Summertime Chillers

If you have ever been out to dinner with me, you know I am very particular when it comes to my cocktails—down to the glass! Every drink tastes better with the finest and freshest ingredients. All of the drink recipes here are company-worthy—and guaranteed to leave you feeling great!

Paloma (Skinny Margarita) 

Kosher salt
Lime wedge, plus slice for garnish
2 ounces white tequila
2 ounces freshly squeezed Ruby Red grapefruit juice (about 2 grapefruits), plus wedge for garnish
2 ounces sparkling water (like Topo Chico)
½ ounce fresh lime juice
¼ ounce simple syrup or 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
Ice
Fresh mint leaves

Place kosher salt on a small plate. Rub lime wedge onto rim of glass, and dip glass rim into salt.

In a mixing glass or small pitcher, combine tequila and next 4 ingredients, stirring to combine well. Pour over ice in prepared glass. Garnish with grapefruit wedge, lime slice, and fresh mint, if desired. 

“It doesn’t take much to make this freshly squeezed, skinny margarita. It’s so light, you’ll be able to enjoy a few!”

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French 75

2 ounces gin
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup
2 ounces Champagne
Lemon spiral and nasturtium

Combine gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice; cover and shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is very cold, about 30 seconds. 

Strain cocktail through strainer into a Champagne flute or coupe-style glass. Garnish with lemon spiral and nasturtium.

Everything Dilly Bloody Mary

Everything but the Bagel seasoning salt
Lemon wedge
1½ ounces vodka
½ ounce lemon juice
3 ounces bloody Mary mix
½ ounce dill pickle juice
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of hot sauce (optional)
Celery stalk or dill pickle wedge

Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of Everything but the Bagel seasoning salt into a small plate. Moisten the rim of a glass with lemon wedge. Dip to coat the rim of the glass in the seasoning. Carefully add ice to the glass, being careful not to knock the salt off the rim. Add vodka and next 5 ingredients, and, if desired, hot sauce. Stir to combine thoroughly. 

Garnish with a celery stalk or a dill pickle wedge. 

“The secret ingredient in the Bloody Mary recipe is the dill pickle juice—don’t skip this step!”

Leslie’s Cocktail Tips

  • Buy the good Champagne and liquors—you’ll be glad you did. For the best spirits, try the ones from Birmingham’s Redmont Distilling Company. They won’t look too shabby on your bar either. For tequila, I like Blanco Casamigos tequila.
  • Use freshly squeezed juices whenever possible. If you need a substitution, though, try Natalie’s Juice Company.
  • Garnish like a pro. Think lemon and lime twists, fun olive picks, and edible flowers. 
  • Chill the glasses when you can. Serve with pretty cocktail napkins, straws, and stirrers. (Glassware is from A’mano in Mountain Brook Village.)
  • No one wants the bar to run dry. Be sure you are stocked with plenty of everything—including mixers and ice!

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