The Best Summer Cocktails from America’s Bartender of the Year

Cocktails are often an afterthought when it comes to summer parties and soirees. Instead, coolers of beers and white wines take center stage. The drinks are great, but nothing elevates a gathering like a well-crafted drink. This cocktail adds sophistication to shorts and sundresses.

The drinks popular in the cooler months may be less appealing to your loved one when it’s hotter. In the heat of the day, the boozier glasses popular in the cooler months don’t work either. It’s important to serve something lighter and more refreshing for your guests. Renato Tonelli is the U.S. bartender of 2023.

Tonelli began his career in hospitality in Rome, then expanded and perfected his skills in Brussels and Melbourne before returning to New York City, where he was raised. After beating thirty of America’s best bartenders during the United States Bartending Guild Presents World Class Competition over three days, Tonelli earned his place in the Global Finals, which will be held in Sao Paolo.

Summer cocktails need to be easy to drink and crushable. Tonelli says that you should choose a cocktail that is easy to drink and hits the spot—sticking to seasonal fruits, whether berries, tropical fruits, or stone fruits, can be beneficial, depending on where you live. Nothing is better than a juicy, sweet fruit you’ve been looking forward to all year.

Enjoy these seven unique recipes to Tonelli, and pair them perfectly with summer evenings spent in the sun.

Por Mi Familia

This is a twist to an Old Fashioned cocktail served straight. This version of the Old Fashioned is a tropical twist on the classic cocktail. It uses banana liqueur and coconut water with fruity notes from Don Julio Reposado. It is possible to freeze the first five ingredients with filtered water in advance so that it will be extra cold when you serve it on a hot day. Don Julio Gonzalez created this cocktail to show his love for his family. He used the Reposado tequila, the first from the Don Julio range that he only shared with close family, and Used a straw and tasted the drink to determine if it was diluted enough. (The drink should not taste harsh or too strong, nor should it taste thin or watery). Pour a small amount of Yellow Chartreuse into the glass before straining. Then, twirl the glass around to rinse. Pour the cocktail into a Nick & Nora glass or Coupe and add lemon peel essence. Garnish the drink with a slice of lemon peel.

Por Mi Tierra

This refreshing version of a Limonata is typically served in the summer heat in Mexico, particularly on farms that grow agave. The cocktail’s name is a tribute to the land. This cocktail is typically made with lime, sugar, and water. It has tropical notes thanks to the mango and guava, which are used as natural sweeteners. This is the perfect drink to enjoy on a hot day in summer.

Spiced Champagne Cocktail

In the summer, we sometimes want something substantial. We prefer something that is thirst-quenching and has a low alcohol content. This cocktail is an adaptation of a classic champagne cocktail, which typically contains sugar, bitters, and cognac. This cocktail is made with Seedlip Spice, which is a non-alcoholic spirit. It gives depth and flavor by combining liqueurs, fortified wine, and citrus notes.

Mojito Mule

This cocktail mixes a Moscow Mule and a Mojito but with less alcohol. Citrus dominates this cocktail thanks to Ketel One Citroens’ infusions with fresh limes and lemons. Ginger root is then added for a spicy kick. Unlike the others, this cocktail is served with crushed ice to make it colder and give you that extra water that’s great to drink on a hot day.

Picnic Sangria

This cocktail is an adaptation of sangria that’s perfect for a picnic. The flavors of figs and honey in this cocktail are the typical snacks you’d have on a breeze with cheeses and fruits. Orange wine is gaining popularity, and I chose it to add complexity and tartness. Ketel One Peach, Orange Blossom, and Apple +1.1% Kombucha add the fruity element that so many sangrias have.

Bat City

Watermelon is the perfect summery drink for Manhattan drinkers. Instead of Bourbon or Rye, Don Julio Anejo can provide a similar taste profile by adding tropical cooked fruits that pair well with watermelon’s freshness. Sherry, Cabernet Sauvignon, and other ingredients add acidity and tannins rather than the heavier notes that some sweet vermouths can give. I wanted to create a cocktail that would stand up well in a Texas barbecue (where I was competing). The cocktail is called ‘Bat City,’ after the nickname of Austin, Texas, and because bats pollinate the agave plants, which are where tequila is made.

Our Sea

This cocktail, named after the Mediterranean Sea (or what the Romans called “Mare Nostrum” or Our Sea), is a tribute to my Italian heritage and the flavors. The flavors of almonds, mint, thyme, lemons, and Johnnie Walker Black Label are mixed with saline notes from Talisker 10 and Johnnie Walker Black Label. The drink is given a tartness by adding Greek yogurt. It’s best to enjoy it as a digestif at the end of your meal. This is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth and replace gelato!

You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply