
• 4 ounces brandy
• 8 ounces pineapple juice
• 11 ounces simple syrup
Pour ingredients in a bowl or a pitcher refrigerate overnight. Float thin slices of fresh lemon, lime or orange or maraschino cherries in the Sangria for garnish. Sabor’s Mango Mojito • 1/2 lime, cut into small pieces
• 6 large mint leaves
• 2 ounces simple syrup
• 1.5 ounces Bacardi Limon rum
• 1 ounce mango puree
• Splash of soda
Place mint leaves and lime into a sturdy glass. Use a muddler to crush. Add simple syrup and muddle again. Add the rest of ingredients. Do not strain the mixture. Pour over a glass of ice and garnish with lime. MORT’S GOLDEN MEAN MARTINI
Makes one drink
11/4 ounces Ketel One Vodka
3/4 ounce Cointreau
1/4 ounce Rose’s Lime juice
Put ingredients into a martini shaker with ice. Shake and pour into martini glass. Drink also can be served over ice.
Recipe provided by Emma Russell at Mort’s in Wichita, Kansas.Yield: Makes one drink Recipe provided by Brooke Russell, Public at the Brickyard in Wichita, Kansas. Recipe provided by Brooke Russell, Public at the Brickyard in Wichita, Kansas. Yield: Makes 15 to 20 servings Recipe provided by Melad Stephan, owner of Sabor Latin Grill in Wichita, Kansas. Yield: Makes one mojito Recipe provided by Melad Stephan, owner of Sabor Latin Grill in Wichita, Kansas.