Your Weekend Cocktails

   We are putting Florida first this weekend, and we called on a real fresh-from-Florida champion, Justin Timineri, “Florida’s Culinary Ambassador,” for a few cocktail recipes to help kick-start summer. So this weekend, don’t just shop local—drink local. Enjoy!


Friday Happy Hour: It’s a Margarita Party!

Time to get into the summer spirit with the classic pool party bevvy, a slushy, tequila-laden margarita. Chef Timineri offers up a slew of margarita recipes that are sure to keep the party abuzz. Tequila!


 Watermelon Margarita - Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - Chef Justin Timineri

Watermelon Margarita

Yields 4 servings

  • 2 tsp. natural sugar (for rim of glasses)
  • 2 fresh limes, cut in halves
  • 4 cups watermelon, seeded and cut in 2-inch chunks
  • 2 tbsp. natural sugar
  • 1 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4 oz. tequila (go with 6 oz. for a stronger batch)
  • 2 oz. orange-flavored liqueur (Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
  • lime wedges for garnish
  • watermelon balls, for garnish

Place 2 teaspoons sugar in a small dish. Rub rim of margarita glasses with 1 cut half of lime, and then roll glasses in sugar to coat. Place prepared glasses in the freezer until ready to serve drinks. Combine juice of limes, watermelon, 2 tablespoons sugar, tequila and orange-flavored liqueur in a blender and process until smooth. Fill blender with ice cubes and process until mixture is a slush consistency. Fill prepared glasses with margaritas; garnish each glass with lime wedge and watermelon balls on a skewer and serve immediately.



Passion Fruit and Orange Margarita

Yields 4 servings

  • 4 oz. passion fruit juice
  • 6 oz. tequila
  • 2 oz. orange liqueur (Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
  • 2 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. fresh-cracked sea saltStrawberry Margarita

Prepare the glass by running a lime wedge around the rim. Invert margarita glass, and twist rim in salt. Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Pour passion fruit juice, tequila, orange liquor, orange and lime juices and vanilla extract in cocktail shaker. Shake the mix vigorously, 50 times or more. Pour into glass; serve chilled.



Strawberry Margarita

Yields 4 servings

  • 6 oz. tequila
  • 2 oz. orange liqueur (Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
  • 8 oz. fresh strawberries
  • 4 oz. frozen limeade concentrate
  • 6 cups ice
  • 2 tbsp. fresh-cracked sea salt

Place ice in a blender and crush for 15-20 seconds. Add strawberries, tequila, orange liquor and limeade. Blend until smooth. Moisten rim of margarita glass with lime juice. Holding glass upside down, dip rim into salt. Pour the blend into the glass and serve.

Saturday is Sweet & Sour

Nothing quite says summer in South Florida like that of the mango. These tropical teardrops from heaven are the perfect fruit for those sultry days best suited for linen and hand fans.

 Mango Sour - Chef Justin Timineri - Florida's Executive Chef

Florida Mango Sour

Yield 2 servings

  • 1 cup fresh Florida mango nectar
  • 3/4 cup vodka
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar

Stir together nectar, vodka, lemon juice and sugar in a 1-quart glass measure. Shake half of mixture in cocktail shaker half filled with ice cubes until cold, about 30 seconds. Strain into double Old Fashioned glasses half filled with ice cubes. Shake and strain remaining nectar mixture in same manner. 


Sunday Funday: Citrus is the Word, Bird

For anyone who has had dealings with the northern half of the state (Go Noles!), they can tell you, sweet tea is a big deal. Regardless of what Kevin Costner says, I am pretty sure the Hatfield-McCoy feud broke out over a ball jar of spilled sweet tea. So when Timineri sent over a recipe for iced tea, well, I had to brew up a batch to see what’s what. As the name suggests, it is citrusy and passes that tooth-achingly sweet taste test with a hearty dose of honey. To give it an adult kick, add 1½ oz. of Tito’s Handmade Vodka per serving, a great way to pass a lazy Sunday afternoon.


Florida Sparkling Citrus Iced Tea - Justin Timineri, Florida Culinary AmbassadorFlorida Sparkling Citrus Iced Tea 

Yield 8 servings 

  • 4 tea bags
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3 Florida oranges
  • 2 medium lemons
  • 2 cups Florida orange juice
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons Florida honey
  • 1 liter ginger ale, chilled
  • *Add 1½ oz. of Tito’s Handmade Vodka per serving for an adult beverage.

Place tea bags in a teapot; add boiling water. Cover and steep for 7 minutes; discard tea bags. Pour tea into a pitcher. Peel, section and deseed two oranges and one lemon; add to tea. Stir in the orange juice, lemon juice and honey. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. Cut remaining orange and lemon into slices; freeze. Just before serving, strain and discard fruit from tea. Stir in ginger ale. Serve with frozen fruit slices.


♦ ♦ ♦


Take the bite out of the summer heat with a citrus punch straight to the tongue. Timineri’s Grapefruit Spritzer is light on the alcohol but big on grapefruity flavor.


Grapefruit Spritzer

Yield 4 servings

Grapefruit Spritzer - Florida Culinary Ambassador - Chef Justin Timineri

  • 1½ cups fresh squeezed Florida grapefruit juice (Ruby Red or Pink, preferably)
  • ¼ cup natural sugar
  • 1 (2-inch) stick cinnamon
  • Ice cubes
  • 24 oz. ginger ale, chilled
  • *Bottle (750 ml) of white wine (Vinho Verde adds a nice dimension)

   In a saucepan, combine grapefruit juice, sugar and cinnamon. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Discard cinnamon, cover and cool mixture. To serve, fill 4 (8-ounce) glasses with ice.

   Add about 1/3 cup grapefruit syrup to each glass. Fill glasses with equal parts ginger ale and white wine*. Stir gently. If desired, garnish with Florida grapefruit peel curls, edible flowers and fresh mint sprigs.


*Use your favorite white wine to liven up this spritzer. Light, crisp and effervescent, Vinho Verde is a great addition. The low alcohol content keeps it light, while the acidic bite mingles well with the grapefruit.




*Recipe and image courtesy of Chef Justin Timineri and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.


If you would like to nominate a cocktail recipe to appear in our latest series “Weekend Cocktails,” email the online editor here.

Your Weekend Cocktails for June 22-24 - Florida Culinary Ambassador Justin Timineri - Fresh From Florida


Tools of the Trade

Become a master mixologist, or at least look like one, with the tools that make the trade.

Your Weekend Cocktails - Tools to Make a Pro - Williams-Sonoma


  • Muddler: This little tenderizing stick is a godsend and a must for any home bar. If fruity cocktails are in your future, the muddler is the only way to unlock fruits’ flavor.
  • Handheld Citrus Juicer: Nothing beats freshly squeezed juice, but it can be a pain. Invest in a handheld citrus juicer; they are cheap and do the trick tout de suite.
  • Cocktail Shaker: Don’t be a chump stirring your martini like a noob; purchase a nice shaker and become a master home barkeep.
  • Jigger: This little apparati will make mixing the perfect drink as easy as pie. It’s equipped with 1½ oz. and 1 oz. cups for perfectly measured pours every time.

*Pictured available at Williams-Sonoma

Facebook Comments