Bring out the beach blankets, picnic baskets, and Adirondack chairs - summer cocktail season is here. I like to have a few reliable recipes on hand for impromptu gatherings. The best summer drinks are cold, refreshing, and effortless. I would love to share a couple of easy drinks that feature some local Portland small-batch syrups and bitters.
Fellow Portlander, Genevieve Brazelton, started making her own bitters while managing a restaurant bar program. One thing led to another and Bitter Housewife was launched. She and her husband, Dan, recently acquired RAFT Syrups and now produce bitters and syrups under the umbrella name of Improper Goods. They want to make cocktails fun and approachable. RAFT syrups are currently offered in Lemon Ginger, Hibiscus Lavender, and Smoked Tea Vanilla. Bitter Housewife flavors range from Aromatic to Bull Run Barrel Aged. I am teaming up with Improper Goods for a giveaway to help jump-start summer cocktail season. More on that later.
I have been looking forward to experimenting with RAFT syrups. I make a lot of my own syrups, so it was so really fun to play with someone else’s syrup for a change. RAFT’s Hibiscus Lavender syrup is luscious and velvety with a hint of acidity. It makes a wonderful summery soda with sparkling water. I tried it in quite a few different cocktails, and found that it pairs especially well with vodka, tequila, and sweet vermouth.
Bitter Housewife Lime Coriander bitters add a pleasing pop of citrus and spice. I love a few dashes in sparkling water. These bitters are bright and summery. The lime pairs well with base spirits like gin, vodka, and tequila.
I decided to combine RAFT Hibiscus Lavender syrup and The Bitter Housewife Lime Coriander bitters in a couple of refreshing and pretty summer cocktails.
This refreshing spritzer is low in alcohol so feel free to sip them all afternoon! You can even skip the alcohol, if preferred. This drink comes together quickly because it is built in the glass.
Makes one spritzer
1 Tablespoon (½ ounce) RAFT Hibiscus Lavender syrup
1 Tablespoon (½ ounce) rosé or a light-bodied sweet vermouth such as Dolin Rouge or Dolin Blanc, a herbaceous colorless sweet vermouth
A small squeeze of lime or orange
A couple of generous dashes of Bitter Housewife Lime Coriander bitters
4 - 5 ounces sparkling water
In a Collins or juice glass, add the RAFT syrup, rosé/vermouth, citrus squeeze, and bitters. Stir gently. Add ice and sparkling water. Garnish with thinly sliced citrus wheels and/or edible flowers like nasturtium, lavender, calendula, pansies, or borage. Serve with a straw or swizzle stick, if desired.
I love the combination of fruity, tart hibiscus and earthy tequila. This vibrant and thirst-quenching drink is perfect for a summer garden party.
Makes two margaritas
3 ounces tequila reposado
1.5 ounces Creole Shrubb or your favorite orange liqueur (such as dry curaçao or triple sec)
2 ounces RAFT Hibiscus Lavender Syrup
1.5 ounces fresh lime juice
4 -5 dashes of Bitter Housewife Lime Coriander Bitters
Salt, for rim, if desired
Glassware: 2 rocks or juice glasses
Salt the outer rims of the glasses, if preferred. The best way that I have found to do this is to rub the outside of the rim with a spent lime half. Pour a teaspoon of kosher salt into a small saucer or plate. Gently tip the outside of the rim into the salt, rolling the glass until you have a nice ring of salt. Limiting the salt to the outside of the glass keeps the drinks from becoming too saline.
Add plenty of ice cubes to the prepped glasses.
Combine the tequila, orange liqueur, RAFT syrup, lime juice, bitters, and ice in a cocktail shaker or a mason jar with a lid. Shake well for 20 seconds. Strain the drink into the glasses. Garnish with lime wheels and/or bright, colorful, edible flowers such as nasturtium, calendula, California poppy, violas, or lavender.
Now to the giveaway! We are giving away a nice bundle of Improper Goods: One 250 ml bottle of RAFT Hibiscus Lavender Syrup and one 100 ml bottle of Bitter Housewife Lime Coriander Bitters. I have chosen these two flavors just for you!
***This giveaway has closed***
Congratulations to our lucky winner, Sharon!
Sign up for The Bitter Housewife Mailing List here. This list will let you know about upcoming product releases and events. They promise not to flood your inbox!
Leave a comment below letting me know that are signed up. If you feel inspired also let me know a favorite summer drink, or would a drink you would like to learn to make at home.
This giveaway is limited to residents of the United States and Canada.
Please submit entries by May 25th 11:59 pm PDT. I will select the winner via random number generator.
The lucky winner will be announced here May 26th.
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