Our Sunny Season Sips: Cocktail Trends to Watch, Recipes to Try, and Ingredients to Enjoy this Spring and Summer

Posted by Kait Weir on

Summer is well on its way. With the changing of the seasons come new ingredients in season, which means new cocktails to try and perfect. We’ve taken some time to study this season’s best produce, cocktail innovations that are rising in popularity, and develop our own renditions for your enjoyment. Read the below blog to learn how to incorporate seasonal ingredients into the perfect summer cocktail recipe for 2024.


Trend Watch: Health-Forward and Technically Advanced Cocktails and Mocktails


As we’re sure you’ve noticed too, two behaviors have become more accepted in the cocktail community not just regionally here in Denver, but nationally. An increased awareness and acceptance of the sober and sober-curious community within spaces like bars and restaurants. Plus, more intentional consumption practices from the drinking community, specifically focusing on health-forward ingredients. Let’s dive into what these things mean for the cocktail space.


The sober and sober-curious community in Denver has been around as long as the drinking culture of Denver. They’ve always been around, just not in spaces where you might imagine them. Individuals who prefer non-alcoholic options have only recently begun returning en masse to bars, as bars have begun to adopt more non-alcoholic and mocktail options to their menus. This is a huge step in a positive direction, as bars are well known for their ability to bridge the gap for people (Denver transplants like you and I) in terms of socialization. Now, sober individuals can feel more comfortable returning to spaces where alcohol consumption is a focus, with nuance of course, without having to compromise on their own entertainment. 


We’ve noticed these aspects becoming more important in the industry and have adjusted accordingly. At every event we throw or participate in, we make sure to include mocktail and alcohol-free varieties for guests to choose from.


In a similar way that many individuals in the community are re-evaluating their relationships with alcohol, many are also analyzing their overall consumption in an effort to prioritize personal health and wellbeing. A great example of this in motion is a brand like Recess, a zero-proof cocktail brand made for alcohol-free moments. Their mission is to can feelings, giving you the cocktail experience, without the hangover. They prioritize health-forward ingredients, some of which include adaptogens and natural products like ginger and guayusa(which is rich in antioxidants and caffeine). Needless to say, the people are loving this switch to health-forward, conscious consumption.


Intentional consumption is something we as a staff prioritize in our daily lives, and has begun to become adopted into our service practices as well. Our cocktails are sipping cocktails, but also utilize the best ingredients to avoid those pounding aches associated with lower-quality spirits. We also partner with The Boozy Botanist, among many other reasons, to create mouth-inspired mocktails. The Boozy Botanist creates artisanal beverage accessories that are meant to promote well-being. Her bitters and potions use intentional ingredients meant to aid in digestion and nervous system regulation, paying homage to bitters’ origins in personal medicine.



Perfectly Ripe: The Produce and Floral Beverage Ingredients Sweeping The Summer Cocktail Scene

As the summer sun intensifies, so does the number of bellinis, spritz’, and brambles at your local brunch spot. Here are a few of the in-season ingredients and cocktail ideas we’ll be incorporating into the roster this summer.


Fruity and Light: Cocktails For The Vodka or Gin Lover

During the summer months, fruits like watermelons, cherries, peaches, berries, and mangos are at their ripest and most ready. Take, for example, our Blackberry Smash. This cocktail is the perfect way to kickstart your summer plans. Made with gin, blackberries, mint leaves, lemon, and simple syrup, this sweet and bright cocktail will leave you feeling refreshed. Here’s the recipe for the Blackberry Smash:

 

Blackberry Smash

2 oz Uncle Tim’s Cocktails White Negroni

3/4 Lemon

¼ oz Simple

5 Blackberries & 5 mint leaves - muddled

Shake to combine and chill

Add Blackberry and Mint to Garnish

(Replace the White Negroni with a lemon soda water for a mocktail version!)


Tart and Adventurous: Citrus Is All The Rage

The summer is also a great time to experiment with more adventurous flavors and tastes. Margaritas, Mezcalitas, Ranch waters, and Palomas are among the most popular summer cocktails ordered. Here’s a new recipe for a Blood Orange Paloma:


Blood Orange Paloma

2 oz Tequila

1/2 oz Lime juice

1/2 oz Grapefruit juice

1/2 oz Blood Orange Cordial

1/4 oz Agave simple syrup

2 dashes ginger orange bitters

Top with club soda

Blood orange slice to Garnish

(Replace the Tequila with ginger beer for an alcohol-free paloma!)


Spicy and Smoky: Mezcal and Tequila-Forward Cocktails

One of Uncle Tim’s favorite ingredients in any cocktail is Mezcal, especially in a Mezcal Negroni. Mezcal and Tequila are delicately crafted spirits with earthy and smoky notes, making them malleable to whatever profile you prefer. We feel it’s best to highlight the smokiness of Mezcal by pairing it with a spicy ingredient, like in the Spicy Mezcalita recipe below:

 

Spicy Mezcalita

2 oz Mezcal

Juice of ½ lime

½ oz of Green Belly Foods Cilantro Habanero Hot Sauce

½ triple sec or cointreau

Shake to combine

Tajin Rim and Lime to Garnish


Energizing and Sweet: Upgrading Your Espresso Martini Game

Everyone knows that the espresso martini is the hottest cocktail in the game right now, but, some renditions are heavier on the palette. We took our bottled Espresso Martini and lightened it up even more to make our new obsession: the Espresso Martini Float. Here’s the recipe:

 

Espresso Martini Float 

2 oz Uncle Tim’s Cocktails Espresso Martini

½ oz oat milk

½ oz brown sugar simple syrup

Shake to combine

Fill pint glass with ice

Add Italian soda or tonic water, filling the glass halfway

Add cocktail mix and top with whipped cream

(This also works with plain espresso for a non-alcoholic coffee float!)

Where to Find Fresh, Local Ingredients For These Cocktails in Denver

Looking to recreate some of the recipes above? What better way to purchase the needed ingredients than by supporting local, family-owned produce and food businesses. We’re serving up cocktails at several of the Denver local farmer’s markets this summer, right next to some of the city’s best ingredient suppliers. Check out this Farmer’s Market Page for more information on where to shop fresh fruits and botanicals this summer season.


Feel Confident As A Home Bartender

Now that you have some recipe ideas, we hope you feel empowered to craft more intentional cocktails in the comfort of your own home. But, in case you’re looking for a simpler solution, we’ll be here with our quality bottled cocktails for your enjoyment. Simply pour over ice and enjoy, it’s that easy!

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