Summer is here, which means farmer’s markets from sea to shining sea are brimming with fresh produce. For most, that translates to dynamic salads, grilled vegetables, and fruit so ripe it’s basically candy. For the inventive imbibers out there, it means the season for farmer’s market-inspired cocktails is upon us.
So much of what you bring home from your local market, farm stand, orchard, or CSA can be adapted into refreshing beverages that reflect the bounty of early summer. The fresh ingredients will elevate the cocktail and you’ll feel like a well-trained mixologist, working with what the season is providing and adapting as new ingredients come online.
Alas, here are the eleven best farmer’s market-inspired summer cocktails. Clink!
Georgia Peach Bellini
(From Broken Shed Vodka)
There’s nothing quite like a farm-fresh peach. Well, perhaps a cocktail like this that integrates those ripe, summery flavors.
- 2 ounces Vodka
- 1 ounce peach schnapps
- 1 ounce peach puree
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- peach slice for garnish
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add vodka, schnapps, and peach puree (or nectar).
- Next, add one teaspoon of lemon juice and shake the shaker.
- Then strain into a rocks glass.
- Top the cocktail with a splash of Prosecco and garnish with a slice of peach.
(By Allan Roth)
The floral notes to this one-of-a-kind Scotch work beautifully with watermelon. It will cool you off and take the edge off.
- 1 part Glenfiddich 14-Year Bourbon Barrel Reserve
- 5 parts watermelon juice
- watermelon and mint for garnish
- Cool the juice (pureed fruit) of a ripe, seedless watermelon, and mix it five-to-one with the whisky.
- Pour into a highball or rocks glass and garnish with a small watermelon wedge and some mint.
Take advantage of fresh blackberries from your local market or berry patch and throw them in this soothing seasonal cocktail.
- 2 ounces Templeton Rye 4-Year
- .5 ounce Amaretto
- 3-4 blackberries
- 1.5 ounce fresh sour mix
- lemon twist and rosemary sprig for garnish
- Combine rye, amaretto, blackberries, and fresh sour mix in a shaker with ice.
- Shake vigorously and double strain into a Collins glass filled with ice.
- Garnish with a lemon twist and rosemary sprig.
Apple season means pie and fresh cider but it also translates to crisp green-tinged cocktails like this one.
- 1.5 ounce vodka
- 1 ounce green apple schnapps
- .25 ounce lemon juice
- apple slice for garnish
- Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice.
- Shake and strain into chilled martini glass.
(By Kyle Nelson, Beverage Director, Middle West Spirits/Service Ba)
This vodka is a great sipper in its own right but dressed up with the right fresh produce (namely, cherries), it’s even better.
- 1.5 ounce OYO American Character Vodka
- .25 ounce Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
- .5 ounce Cherry Heering
- .5 ounce fresh lime juice
- .5 ounce tart cherry juice
- .5 ounce simple syrup
- Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin.
- Fill the remainder of the tin with ice.
- Shake vigorously for fifteen seconds or until the outside of the shaker is chilled.
- Double strain into a large snifter filled with cobbled ice.
- Garnish with a fresh lime wheel and a Luxardo cherry.
(From Cazadores Tequila)
Cantaloupe is so often relegated to continental breakfast status at any number of reasonably-priced hotels. Let the summer fruit out of its cage and play a bit with this lively cocktail recipe.
- 1.5 parts tequila
- 4 chunks cantaloupe
- 2 slices chile habanero
- 1 part fresh lime juice
- .75 parts agave nectar or simple syrup
- Muddle, shake, and strain into a glass.
- Garnish with chile.
Rhubarb Strawberry Spritz
There are few better combinations than strawberry and rhubarb. Well, maybe those two plus the melding abilities of a good vodka.
- 1 ounce Heimat New York Rhubarb liqueur
- 1 ounce vodka
- 4 fresh strawberries, muddled
- .25 ounce lemon juice
- Combine all ingredients in a wine glass.
- Top with sparkling water and garnish with a slice of lemon.
Read more: Best Spritz Cocktail Recipes
Blackberry Whiskey Sour
Again, we’re taking advantage of berry season with this seasonal riff on a classic whiskey cocktail.
- 2 ounces Off Hours Bourbon
- 1 ounce honey
- .5 ounce lemon juice
- 4-6 blackberries
- Rosemary sprig, for garnish
- Muddle a few blackberries at the bottom of a cocktail glass.
- Fill mixing glass with ice and add whiskey, honey, and lemon juice.
- Shake and strain into glass and garnish with rosemary and a few blackberries.
There’s depth to this cocktail courtesy of cardamom, peppermint, and fresh raspberries. You’ll be surprised and quite satisfied by the sum of its many parts.
- 1.5 ounce Recuerdo Joven
- .5 ounce sweet vermouth
- 4 raspberries
- .25 ounce cardamom syrup*
- .25 ounce lime juice
- tonic water
- ground cardamom
- In an old-fashioned glass, gently muddle the raspberries with the lime juice, cardamom syrup, and a dash of ground cardamom.
- Add ice, then the mezcal and the sweet vermouth.
- Stir lightly, and top off with tonic water.
- Garnish with peppermint.
*Cardamom Syrup: Bring 16 oz of water to a low boil, add 16 oz of sugar, 6-8 cardamom pods, and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Allow to cool for 1-2 hours, strain.
Honey, I’m Comb
(From Hotel Bennett, Charleston)
We can’t get enough fresh peaches. Dress ’em up with this elegant drink, stitched together perfectly with the addition of egg white.
- 2 ounces Hotel Bennett Firefly Bourbon
- 2 ounces smoked peach puree
- .5 ounce lemon juice
- egg white
- Garnish with a lightly “torched” honeycomb
- Mix all ingredients in a tin and shake and strain into a coupe glass.
- Garnish with honeycomb.
(From Bar Congress, Austin)
What makes this a market-inspired cocktail? Fresh honey and a good radish. The two together elevate the Miso Mule to new and delicious heights.
- 1½ ounce Yamazaki Whisky
- 3 ounce San Pellegrino Limonata soda
- 1 red radish, cut into chunks
- 1 teaspoon light miso paste
- .5 ounce honey syrup
- For the syrup, combine equal parts honey and hot water, let cool.
- For the drink, shake all but the soda, strain over fresh ice.
- Top with soda and radish.