All-star mixologist Julie Reiner stopped by Food & Wine's Facebook page last week for a live Kitchen Insider chat about cocktails and home-bartending. The force behind NYC's Flatiron Lounge, Clover Club, and now Lani Kai shared these great tips and recipes for Labor Day.
Mixologist Julie Reiner.
The perfect poolside cocktail for Labor Day weekend, using St. Germain: My sister-in-law is obsessed with St. Germain! She has been making a pitcher drink with Gin, St. Germain, grapefruit and lime juice, and soda. I like to mix a little bit of St. Germain with Champagne or white wine as well.
When it's over 100 degrees: Wow! That is hot. The Southside Royale would be great, but you may want to substitute club soda for the Champagne. With that kind of heat, it's better to cut the alcohol content a little bit. With soda, it is called a Southside Fizz. A Pimm's Cup is another good one, or a simple daiquiri. Also, I made a daiquiri last weekend with Rhum J.M. Blanc which was delicious! It's an Agricole rum. Margaritas are my favorite cocktail with barbecue!
Favorite drinks for a group: When I am entertaining a large group of people, I like to serve a punch, or a pitcher-style drink. They are easy to batch out ahead of time so that you can enjoy yourself as well. I have been making raspberry Tom Collins all summer for groups of friends at the pool. Very simple, but a real crowd-pleaser: Gin, fresh lemon, raspberry syrup and club soda.
Fun watermelon cocktails: Watermelon is certainly refreshing. I find that it blends best with white spirits, but be sure to muddle it into the drink. I once put a watermelon drink on my menu and realized that if you juice the watermelon ahead of time, it begins to taste like cucumber in a very short time frame.
Best mixes to keep on hand for guests to make their own drinks: It's always nice to have a selection of juices, sodas and vermouth. You may also want to put out a cocktail shaker so that your guests can mix their cocktail if they would like to.