The vernal equinox, or Northward equinox, is the equinox on Earth when the sun appears to leave the Southern Hemisphere and cross the celestial equator, a seasonal transition also known as the first day of spring. For many, March 20, 2016, was a day of purging the dust and clutter collected over the catacombs of our homes living through a dark and dreary winter. For some, it’s the sign that we must begin tilling our gardens for a verdant and lush bounty of vegetation to come. For me, and I hope many others, the first day of spring signifies my donning of a crop top, making a botanical cocktail and skipping around my deck with a buzz, throwing confetti in the air. For my friends out there reeling in the budding joy of springtime in Kentucky with me, however it may be, I’ve crafted a list of delectable libations so that you can both impress party guests, and get some spring abloom all up in your mouth holes while in the comfort of your own homes. So keep this LEO on hand, head over to Old Town Liquors, and grab your arsenal of patio-side bar tools. I’ll bring the crushed ice.
The Spring Swizz
The swizzle is a classic cocktail that dates back to Caribbean Islanders who made libations with rum, crushed ice, bitters, and mixed it with a “swizzle stick.” They’d pound the ice into an almost powder-like substance, which you can totally do, but I’m fairly certain you can probably go grab a Polar Pop cup of crushed ice from your local gas station, and that’ll do just fine. Swizzles have begun appearing on innovative cocktail lists all over town, from Proof on Main to The Hub Louisville, so clearly bartenders and beverage directors are keen on their delectable draw for the warmer months. For my Spring Swizz, you’ll need 1.5 ounces of Gosling’s Dark Rum, 1 ounce of Hum Botanical, equal parts of pineapple and orange juices, and three dashes of Angostura Bitters. Combine all ingredients aside from bitters in a tall Collins glass, add crushed ice that billows over the rim, then bitters. Use a long spoon or straw (or an actual swizzle stick, if you’d like to order one) and spin the mixture until it’s merriment forms a cool fog around the outside of the glass. Pierce with straw. Garnish with a sprig of mint. Stretch out on lawn chair. Mouth-gasm. Repeat.
The Tin Man-Mosa
I’ve expressed my delight for “beertails” in the past here at LEO, and my mornings are no stranger to a stellar beer-mosa. My boo and I have taken a liking to the Tin Man Brewing Co. Damascene Apricot Sour (out of Evansville, Indiana) lately, which blends tartness and acidity to create the perfect beer for a cocktail (granted, Damascene is great on its own, as well). A well-crafted beer-mosa can both jump start a Sunday Funday and help get you through the Sunday Scaries. For my Tin Man-Mosa, add one ounce of blanco tequila to a pint glass, fill three quarters of the way full with the Damascene, top with orange juice. Good morning, y’all.
The Moshing Goat
It wouldn’t be springtime in Derby City if we didn’t include a bourbon cocktail. Let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be me writing this, either. Alas, in honor of my bourbon heritage, I give you The Moshing Goat, which pairs a bold, rye-heavy bourbon with ginger and lemon to create a vivid and balanced glass of Louisville love. You’ll need 1.5 ounces of Elijah Craig 12 Year Bourbon, 0.5 ounces of Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, a splash of sour mix (homemade is always best, of course), and a squeeze of a quarter of one lemon. Combine all ingredients, shake it like a polaroid picture, and strain into a highball glass over ice. Garnish with a lemon twist and a small piece of fresh ginger. The Moshing Goat is the perfect cocktail for both bourbon purists and folks that are new to the land of our native spirit, as it allows the spirit to remain the star of the drink, while being complemented by notes of citrus and ginger. I’ll have another.
Regardless of your own expertise when it comes to mixing up adult beverages for yourself or your friends, remember that in the season of budding glory, you cannot go wrong with pairing botanical herbs and fruit with your favorite spirits. A green tea mojito? Yum. A gin and cucumber fizz? Delightful. Body shots of Rose straight out of the bottle? I’m on the way. Happy mixing, y’all!