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Strong Palmer with Blackberries

Kate Williams

Vodka-Ginger Strong Palmer with Blackberries

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11 fresh and zippy cocktails that will take you all the way to summertime

While it is true you can drink all year long, there is something even better about having a cocktail while the sun warms your back. Springtime has long been associated with rebirth and renewal. As the dreary masses shake off the last of winter's chill and step into the warmer side of the year one thing is for sure: warm weather sippers are back on the menu. 

Usually these sorts of cocktails are lighter, fizzier and fresher on the palate — not to mention, deceptively easy to take down. While these cocktails may seem less boozy, they will knock you back if you're not careful. 

Vodka-Ginger Strong Palmer with Blackberries
A staple of Southern patios and backyards throughout the South, the Arnold Palmer is named for the legendary golfer. We've turned the drink on its head (and made it adults-only) by adding ginger, blackberries and vodka to the mix. We like the drink on the low ABV-side, so like to use only one ounce of vodka per drink; add up to two ounces if you'd like. Or feel free to make larger batches of the tea and lemonade and serve the drinks at a party; have your guests build their Arnold Palmers just as they'd like.
Get the recipe White Peach Sangria
White sangria is perfect for drinking outdoors during the warmer months. Seasonal fruit, such as strawberries, peaches and raspberries, add floral notes while gently boosting the sweetness of the drink. Bonus tip: For a lighter, adults-only dessert, serve the wine-soaked fruit with some Spanish cheese and a drizzle of honey.
Get the recipe Sweet Tea Mint Julep
Enjoy this delightful marriage of two of the South’s signature drinks: sweet tea and the mint julep. While traditional mint juleps can be too intense for some palates, adding sweet tea to the equation ensures a smoother experience, all while preserving the signature aromatics of bourbon and mint. This drink is a natural fit for any rip-roaring Kentucky Derby party or 1920s speakeasy-themed soiree. Just follow the recipe and whip up a batch for your next front porch hangout.
Get the recipe Oaks Lily Cocktail
The unsung cocktail hero of Churchill Downs, the Oaks Lily is perfect for those who may not be in the mood for a mint julep. The cocktail is a slightly sweeter riff on a cosmopolitan; however, the sweetness is tempered by the tartness of the cranberry juice.
Get the recipe Moonshine Mule Cocktail
Think of this cocktail as a Russian immigrant settling in the South. Simple but tasty, this drink replaces the traditional vodka in a Moscow mule with good ol’ Southern moonshine, an unaged white whiskey. Copper mugs are the most traditional serving glass, but you can always substitute a Collins glass instead.
Get the recipe Classic French 75 Cocktail
if there is one cocktails that embodies springtime, the French 75 might just be it. Made with fresh squeezed lemon juice, simple syrup, gin and sparkling wine — this is the cocktail to reach for when temperatures hit 70 degrees. Similar to a Tom Collins, this classic French 75 cocktail is topped off with plenty of bubbles. But in this case, the fizz comes from sparkling wine instead of club soda.
Get the recipeClassic Tom Collins Cocktail
This cocktail is the original porch pounder. It's very similar to a French 75, but less sweet, and it is topped with fizzy club soda instead of Champagne.
Get the recipe Frozen Bourbon-Lime Bramble Cocktail
Don't think you can drink whiskey based drinks in warmer weather? Think again. This cocktail takes bourbon and makes a fresh and fruity cocktail with the addition of ripe blackberries. 
Get the recipe Classic Bee's Knees Cocktail
Honey, gin and lemon juice work together to make this classic springtime sipper that is sure to have you coming back for more. 
Get the recipe Bourbon-Mint Strong Palmer Cocktail
Like the blackberry strong Palmer, this drink turns the classic on its head with mint and bourbon to the mix. Add between one and two ounces of bourbon, depending on the time of day.
Get the recipeClassic Daiquiri
This cocktail is made with four ingredients that you probably already have lying around — which means that you can make one right now. This also means if you have friends coming over you can make one big batch and everyone can have a jolly good time. 
Get the recipe 

Photos (sangria, oaks lily, moonshine mule, French 75, Tom Collins, Bee's Knees, daquiri): Ramona King
Photo (bourbon-lime bramble): Cooper's Craft
Photo (strong Palmer): Kate Williams


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Ryan Hughley is the associate editor at Southern Kitchen. Though originally from Los Angeles, she has lived in Atlanta since early 2017 and cannot imagine calling any other city home (except maybe New Orleans). Before joining Southern Kitchen's staff, Ryan worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on public policy issues. When she's not at work, she enjoys hunting down the best Mexican food in the city and drinking whiskey, obviously. 

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