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Summery Memorial Day sips: Cucumber gin rickey, lemon poppy sour and spicy margarita

Keep summer sipping cool, easy and boozy with these upgraded classic cocktails.
/ Source: TODAY

Sommelier and best-selling author Vanessa Price of Maverick's Montauk restaurant in Montauk, New York is stopping by the TODAY kitchen to shake up some refreshing summer cocktails just in time for Memorial Day weekend. She shows us how to mix a cool cucumber gin rickey, a frothy lemon and poppy sipper and a spicy margarita.

Pour Decisions (Cucumber Gin Rickey)

The gin rickey is one of the few classic cocktails that has a clear-cut and well-documented origin story. The invention of this refreshing highball is as refreshingly clear as it is to drink: It was named after Joe Rickey, a Democratic lobbyist in 1883. Preferring drinks that weren't sweet, Rickey liked to combine bourbon and carbonated water. One day, he asked a bartender at the famous Shoomaker's bar in Washington, D.C. to add some lime to his preferred highball — and the bourbon rickey was born. The tart, dry drink is balanced considering its lack of sugar, and is a welcome refresher on a summer day. The rickey took off, and soon, people were customizing the drink, with the gin rickey eventually becoming the most popular of them all. This riff adds cucumber juice to make for a verdant, refreshing drink on a hot summer day.

Sour Puss (Lemon Poppy Sour)

The cocktail is a fresh take on how to enjoy brown spirits even in the warmer summer months if that's your jam. Plus, by using aquafaba instead of egg whites, the cocktail remains vegan-friendly! While egg whites are the classic cocktail ingredient to make a foamy drink, many folks don't love the idea of raw egg in their drinks. And for vegans or people with egg allergies, cocktails containing egg whites are off-limits. For this reason, a number of mixologists have begun incorporating aquafaba — the liquid from cooked beans (usually chickpeas) — in cocktails instead of egg white. The plant starches and proteins in the chickpea brine can be whisked or shaken up to create a frothy, foamy texture.

Weekend Warrior (Spicy Margarita)

The classic margarita is one of the ubiquitous cocktails in the world. Despite having no clear provenance, it has charmed drinkers since its introduction into popular culture. It's practically warm weather party mandated! And nothing proves its dominance more than the countless variations the Margarita has spawned. The spicy margarita is the variation that has taken hold and never let go. The perfectly balanced blend of sweet, sour and earthy flavors makes for a crowd-pleaser the world over.

If you like those bright, boozy, summery sips, you should also try these:

Cherry Sangria
Watermelon Frosé Cocktail