5 Delightful Strawberry Cocktails for Warmer Weather

SAN DIEGO ( TheStreet) -- Warmer weather means different things to different people. For some, it means it's time to break out the fruity beverages, and with May being National Strawberry Month, bartenders and mixologists across the country have officially joined in the warm weather fun and showcased their coolest strawberry cocktails.

From Jay Z's 40/40 Club in New York City to Barrymore in Las Vegas to True Food Kitchen -- whose menu was crafted by healthy-eating guru Andrew Weil -- everyone has their own spin on how best to enjoy the official fruit of May via an adult beverage.

"In warmer weather people want something that's lighter in body. You don't want big, heavy, high-alcohol or rich drinks," says Rene Hidalgo, bar manager and head bartender at New York City's Lantern's Keep.

And just so you don't have to sample all of the strawberry creations yourself -- imagine the hard work that would be? -- we've picked out a few of the nation's most luxurious and creative strawberry cocktails.

1. The Trouble Maker
Where:
Lantern's Keep, New York City

Don't be thrown off by the name Trouble Maker. This light, refreshing drink will have just the opposite effect: It will leave you feeling relaxed, laid back and ready for fun.

"The whole idea behind the drink is pairing strawberry, vermouth, lemon juice, gin and cucumber. And then club soda on top lightens the whole thing up. It's nice, easy, light sipping," Hidalgo says.

Developed in the dead of winter in November, the Trouble Maker has become one of the bar's top sellers, says Hidalgo, who reviews sales reports regularly.

"It's really popular because it's very accessible," Hidalgo says. "There's nothing in it that people haven't heard of before. It's not aggressive in flavor at all."

2. The Berry Cup
Where:
True Food Kitchen, California, Colorado and Arizona

When springtime rolls around, True Food Kitchen puts the Berry Cup back on its menu and it stays there until late summer -- giving you plenty of opportunity to stop in and sample this delicious berry beverage.

The drink was created in the summer of 2010, says True Food Kitchen brand mixologist Mat Snapp.

It's made with Square One organic vodka, honey, fresh strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.

"We had all these fresh berries around, and I said I'm going to muddle these and make a really nice vodka smash," Snapp says. "It's delicious. You just muddle it a little bit to break apart the berries and then do a shake-and-dump so that you get all of that fruit matter into the drink and really incorporate the honey."

Snapp says the resulting drink is both delicious and true to the anti-inflammatory diet pyramid promoted by restaurant partner Weil.

"You get antioxidants from the blueberries and blackberries and natural fruit sugar from the strawberry, and honey is one of most natural sweeteners around," Snapp says. "Especially if it's local honey. Local honey contains particulates that help with allergies, because you're setting up your immune system for success. And as long as you enjoy them in moderation, spirits help with better blood flow."

3. The Strawberry Martini
Where: 40/40 Club, New York City

If there's one thing the Strawberry Martini at 40/40 Club is known for, it's simple elegance, bartender Eddie Mateo says.

"We don't take anything too far or push boundaries," Mateo says. "We just take simple ingredients and make a delicious cocktail."

The ingredients in this case include a strawberry puree blend, strawberry liqueur and Stoli vodka.

"It kind of makes you feel like you're eating as well as drinking strawberry," Mateo says. "It's not too much, but just enough to give you the sensation of eating the strawberry."

Sound a little too fruity or feminine? Mateo, who has been bar tending for 10 years in Las Vegas and New York City, says there's no such thing anymore as a woman or man's drink.

"I've seen drinking change. There's no such thing as a guy's drink or girl's drink. Even the cognac -- we're even expanding that into something everyone can enjoy," Mateo says. "We're all grown and sexy now. We're not trying to get drunk in 15 minutes. We want to enjoy our night and sip on something delicious like this."

4. Amor Perdido Punch
Where:
The Barrymore, Las Vegas

Here's why you'll want to try the Amor Perdido Punch at The Barrymore: It's made with the club's very own strawberry-infused blanco tequila -- not the kind of thing you come across often.

"Our tequila is infused in-house with a tequila from a local resident," says Barrymore sommelier David Ferreira. "The tequila maker comes in quite often and even he loves our strawberry-infused tequila."

The other ingredients in Barrymore's "lost love" punch include rose wine and elderflower liqueur. At $46 per pitcher, it's not a drink you're likely to indulge in every day.

5. The Strawberry Mint Julep
Where:
Grant Grill, San Diego

The Grant Grill's Strawberry Mint Julep makes its reappearance on the restaurant's cocktail menu each spring, when the strawberries make their appearance on the building's roof.

Yes, that's right -- mixologist Jeff Josenhans has an entire garden on the roof dedicated to ingredients for cocktails, and an entire section of the drink menu dedicated to cocktails created with the fresh ingredients. (Just look for the section of the menu titled "Tales from the Patch.")

"We had the space available, so I decided to try it," Josenhans says of the garden. "It just made more sense, partly because of the quality of ingredients from a garden and partly because if you buy a box of mint, or something, sometimes the quality isn't all there and it's pretty expensive."

"The whole summer we change up the menu of drinks depending on how things are growing," he adds.

The Grant Grill's Strawberry Mint Julep actually gets a double dose of garden ingredients. In addition to the strawberries, the drink includes syrup made from chocolate mint grown on the roof. The drink's other ingredients include vanilla vodka and white creme de cacao.

"It's a super refreshing and popular drink," Josenhans says.

An important note for those interested in trying this drink: The strawberries typically start showing up in April.

More from Personal Finance

The Best States for Millennials' Money and Health

The Best States for Millennials' Money and Health

U.S. Banks Urged to Make Small Loans In Competition With Payday Lenders

U.S. Banks Urged to Make Small Loans In Competition With Payday Lenders

How to Void a Check

How to Void a Check

Rent the Runway co-founder Chats with Cramer on Equal Pay and a Good Pair Jeans

Rent the Runway co-founder Chats with Cramer on Equal Pay and a Good Pair Jeans

Best Real Estate Markets for Homeowners in the U.S.

Best Real Estate Markets for Homeowners in the U.S.