Spring begs for a cocktail. The flora comes to life, the fauna sing, and the humans are eager to celebrate another winter in the history books. And when it’s a pandemic winter, the cause for celebration strengthens.
This spring, as you look to make some great refreshing spring cocktails with seasonal things like excellent citrus, keep flowers in mind. With so much in bloom right now, it’s an ideal time to fix a drink with a garnish that sprouts right out of the glass, adding presentation points and, for some, intriguing aromatics.
In the galaxy of flowers, many are even edible, which is a plus if they’re topping something you’re about to sip. Play around at home with whatever is sprouting in your neck of the woods, and if you need added inspiration, explore these six fine recipe ideas sourced from bars and experts all over the country.
(Created by Charlie Park, Tallahassee)
- 1.5 oz Empress Gin
- .75 oz coco water
- 1 oz pineapple juice
- 1 oz lime juice
- .25 oz lavender syrup
- .25 oz IPA syrup
- .25 oz butterfly pea flower syrup
Method: Shake all ingredients vigorously with ice and strain into martini glass or coupe rimmed with dried lavender flowers. Lightly sprinkle ube dust over the froth when poured for contrast.
This mix of gin, jasmine, and citrus takes advantage of the springtime cherry blossoms. The fruit tree bursts to life famously every year in Japan and does so in much of the U.S. as well. The cocktail, the work of José Andrés’ D.C. restaurant, is clever, using a carefully cut piece of citrus as the flower. If you want to use the real thing, try a primrose in its place.
(Created by Zaytinya, Washington, D.C.)
- 1 oz jasmine-infused Bombay Gin*
- .5 oz lemon juice
- .5 oz simple syrup
- .5 oz pomegranate concentrate
- 4 oz Marfil Brut Cava
*Jasmine-infused Bombay Gin: Combine 1 bottle (1-liter) of Bombay Gin in a nonreactive container with 17.5 grams of jasmine tea. Let infuse for 24 hours in the refrigerator. After 24 hours, take out tea bags and fine strain through chinois.
Method: Combine all ingredients except cava in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Fine strain into a wine glass then top with cava and ice. For garnish, add lemon peel.
This classic tropical cocktail does great in something floral. Throw a tulip in place of a straw or, better still, toss in a few nasturtiums as you can eat the colorful little flowers.
- 3 oz Dos Maderas Rum
- .5 oz lime juice
- .5 oz orange juice
- .5 oz Don Gardenia Mix
- 1 dash of Angostura Bitters
Method: Add all the ingredients into a blender with 1/2 cup ice and blend on high for 20 seconds. Fine-strain into glass. Garnish with orange slice or, better yet, your flower of choice.
This drink also takes advantage of the arresting aromatics of lavender. To add to the floral nature of the cocktail, try garnishing with zucchini flowers or pansies.
(Created by Mico, Charlotte)
- 1.5 oz Lillet Blanc
- 5 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
- 2 oz Ketel One Grapefruit & Rose Botanical Vodka
- lavender powder
Method: Place in a cocktail shaker with ice chips and shake for 15 seconds. Rim your favorite vintage glass with lavender powder and strain.
Read more: Best Top Shelf Vodkas
The Mai Tai can send you straight to a deserted island somewhere in the warm waters of the South Pacific. A big part of the drink is its look, which benefits greatly from a flower or some combination of flowers. A go-to is the vanda orchid, which dresses the drink up beautifully. You can also cut out a piece of apple, pear, or pineapple. For the drink itself, stick with a classic recipe like the one from exotic cocktail guru Martin Cate.
- .75 oz fresh lime juice
- .5 oz orange curaçao (Pierre Ferrand preferred)
- .25 oz orgeat
- .25 oz rich demerara simple syrup (with a 2:1 ratio of water to sugar)
- 2 oz aged pot still or blended rum
Method: Combine all ingredients with 12 ounces of crushed ice and some cubes in a shaker. Shake until chilled and pour—ice and all—into a double old fashioned glass. Garnish with a spent lime shell and mint sprig, or flower.
Read more: Best Rums for Mixing
Grill & Chill
The key to making this drink as floral as possible is catching cilantro in its finest form. If you time it right, your sprigs will tout pretty little white flowers, fancying up your cocktail nicely.
- 2 oz Cutwater Tequila Blanco
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- .5 oz agave syrup
- 3-4 grilled pineapple chunks
- 1 fresh ginger slice
- 1 pinch of cilantro
Method: Grill pineapple, ginger, and cilantro in a cocktail shaker. Add tequila, lime juice, agave, and ice. Shake until cold. Strain over fresh ice. Garnish with a piece of grilled pineapple and a cilantro sprig.
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