3-ingredient spring cocktails
Easy 3-ingredient cocktails to make your spring drinking more exciting
Words— Kate Dingwall
So summer isn’t here just yet. Yes, the calendar is veering closer and closer to summer, but we still have a few months to go before we can hang up our heavier jackets for good. While you may be stuck in winter weather for a short (short, we promise!) while longer, you can at least start heralding in the sunshine with spring-worthy cocktails.
What’s the main difference between a winter, spring, and summer cocktail? First of all, while we love our heavy ryes and darker rums, a spring cocktail should have a hint of freshness to It, be it through fruit or liqueurs. Since winter tipples are meant to warm you up, they tend to be filled with more warming spirits. However, after a long, cold winter, it’s time to celebrate spring and what better way of doing that then integrating flavors of spring into your beverages. Look for ingredients you can only get in spring. Seasonality-wise, spring is when plant life starts peeping up, so shop accordingly. Apricots, limes, mango, oranges, pineapple and strawberries will all be in season, so it’s prime time to stock up.
Pro tips before making these cocktails: while fancy glasses, like a coupe or a Nick and Nora glass, will definitely impress your guests, there is nothing wrong with getting creative and using a wine glass or a rocks glasses if it’s all you have. At the end of the day, it’s all about the taste! If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, which is a great investment if you plan on doing a lot of home entertaining, you can make a makeshift one out of two pint glasses. Outside of glassware, be sure to have lots of fruit and lots of ice on hand, and you’re good to go. Happy drinking!
Italicus Gin and Tonic
Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto is the buzziest spirit in the bartending world right now. An ancient recipe recently revived by renowned barman Giuseppe Gallo, Italicus is a floral liqueur with notes of bergamot, citrus, lavender, and other botanicals. Rosolio was the go-to liqueur for Italian kings in the 1700s and 1800s but, was abandoned in the late 1800s in favor of Vermouth. Gallo dug through the history books to resurrect the recipe, bringing to the table a surprisingly affordable (bottles sit at under $30), unique liqueur.
While the liqueur plays well with a bevy of spirits (try subbing it out for sweet vermouth in a Manhattan and thank me later), adding Italicus instead of lime in a G&T is one of the simplest ways to enjoy the spirit. It's a new riff on a classic, easy to make, but still complex in flavors so all your friends will be impressed.
- 1.5 oz gin
- 0.75 oz Italicus
Directions: build over ice, top with soda. Garnish with lime zest.
The White Negroni
One of our favorite winter cocktails is the Negroni. Herby, bitter Amaros play so well with cold weather. While a Negroni is also perfectly appropriate any time of year, this flowery take on the Negroni is a great way to welcome in summer. Subbing out the regular sweet Vermouth for a flowery Lillet, it’s like a fresh Spring day in a glass.
A Negroni is an equal-parts drink, meaning every ingredient in the cocktail has the same ratio. Really meaning? It’s super easy to make.
- 1 oz Gin
- 1 oz Lillet
- 1 oz Cocchi Americano.
- Garnish: orange peel
Directions: build the cocktail in a mixing glass. Add ice, stir for 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail class. Rim the glass with the peel then drop in the glass. Enjoy!
The Last Word
While the addition of lime juice veers it slightly out of the realm of three-ingredient, the Last Word is surprisingly simple to make. Vancouver wine expert David Kitai of Liberty Wine Merchants veers for a Last Word as his cocktail.
The cocktail was first noticed in the 1915 bar the Detroit Athletic Club. While the cocktail faded to obscurity for decades, in the 1990s bartenders unearthed the recipe and it became a hit sensation.
Why? The Last Word the perfect thing for someone who wants a cocktail with a douse of fresh citrus, but isn’t willing to give up the spirit-forward flavors. If you’re a fan of peaty Scotch, sub out gin for a heavily-peated Scotch, like Adrbeg or one of Bruichladdich’s portfolio. The cocktail will also play well with Mezcal over gin, or if you’re feeling fancy, add a little champagne. Fun fact: the Paper Plane cocktail, with equal parts Aperol, Amaro, bourbon, and lemon juice, is actually a distant cousin of the Last Word.
Of note, while this cocktail does contain a few obscure ingredients, we promise, these ingredients will all come in handy if you’re keen on learning cocktail recipes.
- 1 oz Gin
- 1 oz Green Chartreuse
- 1 oz Maraschino liqueur
- Freshly pressed lime juice
Directions: Combine in a shaker with ice, shake until the outside of the shaker is cold, then strain into a coupe or Nick and Nora glass.
The Alternative: Sangria
When it comes down to it, though sangria may feel like it has a number of extra steps to its creation, sangrias are actually a huge time saver. Spend half an hour batching sangria at the beginning of your event and you’ll never have to lift a finger for a drink for the rest of the night. One of the best parts of sangria? You can’t really go too wrong. As long got the essentials: wine, a bubbly element, and juice, you can play a sangria to your will.
One of the golden rules to a good sangria is to avoid a kick of sweetness. While flavored vodka may sound like a wonderful idea, let the berries and juice add natural sweetness instead. A floral liqueur like Italicus or St. Germain (made with Elderflower) adds a hint of depth to your run-of-the-mill sangria.
- 1 bottle Sauvignon Blanc
- 1 cup Italicus or St. Germain
- 1 half cup juice (we recommend a peach or mango)
- 1 half cup soda water
- Whatever berries you can get your hands on
Directions: Easy, easy. Mix all the incredients together and enjoy. Feel free to soak the berries in cognac or brandy the night before to add an extra kick.