9 Summer-Perfect Cocktails From Philly’s Best Bartenders

Find a drink you can sip all season.

Photograph by Trevor Dixon

Spritzes, punches, coolers, swizzles: The most fashionable cocktails to sip this season are the ones that allow for all-day drinking (a trend no doubt ushered in by local food writer Drew Lazor’s new book, Session Cocktails). Looking for your very own go-to? Start with these low-alcohol concoctions mixed up by Philly’s bar experts.

1. Golden Ticket

A fruity, summery sour.
Bartender: Alison Hangen for Oloroso

¾ oz. pineapple syrup
1 oz. Oloroso sherry
1 oz. Leblon cachaça
¾ oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Egg white
Smoked paprika for garnish

To make pineapple syrup: Cut a pineapple into chunks, juice in blender, and strain. Combine juice with equal part sugar in saucepan and heat until sugar is dissolved. Cool.
To make drink: Combine first four ingredients in large shaker tin. Crack egg white into small container or glass. Add egg to liquors and shake without ice. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

2. Blessed Repose

When lightened up, a digestif and an aperitivo become extra-drinkable.
Bartender: Kevin James Holland for Fiume

1½ oz. Cardamaro
½ oz. Cappelletti
Lemon peel for garnish

To make drink: Stir Cardamaro and Cappelletti. Pour into a collins or rocks glass with ice. Top with seltzer and garnish with lemon peel.

3. Sweet Nothings

A little lemon, a little brandy and a lot of bubbles.
Bartender: Paul MacDonald for Friday Saturday Sunday

½ oz. lemon-coriander shrub
1 oz. Calvados
3 oz. prosecco
Fresh cilantro

To make lemon-coriander shrub: Place the peel of one lemon in a bowl with one cup white sugar. Muddle thoroughly and let sit in a warm place for at least eight hours. Heat 1⅛ cup of water in a saucepan. Add one tablespoon of dried coriander seed. Bring to a simmer, add lemon-flavored sugar, and stir. Simmer for five minutes after sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from heat, strain, and cool. Add ½ cup rice vinegar and keep refrigerated up to four weeks.
To make drink: Combine lemon/coriander shrub and Calvados in a glass with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled stemmed glass, top with prosecco, and garnish with three fresh cilantro sprigs.

4. Teen Dream

A chilled-out take on a tropical drink.
Bartender: Colin O’Neill for Oyster House

1½ oz. strawberry-basil simple syrup
2 oz. El Dorado three-year rum
½ oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
½ oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice
½ tsp. rosewater
1 dash orange bitters
Club soda
Strawberry and basil for garnish

To make strawberry-basil syrup: Combine one pint of muddled strawberries with three cups of water in a medium saucepan. Boil for six minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer, add six basil leaves, and cook for four minutes. Strain out solids, return mixture to pot over medium-high, and add one part white sugar for every part strawberry-basil water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.
To make drink: Shake all ingredients except club soda and garnish in a shaker with ice. Strain into a large punch or collins glass with ice. Top with a splash of club soda. Garnish with a strawberry slice and a basil leaf.

5. Pata Blanca

An upside-down version of a gin martini.
Bartender: Alison Hangen for Oloroso

2 oz. nectarine-infused blanc vermouth
½ oz. Amontillado sherry
½ oz. gin
Lemon twist for garnish

To make nectarine vermouth: Cut three to four nectarines into slices and combine with one bottle of blanc vermouth. Let sit overnight. Strain.
To make drink: Stir the three liquors in a glass with ice, strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with an expressed lemon twist.

6. Splifficated Lady

A well-balanced cocktail designed for those who have over-imbibed.
Bartender: Alison Hangen for Fiume

½ oz. London dry gin
½ oz. yellow Chartreuse
½ oz. Batavia arrack
½ oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
¼ oz. simple syrup
Tonic water
Mint for garnish
¼ oz. Fernet-Branca

To make simple syrup: Heat equal parts white sugar and water and stir until sugar is dissolved. Cool.
To make drink: Shake first five ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a collins glass filled with ice. Top with tonic water and a sprig of mint and add Fernet-Branca float.

7. The East Side of Some Island

A garden-fresh gin iced tea.
Bartender: Lateefah Curtis for Vernick Food & Drink

1¾ oz. hibiscus tea
2 oz. Blue Coat gin
1 oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 oz. simple syrup
Fistful of mint
8 slices of cucumber, plus 1 for garnish
Grated lime zest

To make drink: Make hibiscus tea and let cool. Combine first four ingredients in a shaker with lots of ice. Add mint and eight cucumber slices on top of ice. Shake vigorously, breaking up the mint and cucumber. Strain into a chilled collins glass over fresh ice. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and grated lime on remaining slice of cucumber and garnish.

8. Alsatian Swizzle

A Euro twist on a classic rum drink.
Bartender: Paul MacDonald for Friday Saturday Sunday

1½ oz. herb-infused vodka
¾ oz. dry Alsatian riesling (Trimbach is a good choice)
½ oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
½ oz. simple syrup
Raw asparagus spear for garnish

To make herb-infused vodka: Combine a bunch of fresh chives, a bunch of fresh parsley and half a bunch of fresh tarragon and bruise with a muddler. Combine with one 750 ml. bottle of vodka and let sit for 24 hours. Remove herbs and strain the vodka through coffee filters. (Chemex works best.) Keep out of sunlight.
To make drink: Combine all ingredients in a tall, chilled glass. Fill three quarters of the way with crushed ice and agitate rapidly with a long spoon. Fill the rest of the way with ice and garnish with asparagus.

9. Southside Fizz

An easy gin cocktail with something extra.
Bartender: Colin O’Neill for Oyster House

¾ oz. simple syrup
2 oz. Fords gin
¾ oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice
5 mint leaves, plus more for garnish
1 dash Angostura bitters
Club soda

To make drink: Shake all ingredients except club soda in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a collins glass with ice. Top with club soda and garnish with mint.

*All recipes make one drink.

Published as “Good Day Sunshine” in the July 2018 issue of Philadelphia magazine.