The National Herald’s Top 5 Cocktails of the Year

The Golden Mare cocktail. Photo: Courtesy of Ling Ling Mykonos

When most people think of Greece, cocktails are not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind, in terms of adult beverages. Wine, ouzo, and tsipouro are probably most associated with Greece. As the renaissance of the cocktail continues, however, Greek ingredients and flavors have made their way into the latest mixology. Books by writers of the Greek diaspora that also focused on cocktails this year included The Poptail Manual: Over 90 Delicious Frozen Cocktails by Greek-Australian Kathy Kordalis, offering great ideas for summer entertaining, and Mixed Up: Cocktail Recipes (and Flash Fiction) for the Discerning Drinker (and Reader) compiled by Greek-American Nick Mamatas and Molly Tanzer, a charming collection featuring cocktails and fiction.

The top cocktails of the year that follow include two shared with The National Herald by Michael Alexandrakis, the head bartender at Ling Ling, one of the hottest restaurants in Mykonos. Alexandrakis’ cocktails feature the bright flavors of Mykonos with island-inspired ingredients.

Golden Mare

2 teaspoons sugar syrup

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 oz. pineapple juice

2 teaspoons Ouzo

½ oz. Cocchi Americano Vermouth

1 oz. Gin Mare

Shake the ingredients together and serve immediately.

Rose Rock

The Rose Rock cocktail. Photo: Courtesy of Ling Ling Mykonos

1 teaspoon cinnamon syrup

½ oz. lime juice

2 teaspoons limoncello

1 oz. Cocchi Vermouth di Torino

¾ oz. Belvedere Vodka

¾ oz. passionfruit juice

Shake the ingredients together and serve over ice with a sprig of rosemary to garnish.

Greek Watermelon Mojito

1 ½ oz. rum

4 pieces (1-inch squares) fresh watermelon or 1 oz. fresh watermelon puree

1 oz. fresh lime juice

3/4 oz. simple syrup

3/4 oz. Greek sparkling water, or Perrier

6 mint leaves and one large mint sprig

In a tall mixing glass, muddle a piece of watermelon and the mint leaves with the simple syrup. Add the rum and lime juice, then fill the glass with ice and shake vigorously. Strain over fresh ice into a glass. Top with Greek sparkling water or Perrier, and swirl gently. Garnish with the sprig of mint.

Mixed Up by Nick Mamatas and Molly Tanzer. Photo: Amazon

Greek Sangria- Agiorgitiko with Fruit

12 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice

12 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice

8 oz. dark rum

8 oz. orange liqueur

2 liters Saint George (Agiorgitiko) wine

6 oz. mixed fruits, your choice of lemon, lime, oranges, apple, strawberries, figs, peaches, or pineapple

To prepare, mix in a large glass pitcher or punch bowl and serve over ice.

Mavrodaphne Cooler

2 oz. Mavrodaphne, sweet red wine

½ oz. Crème de Cassis

½ oz. white rum

1 oz. fresh lemon juice

2 oz. cranberry juice

To prepare, add all the ingredients to a shaker and shake over ice. Serve in a balloon glass and garnish with a sprig of mint and a twist of lemon.

The Poptail Manual by Kathy Kordalis.