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The Agency Top 10: Best Summer Cocktails

by | Jun 19, 2014

As summer wears on in Southern California, it will only get hotter and hotter… and what better way to combat the heat than with a cool summer cocktail? Below, find 10 drinks that are sure to freshen you right up.

1. Caipirinha

With the World Cup underway, it’s the perfect time to enjoy Brazil’s national drink. While a standard Caipirinha is simply cachaça (which comes from the fermented juice of sugarcane), sugar and lime, you can mix up the recipe in a number of ways. Try adding different fruits or fruit juices (passionfruit’s a favorite over here), or even some herbs like mint or basil.

2. Gracias Madre’s “La Purista”

Enjoy this exquisite margarita at Gracias Madre in Beverly Hills, or make it yourself at home using the recipe below. Or both!


2 oz organic reposado tequilashutterstock_128327264

1 oz fresh-pressed lime juice

1/2 oz organic agave nectar

3 dashes homemade orange bitters

lime peel

housemade sweet orange salt (see below)

Housemade Sweet Orange Salt Rim

1 pinch sea salt

1 pinch sugar

orange zest

lime wedge

Combine sea salt, sugar and orange zest. Rub the orange zest into the salt and sugar mix. Use the lime wedge to moisten the rim of the glass, then dip the rim into the mixture. In a cocktail shaker, mix tequila, lime juice, agave nectar and orange bitters. Shake thoroughly and strain into the glass. Add fresh rocks and a peel of lime. Drink to your heart’s content!

3. Jalapeño Lemonade – W Hotel in Austin

Simple and delicious. Just mix up 1 ½ oz vodka, 1 ½ oz jalapeno simple syrup, 1 oz of lemon juice, 1 ½ oz of cucumber juice, then shake, strain and enjoy…


4. The Weight – Ava Gene’s, Portland

Served at Ava Gene’s – one of Bon Appetit’s “5 Best New Restaurants of 2014” this is a superb rye cocktail. Shake well with cracked ice, and serve up with a lemon or orange peel.

3/4 oz rye whiskey

3/4 oz fresh grapefruit juice

3/4 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quina (sweet vermouth)

3/4 oz Cynas amaro (fernet)

5. Tamarind Whiskey Sour – Pok Pok New York

Pok Pok does cocktails right – inventive and delicious. Their Tamarind Whiskey Sour is the perfect accompaniment to spicy food on a hot summer’s day.

Over rocks:

1 1/2 ounces bourbon

1 ounce fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon tamarind paste mixed with 1 tablespoon hot water and cooled

1/2 ounce Rich Simple Syrup

1 orange slice and 1 jarred sour cherry (optional), for garnish

6. Greyhound

Here’s a refreshing, tart cocktail to combat the heat. It’s like grapefruit juice, only better. shutterstock_182771132

2 ounce vodka or gin

4 ounces grapefruit juice

(For a traditional Salty Dog, rim a Collins glass with salt, pour the drink over ice into a Collins glass, and give it a quick stir. You might also garnish it with a slice of orange.)

7. The Azuñia Mex-Jito

1 1/2 oz. Azuñia Platinum

1 oz. Azuñia Organic Agave Nectar

1/2 oz. Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

Lime Wedge

10 Large Fresh Mint Leaves

Club Soda

We recommend making this one in an old fashioned glass. In your cocktail shaker, muddle the mint leaves and lime wedge, then add tequila, agave nectar, lime juice and lots of ice. Shake vigorously, then strain into an ice-filled glass and top it up with club soda. Garnish with the lime wedge.

8. Grand Tropez Cocktail

Squeeze in fresh lemon. Pour Grand Marnier over ice. And top with club soda. Boom. Done. Simple, elegant – and delicious.

9. Wicked Wicked White Sangria

shutterstock_196672583A refreshing spin on that summer favorite, sangria, this wicked wicked drink is sure to be the life of the party. Combine everything except for the wine and ginger ale, and let it sit at room temperature for an hour. Add wine. And finally, add the ginger ale right before serving.

4 bottles white wine

1 quart ginger ale

2 mangoes – peeled and sliced

4 thinly sliced oranges

1/2 C sugar

1/2 C orange liquor (triple sec will do in a pinch)

1/2 C cognac

10. Painkiller

Enjoyed in the Caribbean, where it can feel like summer year-round. One part Dark Rum with 4 parts pineapple juice, 1 part cream of coconut and 1 part orange juice served over the rocks with a generous amount of fresh nutmeg on top. You have a choice of numbers 2, 3 or 4, which designate the amount of Dark Rum. Salud!

Painkiller #2 … 2 parts Dark Rum

Painkiller #3 … 3 parts Dark Rum

Painkiller #4 … 4 parts Dark Rum

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