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Strawberry Cooler Cocktail recipe

Whoops! A big problem with being a seasonally based cook (and in this case, cocktail drinker) is that things go in and out of season. Compound that with the fact that different things are available in different parts of the world at different times – hello my friends in Australia and New Zealand! – and it’s hard to hit it right for everyone.

Strawberry Gin Cooler Cocktail

Strawberry Gin Cooler Cocktail

I don’t make a lot of cocktails with fruit, mostly because I spent the last few years being a fan of whiskey-based libations and had forgotten a bit about my long-lost friend, gin. But we’re pals again. I had written this post up and taken the snapshots, then put them into a folder. And then a bunch of other stuff I wanted to share came along, and before I knew it, strawberry season was on the verge of ending. Or depending on where you are, has already ended. If you’re from Australia or New Zealand, you might want to bookmark this post for a few more months.

Strawberry Gin Cooler Cocktail

I’d found these delicate Mara de bois strawberries at the market in Paris, and since they were so adorably petite and smelled so good, I bought three baskets of them.

Strawberry Cooler Cocktails

Strawberry Cooler Cocktail_

Good strawberries are red all the way through when you cut into them and these were so ripe and soft that they didn’t need slicing; a good muddling was all it took to release their ruby juices and sweet strawberry syrup, which was the base for the cocktail.

Not shown in the photos is the touch of black pepper that I added right at the end, when we were nearly finished with our drinks and I thought, “Hey a touch of black pepper might be nice in this.” So I added some and loved the little spicy contrast and notes. Since I’d already had the cocktail, I thought it best to put the camera away. Experience has taught me not to operate a camera while under the influence of a good cocktail, or two. (If I was better at using photo editing software, I probably could have added some in. But I thought it better just to ‘fess up, and to heck with it.)

Strawberry Gin Cooler Cocktail

So if you’ve got strawberries, give this seasonal cooler a try. It kept us cool a couple of times toward the beginning, and through the middle, of summer. I used the homemade tonic water my friend Jennifer made me, but you can use regular tonic water.

Strawberry Gin Cooler Cocktail

Strawberry Cooler Cocktail

  • 7 small or 4 large strawberries (28g, 1oz), rinsed, hulled, and quartered if large
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar, agave nectar, or honey
  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 3 ounces tonic water
  • 1 lime wedge
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • In a tumbler, muddle the strawberries with the sugar (or other sweetener) until pulpy and well broken up.
  • Add gin, tonic water, and gently squeeze a few drops of juice from the lime wedge into the glass, then stir the ingredients together just enough to combine. (If using homemade tonic water, be sure to mix the base with an equal amount of sparkling water.)
  • Fill the glass with crushed ice, add the lime wedge, and grind a bit of black pepper over the top.

Just a Note: I’m going to be on vacation for a bit, to hit the beach, and do all sorts of fun (and hopefully, delicious) stuff. I’ll be back shortly… Enjoy your summer! – David



    • Karen H.

    Have a wonderful vacation!

    • Natasha

    The cocktail looks great! Sadly the strawberries here in Switzerland look less than inspiring so I will be keeping it in mind for next year.

    Smitten Kitchen has handled the seasonality / other hemisphere issue by having link at the bottom of their recipes to what they posted 6 months ago (as well as 1 year, 1.5 years etc etc). It is nice solution I think!

    • Deanna

    This is definitely bookmarked for when I finally get to experience summer this year! Moving to NZ from California at the end of April was not my brightest idea.

    • Gluten Free Babe

    omg this looks incredible! I love the color. Last night I added to my cocktail shaker: watermelon cubes, a drop of honey, juice from 1 lemon, and lots of tequila. I mashed it with a pestle and strained over a huge ice cube into a rock glass. The color reminds me of this. I can’t wait to try your recipe!!

      • LisaSP

      Oh yum! Now I have two new cocktails to try. This always happens just as I decide to get back on the wagon. Why not delay it one more day, eh?

    • Paula- Sweet almond

    This is great especially now that we are in the midst of berry and peach season here in Colorado. Harvest here usually starts late as it is common to get snow until mid-may (or even later in the mountains.)
    Have a great vacation – hopefully along the coast. Have you visit La Ciotat? It seems to have made its way into our plans and it is kind of hard to find info about it.
    Regardless, have fun! and thanks for the recipe – i might make it with peaches.

    • karen tripson

    Thank you for a great idea for a bumper crop of strawberries from my yard in Seattle. Enjoy your break. Can’t wait to read about what you did on vacation.

    • Jeanne

    Strawberry season is in full flight in Brisbane, Australia, so you are right on target. Am about to attempt the tonic water as well. Thank you.

    • Suzanne

    We don’t drink gin so I’m going to make this with vodka. It sounds yummy.

    • Sarisa

    Yum! Always looking for new strawberry recipes! Will be great to make before my strawberries become too ripe. :)

    • karin

    while all you guys just talking, I made the cocktail a few minutes ago, even used delicious organic strawberries….the whole cocktail: DIVINE

    • Agneta Quist_Palos

    Have a wonderful time David! Thank You for ALL the inspiration!

    • Gavrielle

    Don’t worry, down here we’re used to most of the world being out of step with us. Your recent cocktail posts are making me dream of summer in an extremely delicious way… Enjoy your break!

    • Sandy Dee

    Thanks David for thinking about your readers in the Southern Hemisphere. We generally feel a bit left out with all the attention given to summer. I have seen plenty of nice looking strawberries in Melbourne from Queensland but can’t wait till the local version appears in a few months. I’m already dreaming about your lovely cooler recipe (if there is one thing we don’t need right now it is cold drinks!)

    • Kim

    I have a solution for you to finally become French, David. :> (just kidding, it’s just a very funny video)
    Have a great vacation – YouTube

    • Sylvia

    Strawberries are almost done here, but peaches are beautiful. This would be good with peaches, too, I’m thinking… Hmmm.

    • Bernadette

    I hope you have a terrific break, David! You work hard & deserve good things. Cannot wait to hear all about it.

    P.S. I gave a copy of The Sweet Life In Paris to friends who will be visiting there soon. You offer interesting insights that will help make for a smooth trip.

    • anna@icyvioletskitchen

    mmm so perfect for summer. so thirsty!

    • Heather

    This recipe is a ‘must do’. I love gin and strawberries and limes!
    Believe it or not at the ripe sweet age of 59 I have never had gin and tonic and you inspired me to try one ( maybe two if I like them. My local huge,and I thought, excellent booze store had tonic syrup and a four pack of another tonic (cannot remember the name and don’t want to go back into the house and look) along with the regulars so I bought both of the odd ducks. Haven’t got to try them quite yet. Oh but tis on the agenda for this week

    What my mega liquor store does have is an overwhelming selection of gin. What are some gins you deem worthy?

    I love your blog (is that what this is?)
    Looking forward to your next communication…wooo hoo vacay!!

    • Jake

    Wow, this looks delicious. I live in Southern Indiana and my everbearing strawberries started producing again. I’m going to try one of these coolers tomorrow after work. Also, If you’re interested in a whiskey based variation of a strawberry cocktail. I’ve tried Bourbon, Strawberry puree, Dandelion wine, fresh mint, and Club Soda (optional but recommended). Either ways cheers! ~ Jake @ JoyandFeast

    • Shell

    Sigh. Why do all the good people go on vacation?

    • Bridigt

    It seems a peach, ginger, lemon version would be good this time of year… Or melon!

    • Shandel

    Hi David,
    Sweet Strawberries are trickling down the cost from Queensland, they aren’t at their peak, but they are definitely available at this time.
    Enjoy your holiday!

    • anna@icyvioletskitchen

    strawberry and black pepper was one of the first perfumes i had as a teenager. would love to try it in a cocktail!

    • Veronica

    I love strawberry cocktails. Want to try this. Thanks for sharing :)

    • Gourmet Getaways

    Wow! This looks delicious!!
    You had me at “hello to my Australian friends”, but the strawberry cocktail sealed the deal.

    I love fruit in my cocktails and have quite a few up my sleeve, I will be adding this to my repertoire.

    Enjoy les vacances and check out my “skinny mojito” for the weekend. I challenge you to improve it without adding calories :P


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