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Fruity and Fabulous: 5 Must-Sip Summer Spirits

by Matthew Wexler
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Jun 26, 2018
Fruity and Fabulous: 5 Must-Sip Summer Spirits
  (Source:Bluewater Distilling)

Summer is officially here and that means barbecues, picnics, rooftop parties, and backyard romps. If your cocktail repertoire is stuck in snoozy margaritas and other old-school libations, consider shaking things up with a fruit-infused spirit that does most of the work for you. It's been 30 years since Absolut Citron first hit the market and introduced consumers to flavored vodka. A decade later, the vodka reached further amplification as the Cosmpolitan's core ingredient made famous on "Sex and the City."

Today, nearly every distiller wants to make an impact with flavored spirits. Recent research indicates that flavored vodkas comprise 15 percent of the total annual segment. (That's more than nine million cases!) But beware. Marketing and packaging are often driving forces and often have very little to do with what's in the bottle.

EDGE went on the hunt to test and taste recent releases. Here are our favorite discoveries, along with easy-to-follow recipes to sip the season away. Always remember to drink responsibly.


Bluewater Organic Raspberry-Infused Vodka

Bluewater Organic Raspberry-Infused Vodka

Owner/distiller John Lundin founded Bluewater Distilling in the Pacific Northwest in 2007, utilizing traditional copper kettles and 100 percent organic ingredients.

The portfolio includes both vodka and gin, as well as a berry-licious, limited edition raspberry-infused vodka that uses fruit sourced from Viva Farms, an agricultural incubator in northwestern Washington's Skagit Valley.

The pink-hued vodka offers a kiss of berry that shakes up any cocktail. The gorgeous, American-made bottle isn't too shabby either.

Raspberry Sparkler
1oz. Bluewater Organic Raspberry-Infused Vodka
.5 oz. raspberry puree
2 dashes peach bitters
1 oz. Triple Sec
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
champagne or sparkling wine
edible flowers

Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Shake and strain into a champagne flute. Top with champagne and garnish with edible flowers.


Sugar Island Coconut Rum

Sugar Island Coconut Rum

There's nothing more beachy than a coconut rum-flavored cocktail, but choose poorly and you'll think you're drinking a bottle of Coppertone tanning lotion. Sugar Island Coconut Rum offers a delectable smooth finish and received 91 points from the Los Angeles International Spirits Competition.

Crafted in the Virgin Islands using sugar cane and natural coconut flavors, Sugar Island tops out as our number one pick for rum-based cocktails.

Who wants to drink alone? This recipe created by Jakob Hostetter from New York City's Cantina on Lenox features two types of rum and is served in a pineapple.

Pineapple Punch Para Dos
3 parts Sugar Island Spiced Rum
3 parts Sugar Island Coconut Rum
1 ½ parts Tres Agaves Strawberry Mix
¾ parts Coco Lopez
1 whole pineapple, hollowed out
1 lime, freshly squeezed

Blend all ingredients together and pour into hollow pineapple. Garnish with pineapple slices.


SakéOne Moonstone Plum Sake
  (Source:SakéOne)

SakéOne Moonstone Plum Sake

Boasting more awards than any other saké company in America, SakéOne's Moonstone collection begins with junmai ginjo sake, a fragrant and distinct saké. Varieties include Asian Pear, Coconut Lemongrass, and our favorite, Plum.

It may remind you of plum wine that can often be found in Japanese restaurants, but offers a much cleaner, lighter finish with a touch of almond. Made with crystal clear waters from Oregon's Willamette Valley, it drinks beautifully on its own or can be used in refreshing cocktails.

Thai Plum Fizz
4 oz. Moonstone Plum Saké
4 large Thai basil leaves
1 oz. soda water

Add the Basil leaves to a shaker with about a cup of ice and muddle. Add Moonstone Plum saké and shake. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. Top with soda water and Kanpai!


Dulce Vida Pineapple Jalapeño Tequila

Dulce Vida Pineapple Jalapeño Tequila

Celebrating its one-year anniversary this July, Dulce Vida Pineapple Jalapeño Tequila is made with 100 percent Blue Weber Agave Blanco tequila then infused with real pineapple, jalapeño, and other natural flavors.

Handcrafted in small batches and distilled in San Ignacio Cerro Gordo, Mexico, Dulce Vida is setting an industry standard for sustainability and has earned top honors at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, New York International Spirits Competition, and others.

Sweet with a bit of heat, Dulce Vida's pineapple jalapeño tequila uses a real fruit infusion to create a product that doesn't need a lot of fuss to taste delicious, such as their riff on a margarita:

Spicy Pineapple Margarita
2 oz. Dulce Vida Pineapple Jalapeño Tequila
Squeeze of agave nectar
1-2 fresh jalapeño rings
2 cubes of fresh pineapple
Squeeze of fresh lime juice
additional jalapeño ring for garnish

Pour tequila, agave nectar, and jalapeno rings into a shaker with ice. Squeeze cubes of pineapple and lime to add juice into the shaker. Shake for 40 seconds, then strain over ice and garnish with a fresh jalapeño ring.

Take a look at Dulce Vida's production process:


Boardroom FRESH Citrus Vodka
  (Source:Boardroom Spirits)

Boardroom FRESH Citrus Vodka

What's old is new again. Brothers Vlad and Marat Mamedov, along with Marat's wife Zsuzsa, left corporate jobs to open their own distillery in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Everything from research and development to manufacturing, bottling, and a cozy tasting room is under one massive roof at a converted warehouse.

Boardroom Vodka's FRESH collection includes, ginger, cranberry, and a modern interpretation of a vodka classic: citrus. Using nothing but real citrus peel, vodka, and water, this super-clean corn vodka forgoes sugar and preservatives and still delivers a refreshingly complex splash of flavor. Best part? No carbs and only 70 calories per serving!

Basil Drop
2 oz. FRESH Citrus Vodka
1 oz. simple syrup
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
5 fresh basil leaves

Combine all ingredients in the cocktail shaker and shake vigorously until well chilled. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a basil leaf.


Matthew Wexler is EDGE's National Style and Travel Editor. More of his writing can be found at www.wexlerwrites.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.


In the Spirit

This story is part of our special report titled "In the Spirit." Want to read more? Here's the full list.


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