When spring changes to summer, bartenders follow suit.
Climbing temperatures are a cue that it’s time to scale back on deep red wines and heavy beers and start pointing customers to more refreshing options: crisp white wines, light beers and mixed drinks swimming with seasonal fruits, herbs and ice.
“People like refreshing drinks because it gets so hot in the Kansas summers,” said Brooke Russell, whose husband, Travis, is one of the founders of Public at the Brickyard in Wichita, Kan.
At Public, where the staff is busy getting the menu ready for summer, several citrusy mixed drinks have become warm weather favorites.
One is called Gordon’s Cup, a gin-based drink that mixes two ideal summer flavors: lime and cucumber. (And it can be made in large batches, which makes it ideal for parties.)
The drink involves two cocktail basics that home mixers should familiarize themselves with: the act of muddling and the production of simple syrup.
Muddling involves mashing fruits and herbs and sugars together to extract their juices. Simple syrup, a standard in many summer cocktails, is a boiled mixture of water and sugar or water and honey, often infused with other flavors.
“We like to do a lot of muddling and smashing and mixing up of all ingredients,” Russell said.
Gordon’s Cup is made with honey simple syrup and finished with a shake-shake-shake in a cocktail shaker. It’s poured over ice in a rocks glass, finished with a splash of soda water and seasoned with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
The following are two of Public’s summer cocktail recipes.
Making simple syrup
Combine 1 part cold water and 1 part granulated sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
Reduce heat to low and stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Allow to cool before using. The syrup can be refrigerated in a glass jar for up to 1 month.
For honey simple syrup, substitute honey for the granulated sugar.
For lavendar syrup, combine 2 cups sugar, 1 cup water and 3 or 4 tablespoons lavender buds. Proceed as for basic syrup, but if desired, let buds steep for 30 minutes. Strain before using.