3 summer cocktail recipes from cocktail influencer Julianna McIntosh

3 summer cocktail recipes from cocktail influencer Julianna McIntosh

When it comes to summer cocktails, seasonal and fruit-forward drinks are the move. Ask Julianna McIntosh, San Diego-based cocktail influencer and author of the forthcoming cocktail recipe book, “Pretty Simple Cocktails” (Clarkson Potter, $25). Here are three of her summer-inspired recipes, a trio that’s sure to help you stay cool and relaxed as you ride out the heat.

Fro-Secco Spritz

Get out the blender for this slushy drink that’s all about carefree vacation vibes, McIntosh writes. She blends in frozen mango chunks and orange segments rather than ice to keep the drink from becoming diluted. Note: Either use a large blender when mixing carbonated ingredients or add them at the end to prevent frothy overflow.

The recipe for this slushy fro-secco spritz drink can be found in “Pretty Simple Cocktails,” (Clarkson Potter, $25) a recipe book set to debut July 23. (Courtesy Lucianna McIntosh) 

Makes 2 spritzes


6 ounces prosecco (try La Marca prosecco)

5 ounces Aperol or Aperitivo Cappelletti

5 frozen orange segments (see tip below)

1 cup frozen mango chunks

1/2 cup crushed ice

4 ounces club soda

Fresh orange wheels, for garnish

Mint leaves, for garnish


In a blender, combine the prosecco, Aperol, frozen orange segments, frozen mango chunks, and ice and blend, slowly growing to a medium- high speed until smooth.

Divide between two stemless wine glasses (standard white wine glasses or rocks glasses also work) and stir in the club soda. Garnish each with a fresh orange wheel and fresh mint leaves and serve with a straw.

Tip: To freeze the orange, peel the orange and separate it into segments. Arrange the orange segments flat on a tray or plate, not touching one another, and place in the freezer until frozen solid. Once frozen, store in a zip-seal bag in the freezer.

Pretty Simple Cocktails by Julianna McIntosh, mixologist and cocktail blogger with the handle @join_jules, is set to debut July 23. (Courtesy Clarkson Potter) 

Lemon Prosecco Pops

Make these ice pops ahead of your next summer party and serve either straight from the ice pop molds or inverted into glasses of prosecco, McIntosh suggests.

Makes 10 ice pops

Special tools: 10 (3-ounce) ice pop molds


1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 cups water

2 cups prosecco, plus more for serving (try La Marca Prosecco)

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1/3 cup (or 2½ ounces) freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)

10 mint sprigs


In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water and stir over medium heat until the sugar fully dissolves. Set aside at room temperature to allow the syrup to cool completely.

In a big mixing glass or pitcher, stir together the cooled syrup, prosecco, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Divide the mixture among ten 3-ounce ice pop molds. Place a mint sprig in each mold.

Freeze for at least 4 hours or until solid. Pop out and serve.

Tip: Don’t have ice pop molds? Freeze these in ice cube trays and use the resulting cubes to chill your next glass of prosecco.

Bourbon & Basil Smash

“Think of this as the mint julep’s sassy, summery cousin,” McIntosh writes.

Julianna McIntosh, author of “Pretty Simple Cocktails” (Clarkson Potter, $25), calls her bourbon and basil smash the “mint julep’s sassy, summery cousin.” (Courtesy Lucianna McIntosh) 

Makes 1 cocktail


2 ounces bourbon (try Four Roses)

3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 ounce basil simple syrup (see recipe and tip below)

Standard ice cubes, for shaking

Large ice cube, for serving

1 ounce ginger beer, such as Fever Tree, for topping

Basil sprig, for garnish


Put a rocks glass in the freezer to chill.

In a cocktail shaker, combine the bourbon, lemon juice and basil syrup. Add ice, cover, and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Double-strain into the chilled rocks glass over a large ice cube. Top with the ginger beer. Place a fresh sprig of basil on top.

Herbaceous Syrups

Makes about 1½ cups (12 ounces)


1 cup granulated sugar

Herb of choice: 8 medium basil leaves or 2 tablespoons food-grade dried lavender flowers (or fresh lavender blossoms) or 8 thyme sprigs or 5 rosemary sprigs

1 cup filtered water


In a saucepan, combine the sugar, herb and water and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has completely dissolved.

Reduce to a simmer to allow the flavors to infuse and simmer until the syrup is tinted slightly to reflect the color of the herb, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a measuring cup, pressing against the herbs with the back of a silicone spatula to extract all the syrup. Funnel it into an airtight container or syrup bottle and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Tip: Quick basil syrup on the go! If you’re low on basil simple syrup, add 1/2 ounce simple syrup plus 3 or 4 basil leaves right into your shaker instead.

— Courtesy Julianna McIntosh, “Pretty Simple Cocktails” (Clarkson Potter, $25)