Our Food and Wine Editor's Top 5 Picks from Our New Beach Cocktails Book
Get the recipes, and pick up your own copy today!
At Coastal Living, we don’t need much of an excuse to toast a sunny day with a Mai Tai, Rum Runner, or frosty Piña Colada. But how to make all those boozy classics, let alone the syrups and garnishes to go in your Tiki mug? Over 20 years, we’ve published hundreds of drink recipes perfect for sipping near the shore. And not just tropical sours and swizzles, but mulled wines, mocktails, milk punches, and everything in between.
Buy the Book: Beach Cocktails: Favorite Surfside Sips and Bar Snacks
So to celebrate our two decades on newsstands, we’ve taken some of our best recipes (over 125 different drinks) and packaged them into one beautiful book. Beach Cocktails: Favorite Surfside Sips and Bar Snacks is an all-in-one guide that shows you what bar tools and glassware to have on hand, the secrets to a great rim salt, even the tastiest bar snacks (think smoky, buttery crab claws and honey-garlic chicken wings) to pair alongside all those libations.
Whether you’re on a beach in Cabo, eating your way through Charleston, or celebrating the holidays in Camden, Maine, chances are, we’ve got the right cocktail (and bites) for you. Need any more convincing? Amazon.com chose it as one of their Best Books of May.
Below, a preview featuring five of my favorite recipes. Cheers!
The Coastal Margarita
Our signature margarita is not only refreshing, but amazingly simple (just silver tequila, Cointreau, Key lime juice, and agave nectar). Don’t taint good tequila with a bottled mix! You’re only 4 ingredients away from on-the-rocks perfection.
Agave is a perfectly compatible sweetener for tequila cocktails. We especially like the tartness of Key limes in our signature margarita. Serve chilled neat or on the rocks.
Citrus Rim Salt (page 32) or coarse salt
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) silver tequila
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) Cointreau
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) fresh Key lime juice (about 3 Key limes)
1 teaspoon (about 1/8 ounce) agave nectar or Simple Syrup (page 17)
Garnish: Lime wedges
- For a salt-rimmed margarita, pour the salt on a shallow plate. Rub rim of a chilled margarita glass with lime wedge, and twist rim of glass in salt.
- Fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice. Add the tequila and next 3 ingredients, and shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled. Strain into prepared glass. Garnish, if desired.
This beloved south-of-the-border tipple can be made with tequila or mezcal—depending on your tolerance for smoky hooch. Either way, it’s a thirst-slaking remedy to sweltering summer temps.
Mexico’s beloved cocktail may be made with smoky mescal or tequila. Do not stir before serving for a layered ombre look in the glass.
1/4 cup (2 ounces) silver or white tequila or mescal
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) fresh lime juice
1/3 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) fresh pink grapefruit juice (from 1 grapefruit)
1 teaspoon (about 1/8 ounce) Simple Syrup
Club soda or grapefruit soda
Garnishes: grapefruit wedge, lime slice
- For a salt-rimmed cocktail, pour the salt on a shallow plate. Rub the rim of a chilled highball glass with lime wedge, and twist the rim of the glass in the salt.
- Combine the tequila or mescal, lime juice, pink grapefruit juice, and Simple Syrup in the prepared ice-filled glass. Top off with club soda or grapefruit soda. Garnish, if desired.
Blend sweetness into cold drinks with this sublimely versatile syrup.
Makes 1 1/4 cups
1 cup water
1 cup (8 ounces) sugar
- Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, and let stand 30 minutes. Strain and chill until ready to use.
The Pink Daiquiri
Our take on “Papa” Hemingway’s boozy favorite, which was developed at the El Floridita in Havana, Cuba. Fair warning: you’ll need to make them by the batch (we’re talking pitchers and punch bowls) to go through all that excess Maraschino liqueur. Don’t worry, that’s a good thing.
The original daiquiri contained rum, fresh lime juice, and sugar. Ernest Hemingway is credited with the addition of maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice.
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) white rum
1 1/2 teaspoons (about 1/4 ounce) maraschino liqueur (such as Luxardo Maraschino)
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) fresh ruby red grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) Simple Syrup (page 17)
Garnish: grapefruit wedge
- Combine the first 5 ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker, and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish, if desired.
A gateway egg cocktail featuring Peruvian pisco (i.e. grape brandy made from muscat grapes). Afterward, try some other foamy sips such as an amaretto sour or Ramos gin fizz.
Pisco hails from the coastal cradle of Pisco on the border of Peru and Chile. Legends say that when the Spanish conquistadors invaded Peru in the 16th century, they planted vast vineyards in the arid country, and then distilled the wine the grapes produced into an amber-colored brandy. Pisco is traditionally taken on the rocks, but is great in cocktails, too.
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) pisco
1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) Simple Syrup (page 17)
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) fresh lime juice or Key lime juice
1 large pasteurized egg white
2 drops of Angostura bitters
Garnish: lime slice
- Combine the first 4 ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker, and shake vigorously. Strain into a highball glass. Add a few drops of the bitters. Stir with a bar spoon or swizzle stick. Garnish, if desired.
Key Lime Gimlet
Gimlets are typically made with Rose’s, a Technicolor lime concentrate that veers toward the saccharine. In its place, we suggest pungent Key limes (indigenous to the Florida Keys) to help balance out this crisp classic.
Key limes, indigenous to the Florida Keys, are notably smaller, seedier, juicier, and have a stronger aroma than standard limes. The zesty flavor of Key lime shines in Florida’s famous Key Lime Pie, but we like it in this crisp cocktail just as much.
5 tablespoons (2 1⁄2 ounces) gin
1 1⁄2 tablespoons (3⁄4 ounce) fresh key lime juice
1 tablespoon (1⁄2 ounce) Simple Syrup (page 17)
Garnish: key lime slice
- Combine the first 3 ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker, and shake vigorously. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish, if desired.
Variation: Clementine Gimlet: Substitute freshly squeezed clementine (or tangerine) juice for the Key lime juice.