We’re in the midst of summer, which means we’re in the mood for refreshing cocktails and light, sweet desserts. Why not combine these two delicious aspects of the season? We perused dozens of cocktail-inspired dessert recipes and chose six of our favorites to share with you. Whether you prefer to sip cocktails or savor desserts, we hope you’ll try at least one of these recipes.
Summer Cocktail-Inspired Desserts: Frozen Margarita Pie
What would a roundup of summer cocktail-inspired desserts be without a recipe based on the flavors of a classic margarita? This recipe from Bon Appetit will require several hours of freezing before it’s ready to serve, so we encourage you to plan ahead. While you can use a pre-made graham cracker crust, we’d opt to make it from scratch. Freeze the crust while you assemble the filling, which includes heavy cream and fresh limes, plus sweetened condensed milk. Use tequila blanco to keep the color of the filling true. Zest one of the limes over the top of the pie before freezing.
Summer Cocktail-Inspired Desserts: Boozy Pina Colada Dessert Mousse
Another essential summer cocktail is a pina colada. This recipe from Honest Cooking incorporates the flavors of pineapple and coconut into a smooth and creamy mousse. Start by reducing pineapple juice and honey in a saucepan, and then add egg yolks and stir. Transfer to the bowl of your stand mixer and beat until cool and thick. Take one can of refrigerated coconut milk -- it needs to be full-fat so you can scoop out the solid portion -- and beat the contents with vanilla extract and rum until it resembles whipped cream. Fold the mixtures together and chill. Beat the second can of refrigerated coconut milk to the consistency of whipped cream, and use it to top individual servings of mousse.
Summer Cocktail-Inspired Desserts: Moscow Mule Cookies
The uber-trendy Moscow Mule takes a whole new shape in this recipe from Oprah’s website. Add vodka and ginger beer to traditional sugar cookie dough, along with a couple teaspoons of ground ginger. Then glaze the baked cookies with a mixture of powdered sugar, lime zest, and lime juice. If you want to make these cookies entirely child-friendly, substitute white grape juice or water for the vodka.
Summer Cocktail-Inspired Desserts: Paloma Pie
Another summer cocktail that’s gotten a lot of recent attention is the Paloma. This recipe from Baking a Moment turns a refreshing drink into a tempting summer dessert. Start by combining crushed saltine crackers with granulated sugar and melted butter to form the crust. Juice a couple of fresh ruby red grapefruits, and combine with sugar, cornstarch, salt, tequila, egg yolks, butter, and grapefruit zest. Cook in a double boiler, stirring well until the mixture thickens into curd. Then pour the filling into the pre-baked pie crust and refrigerate for several hours before serving. While we expect this dessert to appeal primarily to adults, you can make it alcohol-free by using water instead of tequila.
Summer Cocktail-Inspired Desserts: French 75 Cupcakes
Champagne cocktails are perfect for summer, and the French 75 is an especially celebratory one. This recipe from The Kitchn takes vanilla cupcakes and adds a glaze of French 75 syrup, plus champagne buttercream frosting. To make the syrup, simmer champagne and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Then add gin and lemon juice to the cooled syrup. For the frosting, beat powdered sugar and butter until light and fluffy, and add champagne at the end. Spoon French 75 syrup over the cupcakes and pipe champagne buttercream on top.
Summer Cocktail-Inspired Desserts: Negroni Pie
Finally, this recipe from Baking Bites will seem similar to the Paloma Pie described above, except this one is a take on the Italian cocktail, the Negroni. Also, this pie is baked and then chilled. Combine sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks with gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, plus orange zest and salt. To ensure your finished pie is the same deep red as a Negroni cocktail, add several drops of red food coloring. Once you thoroughly mix all the ingredients, pour them into the pie crust and bake. Let it cool before refrigerating, and then chill for several hours before serving.