The life hack that will make your spring/summer cocktails perfect every time


I’m going to make this short and sweet.  You are very busy.  You have your work and your spouse and kids and school and errands and obligations.  But, summer is almost here.  You wanna have fun.  Play a little.  You want to unwind, have a few friends over, and serve them the perfect cocktails.

“But it’s too hard.  It’s too stressful.  Plus…it’s so expensive.  I don’t know what to make…”  Blah…blah…blah…

Stop it.  Stop that right now.  You can do it.  I can help you.  I have stumbled upon the life hack that will make your spring and summer cocktails perfect…every…time.  And most importantly, you will impress the heck outta all your friends.  Drum roll please…

HERB SIMPLE SYRUPS.  Seriously.  I kid you not.


Rosemary. Cilantro. Mint. To make simple syrups just add one part water to one part sugar. Throw in a bunch of the herb you want. Let it boil until the sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and let it cool for a bit while the herbs hang out. Strain syrup into a container and cool in fridge. It’s called “simple” syrup for a reason. Don’t be afraid.

An impressive, hip, modern cocktail does not have to be complicated to taste wicked good.  You only need 3 ingredients – a spirit, a sugar, and a citrus.  That’s it.  If you spend just a teeny bit of extra time tricking out your sugar part (the simple syrup, in this case), you bring that wow factor that will make your friends go, “Whoa…this is friggin’ good…what is IN this?!?”

Here’s how to make 3 cocktails that I promise you will kill at your next gathering.  The best part is that, although they have different ingredients, they each follow the exact same formula:

  • 2 oz spirit
  • 1/2 oz of herb-infused simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz of fresh citrus juice
  • Add ingredients and plenty of ice to a cocktail shaker.  Shake vigorously (and really shake it, like, harder than you think is necessary) and strain it into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a bit of the herb and citrus that you used in the drink.

herbs and citrus collageI just want to point out that you can also buy all of the above ingredients at your basic grocery store.  No need to go out of your way and spend big bucks at some fancy hipster cocktail emporium (btw, if you know of some “fancy hipster cocktail emporium” in the Bay Area, please tell me about it.  I would LOVE to shop there).


Drink #1: The Lemon Mint One

Spirit = Bourbon (I used the cheap ass, bottom shelf Evan Williams for it and it’s GREAT)
Syrup = Mint
Citrus = Lemon

Drink #2: The Cilantro Lime One

Spirit = Tequila (I used Trader Joe’s Distinqt Reposado Tequila…top shelf for TJs at only $20 a bottle)
Syrup = Cilantro
Citrus = Lime

Drink #3: The Rosemary Grapefruit One

Spirit = Gin (I used Death’s Door Gin, which I will admit, is about $30 a bottle.  The most expensive of this lot.  But seriously, you can use whatever.  I used this because it was given to me and already in my house.  Plus, it’s good.  )
Syrup = Cilantro
Citrus = Lime

In Summary…

  1. You now know how to make the perfect cocktail.  You’re welcome.
  2. Play around with your own syrups.  Mix and match.  See what happens.  The worst thing that can happen is that it will suck and you will just start again.  Don’t be afraid to experiment…with cocktails, or with anything else in life.  Believe me.  It makes life way more fun.
  3. I obviously need some names for the 3 drinks I shared above.  If you have ideas, please let me know.
  4. I’m going be drinking “The Cilantro Lime One” tonight in honor of Cinco de Mayo.  If you want other Cinco de Mayo drink ideas, Doug has some for you.

Oh, one more thing...I bet you can also make any of the above drinks into a boozy spritzer.  Replace the spirit with vodka and, instead of serving it up in a cocktail glass, serve it on the rocks and add a bit of soda water.  I’m not super into drinks like that so I didn’t try it.  But, you may be, so, I thought I would pass along that tip.

About the Author


Social Entrepreneur. Writer/Blogger. Theater teaching artist. Amateur mixologist. Girl Advocate. Writer. Fost/adopt mama. Learner. Playful Idealist. Find me on Twitter @lynnjohnson.

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