We're a week out from "official" summer, but with schools out in Denver; temps in the 90s in New York; and the sun always shining in L.A., diners are already in a summer state of mind. Make sure you've got the patios open, the outdoor fireplaces roaring, and consider freshening up your menu with a taste of summer.
An easy way to take people there? Consider creating a summer cocktail list. There is no better way to unwind than to take in the late afternoon sun on your favorite patio, with some friends and a great drink--so make your spot the go-to place for delicious cocktails.
Here are a few easy ways to get your happy hour and cocktail menus summer-ready with what's trending this season.
1. Fruity Drinks.
Fruit-based cocktails will forever remind people of summertime and vacation. Because they tend to be nostalgic, find ways to dress up the classics for definite crwod pleasers. Here are three ways to make a mojito from Delish
; a recipe for boozy sour watermelon slushies
, for a resort-like take on a favorite summer flavor; and Food & Wine's version of a Lemoncello Collins
Our Top Trends show the rise of whiskey cocktails, especially as there is a movement from craft breweries to distilleries; but whiskey doesn't necessarily scream "Summer!" Here are a few ways to cool it down, like a seared apricot-ginger cooler
or the Martha Stuart version of a mint julep
3. Gin cocktails.
Obviously clear liquors are more common in the warmer seasons, and for the second summer in a row, our restaurant consultants recognize the diners' affinity for gin. The juniper bite is refreshing on a warm night. You could go the standard route with a gin fizz, a gimlet, or a gin and mint--but people can order those on their own. For a fresh gin twist on your cocktail menu, make your own version of Saveur's Gallagher Smash
Our restaurant consultants are experts in menu development and create signature cocktails for restaurants all the time (like this one!
). If you need help with your summertime menu, contact a consultant