Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial Day is just around the corner, and that heralds the start of the summer season here in NJ. It’s a time when everyone gets together to grill up some great food, drink some great beer, and sip on some delicious cocktails.

This year, instead of reaching for a mass-produced spirit and a jug of mixer or a can of energy drink, why not try one of these great recipes featuring some amazing craft spirits? I promise you won’t be disappointed, and you may even find a new summer favorite.

Simple Starters: easy to make, even easier to drink

Not that either one of these fine products needs anything added, but combining the two makes for a surprisingly refreshing cocktail. No directions needed – just pour and enjoy:

Black & White
2oz Redstone Black Raspberry Nectar
6 oz Allagash White Ale

 

 

From Jersey Artisan Distilling, NJ’s first new distillery since Prohibition, we get a Jersey take on a classic island refresher. The Fentimans Ginger Beer is botanically brewed with real ginger – so it’s got a little punch to it:

Jersey Storm
1.5 oz Busted Barrel Dark Rum
½ oz fresh lime juice
Fentimans Ginger Beer

Pack a glass with ice. Add rum and lime juice, and top with ginger beer. Stir, toss on a wedge of lime, and you’re good to go.

 

 

These two drinks come to us courtesy of Triple 8 Distillery in Nantucket, MA. They are simple to make, and easy to drink. New England and Bermuda team up to make your holiday weekend delicious:

Nantucket Mule
2 oz Triple Eight Cranberry Vodka
6 oz Barritt’s Ginger Beer
2 wedges of lime

 


Blue Ginger
2 oz Triple Eight Blueberry Vodka
6 oz Barritt’s Ginger Beer
2 wedges of lemon

Squeeze one wedge of lime/lemon into a tall glass, then drop it in and add the Cranberry/Blueberry Vodka. Fill glass with ice, top with the Ginger Beer, and stir gently to combine. Garnish with lime or lemon wedge.

 

 

Main course: a little work goes a long way


Here’s a variation on the ever popular mojito, using gin and cucumber in place of rum and mint, and featuring the New York Times #1 rated Craft Gin, from Berkshire Mountain Distillers:
English Mojito
2 oz Berkshire Greylock Gin
½ oz Simple Syrup*
4 or 5 chunks of lime (half a large lime, cut up)
4 or 5 chunks of cucumber (preferably English Cucumber)
Club Soda
Muddle the cucumber, lime, and simple syrup well in a shaker. Add the 2 oz of gin, and plenty of ice, and shake ’till it’s well chilled.
Pour everything into a tall glass, and top with club soda. Give it a stir, garnish with a slice of cucumber & enjoy.
*You can add more or less simple syrup, depending on how sweet you like your cocktails.

 


Beer cocktails are hot right now, so here’s a variation on your classic margarita, using both beer and beer spirits. Make sure to use an IPA with nice citrus hop notes for the full effect:

All Hopped Up
2 oz New Holland Hatter Royale “Hopquila”
1 oz fresh lime juice (about 1 lime’s worth)
1 Tbs agave nectar
2-3 oz IPA (New Holland Mad Hatter is a good choice)

Shake the Hopquila, lime juice, and agave nectar with ice. Pour it into a tall glass, add extra ice if needed, and then top with the IPA. Stir gently to mix everything together, and enjoy.

 


Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits makes great beer and great spirits – but did you know they make amazing mixers as well? Here’s a recipe using all three:

Mai-Tai-P-A
1.5 oz Ballast Point 3 Sheets White Rum
5 oz Ballast Point Mai Tai mixer
3 oz Ballast Point Sculpin IPA

Fill a shaker with ice. Add rum and Mai Tai mixer, and shake well.
Pour into pint glass, and top with 2-3 oz of Sculpin IPA.
Give it a stir to combine, sit back, and imagine yourself looking out over the water in San Diego.

 


Sangrita (not to be confused with sangria!) is a classic Mexican accompaniment to fine tequila. Intended to be served side by side with the tequila, not mixed together. Consider it a cocktail deconstructed:

Traditional Sangrita
1 oz fresh orange juice
¾ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz real pomegranate grenadine*
¼ tsp pasilla or ancho chili powder

Mix all ingredients, chill, and serve as a sidecar alongside a snifter of premium silver tequila.
I recommend: 123 Organic Tequila “Uno” Blanco

*there are a few real pomegranate grenadines on the market, but they can be hard to find.
A great alternative is to take Powell & Mahoney Pomegranate mixer, put 1 cup into a saucepan,
simmer slowly, and reduce until it has the consistency of syrup

 


Here’s a cocktail crafted by the folks at Jersey Artisan Distilling, featuring their Busted Barrel Silver Rum. Perfect for enjoying outdoors while you grill:

Busted Barrel Watermelon Bramble
1 ½ oz Busted Barrel Silver Rum
¾ oz agave nectar
3 medium sized pieces of watermelon, seedless
1 fresh sprig of basil
¾ oz lime juice
1 pinch of Cajun pepper

Muddle watermelon, basil, and pepper in a mixing glass. Add all other ingredients, fill with ice, and shake well. Pour through a strainer into a margarita glass filled with ice.

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