Aperol-Rum-Pineapple Cocktail

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I didn’t know what to call this cocktail, so I made it literal. There’s aperol. There’s rum. There’s pineapple. There’s more to it, but essentially it tastes like a tropical island without the saccharine sweetness that overwhelms so many tiki-style drinks. It comes together in a cinch, making it perfect for a lazy summer day.

aperol rum pineapple cocktail

Ingredients:

1/4 cup sugar
1 ounce Aperol
1 ounce spiced dark rum
1 ounce pineapple juice
1/2 ounce lime juice
mint leaves, for garnish (optional)

1. Combine sugar and 1/4 water in a bowl and mix until sugar is dissolved to make simple syrup.

2. Combine Aperol, rum, pineapple juice, lime juice, and 1/4 ounce syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Cover and shake vigorously 30 seconds. Strain into a glass filled to the brim with crushed ice and garnish with mint, if desired.

Citrus Daiquiri

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Forget the adult slushie association. A true daiquiri is simple and balanced: a bit of rum, a dash of sugar, and a squeeze of lime. It should be bright, not sickly sweet. If you’re trying to figure out what to do with the last of the winter citrus, this daiquiri recipe is a creative riff on the classic, livened with the addition of mandarins. Feel free to substitute kumquats or tangerines.

Citrus daiquiri

Ingredients:

1/2 lime, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 mandarin, cut into half
2 ounces aged rum

1. Muddle lime and sugar in a cocktail shaker. Add mandarin and muddle until lightly crushed and juices are released. Fill cocktail shaker with ice, add rum, and shake vigorously until very cold, about 20 seconds. Pour into a glass and serve. Makes 1.

Strawberry-Mint Agua Fresca

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My favorite thing about this strawberry agua fresca (outside of it being immensely refreshing) is the Persianity factor. The Iranian vibes are strong with this one, my friend: a generous addition of not just mint but heady rosewater takes this agua fresca to the next level.

You’ll be sipping this all spring (and summer). Happy strawberry season.

Strawberry-mint agua fresca

1 pound strawberries, trimmed
1/3 cup mint leaves, plus sprigs for serving
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon rosewater
Club soda
Lime wheels, for serving (optional)

1. Puree strawberries, mint leaves, lime juice, agave nectar, rose water, and 2 cups water in a blender until smooth. Transfer puree to a container, cover, and chill until cold, about 1 hour.

2. Skim off any foam from surface and pour puree into four serving glasses filled with ice. Top with club soda and garnish with mint sprigs and lime wheels.

Apple Cider and Rum Cocktail

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Since last year, this batch cocktail has become my new go-to every winter holiday. Easy, refreshing, and not too sweet, it’s a hit with everyone. And even though the holidays are over, it’s still cold and bleary outside, so let’s be real: we need something to hold us over until the skies are sunny again.

Apple cider and rum punch

Ingredients:

1 cup dark rum
1 cup sweet vermouth
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
1/4 cup simple syrup
8 dashes Angostura bitters
1/2 red apple, thinly sliced, plus more for serving
3 strips orange zest, thinly sliced
1 12-ounce bottle French hard cider

1. Combine rum, vermouth, lemon juice, simple syrup, and bitters in a pitcher. Add 1 1/2 cups ice and stir until ice has mostly melted and cocktail is cold. Stir in apple slices and orange zest; gently stir in cider.

2. Divide cocktail among ice-filled glasses and garnish with more apple slices.

Mezcal Paloma

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Move over, tequila. This citrusy Paloma is made into something complex and new with the addition of smoky, earthy mezcal. Easy to make (and uh, easier to drink), this cocktail is made brighter with the addition of effervescent grapefruit soda. Don’t nix the soda: it rounds out the drink perfectly.

Mezcal paloma

Ingredients:

1/4 cup sea salt
1 teaspoon ground chile de arbol
Small grapefruit wedge (for glass)
2 ounces mezcal
1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
6 ounces grapefruit soda
Grapefruit twist, for garnish

1. Mix salt and chile in a small bowl and spread out on a small plate. Rub the rim of a glass with grapefruit wedge, then dip into salt mixture to evenly coat rim. Fill glass with ice and pour in mezcal, grapefruit juice, then soda. Garnish with grapefruit twist.