Ever find yourself stumped about what to order when you sidle up to the bar this time of year?
It’s too warm for bourbon and whiskey drinks, but still too chilly for a summery drink like a Pina Colada. April is, it has to be said, a cruel month for cocktails.
Niccole Trzaska, head of the bar program at Liberty Bar in New York, said today that drinking in the spring is all about having light, clean flavors like fresh juices and teas and staying away from the overly sugary drinks typically associated with hot weather.
“In the spring you want to just have a couple and stay level, keeping away from soda and high sugar content,” Nicole Trzask, head bartender at Liberty Bar in New York City, said today. “One of the easiest things for me is to order a margarita of any kind and incorporate fresh juices.”
Erik Lombardo, bar manager at Maialino Restaurant in New York, said “spring is the perfect season for citrus and floral.”
We’ve culled classic drinks recipes to see what’s right for this sometimes-chilly, sometimes-hot weather and found a few perfect drinks that combine warming liquors with splashes of citrus or fizzy bubbles. Keep these six drink names in your back pocket for next time you’re wondering what to order when there’s a hint of sunshine outside.
Pimm’s Cup – The classic British drink is perfect for March through May when the weather can go from rainy and overcast to sunny and hot in a day, just like the weather in London, where the drink was created. The cocktail combines Pimm’s No. 1, a British specialty liquor made of gin, herbs, and mystery flavorings, with fresh cucumber slices, lemon juice, ginger ale or ginger beer, and other flavorings.
Whiskey Sour – Lemon and orange take this whiskey drink straight into spring. The Whiskey Sour is two parts whiskey, a few splashes of lemon juice, a teaspoon of sugar or simple syrup, and a lemon or orange garnish. It’ll warm you up and keep you thinking of warmer days.
Rosé – The perfect drink for spring picnics in the park, rosé is the pink-colored wine that the French roll out every year around this time to complement baguettes and cheese. The wine is made from red wine grapes but is not given any time to mature fully with the skin from the grapes, leaving a fresh, crisp, bright wine perfect for spring weather.
Mint Julep – Mint juleps are nearly synonymous with the month of May, at least in Kentucky, where the iconic drink of the Kentucky Derby makes its annual appearance the first Saturday of the month. In addition to the historical and cultural significance, the julep is the perfect drink for spring weather, combining refreshing mint, a splash of sugary simple syrup, and the deep flavor of Kentucky bourbon over lots of crushed ice.
Spritz – The Italians perfected the spritz, a bubbly way to lighten up dark or sweet liqueurs that makes perfect sense for lighter, warmer weather. The two most common spritz drinks are Aperol Spritz and Campari Spritz, which both start out with a red liqueur (Aperol a bit sweeter, Campari a bit more bitter), topped with bubbly Prosecco and an orange garnish.
“Aperol Spritzs are heaven poured over ice cubes. Garnish with an orange slice when it’s sunny or an olive for a briny kick if it’s a rainy day,” said Erik Lombardo, bar manager at Maialino
Tom Collins - A Tom Collins combines the best of summer drinks (bubbly, citrus-y, refreshing) with just enough sour to make them complex. To get the Tom Collins just right, the bartender will shake gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup vigorously until it’s frothy, pour it into a glass over ice, and top with ice cold club soda to add some bubbles. A cherry and a slice of orange top off this classic drink.