Around here, people say that our short, brilliant summers make up for the 10 months of rain we have to put up with to get there. And while it’s an exaggeration (it doesn’t rain THAT much here…) I will say that when real summer weather hits in the Pacific Northwest, everyone is ready to celebrate, relax, and sit outside to enjoy the sparkling water and blue skies. It’s the perfect time to celebrate, and we do! Our family has a lot of summer celebrations – birthdays, anniversaries, weekends…time for some special cocktails that honor the flavors of summer. This year, I’ve been craving lemons and limes, and looking for new ways to incorporate the abundance of mint and basil in my garden. Of course, these flavors are a perfect match for green tea. Here are some fancy new green tea cocktails – celebrate summer with me!
Matcha Lemon Drop
This tastes like summer in a glass – and looks so pretty too. Use ‘sparkling sugar’ from the baking section of your market to get a really fancy rim. Prepare the rim of a stemmed glass by rubbing a cut lemon around the rim, and dipping into a mixture of 1 Tb sparkling sugar and ½ tsp matcha Then, shake the ingredients with crushed ice in a cocktail shaker, and strain into the prepared glass. Add a lemon twist if you like:
This cocktail amps up the green flavors and colors of summer. Traditionally, Mint Juleps are served in a silver cup of crushed ice. I served mine in a low martini glass to better enjoy the emerald color, and garnished with cucumber wheel and more mint for a refreshing aroma as I sip. The addition of lemon juice is also non-traditional, but so very refreshing.
- 4 oz. bourbon
- 2 Tb freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 Tb superfine sugar
- Small handful of mint leaves that you have bruised in your hands to release the oils
- ¼ tsp matcha
Shake vigorously with lots of crushed ice, then strain into a cocktail glass. I like to add a bit of the crushed ice in hot weather, to keep it chilly longer. Garnish with a few mint leaves and a cucumber wheel.
Ginger Basil Gimlet or Lime Rickey
Doesn’t a ‘gimlet’ sound delightfully old-fashioned? I love the herbal bite of gin, so I was looking for a lime cocktail with gin. I discovered that (in addition to having charming names), both gimlets and lime rickeys are made with gin, lime, and seltzer. The difference is that a lime rickey is unsweetened, while a gimlet traditionally uses Roses Lime for added sweetness. I substituted strong-brewed green tea for half of the seltzer, and garnished with a bit of basil and a ginger slice for some zing. Suit yourself – either way it’s delicious!
- 2 oz. gin
- 1 oz. freshly-squeezed lime juice (or sweetened bottled lime juice)
- 2 oz. strong-brewed green tea – I used Hojicha for a more complex flavor
Shake ingredients with crushed ice in a cocktail shaker, then pour into a large martini glass or tall cocktail glass. Top up with cold seltzer water, and garnish with a sprig of basil and thin slice of ginger.
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