Trendy Summer Sips

Shrubs, infused spirits and wines flavored with seasonal herbs and fruits makes summer cocktails a refreshing way to beat the heat.

Chilling out this summer hasn’t been easy. With record breaking temperatures still forecast for the remainder of summer, your bartender has a suggestion -cool off with a trendy summer cocktail.

Summer cocktails are typically lighter concoctions that can be mixed with or without alcohol. Fruit flavored wine punches such as sangria has been a favorite for decades as well as wine spritzers and sparklers made with sparkling wines.

“My favorite sparkler is made by taking a sparkling wine like Proceso and placing frozen raspberries in the drink. It's something different and refreshing on hot summer days,” said Patty Held, Hermann Wine Trail Director/Trail Boss.  “I also like to make red wine spritzers with a Missouri wine like Hunter's Red and add soda and a slice of orange.”

While most sparklers and spritzers feature such carbonated mixers as bubbly wines, seltzer, lemon-lime or club sodas, a recent trend has  creative barkeeps mixing summer spritzers using fruit juice and flavored still drinks such as lemonade.

“Lemonade is what we use to make our Jazz Berry Lemonade,” said Tim Puchta, owner of Adam Puchta Winery. “We just featured it at the Berries & BBQ Wine Trail event. It uses our Jazz Berry wine that’s made with a white wine base and raspberry juice added to it. We then mix it about half and half with lemonade. Of course, when I make them I use more wine than lemonade. But no matter how you mix it, wine lemonade makes a great drink on a hot summer day.”

Cory Cuff, Four Season's Assistant Food & Beverage Manager and Cielo’s cocktail maven, has shaken up its summer bar menu with trendy libations designed to sip and chill out over. Cuff's collection of sumer drinks feature flavored liquors, infused sprits and sweet and savory syrups such as shrubs, a concoction of fruits and/or herbs infused in a vinegar/sugar solution. Shrubs, classically made with fruit juices and vinegars were fashionable during the 1700s. Today Cuff utilizes herbs and citrus in many his srhub recipes as his cucumber and lime shrub that’s used to created Cielo’s “ Unusual Margarita”

“Shrubs are great drinks for summer,” said Cuff, commenting on how drinking as with eating, should be guided by the seasons.

Shrub bases historically are mixed with such hard spirits as rum or brandy. Today Shrubs are mixed with wines or seltzer as served throughout summer and early fall.  Herb infusions in a simple syrup is another old-time summer drink base that can be mixed with spirits or served over ice straight or diluted with plain water.

Mixing cocktails using fresh ingredients adds color and flavor while encouraging the creation of unusual combinations. For example Cuff infuses gin with fresh sage from Cielo’s terrance herb garden. The result imparts a subtle flavor to the gin that mixes nicely with tonic water.

If you decide to make your own herb infusions, Cuff recommends picking herbs in the late afternoon. That's when they're at their best. Lightly brush the herbs off to clean them and place in a Mason jar. Cover with the infusion liquid and refrigerate. Herbs such as basil will take only a few hours to infuse while others such as lemon grass and jalapeno can take up to four days to obtain the maximum desired flavor. 

Before summer slips away, take the time to toast the season. Raise a glass filled with one of the following summer cocktail specialties.

Adum Putcha’s Putcha-rita 
 (Courtesy Tim Puchta)


  • 1 pitcher of ice
  • 1 bottle white wine
  • 2 shoots Grand Marnier
  • Tequila mix  (non-alcoholic) to taste

Mix all the above and serve over ice with a slice of lime


Day Boating
(Courtesy Cory Cuff, Cielo Bar at The Four Season’s St Louis) 


  •  2 oz Housemade Spiced Don Cesar Pisco
  • 3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
  • 3/4 oz Orange Juice
  • 3/4 oz Housemade Sour
  • 3/4 oz Cranberry Juice
  • 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
  • Garnish: Lemon Twist

To mix combine the above ingredients in an a shaker and shake for 15-20 seconds.Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a twist.


Housemade Spiced Don Cesar Pisco

For Each Bottle of Pisco add the following:

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 pods star anise
  • 10 cloves

Let marinate for 48 hours and strain.  

To make Simple Syrup

Combine  equal portions of sugar and water and bring to a broil and cool. Add a few twists citrus rind to enhance flavor.

Unsusal Margarita - Jalapeno & Thyme Infused Margarita
(Courtesy Cory Cuff, Cielo Bar at The Four Season’s St Louis) 


  • 1.5 oz jalapeno & thyme infused avion silver tequila
  • .75 oz cucumber & lime shrub (recipe follows)
  • .75 oz cointreau or triple sec
  • -alt rimmed glass, optional
  • lime wedge garnish

Place all the ingredients in a shaker and add ice. Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.  Strain and pour over ice into a rocks glass that can be rimmed with salt if desired.   Garnish with a lime wedge and serve.

Cucumber & Lime Shrub

  • 1 1/2 cups of Champagne Vinegar
  • 1 English Cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 3 limes, halved & juiced
  • 3 oz sugar

In a large zip lock bag  place sliced cucumber, the lime juice & the lime halves into a bowl and cover with the vinegar.  Make sure the cucumber and limes are covered and refrigerate, shaking daily for 4 days. Strain the mixture into a sauce pan and add the sugar.  Boil for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool; then bottle and enjoy. Store in the refrigerator.  


Watermelon Mimosa
(National Watermelon Promotion Board)


  • 1cup water juice (puree, stained)
  • 1/2 cup sparkling wine, champagne or Asti (not brut)

Divide watermelon juice between 2 – 3 flute champagne flutes. Fill with sparkling wine or choice.

Makes 2 –3 cocktails


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »