Patio Perfect: Pitcher Cocktails

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Spring. The birds are chirping, the sun begins to shine a little more, and all over people start venturing outside to enjoy the greatest of all man made features…the patio. Yes, It is once again patio season. Time to hose down the patio furniture, hang a few ferns, crank up the warm weather tunes, invite a few friends over and imbibe these celebratory pitcher cocktails. Old man winter is gone for another year and the dog days of summer are still miles away.

Pitcher Cocktails. Story by Andrew Yenne. Photos by Sam Henderson.

Pitcher Cocktails. Story by Andrew Yenne. Photos by Sam Henderson.

Fact: Patio season is best enjoyed in the company of others. These pitcher cocktails are made to be shared and then made again.

Old Tom’s Lavender Lemonade

Before you start:

This is a unique twist on a patio favorite. Sure you can find recipes for lavender lemonade all over the interwebs, but what makes this drink really interesting is the malt backbone provided by the use of Old Tom’s gin. A gin made with malted barley. This one is sure to become a favorite.

You can substitute any London dry gin and it will still be delicious, but you will lose the malty uniqueness.

Ingredients:

  • 5 Lemons
  • Old Tom’s gin
  • Lavender Simple Syrup
  • Club soda

Lavender Simple Syrup:

  • Six 3" sprigs of fresh lavender
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar

Slowly bring water to a boil. Add lavender and remove from heat. Allow sprigs to steep for about 10 minutes. Bring water back to a boil adding a cup of sugar. Stir until sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.

The Method:

  1. Fill a pitcher with ice.
  2. Squeeze 5 lemons over the ice.
  3. Add 5 oz of Lavender Simple Syrup.
  4. Add 6 oz Old Tom’s gin.
  5. Top with club soda (no more than 5 oz).
  6. Stir.
  7. Add sliced lemons to the pitcher for garnish.  (personally I reserve any extra lemons for my next batch, these won’t last long).

Hibiscus Passion Mojito

Before you start:

First, one of my pet peeves is when someone takes a classic cocktail adds a new flavor to it and the just calls it “new flavor classic cocktail” instead of renaming it something cool. With that said, I’ve broken my own rule here. The inspiration for this drink is a) awesomeness and b) the good folks of GoodPops Hibiscus Mint frozen pop... sweet deliciousness.

Ingredients:

  • 4 limes
  • a handful of fresh mint
  • 7 ounces of white rum (I prefer Flor de Cana)
  • 6 oz Hibiscus Passion Simple Syrup
  • 8 oz club soda

Hibiscus Passion Simple Syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup hibiscus tea (I used Tazo Iced Passion Tea)

Brew a strong batch of Hibiscus tea. For the Tazo tea I add one bag to a pitcher and pour 24 oz of boiling water on top. Let it steep for 10 minutes. Take the hibiscus tea and add it to a pot. Bring back to a boil while adding the 1 cup of sugar. Stir until all sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.

The Method:

  1. Add ¾ of mint to bottom of pitcher.
  2. Juice 2 limes into pitcher.
  3. With a wooden spoon, muddle the lime juice and mint to release the mint leaf oils.
  4. Add ice to the pitcher.
  5. Juice remaining limes into pitcher.
  6. Add 6 oz of hibiscus simple syrup.
  7. Add 7 oz of white rum.
  8. Top with club soda.
  9. Stir.
  10. Garnish with a lime wedge and a healthy amount of mint.

Classic Sangria

Before you start:

Who doesn’t love sangria? It is the original pitcher cocktail. Easy to make, hard to perfect. All sangria connoisseurs have their own secret recipe with every fruit imaginable. This recipe is for a very basic but tasty sangria. Take this base and create your very own secret recipe to enjoy all patio season and beyond.

The ingredients:

  • 1 bottle Spanish red wine
  • 2 oz brandy
  • 1 small lemon
  • 1 small lime
  • 1 orange
  • 1.5 oz simple syrup 
  • Splash club soda

The method:

  1. Fill pitcher with ice.
  2. Add entire bottle of red Spanish table wine. 
  3. Add 2 oz brandy.
  4. Add juice of 1 small lemon.
  5. Add juice of 1 small lime.
  6. Add juice of 1 whole orange.
  7. Add 1.5 oz of simple syrup (more to taste).
  8. Top with club soda.
  9. Stir.
  10. Add slices of lemon, lime and oranges to the pitcher.