Refresh and Conquer

It’s amazing what a little warm breeze and some sunshine will do for people. They start doing things unheard of all winter, such as wearing short sleeves and smiling. They even like to get out of the house, often looking for something completely different in the way of beverage than what they enjoyed during the colder months.

Spring is a huge opportunity for bar owners — many consumers head into the fresh air of spring with open minds — and if you’re prepared with some truly sip-worthy creations you stand to spark your sales. Don’t throw away that Margarita you’re known for, but re-evaluate some of your other recipe listings. It could be time to add a new one and get rid of dead liquid weight.

Here are a few cocktails suited for spring to help shake the mothballs off and get ideas flowing for your own drink offerings.

Little Italy
Courtesy of Stephan Fitz, general manager, Chi Bar, Sheraton Chicago Hotel, Chicago
1.5 ounces Grey Goose Orange Vodka
1 ounce Aperol
1 ounce Cointreau
1 whole passion fruit (peeled)   
1 whole orange (peeled)
Blend all ingredients into a puree to get the juice and flavor of the fruits. Pour into Martini glass and top with Champagne.

Orange Peel
Courtesy of The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce Campari
3/4 ounce The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley Blood Orange Concentrate, thawed
1 ounce Grey Goose Vodka
Combine simple syrup, Campari, Blood Orange Concentrate and vodka in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously for six seconds. Pour entire mixture into a Martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist.


The Seersucker

Courtesy of Flor de Caña Rum
2 ounces Flor de Caña white rum
½ ounce cinnamon bark syrup
1 ounce lemon juice
1 strawberry
Muddle first three ingredients, shake with three ice cubes and strain into a pilsner glass with crushed ice. Garnish with a strawberry.

Couture Cooler Cocktail
Courtesy of Somer Perez, mixologist, The Royalton, New York City
1 cup whole cherries, pitted and de-stemmed
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
2 ounces simple syrup
2 ounces Bluecoat Gin
In the Vita-Mix Bar Boss, combine the cherries with the lemon juice and simple syrup. Blend on setting No. 1 until puree is smooth and frothy (cherry bits are okay). Pour purée into a mixing glass and add Bluecoat. Shake and strain into a Highball glass filled with ice and garnish with a lemon wedge and a whole cherry.

Mango-Ginger-Habañero Daiquiri
Courtesy of Adam R. Seger, general manager and bar chef, Nacional 27, Chicago.
2 ounces 10 Cane Rum
1 lime, fresh squeezed
3/4 ounce ginger-habañero syrup
3/4 ounce mango puree
Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled 10-ounce Martin glass rimmed with homemade seven-spice* (wet rim of chilled Martini glass with a lime wedge, then dip rim in seven-spice).

*Homemade seven-spice:
Equal parts cane sugar and spice blend. Spice Blend: 2 parts cinnamon stick, 2 parts ground fennel, 2 parts dried ginger, 1 part whole Szechuan peppercorns, 1 part whole cloves, 1 part star anise, 1 part green cardamom (use inner pods; discard shells). Place all in a Vita-Mix or high-speed blender until sugar absorbs the spices. Keep in airtight container. Best to use within three weeks.

**Ginger-Habañero Syrup:
1 cup sugar, 1 cup water heated to just before boiling with 1 seeded habañero and 2 ounces sliced fresh ginger. Remove habañero 5 minutes after taking off of heat. Cool and strain out ginger. Keeps sealed in the refrigerator for three weeks.

Millini Nectar
Courtesy of Jennifer Contraveos, principal alchemist/mixologist, The Crafted Cocktail, Chicago
1 cup passion fruit purée
2 cups orange juice
1 Madagascar vanilla bean pod
1 cup sugar
3/4 ounces Grand Marnier
2 ounces Col Vetoraz Prosecco

In a pot, bring passion fruit, orange juice, vanilla bean and sugar to boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain into container and cool for 2 hours. In a glass mixing pint, combine 2 ounces of this passion fruit reduction with Grand Marnier and shake with ice in a Boston shaker. Strain into flute and top with prosecco.


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