Summer Cocktails to Try at Home



Strawberry Basil Smash

Ashley Deck

Picture this: you, sun-kissed and flip-flop-clad, reclining on a well-cushioned chair. Through your stylish sunglasses, you take in the day — a perfect summer afternoon, with blue skies above and green grass for miles. What’s missing from this scene?

Only a crush-worthy cocktail. Hold tight — we’ve got you covered. Sourced from the experts, here are three recipes for Zen summer drinks we lovingly call “Patio Pounders.” These boozy beauties are easy-to-make crowd-pleasers, so bring on the patio party and prepare to impress all your friends. Not in the mood to make your own? Pop into one of these spots and let the pros do the heavy lifting for you — each of these drinks are on the menus through the summer.


Strawberry Basil Smash 

Compliments of the Tavern at Mission Farms, this strawberry basil smash just screams summertime. Here’s what you do: in a cocktail shaker, muddle two large strawberries and one basil leaf. Add one and a half ounces of vodka (Tavern uses Eli’s StrongArm Vodka from Tom’s Town Distillery), one-ounce sour mix (generic is fine!), two dashes grapefruit bitters (if you have ‘em — skip if you don’t) and ice. Give it all a good shake, pour into a rocks glass and throw a basil leaf or a strawberry slice on top for a garnish.

Tavern at Mission Farms, 10681 Mission Rd., Leawood, KS www.tavernatmissionfarms.com


Royal Colada

In Kansas City, everybody needs a go-to blue drink: Something to help us celebrate or soothe our anguish, depending on how the Royals baseball game is going. Taco Republic’s Royal Colada — a margarita-meets-piña colada — is the perfect thing for just these occasions.

To make your own Royal Colada, combine the following ingredients in a cocktail shaker: one-ounce tequila (Taco Republic uses a reposado, but you can use your favorite!), one and a half ounces cream of coconut, one-ounce pineapple juice; one-ounce triple sec and one and a half ounces of fresh lime juice. Add ice, shake vigorously and strain the mix into a tall glass filled with ice. If you like, you can top the drink with some coconut water, but to get that essential blue, you’ll need blue Curaçao — just a splash on top will do. Garnish with whipped cream, a cherry, a silly straw or all of the above.

Taco Republic, 500 County Line Rd., Kansas City, KS www.eattacorepublic.com


Rosé Sangria

If you’re looking for a dangerously chuggable drink, look no further than Rye’s Rosé Sangria recipe. Bar manager and cocktail master Van Zarr has long relied on this tried-and-true combination of fruit and liquor — and his recipe has a unique ingredient: whiskey.  

Zarr’s recipe is for a pitcher: Combine one bottle of Rosé wine (nothing too fancy — a $10-$15 bottle will do) with three ounces  whiskey (Zarr uses Union Horse Long Shot); three-fourths liter of white grape juice, one and two-thirds ounces of Lillet Rosé aperitif (skip this if you don’t have it); one and two-thirds ounces white vermouth (Zarr uses Dolin Vermouth Blanc), one-ounce pineapple juice and three ounces simple syrup. Add about half a pint of chopped strawberries and the slices of one lemon. Double or triple this recipe as needed and serve in a wine glass over ice. Bonus: You can make this pitcher up to a week in advance and let it infuse in your fridge to build up the flavors.

Rye, 10551 Mission Rd., Leawood, KS. www.ryekc.com