Summer Cocktails

Summer is the opportune time to drink cocktails. Seasonal stone fruits, berries and garden herbs can make for a scrumptious and fresh tasting drink. When it’s hot outside, there’s nothing more refreshing than an ice-cold spritzer or sangria.

You don’t need to be an expert mixologist to make a delicious summer cocktail. Just stick to one main ingredient, fresh fruit. The chef instructors at L’École Culinaire have chosen a few summer cocktail recipes that are perfect for the sweaty days (and nights) ahead.

Ginger-Peach Soda

Courtesy of Country Living


1 c. sugar

2 tbsp. minced fresh ginger

2 very ripe peaches

2 L Seltzer

16 fresh mint leaves


In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, bring 1 cup water, sugar, and ginger to a gentle simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove simple syrup from heat, cover, and steep for about 30 minutes.

Over a medium bowl, pour syrup through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing minced ginger against sieve with the back of a spoon to extract flavor. Discard ginger. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until well chilled. Evenly distribute peach slices among 8 tall glasses. For each glass, lightly press peaches with the back of a wooden spoon to release their juice. Pour about 2 tablespoons chilled syrup over peaches. (Store remaining syrup in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.) Add ice cubes; then top with seltzer. Stir to distribute syrup, peach juice, and seltzer evenly. Garnish with 2 mint leaves.

Watermelon-Tequila Cocktail

Courtesy of Food and Wine


1/4 cup water

1/4 cup granulated sugar

8 cups diced seedless watermelon (1 pound)

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 3/4 cups blueberries

3/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves, plus 8 sprigs for garnish

1 1/4 cups silver tequila



In a small saucepan, bring the water to a simmer with the sugar and stir over moderate heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute; let the sugar syrup cool.  In a blender, puree the watermelon until smooth. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and strain the watermelon juice, pressing gently on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the pulp. In a large pitcher, combine the sugar syrup with the lime juice, blueberries and mint leaves. Using a wooden spoon, lightly muddle the blueberries and mint. Add the watermelon juice and tequila. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. Pour the cocktail into tall ice-filled glasses. Garnish with the mint sprigs and serve.

Lillet-Basil Cocktail

Courtesy of Martha Stewart


1 cup ice, plus more for serving

1/2 cup Lillet Blanc

1 ounce (2 tablespoons) gin

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, plus sprigs for garnish

Splash of tonic water

1 cucumber spear, for garnish

1 cinnamon stick, for garnish


Put ice, Lillet, gin, orange juice, and basil in a cocktail shaker; shake well. Fill a glass with ice; strain mixture into glass. Add tonic water. Garnish with cucumber spear, cinnamon stick, and basil sprigs.


Want to learn more ways to make seasonally inspired food and drinks? Try a L’École Culinaire public cooking class, designed for the at-home chef.  For more information, click here.