5 Sophisticated Spring Break Cocktails

By Seattle Mag March 28, 2012


Spring Break, for many, conjures up visions of snockered college kids carrying around drinks with names that could make a sailor blush and, worse, taste of gasoline mixed with bad perfume. And while we might make fun of these scantily-clad, sandy revelers, I’ll bet many readers feel a twinge of sadness when spring break starts and southern beaches around the country begin to fill.

I mean, it’s probable that you don’t want to join that boozy scene, but doesn’t taking a day off just as the sun is starting to shine more regularly sound like a fantastic idea? Especially if that day is accompanied by a well-made spring-and-summery cocktail that does not resemble a humongous plastic cup filled with vodka and Kool-Aid? Come on, the office will survive without you for a day or two.

To help spur you on, I’ve selected a few cocktails that would be ideal companions for more refined, but still awfully fun, late March or early April holidays:


Pirate Libre
Spice up that boring rum and coke
Pirates likely inspired the spring break craze, what with all their running around on beaches in a disheveled state. This drink takes the rather dull collegiate fave, the rum and coke, and gives it class (and pizzazz) by mixing spiced rum, aged rum, allspice dram, and lime with Mexican coke (which tends to have more flavor and honest sweetness).

Order it at Paratii (5463 Leary Ave NW), which has enough of a beachy feel to be relaxing without being obnoxious.

A cool drink of tropical romance
This name may make you think of language classes in college when you hadn’t been studying, but don’t let that keep you away. Created by my wife Natalie and featured in my book Dark Spirits, it’s ideal to sip on the back deck when the heat’s rising a bit and you’re sitting next to someone you’re sweet on.

Fill a highball or comparable glass with ice cubes and then add 1-1/2 ounces brandy, 2-1/2 ounces mango juice, and 1/2 ounce of the Italian liqueur Aperol. Stir well and top with chilled club soda. Stir again and then squeeze a lemon wedge over the glass and drop it in.

Suffering Bastard
A bold refresher

With such a name, this cocktail could really be one of those drinks collegiate-types pine for during class hours. However, it traces back to Egypt in the 1950s, where its combination of gin, brandy (or bourbon), Angostura bitters, lime, and ginger beer was served to English servicemen. Today, order a dandy version at Chino’s (1024 East Pike Street) and accompany it with one of their delicious steamed buns. Or watch this video in which Seattle’s own cocktail guru Robert Hess explains how to make one.

Margarita Mas Mejor
Freshen up a classic

I know, I know, the margarita is a spring break drink already. Worse, it’s one that kids love to drink in glasses the size of trash cans. But don’t blame the drink. And don’t blame the Little Water Cantina (2865 Eastlake Ave. E), where they mix this excellent cocktail with Herradura Reposado tequila, Cointreau, agave nectar, and fresh lime juice. Now that’s a delicious combination—and you’ll love sipping it on the restaurant’s lovely deck.

The Rebecca
For a celebratory, fruity kick
A fabulous school’s-out sparkler, this drink was created for a pal Rebecca after she quit her job to eventually become head jam-maker at Deluxe Foods, which means it appeals on those days you want to forget your 9-to-5 responsibilities. The recipe, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz, is a snap to whip up: just fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway with ice cubes and add 2 ounces vodka and 1 ounce of the French liqueur Chambord. Stir well. Add 4 or 5 frozen raspberries to a cocktail glass, strain the mix into the glass, and then fill the glass nearly to the top with chilled brut sparkling wine.

Got your delicious cocktail in hand? Great. Now all you need is a fabulous hat.


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