Is there anything better than getting home at the end of a long day and having a cocktail to unwind? We think little else compares.
We’re very partial to beer, however, an icy, summer fruit or fragrant herb-spiked sip seems very apropos during these uncomfortably sticky days when the sweat pools in the dip of your lower back and the backs of your thighs feel like they’ve just been licked by a rather large dog.
Here are two refreshing recipes to put the “happy” in your evening hours. The margarita takes a cue from some favorite Thai dishes, incorporating vibrant lemongrass and basil via a simple syrup that’s made in the blink of an eye. Reserve extra syrup in your fridge so you can fix a drink quicker than Sally Draper. Now, this is a gin margarita, only because tequila makes one of us weepy, but feel free to use the spirit of your choice.
The second recipe takes advantage of tart, sweet, garnet-hued cherries which are one of the few saving graces of these unrelenting hot months. This drink is quite appropriately named a “smash” – cherries are gently crushed during pitting then mixed with smoky bourbon, a bit of sugar, and fizzy club soda for a, well, absolutely smashing cocktail.
BASIL-LEMONGRASS GIN MARGARITA
For the Basil-Lemongrass Simple Syrup
Rinds of 2 limes
4 lemongrass stalks, chopped
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
– Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, cover, and allow to sit 20 minutes.
– Strain syrup and discard solids.
– Refrigerate until chilled. Reserve leftover syrup in airtight container in refrigerator.
For the Margaritas
Makes 2 cocktails
½ cup gin
½ cup basil-lemongrass simple syrup
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 limes, thinly sliced into rounds
– Rub rims of glasses with a lime, then, dip in salt to coat.
– Combine remaining ingredients in pitcher and serve.
BOURBON CHERRY SMASH
Makes 8 cocktails
1 pound fresh cherries, pitted and gently smashed
8 ounces bourbon
16 sugar cubes
32 ounces club soda, chilled
– Stir cherries, bourbon, sugar, and club soda together in pitcher. Serve over ice.