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10 Essential Southern cocktails we can't live without
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We can't live without these 10 essential Southern cocktails

10 essential Southern cocktails we can't live without

When you think of Southern cocktails, mint juleps and old fashioneds instantly come to mind. While we love sipping on these cold, boozy drinks, we also love experimenting with new flavors in these classic cocktails. Here are some of our favorite Southern cocktails that are perfect for your next picnic or outdoor soiree. 
Click the arrows above to see our favorite Southern cocktails. 

Bourbon Prosecco Spritzer

Bourbon Prosecco Spritzer

In the South, we keep our bar cart permanently stocked with bourbon at all times. If you’re looking for a new way to use that bottle of bourbon we recommend trying this herbal, citrusy punch, which contains effervescent prosecco. We love garnishing this brightly colored beverage with edible flowers to make it even more festive for an outdoor gathering or party.
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Photo credit: Cynthia Hoyt
 

Cupid

Cupid's Cranberry Fizz

You can’t give a toast or start a celebration without a glass of bubbly. However, we prefer our bubbly to have a pop of color with it. In this cocktail recipe feel free to use whichever sparkling wine you prefer, whether it’s Champagne, prosecco, or cava. This drink was originally created to feature bitter marasca cherries from Northern Italy, and while delicious, they’re almost impossible to find in the United States, so we’ve substituted fresh cranberries instead. 
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Photo credit: Ramona King

Frosé Y

Frosé Y'all

We’ll admit it, we’re still obsessed with frosé! The boozy, adult version of a slushy is the perfect cocktail to keep you cool in the Southern heat. What makes it even more appealing is just how darn easy it is to put together. Using three simple ingredients you can blend up this drink in five minutes. This recipe from Willa Jean in New Orleans is a basic version; feel free to experiment with flavors by adding frozen strawberries, raspberries or peaches into the mix.
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Photo credit: Randy Schmidt
 

High Noon Old-Fashioned

High Noon Old-Fashioned

Old-fashioneds hold a special place in our Southern hearts. The High Noon version takes everything we love about the cocktail, adds depth to the flavor palate, and starts a party in your mouth with each sip. We like to call this earthy, rich cocktail “Clint Eastwood in a glass.” Both the blackstrap molasses and the Havana and Hide 18.21 bitters lend leather, cigar and clove flavors making this classic drink taste like something a sophisticated cowboy might drink. 
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Agave Margarita

Agave Margarita

Our take on a classic margarita requires no sour mix. Instead, the bright tartness from the lime, paired with the sweetness of the agave nectar, make a perfectly-balanced cocktail. The best thing about this margarita – aside from its simplicity – is that you can riff off the basic formula. If you want to make a raspberry margarita, puree up some fresh raspberries and add it to the mix, or swap in mezcal for a smokier taste. The possibilities are endless with this recipe!
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Photo credit: Ramona King
 

Jack and Coke Slushies

Jack and Coke Slushies

The creation of this recipe was a happy accident. Southern food and drink writer John Kessler was trying to make a Coke sorbet, “but could never get a texture that held in the freezer,” he said. One failed attempt created a Coke and lime slushie that his kids loved and so did Kessler. “I liked it well enough, but needed a little something to temper the sweetness,” he explained. “Then I saw that bottle of Jack Daniel’s …” We can’t think of a better drink to help us cool down this summer. 
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Sweet Tea Mint Julep

Sweet Tea Mint Julep

Who knew pairing sweet tea and mint juleps could result is a delightful cocktail? The two signature Southern drinks complement each other and create a perfect cocktail for a Kentucky Derby party or even a 1920s speakeasy-themed soiree. While the 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.
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Vesper-style Mimosas

Vesper-style Mimosas

James Bond made the gin-based Vesper cocktail popular after it was his drink of choice in the 1953 novel Casino Royale. We’re giving the classic a bit of an update by turning it into a mimosa. Along with the gin and Champagne, you can use either Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano to add even more flavor to the cocktail. Lillet will provide more floral and citrusy notes, while Cocchi offers a slightly bitter finish. Plus we all know brunch isn’t complete without mimosas.
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Photo credit: Ramona King
 

Lavender Collins

Lavender Collins

Sipping on a glass of lavender Collins is like sipping on a glass of spring. The gin-based cocktail has both citrusy and floral notes that are perfect for a garden party soiree. To enhance the notes of lavender in the cocktail we suggest using a floral, botanical gin, such as. St. George’s Botanivoire. We love garnishing this cocktail with fresh lavender to add a pop of color. 
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Photo credit: Beth McKibben

 Maple Bourbon Smash

Maple Bourbon Smash

You don’t have to have a fully-stocked bar to create a great cocktail. Using only a bottle of bourbon and three ingredients you already have in your fridge, we’ve created this easy and festive cocktail. And at the end of the day, the last thing you want to make is a complicated cocktail. Luckily for you, this one only takes five minutes to prepare.
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Photo credit: Mike Jordan
 


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Rachel Taylor is a staff writer at Southern Kitchen. She moved to Atlanta earlier this year after graduating college in Maryland, and has been a digital audience specialist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Politically Georgia, as well as a freelance writer for publications such as USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times on Maryland's Eastern Shore. She has lived in France and Italy, and loves to travel.

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