What to make with the strawberry liqueur.

By Carey Jones and John D. McCarthy
Updated May 24, 2017
© Carey Jones

This time of year, we’re ready for spritzes under the sun, tall drinks out in the garden and ripe red berries in our cocktails. Trouble is, in many parts of the country, great strawberries don’t arrive until June or later. The solution? A well-made strawberry liqueur. (We’re using a bottle from Fragoli, with tiny wild-picked strawberries right in the bottle.)

No need to wait for those perfect berries—the liqueur carries with it a vivid strawberry flavor, and there’s no worrying about straining out seeds. Just grab a bottle and try one of these three straightforward cocktails.

Easy: Strawberry Sparkler

© Carey Jones

Just take one look at this strawberry sparkler and tell us you don’t want to serve it at your next brunch. The fresh basil garnish makes this drink wonderfully aromatic and springlike; don’t skip it.

Instructions: Pour a half-ounce of strawberry liqueur into a Champagne flute, and fill with sparkling wine (about five ounces). Garnish with a strawberry and a few fresh basil leaves.

Intermediate: Strawberry Old Fashioned

© Carey Jones

It’s more traditional to use fruit liqueurs in bright, lively drinks (like the other two pictured here). But using a judicious amount in a darker, stiffer cocktail can work well, too. Here, we’re stirring it together with a high-quality dark rum; Angostura bitters balance it out, while two lemon peels give it a fresh burst of citrus.

Instructions: In a mixing glass with ice, combine 2 ounces of dark rum, 3/4 ounce of strawberry liqueur, and 1/4 ounce of demerara syrup (Sugar in the Raw dissolved in an equal part of hot water). Add 2 dashes of Angostura bitters. Stir until well-chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with two big twists of lemon peel and a fanned-out strawberry.

Advanced: Strawberry Gimlet

© Carey Jones

A simple gin-and-lime gimlet is one of our favorite warm-weather cocktails; adding a high-quality strawberry liqueur is a no-brainer. Spring-friendly and dangerously drinkable.

Instructions: To a cocktail shaker with ice, add an ounce and a half of gin (we're using Plymouth), an ounce of fresh lime juice, 3/4 ounce of strawberry liqueur, and a half-ounce of simple syrup. Shake it all up and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel and a strawberry.