Unshucked cobs of corn are piled high in farmers market stalls right now in what’s arguably the best time of the year for fresh produce. But forget about grilled ears slathered with butter and salt for a second. Turns out that corn-based whiskey is what you really need in your hands to usher in the official end of summer.
You can have exactly that with this six-pack of frozen bourbon drinks featuring watermelon, mint, peaches and the rest of summer’s bumper crop. Whir together one of these blended cocktails and sip slowly by the pool or on the patio.
Guests at Villa Azur in Miami experience dining, drinks, entertainment, music and art in a distinct space that combines the atmosphere of South Beach with that of Mediterranean France’s La Côte d’Azur. Bar manager Carlos Ramos’ fresh take on a Julep was inspired by the tropical vibes, culture and eternal summer of Miami. “The bourbon complements the refreshing mint flavor to give you something that stimulates the senses and quenches your bourbon craving,” he says.
HomeMakers Bar in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood is named for both the watering hole’s welcoming feel and its midcentury design inspiration. This frozen concoction is an elevated version of the high school party trick of upending a bottle of vodka in a watermelon. Here, the fruit absorbs bourbon and fennel-infused Cocchi Americano before it’s frozen. “By freezing the watermelon and the other ingredients, we can preserve and hang on to summer as long as we want,” says co-founder and manager Catherine Manabat. “Nothing says summer more than watermelon.”
Sarah Turbett, the bar manager at Oak Steakhouse in Nashville, came up with the idea for her brain-freeze-inducing creation by thinking about her favorite flavors of summer and fall growing up in Tennessee. “Tennessee whiskey, summer peach and vinegar notes brighten up fall spices, orange peel and licorice, transporting your palate from the warm end of summer to the early crisp autumn breeze,” she says. “Light enough to enjoy during the heat but complex enough to hold up to a piece of pumpkin pie, this cocktail is the perfect drink for the end of summer. Imagine sipping on this frozen cocktail on your porch in a great wooden rocking chair, watching the sun go down in a golden sky over amber fields.” Sounds just peachy.
While bourbon and cider might seem like a fall combination, they can be enjoyed in summer, too, especially when frozen and blended. Don’t believe it? Try this combination of bourbon, cinnamon-vanilla syrup, lemon juice, apple cider and ice. It’s perfectly refreshing when blended and served in a Moscow Mule mug with an apple and cinnamon garnish.
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Bacon may not be the first garnish you think of when you’re prepping frozen cocktails, but wait: The crispy, salty strips are absolutely necessary in this whiskey cocktail by Jerry Nevins from his book, “Sloshies: 102 Boozy Cocktails Straight from the Freezer” (Workman, $15). Bourbon, ginger ale, Dolin Dry Vermouth de Chambéry and maple-flavored whiskey are wonderful together and beg for a pork-y garnish. The bourbon-bacon pairing creates a richer profile than many summer drinks, but the frozen consistency cools you down while the ginger ale keeps it refreshing.
After Hailey Coder, the lead bartender at The Park Bistro & Bar at the Lafayette Park hotel in Lafayette, Calif., topped some fresh local peaches with a big dollop of Chantilly cream, the bar team began brainstorming ingredient combinations, from almond, vanilla and honey to lemon juice and blackberries. Coder mingles all of them in this decadent summer sipper that thankfully can be more frequent an indulgence than Halley’s Comet, the cocktail’s like-named astronomical occurrence. “Peaches are in season toward the end of summer and partner perfectly with bourbon,” she says. “You can imagine peaches, blackberries, almond and cream combining to make a perfect dessert, so why not a cocktail?” This Comet is easily scalable and batchable for backyard barbecues or summer soirees.