At a craft cocktail bar, perhaps, we might be all about boozy concoctions made with infusions and bitters and elaborate garnishes. But when you’re by the pool on a sweltering summer day? Simple is the way to go. And while beer and rosé are well-suited to the task of poolside drinking, a bubbly cocktail can be pretty perfect, too.
We love sparkling drinks for a few reasons. For one, they’re inherently festive; it’s hard to hear the pop of a cork and not smile a bit. And they can be easy to make for a crowd. Our method? Keep the bubbles cold. Mix the other ingredients in advance, and keep those cold in the fridge, too. And since you’ve already measured those out in correct proportion, when it’s time to serve, you’ve only got two things to pour into a glass.
Pick a great, inexpensive sparkling wine—there’s no reason to splurge here. Our go-to is an excellent, widely available cava, Anna de Codorníu Blanc de Blancs, which has a bright acidity and creamy texture that sets it apart. Grab a bottle and bring it to the pool for one of these three summer cocktails. (With these recipes, one bottle will yield you six drinks.)
Cappelletti & Gin
Once hard to find in the States, the bright-red Cappelletti is an increasingly popular aperitivo that’s ideal for warm-weather drinking. Heard of Aperol? Cappelletti is just as beautifully colored, but it’s also juicier, brighter, and in general far more flavorful. A slight pour of gin gives this drink a little edge.
For six drinks: Combine 6 ounces of Cappelletti and 3 ounces of gin. Refrigerate until needed. For each drink, pour out 1.5 ounces of the mixture and 3 to 4 ounces of bubbles.
Pomegranate & Vodka
Tart, vibrant pomegranate juice is great for cocktails, and it certainly helps that you can find POM in virtually any grocery store these days. It takes well to a big pour of bubbles, while a little vodka stiffens it up and balances it out. With its rich dark-red color, the natural garnish, clearly, is a flamingo.
For six drinks: Combine 3 ounces of vodka and 6 ounces of pomegranate juice (POM is a good brand.) Refrigerate until needed. For each drink, pour out 1.5 ounces of the sherry/orange mixture and 3 to 4 ounces of bubbles.
Sherry & Orange
If you’re after a cocktail that’s a little less juicy and on the drier side, this drink is your ticket. Bone-dry fino sherry integrates seamlessly with the sparkling wine, while orange liqueur cuts it with a bit of citrus and adds a stiff backbone. With flavors this sophisticated, a cocktail umbrella is the perfect slightly-cheeky garnish.
For six drinks: Combine 3 ounces of orange liqueur (like Cointreau or Curaçao) and 6 ounces of fino sherry (like Tio Pepe.) Refrigerate until needed. For each drink, pour out 1.5 ounces of the sherry/orange mixture and 3 to 4 ounces of bubbles.
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