clockwise from upper left - Moscow Mule, Thyme Salty Dog, Strawberry Mint Sparkler and Peach Fuzz Buzz
Moscow Mule. This is the easiest drink of the bunch. especially if you keep Ginger Beer on hand. My favorite brand is Reed's, but I've had trouble finding it lately; my local grocery carries Cockn' Bull and it's a great stand-in (they must know it, too, because it says right on the bottle that it's for Moscow Mules). I follow a traditional recipe - fill a chilled cup with ice (I don't have copper mugs, but my pewter julep cups work fine), add the juice of half a lime, 2 ounces of vodka and top with ginger beer. One bottle of ginger beer works for about two drinks.
Thyme Salty Dog. This was the first fancy cocktail I tried. I followed this recipe exactly (even to styling the photo!). My sister and I both thought it was delicious - and worth the trip to the store for thyme and fresh grapefruit. Now that I'm getting more confident with my cocktail skills, I want to try a wintery version with gin and rosemary syrup.
Strawberry Mint Sparkler. This one I created all by myself (a first!) for Friday evening snacks with Sara. For each drink, I muddled 1-2 strawberries in the bottom of a cocktail shaker then added ice, 1/2 ounce of mint simple syrup (made following the same technique/proportions as the thyme syrup for the Salty Dogs), the juice of half a lime and 2 ounces of gin (Death's Door of course since it's local to Sara) and shook to chill. I poured the chilled mixture over ice in a highball glass and topped with sparkling water.
Peach Fuzz Buzz. My sister and I both remember our parents making this when we were kids. I don't have my mom's recipe, but I remember gin, unpeeled peaches, limeade concentrate and the blender. Here's my version - it makes four drinks (perfect for entertaining!)
Add the following to a blender:
3/4 cup simple syrup (3/4 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar)
1/2 cup lime juice (2-3 limes)
2-3 sliced peaches or nectarines (2 if they're big, 3 if they're smaller)
1 cup gin
Blend until the peaches are almost pureed, then add 4 cups ice and blend until frozen.
Easy, cool, and tastes like summer - Enjoy!!