5 Ways to Spice Up Your Adult Drinks This Summer

Remember when White Claw was the summer drink?

Or when the trend was a Moscow mule?

Well, put the seltzer down and step away from the brass cup.

Local bartenders have a selection of unique drinks to try this summer.


Jonette Politoske of Major Stokes Bar in Greensburg said infusions are the most requested drink at the restaurant.

“Usually when people come here they ask for my infusions,” said Politoske, of Greensburg. “They’ll have a beer and so on, but we’re known for our brews.”

An infusion usually includes a mixture of alcohol, fruit and simple syrup. Politoske, the dining room manager at Major Stokes, said gin and bourbon were “in fashion” so they are often included in her brews.

Some of the popular infusion flavor combinations include Strawberry Lime Gin, Cucumber Lime Gin, Lemon Honey Ginger Vodka, Strawberry Watermelon Vodka, Amaretto Bourbon Espresso, and Horseradish Cracked Black Pepper Vodka .

Although the infusions are usually served over ice, Politoske said some customers would add a splash of seltzer to top off the drink. She added that those looking for a new seltzer after the White Claw and Truly craze of summer 2021 can try High Noon, a canned vodka soda.

Refreshing summer flavors

Any drink can be made seasonal by incorporating classic summer flavors and nuances.

Dan Clougherty, owner of bartending school Youngwood Wines, Steins, and Cocktails, said fruit flavors can add a summery touch to a traditional ball.

Take a cranberry vodka, for example. Clougherty recommends adding pineapple juice to cranberry juice and vodka.

The vodka can also be replaced with Malibu Coconut Rum for an extra tropical punch.

Clougherty, of Youngwood, said a typical highball consists of 1 to 1.5 ounces of alcohol and 3 to 4 ounces of mixer. With ice, the drink should be about 10 ounces.

Looking for that summer sunset feeling? Clougherty recommended a “Dusk to Dawn” – tequila, blackberry brandy, orange juice and grenadine, which is pomegranate syrup commonly used in drinks and baking.

For something stronger, Clougherty suggested an “electric banana shot”, which can be adjusted to high ball proportions if desired. To make this drink, simply add three-quarters of an ounce of banana liqueur to an equal amount of tequila. Add ice and shake for a sweet summer treat.

Those looking to chill their glass of wine can use their favorite wine in a vaporizer or cooler.

A typical wine spritzer can be as simple as half or three quarters of a glass of wine with club soda. A cooler usually contains ginger ale or a lemon-lime ale like 7Up, but it can be topped with a cherry or a wedge of lime.

Clougherty advised using dry white wine in a spritzer and red or rosé wine in a cooler.

Spice up a must-have can of beer

Squeeze a little summer into a favorite beer with a twist of lemonade, a drink called “Beer Shandy.”

Clougherty said 8 ounces of beer mixed with an equal amount of lemonade or lemon-lime soda — topped off with a wedge of fresh lemon — is a great way to freshen up a beer and bring a fresh perspective to the glass of traditional cold lemonade.

Have a sweet tooth? Clougherty suggested adding a scoop or two of ice cream to a stout beer for a “grown-up” version of a root beer float.

Clougherty said any stout works well in this combination, but a milk or chocolate stout is most ideal. Simply pour 10-12 ounces into a glass and top with a scoop of vanilla or coffee ice cream. A dusting of unsweetened cocoa enhances the taste and aesthetics of the drink.

You can also opt for a “Fruit Beer Float” by swapping the stout for a Belgian beer with red fruits.

Rather a mimosa

Beer can even be added to the staple brunch drink – mimosas.

Clougherty said a “Beermosa” typically combines a 12-ounce IPA with 4 ounces of orange juice, but it can also be made with 2 ounces of orange juice and 2 ounces of pineapple juice. According to Clougherty, another type of fruit juice or freshly crushed berries also make good flavor pairings.

Politoske said mimosas are popular at Major Stokes, but swapping out a cranberry flavor is another good way to spice up that tradition.

Keep it simple and flexible

While Clougherty encouraged creativity in seasonal drink design, he also cautioned against tasteless complexity.

“I think there’s beauty in simplicity,” Clougherty said.

He encouraged taking a staple drink — like wine, beer, gin, bourbon or vodka — and thinking about how a traditional summer flavor or two can enhance it. Adding strawberry or banana flavoring to a margarita or mashed berries to a Moscow Mule, for example, can go a long way.

Another word of mixological wisdom from Clougherty: It’s important to stay flexible. Making unique drinks, he said, involves “crafting” the drink to your preference.

“There’s no one way to do it all,” Clougherty said.

Quincey Reese is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Quincey at 724-757-4910, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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