Liven up your Pride month with this rainbow of cocktails

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Photo by Sam Grade
Photo by Sam Grade

Many of my friends have asked me for my cocktail recipes, so I was inspired to create a full rainbow of drinks to make this Pride extra special. The best part is, these can all be concocted in the comfort of your own home, so no need to go out to the bars for a good drink if that's not your scene. Each was named by my friends and me to either represent the LGBT community's history and culture or to make you laugh.

Cheers to making this the best Pride yet!

Apple Marsha (red)
A tart twist on a Washington state classic. Named for Marsha P. Johnson, one of the most influential women in LGBT history. As the only sweetener is the apple pucker, this drink may be a little more on the sour side. Personally, I prefer to make it with even less apple pucker so it is extra tart, almost like a sour candy. For a sweeter drink, try swapping the unsweetened cranberry juice for a sweetened version.

1 oz. vodka
3 oz. apple pucker
1 oz. unsweetened cranberry juice
Juice of one lime
Dash of aromatic bitters
2-3 oz. sparkling water
Slice of apple or lime wedge

In a glass filled with ice, combine the vodka, apple pucker, cranberry juice, lime juice, and bitters. Stir with a long spoon until well chilled. Top with a few ounces of sparkling water. Gently stir to combine, garnish with a slice of lime or apple, and enjoy!

Pride Punch (also Red — it was just too good not to include)
Pride party in your mouth! Strawberry is the heavy hitter in this drink. Perfect for the month when fresh strawberries are starting to ripen around Washington state. If you can't find strawberry vodka but don't want to sacrifice flavor, muddle a few fresh strawberries in the bottom of the glass.

1.5 oz. peach schnapps
1.5 oz. strawberry vodka (plain vodka will also work)
2 oz. unsweetened cranberry juice
4 oz. sparkling strawberry juice (can be found at Trader Joe's) or strawberry soda
Juice of one lime
One strawberry

Fill desired glass with ice and combine the schnapps, vodka, cranberry juice, and lime juice. Stir to chill and top with the sparkling strawberry juice. Garnish with a straw- berry and let the party begin!

Mommy's Mangoes (orange)
"This drink made me question my sexuality." —Paul Wujek (straight man)
I have found that the most flavorful way to make margaritas is with blended frozen fruit rather than mostly ice. It tastes like a smoothie and has a shot of tequila to boot! Upsizing the amount works great in a blender, so now is the perfect time to have your friends over and celebrate the best month of the year.

1 cup frozen mango chunks
1.5 oz. tequila (blanco or reposado)
0.5 oz. triple sec
Juice of two limes
Juice of one orange

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Ice can be added to achieve a thicker consistency. If desired, rim a glass with salt or tajin before serving, and put those mangoes in your mouth!

Sapphic Sunshine Mule (yellow)
Does this count as a wellness shot? Technically no, but it does have the spicy qualities of ginger and turmeric combined with the comforting sweetness of honey. Normally, I prefer my mules quite tart, with the only sweetness in the ginger beer. However, the honey in this recipe gives an extra bit of flavor.

1.5 oz. vodka
Juice of two limes
One batch of honey-turmeric syrup (see recipe below)
Dash of aromatic bitters
3-4 oz. ginger beer

Combine the vodka, lime juice, syrup, and bitters in a glass with ice. Stir thoroughly, top with ginger beer, and garnish with a lime wedge. Who knows? You might just meet your soul mate in the Trader Joe's produce section.

Honey Turmeric Syrup
0.5 oz. honey
1 oz. hot water
0.25 tsp.. ground turmeric

Combine the ingredients and stir until the honey has fully dissolved. If needed, heat in a microwave-safe bowl until the honey can dissolve. Makes enough for one drink.

Make America GAY Again Mojito (green)
The perfect summer beverage to forget that it's still raining in Seattle. This is perhaps my most requested recipe from friends. I will often make a big batch and bring it to a party, adding the sparkling water and aromatic bitters right before serving.

Bitters are a key player in most of my cocktail recipes. They add complexity instantly that is not easily replicated. If better drinks are the goal, invest in a bottle of bitters. They will last a long time (you don't need much) and make a significant difference in most every cocktail.

3 oz. coconut rum
5 fresh mint leaves
Juice of one lime
1 oz. simple syrup (see notes)
Dash of aromatic bitters
2-3 oz. sparkling water

Muddle the mint in the bottom of a glass. Add the syrup, coconut rum, and lime juice and stir thoroughly. Add ice and stir again. Top with sparkling water and bitters, and get ready to sip on a glass of no worries.

Note: Simple syrup can be made by combining equal parts sugar and water and heating until the sugar is fully dissolved.

Tuesday Blue-Job (blue)
"Local gay likes the blue one."— Spencer Holle
This drink was a rather recent creation of mine for the purpose of completing the rainbow, and actually ended up being one of my friends' favorites. According to Spencer, this made his whole week.

I hadn't worked with this strange blue liquor (that actually tastes like oranges) before, but it ended up tasting absolutely delicious in this blended drink. The pineapple, coconut, and lime make it taste like a tropical paradise. Perfect for when you are craving a getaway.

1 cup frozen pineapple
1.5 oz. coconut rum
1.5 oz. blue curacao
Juice of two limes

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice as needed to achieve desired thickness. Enjoy!

Nonbinary Basil (purple)
"I don't like gin but I like this."— Sam Grade
One of my all-time favorite drinks in my library of creations. This came about when I picked some blackberries last August and made a large batch of jam. One of the liquors that I still had left in my cabinet was gin. Not my favorite alcohol, but when combined with the acidity of lots of lime juice, the aromatics of basil, and the dark sweetness of blackberry jam, the gin is able to take a step back from being the main character and support the other flavors in a balanced ensemble.

1.5 oz. gin
Juice of two limes
1 Tbsp. blackberry jam
3-4 basil leaves
Dash of aromatic bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 20-30 seconds or until the shaker becomes icy. Strain into a glass with ice and garnish with basil leaves or a lime wedge. Cheers!

Rudolph's Rosemary Spritz (clear)
Named for my grandfather, the late editor and publisher of the SGN, this is a drink for him and all his fellow teetotalers! Drinking is not always about the alcohol. Sometimes, the ritual of making a refreshing cocktail is the best part anyway. While writing this article, I actually made myself one just because it sounded so good. The flavors are more complex and sophisticated than your typical soda, so you don't feel like a little kid when abstaining among drinkers.

3 oz. pear juice (I used juice from canned pears)
2 oz. rosemary syrup (see recipe below)
4 oz. sparkling water
Juice of half of a lemon
Dash of aromatic bitters

Note: Bitters typically contain alcohol, but so little is used that the alcoholic content of the drink is not significant. That said, there are nonalcoholic bitters on the market, as well as recipes for them online. The drink can also go without bitters if desired.

In a glass filled with ice, combine the syrup, lemon juice, and pear juice, and stir until well incorporated. Top with sparkling water and bitters. Stir gently, and garnish with a rosemary sprig. No alcohol needed!

Rosemary Syrup
2 tsp. sugar
2 oz. hot water
Rosemary sprig

Combine the rosemary sprig and sugar. Crush the rosemary with a muddler to release its aromatics. Add the hot water and stir to dissolve all the sugar.

For all my fellow hosts out there, take the time this month (or whenever) to make some drinks with a few friends and celebrate that we are all a part of the spectrum. I truly hope everyone enjoys these recipes and that the drinks spark inspiration and connection this Pride.

Happy Pride month and stay thirsty!

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