Cocktail of the Week: Celebrating with Labor Day Drinks

Cocktail of the Week: Celebrating with Labor Day Drinks

by Stephanie Nolasco

Summer…is it over already? While we’re off taking a dip in sapphire-blue seas or cooling off our sun kissed bodies under towering palm trees, the first signs of the steamy season coming to an end are beginning to show. Back-to-school commercials are broadcasted non-stop, those hard-to-get bikinis are 70% off, and one glance at the calendar causes us to groan. Labor Day weekend may be all about celebrating the one holiday we have off aside from Fourth of July, but to many, it marks the official end of summer. However, why should we spend an entire weekend mourning the last three months when we could instead throw rooftop bashes, posh soirees, beach fiestas, or just dance under the stars and begin making plans for summer 2010? One way we can lift our moods is with some fruity, tropical-themed cocktails that are prepared just for Labor Day weekend. Sure you can stay at home all alone with the air conditioner cranked up high, but the only way you can truly enjoy the final days of summer is by heading out and ending the season with a bang. Here are our top Labor Day cocktails that will keep you rejoicing all the way through winter.


Top Labor Day Cocktail: Wild Blueberry Cosmo

If there’s one thing we’ll miss this summer, it’s lying by the pool while popping some plump frozen blueberries in our mouths to keep us feeling cool and fit enough to wear bikinis or trunks! Blueberries are tart, tangy, and easy to carry for any weekend getaway. Now that the steamy season is nearly over, enjoy this summery dessert while they’re still fresh in a cosmo. There’s nothing better than ending the season with a taste of the fruit we’ll be missing all winter long in a cocktail that anyone can make.  Last chance for summer blueberries! Even Carrie Bradshaw would approve.

2 oz. Vodka (We used Cold River)
.5 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. Chilled blueberry juice (We used Wyman's)
1 Orange slice

Add all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake. Pour drink into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with a cocktail pick skewered with blueberries and a fat twist of orange.


Top Labor Day Cocktail: Strawberry French

Throwing a bon voyage brunch? Give overrated mimosas a break and instead, go for a Strawberry French, a more elegant drink that’ll easily impress the most picky friends of the bunch. The heart-shaped strawberry can transform any dish from bland to rich, but instead of packing on the pounds, a light, yet equally delicious refresher is due. Strawberry French is a yummy champagne concoction that’s mildly sweet, wonderfully bubbly, and always tantalizing. It’s no wonder strawberries and champagne are always a must for a romantic night for two. Your guests will turn into putty and enjoy every single second left of summer, all thanks to you.

2 oz. Gin (We used DH Krahn Small-Batch)
¾ oz. Freshly squeezed lemon juice
¾ oz. Simple syrup
4 Slices of strawberry

Muddle strawberries, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add gin and ice. Shake then strain into a champagne flute. Top with champagne and garnish with a


Top Labor Day Cocktail: Cool Raspberry

Every great summer fiesta needs a drink that will keep guests coming back for more. Kick off your end of summer celebration with a creamy, luxurious treat that seemingly looks as if you broke a sweat at the bar. Beat the long, hot, final days of summer with a decadent, Cool Raspberry, which will surely add a chill to your Labor Day weekend. It’s hard to find anyone who could resist jeweled-hued raspberries that nearly explode luscious, lip-smacking juice into one’s mouth. However, when nature’s mouthwatering dessert is added to Irish whiskey and cream, the result is heavenly. Cool Raspberry is so perfectly chilled, velvety, and smooth that it serves as an ideal drink for savoring sizzling ribs or tender cuts of beef. Ladies, hold on to your Cool Raspberry tight because this is one drink the fellas won’t mind keeping for themselves.

2 oz. Baileys Original Irish Cream
8-9 Raspberries

Place 4-5 raspberries at the bottom of a rocks glass and lightly muddle them. Top with crushed ice. Add Baileys Irish Cream. Garnish with three speared raspberries.


Top Labor Day Cocktail: Mango Mojito

For those of us celebrating Labor Day weekend at the beach, you’ll need a light, fruity, tropical drink that sets the right, easy, breezy mood. Sorry, beers just don’t make the cut, which is why we’re going for mojitos, also known as the Latino mint julep. This refreshing concoction of white rum, fresh mint leaves, sugar cane juice, and lime will transport your taste buds to sandy white beaches and aquamarine seas, while delivering a bit of artic air on a sweltering hot day. Mojitos are crisp, fizzy, and a must for any sun-worshipper. Best of all, delicate slivers of ripe mangos compliment zesty lime and ice-cold mint, resulting in an elixir you’ll appreciate when your tongue is desert dry. If you’re afraid of making a Mango Mojito that’s teeth-shattering sweet or overly bitter, here’s our easy and fool-proof recipe for a quick pick-me-up.

1 part Mango rum (We used Cruzan)
4 Mango chunks
1 Tbsp. Lime juice
Splash of simple syrup
4-6 Mint leaves
Club soda

Muddle mint and mango chunks with simple syrup in a tall glass.  Add lime juice, mango rum, and ice.  Stir and top with club soda.  Garnish with a mint sprig.


Top Labor Day Cocktail: Caramel Apple

We know, you’re not looking forward to the fall, hence the reason why we’re celebrating summer during Labor Day weekend. However, there’s one benefit to this unwanted season making its grand return: two of the best desserts are back. Could you possibly resist oozing warm caramel wrapped around a crunchy, crimson apple just waiting for you to take a bite? We sure can’t, which is why we’re enjoying this childhood favorite in a more grown-up cocktail. What makes Caramel Apple the drink more sophisticated than the sticky carnival accessory is its usage of sake, a Japanese rice beer (or wine, depending who you ask), which is brewed in warm spices. We also added TY KY liqueur for its thirst-quenching citrus flavors, green tea, and ginseng, which are loaded with vitamins. Say goodbye to summer with this low calorie cocktail and keep that beach-ready body throughout winter!

1 ½ oz. Sake
1 ½ oz. TY KU Liqueur
1 oz. Apple Juice
½ oz. Apple schnapps
1 oz. Caramel syrup (Sugar-free)
1 Apple Slice

Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake. Pour drink into a cocktail glass. Garnish with 1 apple slice drizzled in caramel syrup.


Top Labor Day Cocktail: Cherry Bomb

Here’s the situation: you planned on throwing a cozy get-together for you and close friends and before you know it, you have cousins that you’ve never met before crashing. What do you do when everyone, including the neighbors from 15 blocks away, have all arrived to attend your so-called mega fiesta? You could be a party pooper and throw them all out…or you can make this the best party of the year by dropping a bomb. A batch of Cherry Bomb can serve up to 20 guests, but if you get everyone involved, you could make one giant, fire red number all thanks to cherries. Ruby-red cherries have a thick flesh that’s deeply aromatic, all while having a full-bodied flavor that ranges from sour and tart, to red wine. Cherry Bomb is not too bitter or sweet, in part to dried apricots and other citrus liqueurs balancing out the cherry’s naturally bold taste. Be warned, Cherry Bomb carries a mean punch and once you start, you just won’t stop.

2 lt. Campari
4 lt. SKYY Infusions Citrus
3 lbs. Cherries (Stemmed and lightly macerated)
¾ lb Dried Apricots

Add all ingredients in a giant punch bowl and stir well. Serve drink individually in a cocktail glass. Garnish with three cherries.


Top Labor Day Cocktail: Tropical Cooler

Let’s face it, it’s hard to make a party exciting without a few, but necessary elements, and one of them happens to be tequila. You’ll quickly disappoint many if you dare even mention that you don’t have the Mexican import around. Fortunately, tequila is so versatile that you can make various cocktails to please a crowd of two or 50. For the final days of summer, be original and offer your guests a drink they’ll be talking about all winter long. The Tropical Cooler is a yummy, sweet cocktail that’s made to be sipped along the shoreline or dancing under the stars. Along with brisk tequila, thick, golden peach nectar, and fresh juice from crushed pineapples, this unforgettable cooler will make even non-alcoholic drinkers get up on their feet to dance.

2 oz. Tequila (We used Herradura Blanco)
4 oz. Peach nectar
4 oz. Pineapple juice
1 Grilled peach slice
1 Grilled pineapple slice

Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with crushed iced. Shake and pour drink into a rocks glass. Garnish with grilled peach and pineapple slice.


Top Labor Day Cocktail: Blue Lagoon

Just like Pina Coladas, Blue Lagoons are a classic summer cocktail that can’t be beaten. While most drinks made for rising temperatures include a little too much cream and fluff, we like the idea of keeping our bodies fit all year round. However, what can one prepare when the weather calls for something frozen, mildly sweet, and above all, a tasty thirst-quencher? That’s what Blue Lagoons are for (and no guys, they aren’t inspired by Brooke Shields, so get your mind out of the gutter). Its azure blue-hue is created by curacaos, a Spanish liqueur made from orange peels. Along with freshly made lemonade, ripe cherries, and vodka for a much-needed kick, you won’t have to hunt for a shaded spot on the beach to wind down and enjoy summer as if it was the first day all over again.

1 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Curacao
4 oz. Lemonade
1 Cherry
1 Lemon slice

Pour vodka and curacao over ice in a highball glass. Then, fill with lemonade. Top drink with cherry and lemon slice.


Top Labor Day Cocktail: Rose Sangria

Ladies, channel your inner bombshell with a remake on the Spanish favorite that’s inspired by a gorgeous icon. Served at the Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne in Miami and created by lead bartender Tina Madden, the Rose Sangria, which pays tribute to Bridgette Bardot, recalls lazy summer afternoons in the south of France, the ideal spot to be before the season is over. It’s tempting to gulp down this delectable beverage and enjoy the infused tropical fruits, but no worries, the light flavors will leave room for another. The Rose Sangria is perfect for farewell summer pool parties…or even better, in a chic cabana on the sand.
Slices of fruit (We recommend pineapple, oranges, strawberries, cherries, black, and blueberries)
1/2 oz. Simple syrup
1/2 oz. Rum (We used Appleton Jamaican Rum)
6 oz. Rose Wine

Add all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake once and pour into a tall glass.


Top Labor Day Cocktail: Endless Summer

Let’s face it, we all wish summer could last forever. Although it’s impossible for the season to last all year long, this doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate until the end. Rather than creating a fuss over which cocktail to make either for ourselves or patrons, we’re going stress-free by making an Endless Summer, the one drink that symbolizes our true sentiments. Endless Summer, a popular concoction at Harney Sushi in San Diego, is guaranteed to be a big hit this Labor Day weekend, especially for its sophisticated, Eastern influences. Endless Summer contains soju and sake, two light beverages made from rice, along with good ol’ fashion lemonade, a touch of chilled, tender pears, and freshly blended raspberry puree, all made to delight anxious crowds ready to party. Either way, Endless Summer will make waiting for 2010 worth it.

2 oz. Sojo
2 oz. Pear sake (We used Moonstone)
2 oz. Lemonade
Splash of raspberry puree
Slices of lemons
Slices of oranges
Mint leaves

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Serve over ice in a footed pint glass. Garnish with lemon, orange, and mint.


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