Move over craft beers–the hard-cider market is going gangbusters (it grew 102 percent in 2013)! Here are four new arrivals and some fun uses–other than straight swigging!
Dark nights, cool breezes and changing leaves: It’s definitely fall, and there’s no better way to take the chill off than with a stiff cocktail. Our Sweet Ruby will do just the trick, warming you from the inside out with scotch and sweet vermouth. Don’t forget to add a splash of grapefruit juice to match your ruby red cheeks!
1 ounce scotch
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce ruby red grapefruit juice
Twist of a grapefruit peel, for garnishing
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the scotch, vermouth and grapefruit juice and stir well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the grapefruit twist. Makes 1.
More Four-Ingredient Cocktails
Whether it was at a carnival, concession stand or movie theater, we all remember the thirst-quenching power of a frozen slushie. Even in the dead of winter, a frozen slushie was just the thing to make us feel happy, energetic and, of course, like a kid. Luckily, we’ve created a recipe that brings back those feelings of nostalgia with a grown-up twist perfect for game-day: Rum & Coke Slushies
2 12 ounce cans cola
1 cup ice
4 ounces dark rum
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Refrigerate 1 can cola. Pour the other into a shallow container; freeze until nearly solid, 6 to 8 hours. In a blender, puree the chilled and frozen colas with the ice, rum and lime juice. Makes 4.
More Easy Cocktail Recipes
Oktoberfest is in full swing, but if you’re getting a little tired of boots full of beer, we’ve got a simple and delicious cocktail that will help keep you in the spirit: a Red Velvet champagne cocktail.
This velvety smooth sparkler is topped with stout beer then finished with a pinch of ground espresso and an orange twist as a garnish. Full of chocolately notes from the beer, this tasty concoction could be a stand-in for dessert.
Pink champagne or sparkling rose
Small pinch ground espresso
Fill 2 flutes three-quarters of the way with pink champagne or sparkling rose. Top with stout beer and garnish each with a small pinch ground espresso and an orange twist. Makes 2.
More Must-Have Cocktail Recipes
The convenience of grabbing wine at the grocery store cannot be beat. But how to pick the best bottles? These three free apps come to the rescue. Cheers to that!
Best for Social Drinkers: Crushed Wine
If you want to know what your social network is drinking (and loving), then this app’s for you (seen above). With an interface akin to Instagram—instead of “liking” a pic, users can “cheers” your vino as a virtual vote of confidence—and posting capabilities on Facebook and Twitter, Crushed forgoes ratings systems in favor of sharing.
Best for On-Trend Imbibers: Delectable
Used by many sommeliers for sharing real-time recommendations (that means fresh insider info for you!), this app’s newest feature is label-image recognition. Snap a pic of the bottle on the shelf to pull up its origin, ratings and user reviews instantly.
Best for Frequent Quaffers: Vivino
Like Netflix for wine lovers, the Vivino app generates picks based on your preferences. The more wine you rate in its four-million-bottle database, the more spot-on its suggestions.
If you haven’t noticed, we love a good tailgate. But between all the sliders, wings and dip, it’s hard to find a place for a signature cocktail to really shine. Enter: the shandy, a refreshing mixture of beer and citrus that looks way more impressive than a six-pack but will still leave beer enthusiasts pleased. Typically made with lemonade, a shandy is a definite crowd-pleaser that doesn’t require much effort. Our Grapefruit Shandy is a twist on the classic that your friends probably haven’t had before. The best part? All you need are three ingredients!
3 12 ounce bottles Hefeweizen beer, chilled
3 12 ounce bottles grapefruit soda, such as Izze, chilled
1 grapefruit, sliced
In a pitcher, mix beer and soda. Divide among cups and garnish with grapefruit slices. Makes 6.
Not ready to let go of summer just yet? We’ve got good news: You don’t have to! Get one last sip of summertime sweetness in a cocktail that’s delicious, fresh and super easy to make. The best part? Strawberries are in season until late summer so they’ll be totally fresh in your festive sip. Whip up these Strawberry Suckers for your friends and family — they’ll thank you for turning back the clock, even if it’s just by a few weeks.
1 ounce vodka
2 ounces strawberry schnapps
1 strawberry, halved
Ice cubes (freebie)
Fill a highball glass with ice cubes. Add the vodka and schnapps and top with club soda. Garnish with the strawberry. Serves 1.
More Delicious Four-Ingredient Cocktails
Tequila will always have a special place in our hearts, but sometime we’re looking for a spirit that’s a little more complex. Meet mezcal: tequila’s close cousin, also originating from the agave plant. While tequila can be fruity, earthy or oaky, mezcal takes on more of a smoky flavor, due to the slow-roasting of the agave hearts in hardwood fire pits in order to produce it. But the fancy knowledge stops there: Mezcal can be used in a wide array of simple yet delicious drinks that are perfect for your Thirsty Thursday. One of our favorites, The Smokin’ Dog, only requires four ingredients!
6 oz. fresh grapefruit juice (pink or yellow)
1 oz. mezcal
Splash of club soda
1 grapefruit twist
Fill a rocks glass with ice, then add grapefruit juice and mezcal. Stir to blend; top with a splash of soda. Garnish with grapefruit twist. Makes 1.
Nothing’s better on a Thursday night than a killer margarita. Throw a sombrero on, pretend you’re chilling in Mexico and your stress will slip away in only a matter of time. While the store-bought stuff is easiest to whip out of your cabinet when you’re in need of a staycation in your kitchen, we’re here to tell you that this simple four-ingredient homemade version is so much tastier! Cheers to hoping we just persuaded you to go homemade with your margs every time.
Happy Thirsty Thursday! Relax this evening with a drink that’ll quench your thirst and put a smile on your face (queue Pharrell’s “Happy”). The best part? This four-ingredient cocktail won’t have to be slaving away in the kitchen (but don’t tell your guests — this drink is so impressive, they’ll think you’re a master mixologist!).