Summer Cocktails


We like a fancy cocktail as much as anyone, but we also like to keep things very, very simple, especially when we’re heading to beach, boat or field. It used to be that pre-mixed drinks were limited to Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Mr. & Mrs. T’s Bloody Mary Mix, but all that’s changed with some fresh (and local) options. We threw an impromptu party and tasted our way through a few easily transportable cocktails:

A clear favorite was Ripe’s cocktail mixes. These cold-presssed juice concoctions were invented by since-childhood-chums in Meriden, CT. The ingredient lists are short and recognizable: fresh fruits and vegetables, agave, reverse osmosis filtered water, maybe a little mint or nutmeg. We’ve been fans of their San Marzano Bloody Mary for a long time, but their summery, minty Mojito and not-too-sweet Cosmopolitan are my new favorites. Just add rum or vodka, shake, and serve. Handy to keep a bottle or two in the fridge for your own impromptu cocktail party. Available in many local liquor stores (I picked mine up at the Old Lyme A&P) or online.


Tiny Fisher’s Island has just one bar, The Pequot Inn, where they’ve been mixing up gallons of lemon juice, vodka, whiskey and honey sweeteners for islanders and boaters alike. It’s a family business and Bronya Shiller, daughter of the owners, had the inspired idea to package the popular drink. Available in a four-can pack, the fresh beverage is lemony (of course), sweet and packs a kick at 9% alcohol. Lovely straight from the can, but better over ice with a slice of lemon.


If you’re on the hunt for a low-carb, gluten-free drink, grab a bottle of CT-based Spiked Seltzer. We, of course, are all about packaging, and were immediately drawn to the mermaid illustrated bottles and citrusy flavors of Valencia Orange, West Indies Lime and Indian River Grapefruit (Cape Cod Cranberry is also available). Straight from the bottle, they’re a refreshingly fizzy alternative to beer, or mix with a bit of fruit juice for an inspired cocktail. Fermentation of citrus essence and a bit of sugar produces 6% alcohol. Check the website for availability near you: