As temperatures rise the only true way to beat the heat is with a delicious cold cocktail. We asked three local bars and restaurants to give us the recipe for the icy and frothy drinks they'll be featuring this summer. So what distinguishes a good cocktail from a great one?"Balance, balance, balance," said Shawn Hogan, bar manager at Zino Ristorante. "It has to be balanced, it can't be too bitter, it can't be too sweet." According to the experts, combining the right mix of liquor, perfume, bitters and citrus creates that delightful sensation upon the first sip. And while one may see the garnish as an afterthought, it's also a key ingredient to the drinking experience. Putting one's nose to the glass to whiff a bit of basil, cinnamon or cucumber adds to the taste. In an age of complex-sounding mixology, real bartenders know it's best to stick to the basics. "A great cocktail shouldn't be overly complex," said Mark Summers, lead bartender at Cima. "You should be able to taste all of the ingredients."
Zino Ristorante, EdwardsPeople who order the Cucumber Collins at Zino always ask for a second, said Bar Manager Shawn Hogan. The light touch of the cucumber allows one to taste all the other flavors, resulting in a crisp, refreshing drink that's not too strong.Ingredients:2 ounces Hendrick's Gin1 ounce fresh lime juice1/2 ounce simple syrup5 leaves basilClub sodaDirections:Muddle lime juice, simple syrup and basil. Add ice and gin. Gently roll back and forth a few times between glass and mixing tin. Leave contents in glass and top with club soda. Garnish with a cucumber wheel and sprig of basil.
Cima at Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, AvonCima's new cocktail is their take on a Pisco Sour, a drink that originated in Peru and is made with Peruvian brandy. Don't let the "sour" mislead you; this drink won't make your lips pucker but instead has a slightly creamy, frothy taste that goes down smooth. Ingredients:2 slices of cucumber4 basil leaves1 ounce lavender syrup1/2 ounce lime juice1/2 ounce simple syrup1.75 ounce Pisco (Peruvian brandy)3/4 of 1 egg whiteDirections: Muddle cucumber, basil leaves, and lavender syrup. Combine with all other ingredients and add to ice shaker. Shake well, until drink is frothy. Strain. Add touch of cinnamon and lavender flower for garnish.
Larkspur, VailLarkspur's Bar Manager Josh Stevenson calls this drink an "all-around Colorado cocktail," which uses local peach brandy from Peak Spirits in Hotchkiss and pear soda from Rocky Mountain Soda Company, based in Commerce City. A peachy take on the mint julep, the liquor and fruit combine for a slightly sweet but not overpowering taste. Ingredients:2 pieces torn sorel2 mint leaves1/2 ounce lemon juice1 1/2 ounce bourbon1/2 ounce Eaux de Vie (fine peach brandy)*3 tsp peach preserves3 ounce pear sodaDirections: Muddle sorel, mint, and lemon juice. Add all other ingredients (except soda) to ice shaker. Shake and strain over ice. Add pear soda. Garnish with basil leaf and small piece of fresh peach. *Eaux de Vie is sold locally by Peak Spirits, for more info visit www.peakspirits.com