This week, we’re all about keepin’ it simple with our cocktails for Labor Day. Using the following quintet of easy-to-make recipes, impress guests at your unofficial end-of-summer barbecue without spending the entire three-day weekend behind the bar. Each drink requires minimal labor to deliver maximum flavor.
Possibly the simplest beverage on the list, this beertail sounds like a combo that shouldn’t work, but it does. Campari, while technically a bitter, is quite herbal. Try an ounce in your favorite brew to boost the depth, flavor and, of course, ABV. The apéritif works well with wheat beers or IPAs, and I like it best with Orange Blossom Pilsner and Cigar City Florida Cracker.
1 ounce Campari
12 ounces wheat beer or IPA
In a chilled pint glass, add Campari and top with your favorite beer.
Grapefruit Vodka and Lemonade
A two-ingredient refresher that’s one of my go-to, done-in-a-flash cocktails for summer. I’m not a fan of artificial-tasting flavored vodkas, but Deep Eddy Vodka, which says it uses "real grapefruit juice" in its Ruby Red spirit, does it right if you’re not sure what to buy. All you need is a little Publix lemonade and you’re in business.
2.5 ounces grapefruit vodka
5-6 ounces lemonade
Tonic water (optional)
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then add vodka and lemonade. Shake until well-chilled. Fill a Collins glass with ice, strain in cocktail and garnish with a lemon peel. For a little effervescence, top with a splash of tonic.
Because tequila isn't just reserved for margaritas, and Palomas are equally refreshing and tasty. You can switch up the classic recipe with Jarritos lime and grapefruit sodas, but I highly recommend pairing Jarritos Grapefruit with freshly squeezed lime juice.
2 ounces your favorite agave tequila
2 ounces Jarritos Grapefruit
2 ounces fresh lime juice (about half a lime)
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add all ingredients. Shake until well-chilled. Fill a margarita glass with ice and strain in cocktail. Garnish with a lime wedge.
St. Germaine and Champagne
If you want to go pinkies-out fancy for the holiday with a little bubbly, this one’s for you. Never tasted St-Germain or elderflower liqueur? What are you waiting for? Its delicate floral notes are the perfect accompaniment to champagne.
1 ounces St-Germain
5-6 ounces chilled champagne
In a champagne flute, pour in St-Germain and top with champagne.
Sweet Tea Vodka, Lemon and Tonic
Nothing says summertime more than sweet tea. Last month, we talked about how you can make your own sweet tea vodka in just five minutes. A three-day weekend serves as the perfect time to break this cocktail out.
3 ounces sage-infused sweet tea vodka (recipe here)
Juice of 1 lemon (use lemonade for an even simpler version)
2-3 ounces tonic
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice, then add vodka and lemon juice. Shake until well-chilled. Fill a Collins glass with ice, strain in cocktail and top with tonic. Garnish with a lemon wheel or sage leaf.