As the weather warms up and the days get longer, there’s no better way to unwind than with a happy hour in the garden. I believe that a great cocktail should be made with fresh, local ingredients, whenever possible, that highlight the flavors of the region. I also use ingredients from my own local herb and flower gardens. Here are a few of my favorite Laguna Beach-themed cocktails for the perfect Laguna Beach Party:
Laguna Beach Party Cocktail Recipes (with alcohol)
Ingredients: Tequila, Lime juice, agave nectar, orange juice, lime slices
Instructions: Combine tequila, fresh-squeezed lime juice, and agave nectar in a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a salt-rimmed glass filled with ice. Top with a splash of fresh-squeezed orange juice and garnish with a slice of lime.
Ingredients: Grapefruit Juice, Gin, Elderflower Liquor, ice
Instructions: Mix together gin, fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, and a splash of St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur in a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a glass filled with ice. Top with a splash of tonic water and garnish with fresh strawberries and mint.
“Top of the World” Lavender Champagne Cocktail
Ingredients: 1 oz lavender syrup, 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice, champagne or sparkling wine, lemon twist, and lavender sprig for garnish Instructions: In a champagne flute, add lavender syrup and lemon juice. Top with champagne or sparkling wine and stir gently. Garnish with a lemon twist and lavender sprig for a bubbly and floral Top of the World drink.
Heisler Honey Vodka Cocktail
Ingredients: 2 oz vodka, 1 oz lavender honey syrup, 1 oz fresh lemon juice, 1 oz grapefruit juice, lemon wheel for garnish
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine vodka, lavender honey syrup, lemon juice, and grapefruit juice. Shake vigorously and strain into a glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lemon and enjoy the sweet taste of Heisler Honey.
“Laguna Lemon” Lemon Drop Martini
Ingredients: 2 oz vodka, 1 oz triple sec, 1 oz lavender syrup, 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice, lemon twist for garnish
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine vodka, triple sec, lavender syrup, and lemon juice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and enjoy the tart and floral taste of Laguna Lemon.
Laguna Beach Cocktails ( no alcohol)
Of course, not everyone drinks alcohol, so it’s important to have some tasty non-alcoholic options on hand as well. Here are some of my favorite Laguna Beach-based non-alcoholic drinks:
“Victoria Beach Virgin” Lavender Lemonade
Ingredients: 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 cup lavender syrup, 4 cups cold water, ice cubes, lemon slices, and lavender sprigs for garnish
Instructions: In a pitcher, mix together the lemon juice, lavender syrup, and cold water. Serve over ice cubes in glasses and garnish with lemon slices and lavender sprigs for a refreshing and non-alcoholic Victoria Beach Virgin drink
“Thalia Tea” Hibiscus Iced Tea
Ingredients: 4 cups water, 4 hibiscus tea bags, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, orange slices for garnish
Instructions: Bring water to a boil and add hibiscus tea bags. Steep for 5 minutes and remove tea bags. Add honey and orange juice and stir until honey is dissolved. Chill in the refrigerator and serve over ice. Garnish with orange or lemon slices and enjoy the fruity taste of Thalia Tea.
“Main Beach Mocha” Iced Coffee
Ingredients: 1 cup cold brew coffee, 1/4 cup chocolate syrup, 1/4 cup milk, ice cubes, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings for garnish
Instructions: In a glass, combine cold brew coffee, chocolate syrup, and milk. Stir well and add ice cubes. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings for a decadent Main Beach Mocha.
Ingredients: This refreshing iced tea is made with organic tea and blue butterfly pea flower tea syrup.
Instructions: To make the syrup, steep blue butterfly pea flower tea in equal parts water and organic honey. The drink can be garnished with a sprinkle of edible blue butterfly pea flowers for a pop of color and whimsy or slices of fresh lemon.
All of these drinks can be made with natural and local Laguna ingredients from your own garden or from the local shops. These drinks are perfect for a Laguna Beach happy hour in the garden.
Cheers! Till Next Time ~ Cynthia
Laguna Coast Living By Cynthia Ayers
Note: This is the fourth blog in a series of Gardening Laguna-style blogs that I will be posting this month. Keep an eye out for the rest of the series (linked below):