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Mixing a Fresh and Fizzy Spring Cocktail

Bartenders throughout the area are offering their own gifts of the spring season with mixed up, muddled, shaken and stirred cocktails that celebrate the warmer, brighter days ahead. While below, we offer you a sample recipe from Rizzuto's on Riverside Avenue in Westport, why not experiment with your own fresh and fizzy concoction?

Start with your liquor of choice...vodka, gin, rum, and tequila can all serve as the starter flavor...and just under half a glass of ice in a large glass (I like to use a big, fat, red wine glass). Then think spring! Introduce a fresh herb. Mint is the obvious choice, but other herbs, like lemony thyme, or basil, can impart a fresh green brightness to your cocktail as well. Use fresh lemon or lime juice, club soda, perhaps a splash of fruit soda (I like Izze pomegranate or black raspberry). Or introduce any fresh fruit you like. Melon, pineapple, and berries all bring wonderful flavors to cocktails and look pretty as a garnish. If you prefer your drink a bit sweeter, add a touch of simple syrup to the mix. You can make your own by simply mixing equal parts water and sugar, boiling and simmering until sugar has disolved, then cooling. Or slide a section of lemon or lime around the edge of the glass and roll it in sugar for a pretty crystalline rim.

Another option: Consider purchasing a bottle of a specialty liqueur to add a totally new dimension of flavor to your drink. My new favorite is St. Germain, a very faintly sweet and mild honeysuckle-like libation from France made from elderflower blossoms. A splash added to vodka (I like Tito's) and club soda with a healthy squirt or two of fresh lemon juice and a whole, fresh basil leaf dropped in for a kick and some color will make your day.

Rizzuto's is ringing in spring with a bubbly "Compo Beach Cocktail." The recipe calls for a two to one ratio of Ketel One vodka and white cranberry juice, a splash of simple syrup, the juice of one lemon, and a topper of prosecco. Garnish with a few berries and some citrus, and you're headed to a happy season.

Cheers.

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