It’s easy to eat well in summer. Just hit the farmer’s market, find some produce that smells incredible, and you’ve got a great start to pretty much any meal, from sumac-dusted melon salad to refreshing berries on ice. So why should drinking be any different? Instead of sugary mixers, Anna Wallace, cocktail consultant and the owner of Seattle Seltzer Co, prefers to make her own infused juices with berries, pineapple, and stone fruit. “When I’m working with summer fruit, I don’t want to do anything to alter their flavor,” she says.
Rather than cooking the produce into a syrup on the stovetop (which gives it a sticky texture), Wallace preserves their mouthwatering tartness by pureeing them, then steeping them with sugar and dried spices in the fridge overnight to accentuate the fruit’s complexity. The next day she strains the mixture, producing a light infusion to top off with club soda for an easy, classy spritzer. No one would complain about a splash of tequila or gin in these either. Here are some of Wallace’s favorite summer fusions:
To offset the deep, jammy flavor of the blackberries in this soda, Wallace pairs the fruit with assertive black peppercorns and bay leaves, which bring out its savory side. Add gin, club soda, and a squeeze of lemon, and you’ve got yourself one serious Collins.
Wallace cracks open apricot pits and uses the kernels inside to lend a subtle almond flavor to this soda recipe. As a short cut, we suggest using raw skin-on almonds. For a boozy take, drink it with St. Germain and champagne.
The heat from the crushed pink peppercorns and chiles de árbol reinforce the pineapple syrup’s mouthwateringly juicy quality. As far as we’re concerned, this mixer is destined for a pour of tequila or smoky mezcal and a plate of shrimp tostadas.