3 Detroit-Area Mixologists Share Their Summer Cocktail Recipes

Make drinks from Willis Show Bar, The Last Word, and The Monarch Club at home
summer cocktails
David Miles Cole Martinez’s 50 Summers stars Norden Aquavit and fresh strawberries. Find the recipe below. // Courtesy of rogerjamesphoto.com

Summer is almost here, which means it’s time to set down the old fashioneds and Manhattans and pick up cocktails that refresh. Summer cocktails may be a little lighter, but they’re also packed with flavor, thanks to plenty of fruit and fresh ingredients. To help you find your perfect sip, we asked three metro Detroit bartenders to offer up some make-at-home friendly drinks for the season. But if you’re sick of being at home and excited to get back to the bar, you can drink them there, too!

David Miles Cole Martinez is heading up Detroit’s Willis Show Bar, which re-opened this spring with a fresh new feel after a pandemic-induced closure. To try 50 Summers, his riff on the famous Detroit cocktail The Last Word, head not to Willis but to Sugar House, where it appears on the Corktown cocktail bar’s summer menu. Or mix one up yourself with some perfectly sweet Michigan strawberries and local favorite Norden Aquavit.

The Osborn is a perennial favorite that’s been on The Last Word’s menu since the Ann Arbor bar opened in 2012. During 2020, it was reconceived as a canned cocktail for the bar’s ambitious Last Word Bodega retail program. This year, it became the inspiration for the Osborn Mist Berliner Weisse in a collaboration with Ann Arbor’s Mothfire Brewing Company. Wondering what all the fuss is about? Check out the recipe below to make this beautifully balanced pineapple-jalapeño drink at home, or head to The Last Word so Head Bartender and Managing Partner Giancarlo Aversa can mix one for you himself. 

The Monarch Club bartender Jamie Metz is offering the perfect cocktail to transition from spring to summer. Her Spring Botanicals cocktail is packed with refreshing ingredients such as cucumber and mint that will help you make it through the hottest days of the year. The drink is easy to make, with no muddling required, as those flavors come courtesy of a botanical vodka and Chareau liqueur, which includes aloe vera juice. This drink also appears on The Monarch Club’s menu; bartenders make it with a mint-infused simple syrup. But you can save some steps at home and add plenty of mint flavor by just shaking a few leaves right into the drink.


50 Summers

Ingredients

2 small strawberries

1/4 kiwi

3/4 oz. Norden Aquavit

3/4 oz. Green Chartreuse

3/4 oz. fresh-squeezed 

lime juice

1/2 oz. simple syrup*

Directions

*Simple Syrup: 

Heat 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan until sugar dissolves. Let cool and store in refrigerator. (Yields 6 oz.)

Muddle strawberries and kiwi in a cocktail shaker. Add remaining ingredients to shaker then add plenty of ice. Shake well and double-strain into a cocktail coupe or martini glass. Garnish with strawberry on glass rim. —David Miles Cole Martinez, Willis Show Bar

The Osborn

Ingredients

2 pieces fresh pineapple

1-2 slices jalapeño

2 oz. Hendricks gin

1/2 oz. fresh-squeezed 

lime juice

1/4 oz. simple syrup*

1 oz. ginger beer

Cucumber slice 

for garnish

Directions

Muddle jalapeño and pineapple in a cocktail shaker. Add remaining ingredients except ginger beer to shaker, then add plenty of ice. Shake well and double-strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Top with ginger beer, and garnish by floating the cucumber slice. —Giancarlo Aversa, The Last Word

Spring Botanicals

Ingredients

1 1/2 oz. Ketel One 

Botanical Cucumber 

and Mint

1 oz. Chareau aloe 

liqueur

1/2 oz. simple syrup*

1/2 oz. fresh-squeezed 

lime juice

10 mint leaves

Rosewater spritz 

for garnish

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add plenty of ice and shake well. Double-strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Spritz with rosewater to garnish. —Jamie Metz, The Monarch Club

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