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The careless art of the wonderful summer cocktail

Using fresh fruit can bring together some great summer cocktails.
By J.M. HIRSCH Modified: May 21, 2013 at 4:55 pm •  Published: May 22, 2013
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The summer after that it was my vodka watermelon chiller. Watermelon, vodka, ice, lemon juice and honey. Blend and done. Is there anything more refreshing than watermelon in August? And last year I discovered the magic that is gin and bitter lemon. Ice plus gin plus a splash of bitter lemon tonic. Add a slice of lemon and it's heaven in the end-of-day sun.

This year it will be the pisco sour. Pisco is a South American brandy that has a clean, mildly sweet flavor.

Traditional versions of this cocktail call for shaking it over ice with sugar and lemon juice.

My take swaps in lime juice (which so loves barbecue) and rather than shaking it, I blend until frothy. Think frozen margarita, but so much better.

I also should add that proper stemware is essential for enjoying a summer cocktail. In my house that usually means either canning jars or recycled jam jars.


PISCO SOUR

Start to finish: 5 minutes

Servings: 1

21/2 ounces pisco

11/2 ounces lime juice

11/2 ounces simple syrup

11/2 tablespoons egg white

1/2 cup ice

• Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth and frothy. Pour into a large, heavy glass and serve immediately.

GIN AND BITTER LEMON

Start to finish: 5 minutes

Servings: 1

1 to 2 slices lemon

1 teaspoon sugar

11/2 ounces gin

Ice

Bitter lemon tonic

Fresh mint, to garnish

• In a medium, heavy glass, combine the lemon slices and sugar. Gently muddle, then add the gin and enough ice to mostly fill the glass. Top with bitter lemon tonic, then stir and garnish with fresh mint.

TRASHY RED WINE SANGRIA

If you feel so inclined, go ahead and float some raspberries or sliced strawberries in this, too.

Start to finish: 5 minutes

Servings: 1

1 to 2 slices orange

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 to 2 tablespoons sugar

4 ounces red wine

Ice

Seltzer water (optional)

• In a large, heavy glass, combine the orange slices, lime juice and sugar. Gently muddle, then add the wine and enough ice to mostly fill the glass. Stir. If desired, top with a splash of seltzer for bubbles.

VODKA WATERMELON SLUSHIE

Start to finish: 5 minutes

Servings: 1

11/2 cups watermelon chunks

1/2 cup ice

11/2 ounces vodka

1 ounce lemon juice

1 ounce honey or simple syrup

Pinch salt

• Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth and frothy. Pour into a large, heavy glass and serve immediately.

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