Local Easy Cocktails Made For Summer

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Summer is finally here, and it’s time for light drinks in the sun, or on the couch if you’re retreating from the heat to the comfort of air conditioning.

Making drinks on your own can be a bit intimidating. It may be easier to grab a crisp pilsner or pop the cork on a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc to wind down, but rest assured, there are cocktails that even the most novice home bartender can create with success.

We mixed up a few easy cocktails to treat yourself and your guests all summer long.

Tools of the trade

We only used a few simple tools to create these cocktails. Nothing that you probably don’t have lying around at home right now or that can’t be procured at minimal cost and effort.

What we used: 

  • Jigger for measuring
  • Mixing glass
  • Cocktail knife (a paring knife will do fine as well)
  • Spoon

You can also employ the help of a shaker and muddler if you choose.

Mezcal Mule

Mules are appropriate for any time of the year. However, there’s something about summertime and those iconic copper cups. The refreshing spice of ginger beer and the zing of a zesty lime will cool you down instantly.

Keep it local

We used ZerØday Brewing Co. Ginger Beer (only $5 for a crowler), and Dock Street Spirits Vicio Mezcal instead of vodka for a smokey, floral flavor.

Make it at home

  • 1 1/2 oz Vicio Mezcal
  • 4 oz ZerØday Ginger Beer
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • Crushed ice
  • Lime wheel for garnish and more fresh lime juice

Pour mezcal and lime juice over crushed ice, top with ginger beer and garnish with a hunk of lime.

Mojito

There are few drinks more classic in the summertime than a mojito. All those mint leaves might make you think twice about this being “easy,” but I took my first stab ever at it and didn’t do too badly. A slight tweak, and I’ll have this down.

Note: This recipe doesn’t call for simple syrup, but you can always whip up your own to keep on hand or grab a bottle from the store.[Ed. note: no, just make it, it’s sugar + water.]

Keep it local

Use Midstate Distillery’s Shakey Jake’s White Rum and kept it hyper-local by using mint leaves picked directly from the boss’s back patio.

Make it at home

  • 2 oz Shakey Jake’s White Rum
  • 2 heaping teaspoons of sugar
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 10 mint leaves for the drink
  • 2-3 mint leaves for garnish
  • club soda
  • Crushed or cubed ice (your preference here)

In a 10 oz glass, mix the sugar and lime juice until the sugar is fully dissolved. Smack the mint leaves to activate and roll them in your hand a bit, then toss them into the glass with the rum and ice. Stir to mix, top off with club soda, and add more ice if needed.

“On The Spot” Rosé Cocktail

This is so simple, Sara made it up on the spot. It’s based on other rosé cocktails, but it has a local spin on it. Plus, if you know the blog, you know we love our rosé, and we couldn’t leave this one out. It’s refreshing and full of the flavors of summer.

Keep it local

You can use whatever rosé you’d like, but we opted for The Vineyard at Hershey’s Rosé. Local gin is in abundance around here, and we would recommend trying Tattered Flag Brewery and Still Works’ Susquehanna Gin, which uses fresh Cascade hops for a zip of citrus. We also like Thistle Finch’s Market Alley Gin.

Make it at home

  • 3/4 oz Tattered Flag Susquehanna Gin
  • 1 1/2 oz Vineyard at Hershey Rosé
  • One large slice of grapefruit for juicing and garnish
  • Club soda
  • Crushed ice or ice cubes (your preference here)

Combine gin and rosé in a rocks or stemless wine glass over ice, add a generous squeeze of fresh grapefruit, and top with club soda.

Real Margarita

Ditch the margarita mix this summer. Seriously, it’s nothing but sour sugar water. If you want a hangover, be our guest, but a real margarita is extremely easy to create and even more delicious.

Keep it local

You don’t have to venture to the pina fields of Jalisco, Mexico to find a good tequila. Tattered Flag’s Blue Agave Spirit (tequila) uses Blue Weber Agave nectar and is made just down the road. With a bounty of floral and citrus flavors, you won’t notice a difference.

Make it at home

  • 2 oz Tattered Flag Blue Agave Spirit
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz Triple Sec
  • Crushed Ice
  • Salt for the rim, if desired

Here’s where a cocktail shaker could come in handy, but don’t let that hold you back. Combine tequila, lime juice, Triple Sec, and ice in a shaker and strain over ice, or stir in a glass to mix. If you like salt on your rim, grab a lime wheel and wipe it over the rim and twist in a plate of coarse kosher salt (before you pour in the marg, obvi).

There you have it. Four fairly easy cocktails made with local ingredients that you can enjoy all summer.

James Werner
Author: James Werner

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