Summer Cocktails

 

“Something cold, something frozen … with alcohol” is what my esteemed editor said when I inquired about June’s Create theme. So I interviewed ex-bartender Spencer Jansen and wine guy Matt Zorn to find out what the pros advise for cooling down in the summer. The key piece of information that I gleaned is to remember that alcohol does not freeze and that adding too much will completely inhibit the freezing process. The beauty of it all is that these drinks taste good and are refreshing, frozen or not.

Spencer Jansen’s Frozen Mojito
Here is an adaptation of the popular highball. Use an oversized silicone ice cube tray to get large cubes that are relatively easy to remove. If you want to add more rum, add it to the glass when you serve the mojitos.

6 ounces lime juice (about 6 limes; freshly squeezed makes a big difference)
6 ounces simple syrup steeped with fresh mint*
6 ounces white rum
12 ounces sparkling water, mint flavored if available, more to taste
Mint leaves, divided for simple syrup and as garnish

Combine the lime juice, simple syrup and rum. Freeze 4 to 6 hours in oversized ice cube trays until firm.
To serve: Put 1 or 2 mojito cubes into a glass. Add a dash of sparkling water, enough to just barely cover, and swirl with a squeeze of lime. Garnish with snipped mint leaves. Makes four to eight servings.

*Simple Syrup: combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, drop in mint leaves, lower heat and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes; remove from heat. Cool, and strain out mint leaves. Works with lemon, lime or orange peels too.

Submitted by Spencer Jansen, Little Rock, Arkansas

Matt Zorn’s Frozen Sangria
The wine mixture is dry, while the sangria ice cubes are sweet. The taste changes slowly in the glass as the cubes melt.
1 magnum red wine, Spanish or Spanish-style preferred, 1 cup set aside
2 ounces blackberry brandy or other blackberry liquor
2 ounces rum
2 ounces triple sec

Set aside 1 cup of wine. Combine the remaining wine, brandy, rum and triple sec in a large pitcher, punch bowl or iced tea dispenser. Chill.

1 cup simple syrup, orange flavored
1 cup orange, apricot or other fruit juice
1 cup reserved wine
½ cup blackberries or raspberries

Make a simple syrup using orange, lemon or lime peel as a flavoring. Combine 1 cup simple syrup, 1 cup orange, apricot or other fruit juice, and the reserved 1 cup of wine. Put a blackberry or raspberry into each compartment of an ice cube tray; fill with simple syrup/wine mixture and freeze for 4 to 6 hours until firm.

To serve: Add slices of oranges, strawberries and blackberries to the chilled wine mixture. Add half of the frozen sangria cubes to the pitcher or tea dispenser and put the other half into glasses. Enjoy!
Variation: Add a splash of sparkling water to taste at serving time and you will have a wine cooler.

Submitted by Matt Zorn, O’Looney’s, Little Rock, Arkansas

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