Refreshing Long Island Summer Cocktail Recipes From Top Mixologists

This lucky lineup of refreshing libations crafted by the region’s finest mixologists share a common thread. They are reengineered classics and bold takes on summer flavors that run the gamut from fruity to spicy. (cantaloupe-jalapeño infused aperitif, anyone?) Some recipes require more finesse than others, but can be enjoyed even on the laziest of summer days at these local watering holes that are revving up old school technique.

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Smoke on the Water

The Clocktower at The New York EDITION,  Manhattan

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image: stuart goldenberg

London-based Jamie Jones oversees the drink programs at 19 international bar and restaurant sites, but has a special fondness for New York City: “When it’s summer in New York, it’s beautiful and unforgettable. Girls on bikes, kids playing, everyone seems to be charged up and there’s a contagious positivity.” The mixologist echoed that in this cocktail that was created for Manhattan, but will make guest appearances on global menus going forward. “I wanted a light and easy drinking drink that was relatively low strength but had some defining characteristics to it that would make it memorable. This drink is a combination of the beauty and nature within the city, with just a hint of the smokiness that surrounds it adding that grit and backbone of New York.”

Ingredients:

1/2 oz Montelobos Mezcal
1 1/2 oz Gewürztraminer
2 tsp passion fruit syrup
1 tsp lemon juice
Edible pansy for garnish

Method:

Shake liquid ingredients with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with edible pansy.

Passion fruit syrup: 35oz of passion fruit purée plus one-quart water and three-quarter quarts sugar. Stir to dissolve and store in freezer between uses.

Scorpion Kick

Diamond Reef, Brooklyn

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image: stuart goldenberg

This minty daiquiri variation owes its flavoring to bartender and co-owner Dan Greenbaum’s humble beginnings. “My favorite ice cream when I was younger was mint chocolate chip,” Greenbaum said of the Scorpion Kick. “I think this drink fits in with our style of less is more and is also tropical without being tiki.” Diamond Reef is a brighter, more casual outpost from the team behind Manhattan’s Attaboy that is currently ranked fifth best bar in the world. “We’ve been selling a good amount of beer at Diamond Reef, whereas I would often go a week without serving anything but a cocktail at Attaboy,” Greenbaum said. As such, the name Scorpion Kick is a soccer reference to a “rarely performed, audacious” move.

Ingredients:

2 oz Plantation 3 Star White Rum
1 oz lime juice
1/2 oz Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao
1/4 oz Petite Canne Sugar Cane Syrup
5 mint leaves

Method:

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Strawberry Letter

The Bennett, Manhattan

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image: stuart goldenberg

The team behind Dear Irving and the Raines Law Room opened Tribeca cocktail and date spot The Bennett in 2015, with a few familiar signatures from the other properties like modern-Victorian décor and call buttons at tables. The Strawberry Letter cocktail should fit right in. “I had the idea for a rosé-based spritz to marry the trend of drinking rosé in the spring and summer with a cocktail element. The (zesty, vinegar-based) strawberry shrub adds a great depth to it and Aperol works great in light, fizzy drinks. I find rosé can be a bit flat so I wanted to create a more layered drink,” explained partner and drink designer Meaghan Dorman.

Ingredients:

1/2 oz strawberry shrub
1 oz Aperol
3 oz Nortico Rosé Vinho Verde or other dry rosé
1 oz club soda
Strawberry slices for garnish

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a wine glass over ice and stir. Garnish with four strawberry slices.

Strawberry shrub: wash 10 strawberries, cut off top and halve them. Let them sit in two cups sugar overnight. The next day add two cups raspberry vinegar and stir to dissolve. Bring the mixture to a boil then immediately remove from heat. Allow to cool, strain out strawberries and store shrub in refrigerator between uses.

Kick Back

FLAGSHIP, Montauk

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image: stuart goldenberg

Co-owner and head bartender Adam Miller unveiled FLAGSHIP in Montauk for the first time this season. His light and refreshing Kick Back cocktail is a mash-up of two drinks with a twist. It takes the format of the rum-based Queens Park Swizzle and melts it into the body of a Cameron’s Kick (traditionally made with orgeat, lemon and a split of Scotch and Irish whiskey). For the Kick Back, served at the eatery fronting Lake Montauk, Miller swapped the foreign distilled whiskies for American bourbon and applejack. Though he claims, “the view and sea air will steal the show,” this stunning sipper will be a close runner-up.

Ingredients:

1 oz Laird’s applejack
1 oz Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon
3/4 oz orgeat syrup
3/4 oz lemon juice
4 dashes Angostura bitters
6 mint leaves, plus mint sprig for garnish
Dehydrated apple wheel for garnish

Method:

Add mint leaves to the bottom of a pilsner glass and fill with pellet ice. Add first four ingredients to a cocktail shaker then give a strong, quick shake with big ice cubes. Strain into the glass. Add more crushed ice and top with bitters. Garnish with mint bouquet poking through the dehydrated apple wheel.

Épice

Le Boudoir, Brooklyn

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image: stuart goldenberg

Unlike venues with patios, lakeside vistas and sidewalk seating, Le Boudoir is a place to escape the summer heat rather than embrace it. It’s located in a cool brick and stone basement that used to be part of the Atlantic Avenue subway tunnel beneath restaurant Chez Moi. The bar is themed as Marie Antoinette’s bedroom, with cocktails like the top-selling Épice served in ornate chalices. “This is a very popular cocktail indeed,” said Le Boudoir’s beverage director ms. franky marshall. “Because you can choose your spirit, we have all types of drinkers trying it out, often ordering more than one, but funnily, mostly with the same spirit each time. The brandy version is rich and flavorful, and for some it’s an unexpected pairing with cantaloupe and jalapeño—that’s why I like it. My favorite is the brandy, followed by the mezcal.”

Ingredients:

1 1/2 oz brandy, gin, mezcal, tequila or vodka
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz cantaloupe jalapeño syrup
1/2 oz lime juice
2 drops Bittermens Orchard Street
Celery Shrub
Dehydrated jalapeño slice for garnish

Method:

Add all ingredients to mixing tin, shake well with ice and strain into a chalice or cocktail glass. Garnish with a dehydrated jalapeño slice.

Cantaloupe jalapeño syrup: cube half of a deseeded cantaloupe and slice one medium sized jalapeño pepper. Add both to blender with two cups white sugar and a pinch of salt. Blend mixture until liquefied but maintaining some texture. Taste and adjust sweetness and spice as desired. Refrigerate in a plastic container between uses.