Sipping on Summer: Fresh Cocktail Recipes

As things are heating up for the summer, try cooling down with these refreshing cocktails that are perfect for a warm day. These summer cocktails pair perfectly with the beaches, pools, and BBQs. Please drink responsibly while you sip, swim, and splash.

Strawberry Balsamic Smash

Strawberry Summer Cocktail









The combination of cucumber, balsamic vinegar, and strawberry gives this cocktail a unique blend of refreshing and tangy flavor. Strawberry balsamic salads are in high demand over the summer, so pairing these ingredients together makes for the perfect summer cocktail.


  • 2 lime wedges
  • 2  cucumber slices
  • 1 fresh-hulled strawberry
  • 1 tbsp simple syrup
  • ½ tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 oz gin

Using a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon, mash the lime wedges, cucumber slices, strawberry, simple syrup, and balsamic vinegar in a 16-oz mixing glass or a cocktail shaker 4–5 times to release juices and oils. Add gin. Transfer to a rocks glass. Fill halfway with crushed ice, stir, then mound more crushed ice on top. Garnish with a cucumber round.


Lemon Champagne Smash

Lemon Summer Cocktail












The tart flavors of lemon and rosé pair deliciously well with the freshness of the champagne and mint. Nothing says summer like crisp, fruity flavors!


  • 3 oz St. George Gin
  • 1.5 oz Lillet Rosé
  • Champagne
  • Mint sprigs
  • Lemon slice
  • Ice

In a shaker, muddle the lemon with a couple sprigs of mint. Add ice, gin and Lillet Rosé. Shake for 15 seconds. Fill highball glass with ice and strain shaker contents into glass. Top with champagne. Garnish with mint and lemon.


Berry-Licious Iced Ted Red Sangria

Berry Iced Tea Red Sangria Cocktail Recipe












Sangria is the soul mate for all summers. This Sangria-Iced Tea fusion cocktail pleases the palette with its delicious summer favorite ingredients.


  • 18.5 oz Sweet Tea, chilled
  • 1 (750 mL) bottle Red Moscato or other sweet red wine, chilled
  • 2 cups berry juice, chilled
  • 2 lbs. strawberries (hulled and sliced), blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries

In a large pitcher, combine tea, wine, and juice. Chill to blend flavors, at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. To serve, add fruit to pitcher or divide among glasses. Pour sangria over the fruit. The sangria may be served over ice if desired.


Jalapeño-Spiked Bourbon Julep

Jalapeño-Spiked Bourbon Julep Summer Cocktail










This spicy summer concoction pairs perfectly with brunch. Its fiery flavors give your palette the kick it needs to start your morning!


  • 4 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 oz Jalapeño Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
  • Crushed Ice
  • 2.5 oz bourbon
  • Club Soda
  • 1 thinly sliced jalapeño round

Jalapeño Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 jalapeño peppers


For the simple syrup: in a small saucepan over high heat, combine water, sugar, and jalapeños. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and let steep 20 minutes. Strain syrup; discard jalapeños, and cool syrup. Simple syrup can be refrigerated, in an airtight container, for up to 6 months.

For the cocktail: in a julep cup, pour Jalapeño Simple Syrup and add mint; gently bruise leaves with a muddler or wooden spoon. Add enough crushed ice to fill two-thirds of the cup. Add bourbon and stir gently; then add a bit more crushed ice. Top with a splash of club soda. Garnish with mint sprig and jalapeño.

Melon Berry Diablo Poptail

Melon poptail cocktail recipe











Who said popsicles are only for kids? Make an adult version of these summer treats with these “poptails” (more recipes can be found here)


  • Half of a large honeydew
  • 2.5 oz tequila
  • 2.5 oz ginger beer
  • 5 oz raspberrries (about 26 regular-size raspberries)
  • 1.5 oz cassis

Place honeydew and tequila into a blender or food processor and pulse until pureed. Transfer mixture into a pitcher. Add ginger beer and stir until combined. Place raspberry and cassis in a blender or food processor and pulse until pureed. Pour the two mixtures, alternating, into Popsicle mold, making 3-5 layers. With a Popsicle stick or small spoon swirl mixtures together in an up-and-down motion. Cover Popsicle mold with foil. Cut a tiny hole in the center of each well. Insert Popsicle stick through the hole. Place in freezer until frozen. To release popsicles, run hot water over outside of mold for 2-3 seconds.


Summer Shandy Beer Cocktail

Summer Shandy Beer Cocktail










This beer cocktail pairs perfectly with a hangover.


  • 12 oz. bottle Bud Light or any pale lager
  • 1.5 cups lemonade
  • ½ lemon
  • Cayenne pepper and salt to garnish

Rim a rocks glass with squeezed lemon and a bit of cayenne pepper and salt. Fill the glass halfway with lager, then fill to the top with lemonade. Gently stir. Garnish with a slice of lemon.

The Palace/Menara – Episode 423

Air Date: July 19th, 2015
Season 4, Episode 23 – Brokedown Palace
Location: Upland, California
Description: Tension is at an all time at high in Upland, CA when Jon Taffer and his experts challenge co-owners Sam Khalil and Ghazi Ashkar, who continuously micromanage each other and undermanage their staff.

The Story

Jon Taffer and his team of experts head to the West Coast to rescue The Palace, a Moroccan-themed bar owned by two brother-in-laws located in Upland, California. Since opening its doors in 2013, The Palace has accumulated $650,000 in debt and loses $8,000 to $10,000 monthly. Business owners Sam Khalil and Ghazi Ashkar hold very different roles within the bar, Sam being in charge of the back while Ghazi entertains the guests in the front with free drinks. Sam and Ghazi both have resentment toward each other for the bars failure, which created a toxic work environment for their employees. The staff at The Palace lacks the leadership, communication, and direction needed from Sam and Ghazi, making it impossible to run the restaurant properly.

The Recon

Jon recruited help from Alexander Siddig and Iddo Goldberg, actors in Spike’s new mini series Tut, to do recon at the bar. Alexander and Iddo, who finished filming Tut in Morocco a few days prior to their arrival at The Palace, were less than impressed at the poorly executed Moroccan décor throughout the bar. Alexander and Iddo drank a poorly concocted martini, waited fifteen minutes for a menu, and sat through an awkward belly dancing performance. The surveillance cameras placed inside the kitchen captured the chef handling raw meat before touching the plates of hummus, which were then served to Alexander and Iddo. An infuriated Jon radioed them to not eat the food, as it was unsafe.

Bar Rescue Brokedown Palace

The Stress Test

Due to the size of The Palace, which sits at 7,000 square feet, the remodeling had to begin immediately in order for it to be completed on time. The stress test took place at Stein Haus, a bar that Jon had previously rescued, and was a complete disaster. The pita bread was burnt, the inexperienced bartenders continuously served inconsistently poured cocktails, and the wait for food and drinks was entirely too long. Jon sent one of the bartenders home after she continued to make the same mistake in holding the bottle of alcohol incorrectly, causing her to make unequal pours. Sam and Ghazi have switched roles throughout the stress test, Ghazi now in charge of the kitchen and Sam out managing the front. Ghazi decides to then leave the kitchen and mingle with guests out in the front, causing an argument to erupt between the two owners. Jon finally shuts it down.

The Rescue

For a fresh start, Jon renames the bar Menara, giving the bar a more authentic Moroccan vibe. Mia Mastronianni, a world-famous mixologist, crafted two signature cocktails for the bar and Penny Davidi, the executive chef at PUMP in West Hollywood, created a menu that authentically captured the Moroccan culture. To enhance the Moroccan theme, tiles were added behind the bar and colors of dark red, orange, and mustard were incorporated throughout the bar. To make the bar area more inviting Jon added bar stools, which were accompanied by newly drafted drink menus. To break the banquet-like seating, Jon implemented a new seating structure.

Taffer Tips

  • People spend 60% more in a well-themed bar.
  • Garnishing a cocktail correctly will add style to signature cocktails.
  • Business partners need to respect each other in order to be successful with their business.
  • When handling raw meat, WASH YOUR HANDS immediately before touching anything else. Always use proper food handling procedures to keep your customers safe.


Six weeks later, Menara earned $72,356 in revenue. The bartenders have excelled and the staff has enjoyed the new sense of leadership felt throughout the bar. Sam and Ghazi are now true partners, who respect each other.

Featured Cocktails
The Pomagazi

  • 1 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • 5 oz. Cardamom Infused Pomegranate Syrup
  • 5 oz Smirnoff 21 Vodka
  • lime wheel

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a lime wheel.

The Fig and Honey Sour

  • 3/4 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. Fig and honey syrup
  • 5 oz. Crown Royal Deluxe

Combine ingredients in a shaker. Strain into a rocks glass over ice.


Six Point Inn/Over Easy Bar & Breakfast – Episode 425

Air Date: July 12, 2015
Season 4, Episode 25 – It’s Always Sunny in Portland
Location: Portland, OR
Description: Tempers ignite in this Portland bar, when Jon Taffer and his experts face off with a stubborn chef, while an owner is ready to cut the cord as his over-bearing stepdaughter and business partner berates her staff.

The Story
Jon Taffer and the crew head to Oregon to rescue Six Point Inn, a family-owned bar located in a small blue-collar neighborhood of St. John in northern Portland. As one of the only bars in the neighborhood, the business was successful upon opening its doors in 2009, generating $30,000 in revenue a month. Business owner, Oleg Pilipenko, decided to shift his focus to opening other businesses and left his inexperienced stepdaughter, Sunny, in control of the bar’s daily operations. Sunny’s resentment with Oleg created a toxic work environment, which led to declining staff morale and chasing customers away. With an absent owner and a crumbling family relationship, Six Point Inn began to fail, leaving the bar with $1,000,000 in debt.

The Recon
Jon enlisted the help of local social media bloggers to do recon at the bar, which is supposedly known for their breakfast items such as Bloody Mary’s and biscuits and gravy. During the recon, the microwavable gravy left the bloggers extremely unimpressed. The drinks were described as “too boozy” and a blogger stated that it was “one of the more regrettable things I’ve ever drank.” The verdict? Thumbs down – in order for Six Point Inn to succeed, they would need to come up with a better menu to stand out from the competition.

The Rescue
The business’s name “Six Point Inn” was misleading and made it seem more like a hotel than a bar. Jon Taffer renamed it to Over Easy Bar and Breakfast and gave it a fresh coat of paint to brighten up the exterior. Inside the bar, Jon placed the focus on local, fresh ingredients (important to the young, Portland demographic) by bringing in an eye-catching wall display of fresh oranges and coffee beans. Jon moved the eating area to a brightly lit dining room with windows, separate from the darker bar area.

Taffer Tips
• Garnering the support of your social media bloggers is free marketing. At the touch of a button, their words can reach over 100,000 people. Bloggers can make or break a bar’s reputation.
• Breakfast houses needs natural lighting. Dark lighting is more conducive for drinking.
• Muddling extracts the juices and oils from the fruits and herbs. Ice does NOT help the muddling process and only waters down the drink.
• Having an amazing garnish elevates the value of the drink. When you see a cocktail that looks sexy and expensive, you’re willing to pay money for that cocktail.
• Repurposing your ingredients for multiple dishes keeps your food cost low.

Eight weeks after the re-launch, beverage sales are up 30% and food sales were up 65%. Sunny and Oleg are working like a team to manage the bar, but Sal has gone back to his old gravy.

Yelp Reviews
• “The bar has recently been remodeled and looks great. Tasty food with decent prices. The Bloody Mary’s are made from scratch and are very good. Breakfast served all day, which is yummy. Our waitress was very friendly. Definitely go back again!” Tiffany L.
• What really makes this place pop is the breakfast. The handmade Bloody Mary’s were fresh, spicy, and delicious. The prices are great too!

Featured Cocktail: The Java Rum
Rim glass with sugar
Dash of high proof rum
Dash of cinnamon
¾ oz. Captain Morgan White Rum
¾ oz. coffee liqueur
6 oz. hot coffee
Top: vanilla heavy cream
Garnish: Doughnut hole

Rim a coffee mug with sugar. Add a dash of high proof rum and a dash of cinnamon. Add coffee liqueur and rum. Add coffee and top off with vanilla heavy cream. Garnish with donut hole.

Start the Summer Off Right With New, Exciting Drinks for Your Bar

Are you looking for a simple way to spice things up in your bar? Then add these two summer drink necessities to your menu: the beer cocktail and the infused vodka cocktail.

Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary with a Beer Cocktail

The beer cocktail, also known as the beertail, offers an interesting mix of complex flavors that titillate the senses. “With a little bit of beer knowledge you can learn to group beers by their flavor characteristics,” says Matt Brynildson, Brew Master at Firestone Walker Brewing Co., in Paso Robles, California.

The flavor characteristics of beer fall under one of three designations; ‘sour’, ‘sweet’, or ‘bitter.’ If you look at them as separate components and blend them with those categories in mind, you can create a variety of delicious beertails. For example:

  • Beer blends: Two or more different beers are blended together
  • Beer plus another element: Add spirits, fruits, or a combination of the two to a beer
  • Beer as a flavoring ingredient in a traditionally styled cocktail

Here are a few beertail recipes:

Black Velvet

What You Need:

  • Guinness Beer
  • Champagne (or sparkling wine)

What to Do:

Fill a tall glass halfway with beer. Pouring over a spoon into the glass, fill to the top with champagne (or sparkling wine).

Strawberrry Beer Lemonade 

What You Need:

  • 1 large 6oz bottle of beer (any Blond Ale or an American Pale Ale with notes of citrus)
  • 2 cups of strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup of frozen strawberries (about 5 strawberries)*
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

What to Do:

Add the berries, sugar, and lemon juice to a pitcher. Let the ingredients stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes to allow the sugar to dissolve. Add the beer and frozen strawberries. Stir to combine.

*Frozen strawberries are used in place of ice so that the drink does not become watered down.


Vodka Infused Recipes Are Simple, Easy, and Delicious

Another great addition for your summer drink menu is the vodka infused cocktail. This is a very refreshing cocktail that your customers will love. To help you get started, here are a couple of recipes to inspire you:

Pineapple and Lime Infused Vodka

What You Need:

  • 4 cups Vodka
  • 1 1/2 cups Pineapple, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup Lime Slices

What to Do:

Combine the ingredients in an air tight container. Seal the container tightly and refrigerate for at least three days, but not more than a week. Remove the lime and pineapple pieces and serve over ice with sparkling water.

Jalapeno Infused Vodka

What You Need:

  • 4 cups Vodka
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, sliced

What to Do:

Combine the ingredients in an air tight container. Seal the container tightly and refrigerate for at least three days, but not more than a week. Remove the jalapeno peppers and serve over ice with mango juice.

Summer sipping! Cocktails and more drink pairings for your barbecue

Jon Taffer, star of Spike TV show “Bar Rescue,” serves up some drink pairings to go with our summer barbecue favorites — because everyone knows the best part of going to a barbecue is the drinking!