Finding (and Serving) Your Signature Summer Drink

Last month I made a trip to Minneapolis to finish up a project I have been working on AND tacked on a girls weekend. Because after two years of social distancing it was time. We had a wonderful visit filled with garden browsing, food eating, and lots of conversation.

One highlight was visiting the Mill City Farmers Market. What a feast for the eyes...vendor after vendor of seasonal delights and artisan products. All set overlooking the Mississippi River. As we were leaving we noted a looooooong line winding towards a booth. We were curious. It was the 3Leche booth serving none other than fermented botanical beverages. They were lovely with bouquets of colorful flowers and summery straws. We were tempted to try but with the long queue and a schedule ahead of us we opted to continue on. But as we left my friend said, "I can make that." And I knew she could.


The next morning she collected treasures from her garden, spirits from her cabinet, and confidence from deep within and joyfully created her own version of the delightful drink we saw at the market.


It truly was a delight. We oohed and aahed and sipped. And it got me thinking....


Fast forward a month to when I'm hosting two friends for cocktails and have a mini moment of panic. What to serve. A quick internet search lands me at a familiar site (I need to take note of their SEO skills). Sonja and Alex from A Couple Cooks have long been a source for tasty vegetarian recipes but here they were providing me with 35 of the best summer drinks. Thirty Five! I quickly picked five, printed them out (yes I still need to touch paper), and grabbed ingredients for our evening with friends.


When they arrived I laid out the choices and let my guests decide. After all, one was a former bartender and I didn't want to limit her options. But despite the options, they landed on The Lillet Spritz without a thought of the others and enjoyed several of them over the course of the evening.


Fast forward another few weeks and the friend who created the festive botanical drink at our girls weekend was making a quick stop in Kansas City on a road trip. I could have easily pulled out the contents of my bar and offered up a slew of options (like before) but I thought why not do what I know and offer her a Lillet Spritz. It was easy (I had it memorized by now), the ingredients were on hand, and most importantly it was new to her.


I've since shared the recipe with a contractor I work with who is serious about his drinks (he spends weeks making his own Bloody Mary mix and infused vodka) and Joe has taken inspiration for his own tinkering. He has taken up the art of using up forgotten bottles of juice (we see you grapefruit juice) to make his own cocktail recipes. He landed on a concoction of rum, triple sec, and grapefruit juice for a refreshing drink that he's been making on the regular.


My point is...instead of filling your guests minds with a cacophany of options for their party drink find your signature drink and make it all summer! You'll soon be a pro and each new recipient will be delighted and intrigued. So cheers to making this a summer of simplicity.