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Spring! It calls for a drink, right? Whether you're still in semi-hermit mode or starting to be a little more social, this spring is all about simple, refreshing cocktails. And so rather than reaching for our standard roster of fresh juices and syrups, we're eyeing one of our favorite mixers in the grocery aisle: San Pellegrino sodas.
The line of fruit drinks from the ubiquitous sparkling water brand has been around restaurants and specialty stores for decades, with their flagship flavors Aranciata and Limonata. But more recent additions like lemon-mint, clementine, and grapefruit, are perhaps even tastier—and better suited to cocktails.
Unlike many other sodas, these drinks are made with real citrus, and their sugar level is somewhat restrained. And unlike flavored seltzers like LaCroix and their ilk, whose flavors tend to be pretty muted, there's enough juice and sweetness to really carry a cocktail. Here are three of our favorite simple, pour-and-go drinks to make with San Pellegrino sodas, from a spritz to a shandy to a boozy spring smash.
While many grapefruit sodas make for great mixers, the Pompelmo is tart, refreshing, and especially appealing. Here, we're using it in a drink that bridges the classic Paloma (tequila plus grapefruit soda) and the shandy (a low-ABV sipper of beer cut with lemonade or juice). Just three ingredients: beer, tequila, and Pompelmo. An ideal afternoon refresher.
Instructions: In a tall glass over ice, combine an ounce of blanco tequila, two ounces of a blonde ale or wheat beer, and three ounces of Pompelmo soda. Give a quick stir and garnish with a thin grapefruit slice.
With its vibrant flavors of fresh lemon and mint, Limone & Menta soda is a cocktail powerhouse, begging to be spiked with gin, vodka, or, our recommendation, bourbon. Just stirring together the American whiskey with Limone & Menta gives you a tart, crisp cocktail somewhere between a Collins and a julep. Since the cocktail itself is so simple, don't skimp on the fresh mint garnish.
Instructions: In a glass with cracked or crushed ice, combine an ounce and a half of bourbon and four ounces of Limone & Menta. Give a quick stir. Garnish with a whole lot of mint, lightly tapped against your hand before adding to the drink to release its fragrant oils.
Let's take an Aperol spritz and make it a little juicier. Here, we're using the clementine-flavored soda from San Pellegrino rather than standard sparkling water, together with Aperol and, of course, the all-important bubbles. A perfect brunch party drink, especially once you dress up the garnish a bit.
Instructions: In a wine glass with ice, combine an ounce and a half of Aperol, two ounces of sparkling wine, and three ounces of Clementina soda. Give a quick stir. Garnish however you like; we're partial to a strawberry and a lemon twist.
This article was written by Carey Jones and John D. McCarthy from Food & Wine and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.