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Fresh, fast and easy cocktails in time for spring

May 3, 2018

—COCKTAILS_what we like to drink

By Erin

After an extended winter of wet, cold, grey, dismal weather, the sun seems to finally be shining on Toronto, and we, much like everyone else in this desperate and anemic town, are taking to the streets, patios and parks to get down and boogie with a merciful Mother Nature.

I say this tentatively, and with a healthy does of fear and respect, but it appears we’ve rounded the corner, left winter in the rearview and are well on our way to the sunny side of the street. So, it would be sacrilegious not to have a cocktail inspired by the fresh spring bounty blooming all around us.

I’ve enjoyed my Manhattans and dark spirited cocktails for (what seems like endless) months now, and while we will meet again, I am more than ready to welcome lighter libations back into my life.

As I embark upon my serious training for the lazy, hazy days warm weather gleefully brings with it, for me the emphasis is on lazy. The last thing I want to do when comfortably sprawled on a lawn chair is disrupt my idleness with a trip to the liquor store. So, just like having a well-stocked pantry to make favourite dishes in a jiffy, I also like to have a well-stocked bar. And in order to have an appropriately stocked bar, it helps to have a roster of go-to cocktail recipes, so one knows what to stock said bar with.

Keeping with my philosophy of easy, fast and as few ingredients as possible, the following is a list of favourite cocktails that make the rounds at my house in spring.

Pimm’s Cup from Epicurious

Photo: epicurious.com

I first tried a Pimm’s Cup on the recommendation of a British chef I once worked with. I owe him a debt of gratitude as Pimm’s quickly became a regular in my cocktail rotation. A gin-based liqueur, it’s blended with ginger beer (or ginger ale if you forgot to stock your bar) and garnished with mint and cucumber. Easy to make, really easy to drink, and super refreshing. Sometimes I even hold my pinky up whilst I’m sipping it because I’m classy like that.

Gin Gimlet from Esquire

Photo: Georgian Bay Spirit Co.

A Gin Gimlet is so simple it’s a bit embarrassing to call this a “recipe.” Gin, lime and you’re done. Get back to your lawn chair. Esquire recommends using lime cordial, and I have a tendency to agree, but you could always go the route of gin, fresh lime juice and simple syrup. You do you.

Pitcher Margaritas from The Wine Sisters

Photo: The Wine Sisters

My mouth is watering just writing about this Margarita recipe. It’s been a favourite at The Wine Sisters HQ for a few years now, and it’s a perfect blend of tart, salty, sweet and pure deliciousness. And did I mention this is a recipe for an entire pitcher? Mix once and sip all day.

Mojito from Jamie Oliver

Photo: Jamie Oliver

I learned how to make a proper — and ridiculously tasty — Mojito a decade ago from Toronto mixologist extraordinaire Rob Montgomery from The Miller Tavern, and this one from Jamie Oliver is pretty much spot on. Granted, all that muddling makes the Mojito the most labour-intensive cocktail to make this list, but some drinks, like certain men I know, are worth the trouble.

Vodka Thyme Lemonade from Martha Stewart

Photo: marthastewart.com

The hardest thing about this recipe is making the simple syrup. Or maybe squeezing the lemons. But just like the Margarita recipe above, this is big-batch so a little plan ahead action goes a long way. This recipe from Martha uses regular vodka, but I recommend citrus vodka for an extra lemony kick. However, this also works with gin, so you can mix and match to your taste, as choice is the spice of life. Or something like that.

*This blog was first published on The Wine Sisters