Summer is my favorite season. I was born in the South and love the heat. Even when I’m complaining about it, I’ll always say that I’d rather be hot than cold. I also love going to the beach. Whether I’m working on my tan, reading a book or napping under an umbrella, or splashing in the shallows with my kids, it’s one of the few places where I’m happy to be outside all day.
One of the first things I look forward to about the approaching summer weather is the change in cocktail season as well. In my mind, we kick it off with Memorial Day cocktails, and then it’s ON for all kinds of creative, delicious, summer sippers in a glass.
Apothecary bar in Dallas rounded up some amazing cocktail recipes from their menu for our summer issue’s feature that you should definitely check out for your next summer soiree—but if it’s just you and a friend, I want to bring your attention to some award-winning Southern-made spirits and the cocktails they’ve custom designed to complement their individual distillations.
5 Spirit-Driven Memorial Day Cocktails
Roots of Ruin is just one of the spirits to come out of Castle & Key distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, which is known for its bourbon—but their gin is not to be underestimated. This flagship gin perfectly balances a complex botanical profile that includes chamomile, ginger, and rosemary.
DuBlasé Bourbon No. 9 is the newest spirit from award-winning premium whiskey brand DuBlasé based in Jacksonville, Florida. This four-year-aged bourbon has a rich nose headed by vanilla and caramel that continues to the palate with the addition of fruit and spice for a bold finish.
South Carolina-based Sweetgrass Vodka is distilled in Spartanburg, with a tasting lounge in Charleston. Made with only three ingredients—potatoes, water, and yeast—this is a high-quality, low-price-point vodka that features a stalk of Charleston sweetgrass in every bottle. This cocktail is riff on a vodka gimlet.
Distilled just outside Oxford, Mississippi, Wonderbird gin is uniquely made from fermented Mississippi Delta rice, and their flagship Gin No. 61 balances notes of floral, citrus, and spice among a blend of 10 botanicals, including pine needles and red clover from the North Mississippi distillery grounds.
This corn-based, gluten-free vodka comes in two flavors—hot and hotter! Made in Jacksonville, Florida with natural jalapeño extract and real habanero infusion, Scoville vodkas enhance cocktails across the board, from fruity refreshers to martinis and bloody marys.