Labor Day Libations

This holiday weekend, celebrate with these late-summer cocktails.

Before summer sizzles out and autumn settles in, celebrate the holiday weekend and the final days of beach weather with these refreshing, hot weather sips. Be sure to pair them with friends and grilled fare for the perfect summer send off.

Gran Melon Crush

Recipe by Elad Zvi and Gabriel Orta of Bar Lab (Miami Beach, FL)

Nothing screams watermelon like summertime. And here, it’s mixed with the lightness of pisco, an aromatic grape brandy from Peru and Chile.

3 watermelon chunks
1½ ounces Gran Sierpe Pisco
¾ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce simple syrup
1 watermelon ball (use a melon baller to form round), optional
1 rosemary sprig, optional

Muddle the watermelon chunks in a cocktail shaker. Add the pisco, lemon juice, simple syrup and ice cubes. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a watermelon ball and rosemary sprig.


Whiskey Smash 

Recipe by Dale DeGroff, master mixologist (New York, NY)

Bourbon pairs so well with barbeque and other grilled foods that many pitmasters even use it as a secret ingredient in their sauces. Try this cocktail alongside baby back ribs slathered with a bourbon-barbeque sauce.

4 mint leaves
3 lemon wedges
¾ ounces simple syrup
1½ ounces Maker’s Mark Bourbon
Lemon wheel, for garnish
Mint sprig, for garnish

In a bar glass, muddle the mint, lemon wedges and simple syrup. Add the bourbon and ice cubes and shake well. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass and garnish with a mint sprig and lemon wheel.


White After Labor Day

The exception to the fashion rule about no white after Labor Day? A creamy coconut margarita.

2 ounces Riazul Premium Silver Tequila
4 ounces cream of coconut
2 ounces lime juice
2 ounces Cointreau
1 teaspoon simple syrup
fresh basil, for garnish

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the Tequila, cream of coconut, lime juice, Cointreau and simple syrup. Shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with fresh basil.

5 Perfect Pours to Celebrate Fall

Published on September 2, 2011
Topics: Cocktails, Recipes
About the Author
Kara Newman 
Spirits Editor

Kara Newman reviews spirits and writes about spirits and cocktail trends for Wine Enthusiast. She's the author of Shake.Stir.Sip.: 40 Effortless Cocktails Made In Equal Parts (Chronicle Books, 2016) as well as ROAD SODA: Recipes and techniques for making great cocktails, anywhere (Dovetail Press, 2017). Email:

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