This post for the best summer cocktail has been sponsored by Q Mixers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Oh boy, you guys are in for some tasty summer fun today! With the help of the premium mixers we always have on hand, especially in the summertime, and thanks to our go-to neighborhood grocery store, Albertsons—the Carter Summer Cocktail Battle is on! To celebrate the season the best way we know how, me and Mr. C are mixing up not one, but two tastier than tasty cocktails—inspired by two of our favorite Q Mixers flavors, to see whose summer libation has what it takes to win the title of best summer cocktail in the land… or the house. Whichever. We haven’t had a proper Carter household cocktail battle since the first year of the blog, and I have to say, with so much time spent honing our mixology skills at home as of late, this felt like the perfect moment to go head to ahead and put those skills to the test. Let the best spouse win!
We’re all winners today, because you can save $1 now on your Q Mixers purchase at your local Albertson’s retailer.
Naturally, because two competitors aren’t necessarily the most unbiased judges when it comes to their own work, we really need you, our amazing readers, to serve as the official judges of the Carter Summer Cocktail Battle. That’s right, friends—we need all of you guys to get in on the action and whip up both of these delicious cocktails at home! Taste test and send us your vote so we know, once and for all (or at least for the summer), who is king or queen of cocktail creation. You should know that in a totally shameless effort to reserve bragging rights for the next oh, 100 years or so, I will resort to all forms of bribery and flattery necessary to win your vote. Have I told you lately that you’re gorgeous? Stunning! Beautiful! Show some mercy, will ya? I have stiff competition over here. Chris is cute and he makes a mean cocktail, so I need all the help I can get.
Of course, this fierce competition was of the friendly nature. So we decided to make a dueling date night of it, which was such a fun way to taste test each other’s creations and enjoy a little time in our cozy cottage backyard, snuggled up together by the fire after all that hard work! While I was picking up all of my essential cocktail ingredients at Albertsons, I grabbed a few other sweet, seasonal summer snacks that looked too good to pass up to really round out the date night vibe—and it made for such a yummy spread. I was really just trying to sweeten Chris up and throw him off his game, but don’t tell him that.
Not only am I confident in my cocktail’s superiority, but as mentioned, I’m all about giving myself a little leg up. So I’m sharing my dreamy summer cocktail recipe first and putting it front and center, in hopes that it wows you so much that you can’t even conceive of even thinking about another kind of cocktail. That said, I can (begrudgingly) attest that Chris’ cocktail is one of the most delicious drinks these lips have ever tasted. So after you’re done being wowed by my mixology prowess, you absolutely must carry on and feast your eyes on what he created. It’s pure summer magic!
For my delicious and I must say, particularly pretty and easy summer cocktail it seemed like a no brainer to dream up some sort of mezcal cocktail because it’s such a great summer spirit. That said, I knew that in order to have any chance at crafting a cocktail that could rival whatever chef Chris had in store, I’d have to really kick up a notch and bring the creativity. As you guys know, Chris has spent the last 20 or so years pouring all of his passion into all facets of the restaurant industry and as such, great food and spirits are pretty much his life. Luckily, I already knew that Q Mixers had the perfect partner to
give this mezcal cocktail of mine the kick it needed – Q Mixers Ginger Beer! One of the things I love so much about Q Mixers and the reason they’re always on hand at our house is that they never fail take our cocktails from good to absolutely spectacular with real, all natural, non-GMO ingredients carefully selected from all over the world, and they never overpower them with sweetness, and Q Mixers Ginger Beer is a shining example of that. So after I had the nuts and bolts of my winning cocktail fleshed out, all I had to do was briefly peruse the ah-maz-ing produce aisle at my neighborhood Albertsons to see how I could make this mezcal mule absolutely unforgettable, and those beautiful blood oranges practically left off of the shelf at me! A blood orange mezcal mule? Bliss! Honestly, if you guys don’t feel like you’ve been sent straight to summer heaven after taking a sip of this baby, I don’t know if we can even be friends anymore. Ok ok we can still totally be friends, but I’m telling you that you’re going to want to kiss me after tasting this. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I even impressed myself with this one because not only is it beyond delicious from first sip to finish, but with the leftover ingredients and a fresh can of Q Mixers Ginger Beer, I whipped up a refreshing mocktail version of this cocktail the next day without the mezcal and it was just as tasty. Three cheers for versatility!
Easy Summer Cocktail: Blood Orange Mezcal Mule
1.5 oz mezcal
.5 oz fresh squeezed blood orange juice
.5 oz simple syrup (you can make your own simple syrup really quickly using a 1:1 sugar to water mixture for a or a 2:1 sugar to water mixture for something slightly more rich)
Q Mixers Ginger Beer
Dehydrated blood orange slice for garnish
Add 1.5 oz mezcal to cocktail glass. Add in .5 oz fresh squeezed blood orange juice. Add .5 oz simple syrup. Mix. Add ice. Top with Q Mixers Ginger Beer. Garnish with dehydrated blood orange slice.
To Dehydrate Citrus:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Cut citrus into 1/4” thick slices. Lay slices flat on parchment lined baking tray. Bake for two hours or until dry but still pliable (check at 1 hour 30 minutes).
For Chris’ (admittedly) ultra tasty summer cocktail, he said that he wanted to try a fresh, fun riff on a classic Gin & Tonic, and balance it out with an herbaceous finish—and man oh man did he deliver! Q Mixers Tonic Water is pretty much a staple in Chris’ life at this point, whether he’s topping off a delicious G&T or pouring it up solo over ice with fresh herbs when the summer heat hits. So he knew right where this cocktail would start. The really special thing about Q Mixers Tonic Water, which is even more evident in a drink like this, is that it brings out flavor subtleties—with zero high fructose corn syrup involved in the equation. So Chris wanted to let that balance lead the cocktail instead of overwhelming it with simple syrup or anything else overtly sweet. He stuck with fresh citrus in the form of the versatile and summer-perfect lemon and lime combo, and added in fresh basil with a little smack to release the herb’s heavenly aromatics, adding just the right amount of balance to the drink. In the spirit of competition, it really burns me to say this, but this is the very best Gin & Tonic I’ve ever had the pleasure of sipping, hands down! It’s so vibrant, refreshing and full of fizz and flavor, while somehow magically managing to remain so balanced and understated. This is one of those lovable cocktails that’s pretty much suited to any and every palette, and delightfully elevated all at the same time. So make sure you guys keep this one in your arsenal so you have the perfect summer sunset sipper when you need it!
Easy Summer Cocktail: Basil Lime Gin & Tonic
1.5 oz gin
.5 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
3 or 4 leaves of basil (plus extra for garnish)
1 Lemon Peel
Q Mixers Tonic Water
Dehydrated lime slice and/or lemon twist for garnish
Add 1.5 oz gin to cocktail glass. Add .5 oz fresh squeezed lime juice. Slap 3 to 4 basil leaves (if you have larger leaves, you can use 3) between hands, and add to glass. Add one peel of lemon to glass. Mix (don’t muddle) to release oils. Add ice. Fill remainder of glass with Q Mixers Tonic Water. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and/or lemon peel.
I feel like we both came, saw and conquered in this Carter Summer Cocktail Battle, but there can be only one! Ok, it’s definitely a tie, and there most definitely can be two winning cocktails to sip this summer. I just feel like someone really needs to wield that kind of power in the household for the next three months, and it needs to be me. Make sure you guys taste test these easy, breezy summer libations for yourself at home, and come back and drop us a comment all about which cocktail (cough cough, the blood orange mezcal mule) tickled your taste buds most. We can’t wait to hear what you think! Don’t forget to save $1 now on your Q Mixers purchase at your local Albertson’s retailer!