Fourth of July has always signaled the start of “deep summer.” While June’s Summer Solstice marks the official start of summer, summer in June always feels tentative. June is just trying summer out. June is a practice summer. But once Fourth of July has gone out with a bang summer settles in. Days are long, languid and hot. Motivation ebbs. Movement slows down. Strawberries, raspberries, peaches and plums ripen in the sun. And here in Brooklyn we need something to cool off!
The slower pace, fresh produce, and hot temperatures of summer serve as cocktail inspiration for me. After a long day at the beach on Fourth of July I was motivated to make these two fruity cocktails as colorful as the illegal fireworks exploding outside of our windows. Fourth of July may be over, but summer has just begun!
Strawberry Basil Gimlet
2 basil leaves, ripped
2 Fresh strawberries
2 shots vodka
Optional: Seltzer (not Gimlet, then, but very refreshing!)
Wash and roughly chop the strawberries. Wash and tear the basil leaves. Place in a cocktail shaker. Juice the limes into the shaker. Add vokda and muddle. Add 3 to 4 ice cubes and shake. Pour into a glass. If adding seltzer, top off with seltzer and stir gently.
Fruit Cup Cocktail
1/8 cup raspberries
1/8 cup blueberries
2 shots vodka
Mint or basil for garnish
Roughly chop the peach and strawberry and place them in a cocktail shaker. Add the blueberries and raspberries. Add the vodka and juice the lime into the shaker. Muddle. Add 3 to 4 ice cubes and shake. Pour into a glass and top with seltzer and stir gently. Add a ripped mint or basil leaf for garnish.
A few notes: If you want your fruit more infused with vodka, let the fruit, vodka and lime juice sit together in the shaker in the fridge for an hour or two and then shake and serve.
If you are not so interested in large chunks of fruit in your drink you could always strain the cocktails for a more sophisticated finish. But I like alcoholic fruit.