Quarantine Cocktails

Soo… there’s a good chance that you’re treating the COVID blues with booze. At the very beginning of the crisis, โ€œU.S. sales of alcoholic beverages rose 55%… according to market research firm Nielsen. Spirits like tequila, gin and pre-mixed cocktails led the way, with sales jumping 75% compared to the same period last year. Wine sales were up 66% while beer sales rose 42%โ€ (according to The Associated Press). Wooo boy.

Day-drinking is officially the norm now. And with all this hot weather, I’ve taken it upon myself to find the perfect summer cocktail. While I am no mixologist, I have dug through the internet archives to uncover the most refreshing concoctions. Here’s my three faves:

1. Rosemary Gin Fizz

My romance with gin began on the Greek Peloponnesus. After 18 holes of golf at Costa Navarino, my golf partners and I would retire to the clubhouse patio for gin and tonics. They were zesty and strong, cooling us down and reviving us for an evening of revelry. G&Ts were essentially our version of pre-gaming.

Over the years, I’ve gravitated more towards bourbon-based cocktails. COVID was the perfect excuse to revive my interest in gin. I bought some Beefeater last week and began experimenting. I looked into some grapefruit-forward recipes and I liked the citrus notes, but none of them felt quite balanced enough. Then, I came across the Rosemary Gin Fizz. I had fresh rosemary on hand and decided to make some homemade infused simple syrup. The Rosemary Gin Fizz is essentially lemon juice, rosemary simple syrup, and gin, topped with club soda and a garnish. The flavors complement each other so well. My husband, who is not a big drinker and really doesn’t like the flavor of gin, had to hand it to me– “Oh wow, this is actually really good.”

2. Brown Derby

I was determined to make the ultimate grapefruit cocktail– primarily due to the fact that I had purchased an enormous bag of grapefruit at Costco. Bourbon is my typical alcohol of choice and I had a nice bottle of Four Roses in my kitchen (also from Costco– don’t judge me). A quick Google search of “bourbon + grapefruit” led me to the Brown Derby. After testing a few variations, I determined that my preferred sweetener is honey simply syrup— it just seems to mix better than sugar or honey from a jar.

The Brown Derby is described as “Old Hollywood in a Glass” and it does feel like that. It’s classy, rich, and smooth, like a hot summer night in Los Angeles. The citrus gives it a summery feel, but the bourbon and honey give it more warmth– a certain coziness. This might be my favorite cocktail of all time.

3. Strawberry Summer Sangria

What is summer without sangria? We had some friends over for dinner the other night (members of our tiny COVID-bubble) and I knew our friend, Jon, loved a good sangria. I had some ripe stone fruit on hand, so I started hunting for recipes. When I stumbled across the Strawberry Summer Sangria, I knew it was a winner. All of my favorite fruits, plus red wine and agave nectar? ALL the “yes”.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any Grand Marnier so I subbed in a generic brandy for that extra boost of alcohol. I sliced up all the fruit, doused it in a bottle of wine, and put the pitcher in the fridge to sit overnight. When our friends came for dinner, I scooped the fruit into glasses, poured in some of the wine, and topped it off with a little seltzer. I was savoring my second sip when I looked over at Jon’s glass — it was empty. “Jon! Do you want some more?!” I said, startled at his speed. “I think I should slow down a bit,” he said laughing, “It was just so easy to drink with the seltzer.”

Yes, this sangria is dangerous. But it is also incredibly delicious. (Side note: I apologize for the lack of pictures– it was literally gone before I thought of snapping some.)

What are you drinking during quarantine? Send me your tips and tricks!