Week 4 Finalists: Your Best Summer Cocktail

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Ginger Sangria


If traditional Sangria were a small, feisty brunette, this variation would be a tall, leggy blonde. Ginger and peaches are a classic combination, and white wine smoothes out all of the rough edges. We used white peaches, which worked beautifully, because we couldn’t find yellow. RebeccaP suggests leaving the ginger in the sugar syrup and the peaches in the brandy overnight for stronger flavors, but we were won over by the subtlety of a briefer maceration time. This sangria deserves a pretty wineglass to showcase its pale elegance.




We halved the recipe, with great success. Also, the white peaches at our grocery store looked (and smelled) much better than the yellow ones, so we used them, and were quite pleased. We also proved that cheap triple sec still tastes good!

Amanda measures the sugar for the ginger infused simple syrup.

Amanda has a great method for peeling ginger, with very little waste. First, cut off the knobby bits...

... then scrape off the skin with the edge of a spoon. It wastes almost no ginger, and smells great!


We halved this bit of the recipe too, and simmered it only for a minute and a half.

Merrill gave Amanda this great peeler- it has tiny teeth, and is perfect for peaches, tomatoes, or any other soft fruit.

Since our peach pit wasn't cooperating, we simply cut around it.


We soaked the peaches in the brandy and triple sec for a bit, and they got appropriately boozy!


We strained the big pieces of ginger out before adding the simple syrup.

So simple, but so good!


El Chupacabra

A Pimm’s Cup gone south of the border, this cocktail gets it moniker from a terrifying mythical creature whose name means “goat sucker.” janeymax calls for a couple of ingredients that may require a run to the local package store (Cynar, which is made from artichokes, blanco tequila and Peychaud bitters), but we think it’s well worth the field trip. The combo of cucumber and lemon juice is supremely refreshing, and the slight fizz from the soda water doesn't hurt. Although it’s hardly a sweet drink, you can barely taste the tequila, which makes it extra dangerous, just like its namesake.

The ingredients are slightly more esoteric, but totally worth it. Cynar, a bitter liqueur flavored primarily by artichokes, is great to experiment with!

We didn't have a muddler, but the end of a wooden spoon worked great for muddling the cucumber.


Pouring tequila!

Mmmm... college!


This recipe called for simple syrup, which we made by simmering together equal parts sugar and water until the sugar had dissolved.

Always fresh lemon juice!


A surprisingly therapeutic activity.

The shaker got surprisingly cold in just a few moments. Great for the drink, less ideal for the hands.

Our glass was a touch smaller than a traditional collins glass, so we just didn't use it all.


To float the Cynar, we used the back of a spoon, and poured the liqueur gently over it.

The cynar then formed a rather pefect layer in the middle of the drink. Pouring the cynar directly in would have just mixed it altogether.