Patio season is just around the corner and table decorations won’t stop at flowers. Summer brings a delectable array of drinks summer with the sunshine. From colourful cocktails to lip-lickin’ lagers, happy hour gets a little happier when drinks menus go seasonal. We picked mixologist Natalie Bovis’s brain to get inspired. Also known as The Liquid Muse, beverage consultant Bovis is also the author of Preggatinis: Mixology for the Mom-To-Be and The Bubbly Bride: Your Ultimate Wedding Cocktail Guide. Read on for her take on this summer’s hottest drink trends and a signature recipe.
Low-calorie cocktails. Bovis sees an emphasis on low-calorie cocktails in summer, but says she finds the idea misleading. Often “low-calorie” cocktails get their label through less-healthy means. “I prefer to think of healthful cocktails – fresh juices, etc. – rather than cutting calories by using artificial sweeteners, for example,” said Bovis.
See our guide to healthy low-calorie cocktails for more tips.
Sangria. “Sangria is an especially popular drink as it is refreshing, easy to make and inexpensive to include in summer entertaining,” said Bovis. Here’s her take on versions of both red and white sangria:
For red sangria: Add brandy and a splash of orange liqueur, along with slices of citrus fruits like blood oranges.
For white sangria: Try using white rum and top it off with sliced peaches and lemon.
Sangria can also be dressed up. Bovis recommends a sparkling sangria as a great bubbly punch to make for a wedding or shower.
Mediterranean-style cocktails. “Fresh and citrusy,” Bovis mixes bitter liqueurs like Campari and Aperol with a splash of soda and a squeeze of lemon over ice. A negroni (equal parts Campari, sweet vermouth and gin) is “a nice classic cocktail to enjoy as an evening aperitif,” says Bovis.
Bovis also shared one of her signature recipes to try out yourself. “A sophisticated twist on a brunch-style mimosa, the Fre® Thyme aims to enhance the non-alcoholic experience for a designated driver or anyone wanting to indulge in a sparkling cocktail without the alcohol,” says Bovis.
It’s also the official mocktail of Tales of the Cocktail 2011, one of the largest annual alcohol conventions in the world.
- 2 oz. blood orange juice
- ¾ oz. The Liquid Muse Thyme syrup
- 3 oz. Fre® Alcohol Removed Brut Sparkling Wine
The Liquid Muse Thyme Syrup
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- About 25 thyme leaves
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low. Simmer 3-5 minutes and let cool. Strain into a glass bottle. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.