Look no Further than Spring’s Color Palette for Fresh new Cocktail Ideas

A Drink, Yoda Is cocktail at Datz in Tampa, Florida

Pantone’s color of the year – known simply as “greenery” – inspires these verdant seasonal sippers.

A few months ago, the Pantone Color Institute (the self-proclaimed “global color authority”) declared its hue 15-0343 as the color of the year. Described as a “yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring,” it’s ubiquitous this time of year, as grass, trees, flowers and plants shrug off their dead leaves and recommence blooming, budding and growing. Renew and revitalize what’s in the shaker this spring with these ideas from bartenders around the country, who are using fruits, veggies and herbs from kiwi and cucumber to basil and avocado to coax out this fresh, leafy tone.


Crimson & Clover & The Golden Harp cocktail recipe - Spring cocktails

Crimson & Clover & The Golden Harp

Recipe courtesy of Jeremy Allen, head bartender / general manager, MiniBar, Los Angeles, CA

To switch from brown, dark winter drinks to lighter spring green ones, Allen was inspired by the start of spring in LA and its abundance of fleeting jasmine and orange blossoms. He infuses Jameson Irish Whiskey with orange blossom and clover, and then mixes it with herbal Green Chartreuse and orange Curaçao.

  • 1 ½ oz. clover- and orange blossom-infused Jameson Irish Whiskey (see Note)
  • ½ oz. orange Curaçao
  • Bar spoon Green Chartreuse
  • Fresh edible flower, for garnish

Combine Jameson and Curaçao in a chilled rocks glass, add ice, and stir. Float a bar spoon of Green Chartreuse on top and garnish with the flower.

For the infused whiskey:

Combine 1 cup orange blossoms and ½ cup green clover with 1 liter Jameson Irish Whiskey. Macerate for 20 minutes, then strain out solids.


Cucumber-Basil Martini cocktail recipe - Spring cocktails

Cucumber-Basil Martini

Recipe courtesy of Ryan Kelimoff, lead bartender, Mercato della Pescheria, Las Vegas, NV

“The word ‘greenery’ creates a feeling of freshness and the element of nature,” declares Kelimoff. “[This] cocktail provides our guests with an offering of not only fresh ingredients, but a beverage featuring Italian elements and a culinary-inspired backbone.” The combination of freshly muddled basil leaves and cucumber slices pair nicely with gin and lends the drink its grassy hue.

  • 4 Cucumber slices, for muddling
  • 1 ½ oz. Bulldog Gin
  • 1 oz. Caravella Limoncello
  • 4 dashes Fee Brothers Cucumber Bitters
  • ½ oz. Lemon juice
  • 3 Basil leaves
  • 2 Cucumber slices, for garnish

In a mixing glass, muddle the four cucumber slices. Add gin, limoncello, bitters, lemon juice and basil leaves, add ice, and shake until well chilled. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass, and garnish with 2 cucumber slices.


Avocado Gimlet cocktail recipe - Spring cocktails

Avocado Gimlet

Recipe courtesy of Kim Spence, national beverage director, Moxie’s Grill & Bar

While creating cocktails for the Texas market, Spence wanted to add something unique. He turned to the region’s love for the irresistible avocado, whose creamy, savory notes work perfectly with rosemary- and olive-infused gin and fresh lime juice.

  • ¼ Ripe avocado
  • ½ oz. Simple syrup
  • 1 ½ oz. Rosemary- and olive-infused gin (see Note)
  • ½ oz. Apfelkorn Liqueur
  • 1 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • Rosemary sprig, for garnish

Peel avocado and add to shaker, then muddle thoroughly. Add all other ingredients except garnish, add ice, and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Double strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with the rosemary sprig.

For the rosemary- and olive-infused gin:

Muddle 6 green olives and several rosemary sprigs in a cocktail shaker. Combine 1 quart Tanqueray Gin in a bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Let mixture macerate for 24 hours, then fine strain back into the bottle.


IVY League cocktail recipe - Spring cocktails

IVY League

Recipe courtesy of Justyn Blevins, bar manager, IVY Kitchen, Dallas, TX

About this fragrant and pretty drink, Blevins says, “I think the color works for beverages because it really stands out and makes the cocktail look fresh.” And, he adds, his favorite color is green.

  • 1 oz. Hendricks Gin
  • ½ oz. Lillet Blanc
  • 1 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz. Puréed cucumber
  • 1 oz. Simple syrup
  • Lime wheel, for garnish

Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake until chilled. Strain over fresh ice, and garnish with the lime wheel.


Green River cocktail recipe - Spring cocktails
Hayden Walker

Green River

Recipe courtesy of Jason Stevens, beverage director, Second Bar + Kitchen, Austin, TX

Fresh muddled basil plays off the herbal tones of the Green Chartreuse, while the grapefruit’s floral notes tie it all in. And rather than use gin as the base spirit, whose botanicals might add too much flavor here, Stevens turns to more neutral vodka, which adds body and lets the other ingredients show through.

  • 1 ½ oz. Vodka
  • ½ oz. Simple syrup
  • ¼ oz. Green Chartreuse
  • ½ oz. Lime juice
  • 1 Grapefruit wheel
  • 3 Basil leaves
  • Basil leaf and grapefruit slice, for garnish

In a shaker tin, muddle simple syrup, basil and the grapefruit wheel. Add the vodka, Green Chartreuse and lime juice, add ice, and shake until well-chilled. Double strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with crushed ice, and garnish with the basil leaf and grapefruit slice.


Amuse Vert cocktail recipe - Spring cocktails

Amuse Vert

Recipe courtesy of Thierry Carrier, general manager and director of operations, Avenue, Long Branch, NJ

Hendrick’s Gin – whose botanicals include rose and cucumber – pairs well with the subtle flavor of the kiwi, Carrier says. “Often, green drinks are made with a sugary drink mix and not fresh ingredients,” he admits. “Making a drink with a fresh kiwi gives you a green you won’t find in a bottle and people really seem to like that.”

  • 1 Kiwi
  • 1 ½ oz. Hendrick’s Gin
  • 1 Lime wedge
  • ¾ oz. Simple syrup
  • ¼ oz. Ginger syrup (peeled ginger steeped in just-cooked simple syrup, and strained)
  • Kiwi wheel, for garnish

Muddle the kiwi and syrups in a cocktail shaker. Squeeze the lime wedge into the mixture, and add the gin. Add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the kiwi wheel.


The Geisha cocktail recipe - Spring cocktails

The Geisha

Recipe courtesy of Danny Natali, bartender, Laurel Point, Los Angeles, CA

"Although on the exterior The Geisha may come off as completely harmless and easily approachable, her seductive powers are not to be trifled with,” Natali muses about this Japanese green-tini. “Once you are lured in, her complexity of flavors will enrapture you."

  • 3-5 slices Cucumber
  • ½ oz. Honey syrup (equal parts honey and warm water, stirred to combine)
  • ½ oz. Lemon juice
  • ½ oz. Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
  • 1 ½ oz. Tito’s Vodka
  • ¼ oz. Matcha green tea
  • Cucumber ribbon and 1 piece of candied ginger, for garnish

Muddle cucumber and honey syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add the rest of the ingredients except garnish and dry shake for 5 seconds. Add ice and shake for 15-20 seconds or until properly diluted. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with the cucumber ribbon and candied ginger.


Margarita Verde cocktail recipe - Spring cocktails

Margarita Verde

Recipe courtesy of Water Grill

A puréed mixture of cucumber, basil and jalapeño pepper adds heat and more flavor to the typical Margarita, while smoky ancho chile is an addictive drink rimmer.

  • 2 oz. Rancho Alegre Silver Tequila
  • 1 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • ¾ oz. Cucumber purée (see Note)
  • ½ oz. Agave syrup
  • Cucumber slice, for garnish
  • Ancho chile salt, for rimming

Rim a rocks glass with the ancho chile salt and set aside. Add the tequila, lime juice, cucumber purée and agave syrup to a cocktail shaker, add ice ,and shake until well chilled. Double strain into the prepared rocks glass over fresh ice, and garnish with a cucumber slice.

For the cucumber puree:

Add 2 peeled, chopped English/hothouse cucumbers, 6 medium basil leaves and 1 large jalapeño pepper to a blender, and blend until smooth.


Gleaming the Cube cocktail recipe - Spring cocktails
Ryan Tanaka

Gleaming the Cube

Recipe courtesy of Justin Essman, general manager, Tower 12, Los Angeles, CA

Essman concocted this drink as an homage to the 1989 skate movie starring Christian Slater. He says the light yet bright shade of green works perfectly for spring and summer libations. “It’s a refreshing color that complements the drink’s refreshing ginger and mint flavors.”

  • Several mint leaves
  • 2 oz. Dewar’s 12 Year Old
  • ½ oz. St-Germain
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Few drops of honey syrup (equal parts honey and warm water, stirred to combine)
  • Ginger beer, for topping
  • Thyme sprig, for garnish

Muddle the mint leaves in a cocktail shaker. Add the whisky, St-Germain, lemon juice and honey syrup, add ice, and shake until chilled. Double strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Top with ginger beer, stir and garnish with the thyme sprig.


A Drink, Yoda Is cocktail recipe - Spring cocktails

A Drink, Yoda Is

Recipe courtesy of Morgan Zuch, general manager, Datz, Tampa, Florida

This drink is green, balanced and complex, just like the wise Jedi master from the Star Wars movies, Zuch says. Matcha tea provides the intense green color, coconut simulates his “adorable little grey hairs,” and jalapeños symbolize his large ears. “Lush, green produce makes for optimal cocktail flavors and colors such as fresh mint, basil, kiwi, honeydew or even jalapeños,” she says.

  • 1 oz. Montelobos Mezcal
  • 1 oz. Rhum Clément Coco
  • ½ oz. Matcha tea concentrate
  • 3 Slices fresh jalapeños
  • ¾ oz. Bee’s Knees Spicy Honey Syrup
  • ¾ oz. Fresh lime juice
  • 4 Dashes orange flower water
  • 2 Jalapeño peppers and dried coconut flakes, for garnish

Muddle jalapenos with honey syrup, lime juice and matcha in a cocktail shaker. Add mezcal, Rhum Clément Coco and orange flower water, add ice and shake until chilled. Double strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice, and garnish with 2 jalapeño peppers and dried coconut flakes.


Kelly Magyarics, DWS, is a wine, spirits and lifestyle writer, and wine educator. She can be reached through her website, www.kellymagyarics.com, or on Twitter and Instagram @kmagyarics.

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