French 75

French 75

All photos by Tim Miner.

It’s that time of year when we put aside those deep, dark, stirred and spirit forward cocktails in lieu of the more refreshing, citrus heavy, long drinks. As the temperature starts to rise and the sun sets later in each day we are awakening from our hibernation. We brave the outdoors by choice rather than necessity. Our collective behaviors change as well. The gym is less crowded and public parks are more so. Rich, filling, comfort foods give way to lighter, healthier options. It stands to reason that our drinking preferences would spring forward with our clocks. Fresh juices, herbs and bubbles are a bartenders’ best friend when it comes to drinking on the lighter side. Here are seven can’t miss drinks perfectly suited for spring.

The Bee’s Knee’s: Gin, Lemon and Honey make this citrusy cocktail perfect for any day that the sun decides to pop out from behind a cloud. Just the thing before the heat turns up to full summer levels and the only acceptable beverage is really the gin and tonic.

Bee's Knees

Bee’s Knees

Bee’s Knee’s

  • 2 oz/60ml Gin (we recommend a dry, juniper-forward style, like 2015 NY International Spirits Competition silver medal winner Beehive Distilling Jack Rabbit)
  • .75 oz/22ml Lemon Juice
  • .75 oz/22ml Honey Syrup
  • Shake all ingredients well with ice until well chilled. Double-strain over a large ice cube into a chilled, double Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

The Old Cuban: Audrey Sanders created this mojito meets French 75 beauty at The Pegu Club in New York. Champagne always lightens up a drink but the addition of mint really makes this one pop.

Old Cuban

Combine mint, lime, cane syrup and aged rum in cocktail tin. Shake. Double strain into a champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine. No garnish.

Old Cuban

Old Cuban

The Paper Plane: I originally intended to use The Penicillin as the whiskey cocktail on this list but I didn’t think a list this short should have two drinks created by the same person (wizard?) and let’s face it, this drink is damn near perfect and is not to be skipped. It’s Sam Ross’ reasonably light, bourbon-based cocktail that’s not short on flavor thanks to the complexity of both the Aperol and Nonino. Plus it’s an equal parts drink, which instantly catapults it to super cool status.

Paper Plane

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail tin. Add ice. Shake to chill and dilute. Double strain into a coupe.

Scotch and Soda: It’s all there in the name. Is it a true cocktail? Perhaps not, but it is the right Scotch drink for Spring. That neat pour of peaty goodness that you’ve been sipping all winter needs to lighten up and stretch its legs just a bit. The soda gives it that chance without covering up any of the nuance.

Scotch and Soda

2 oz/60 ml Scotch of choice (preferably a blended variety such as 2015 NYISC gold medal winner Sheep Dip)

Soda

Pour scotch into a highball glass. Fill with ice. Top with soda.

The Moscow Mule: You know it. You love it. Its sharp ginger bite marries so well with the citrus of the lime. Add to that some bubbles in a refreshing long drink and you’ll be smiling till summer.

Moscow Mule

Moscow Mule

Moscow Mule

  • 2 oz/60 ml Vodka
  • .75 oz/22 ml Ginger Syrup
  • .75 oz/22 ml Lime Juice
  • Ginger Beer

Combine vodka, lime and ginger syrup in a cocktail tin. Add ice. Shake to chill and dilute. Strain into a rocks filled Collins glass or copper mule mug. Top with soda or ginger beer.

Siesta: Katie Stipe worked this one up back when she was slinging drinks at the Flatiron Lounge. The Siesta is a touch on the bitter side (in the best way) and is as delicious as it is stunning. Find a bar with some outdoor seating and a bit of sunshine and get to know a couple of these.

Siesta

  • 1.5 oz/44 ml Tequila Blanco (such as Pueblo Viejo)
  • .5 oz/15 ml Grapefruit Juice
  • .5 oz/15 ml Lime Juice
  • .5 oz/15 ml Simple Syrup
  • .5 oz/15 ml Campari
  • 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

Combine all ingredients in cocktail tin. Add ice and shake to chill and dilute. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist (optional).

Paper Plane

Paper Plane

French 75: Created way back in 1915 at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, this bubbly classic can be made with either gin or Cognac. I prefer Cognac. It adds a richness and texture to the drink that works beautifully with the Champagne. Leave the gin version for the dog days of summer.

French 75

  • 1 oz/30 ml Cognac (such as Rémy Martin V.S.O.P.)
  • .5 oz/15 ml Lemon Juice
  • .5 oz/15 ml Simple Syrup
  • Champagne or sparkling wine

Combine Cognac, lemon and simple syrup in a cocktail tin. Add ice. Shake to chill and dilute. Double strain into a Champagne flute and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a lemon twist.