co*cktail recipes to mix like a chef (2024)

Courtesy of Stoli

Blue Bahama

Dump the lip-puckering jug of margarita mix, the bargain-bin gin and the rot-gut tequila.

Instead, treat your guests to a round of top-of-the-line co*cktails, made with primo ingredients that will dazzle the taste buds.

You'll be riding a trend in the bartending world, which is placing a premium on trendy fruit-infused mixes and the critical role of the bartender.

"I think of myself as a chef -- a bar chef," said Julie Reiner, owner of the Flatiron Lounge in New York, who was a panelist for the co*cktail Cabaret during the Food & Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen, Colo., last year.

"I take a more culinary approach to creating bar drinks," she says. "I prefer to make a co*cktail with muddled fresh raspberries than to use Stoli raspberry vodka."

Take the Beijing Peach that Reiner presented at the Food & Wine Magazine Classic. The drink is made with a jasmine tea-infused vodka, fresh-squeezed lime juice, simple syrup and white-peach puree. She served them in tall-stemmed wine glasses garnished with beautiful edible orchids. The drink had an amazing peachy aroma and an interesting, lightly sweet peach flavor mellowed by the note of tea.

Other bartenders have raised the bar as well, using house-made infused liquors with freshly squeezed or pureed fruit.

Nate Windham, bartender at The Office, a bar in downtown Colorado Springs, Colo., is also into the infused vodka trend. "I make a ginger-infused vodka for our Ginger Cosmo," he said. "I've been playing with bourbon infused with tobacco."

Sounds weird, but he says that after a cut up cigar hangs out in the bourbon bottle for five to seven days and is filtered, the tobacco mellows the bourbon's sweetness. He's planning to infuse bourbon with leather as well.

"That will do the opposite to the bourbon and will bring out the sweetness," he says.

In the couple of weeks after Reiner put the Beijing Peach on her menu, she sold 9,918 of them at $12 apiece, she says.

If you want to hop on the classy co*cktail bandwagon and try mixing your own at home, the bartenders have shared their recipes to help you get started.

Jasmine Pearls vodka
1-liter bottle of vodka
2 tablespoons Jasmine Pearls green tea

Smash tea with mortar and pestle. Mix with vodka and steep for 4 hours. Filter vodka through a fine strainer and return to bottle.

Beijing peach
2 ounces Jasmine Pearls-infused vodka
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup (see notes)
1 ounce White Peach puree

1. In co*cktail shaker, combine all ingredients and shake well with ice.

2. Strain into co*cktail glass and garnish with an edible flower.

Cooks notes: To make simple syrup, combine equal parts superfine sugar and hot water until dissolved. Can be refrigerated up to 1 month.

Source: Julie Reiner of Flatiron Lounge in New York

co*cktail recipes to mix like a chef (1)

White peach is one of 28 flavors from The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley. $22.50 per canister at, which also has drink and dish recipes.

Watermelon vodka
1 liter premium vodka
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1/2 small watermelon

Place vodka and sugar in large container and stir until sugar is dissolved. Cut watermelon into chunks and add to mixture. Cover and refrigerate for two to three days, stirring daily. Strain vodka and return to bottle.

Frozen watermelon
1 ounce watermelon-infused vodka
1/2 ounce amaretto
1 ounce lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ounce cranberry juice

1. Pour all ingredients into blender, along with one glassful of ice. (Using crushed ice when making frozen drinks will produce a more consistent drink.) Blend until ice is thoroughly crushed and mixed.

2. Garnish with small slice of watermelon.

Source: Nate Windham, bartender at The Office and Red Martini


Drinks made with a fresh fruit are all the rage, but if the idea of muddling or infusing fruit flavor into your own drinks sounds too fussy, there are plenty of fruity spirits to try. The Blue Bahama is easily made with blueberry and coconut liqueurs.

Blue Bahama
2 ounces Stoli Blueberi
1 ounce Malibu Coconut Rum
1/2 ounce blueberry liqueur, such as De Kuyper Blueberry
Lemon-lime soda

Shake vodka, rum and blueberry liqueur well, and then strain into a champagne flute. Top with a splash of lemon-lime soda. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Source: Designer Adrienne Landau,

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co*cktail recipes to mix like a chef (2024)


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