Summer Cocktails

Summer Cocktails

Crafting the perfect drinks that will wow guests at  your patio party

There’s nothing quite like the summer get together. You hand-pick your favorite dishes, set up the patio with decorations, choose the best playlist, and, of course, plan those summer cocktails. But you don’t want those cocktails to be your run-of-the-mill ones that anyone might have. You want something fresh with interesting combinations, but not too complicated that you can’t produce them quickly. 

Will Oakes | Photo by Nathan Sparks

We caught up with Will Oakes, the master bartender and General Manager at Bistro by the Tracks in Bearden, who’s got the expertise. Will is a Chattanooga native. After Middle Tennessee State University and a lengthy stay in Nashville, Will spent about 15 years in the place known for its booming social scene: New York City. He served at Michelin star-level restaurants. We’re talking high-end, fine dining. And along the way, Will says he learned everything he needed to widen his pallete and craft cocktails that wow his guests, whether we’re talking a classic like a Manhattan or something a bit more etensive. 

He’s modest about his work, though. “At the end of the day, we’re just making drinks,” he says, “and you just want to make good quality drinks that people enjoy.”

Will crafted three unique cocktails for Cityview readers, but in all three he’s used ingredients that are out-of-the-box yet accessible. Will says that anywhere you see a recipe calling for juice, always use fresh, never store-bought, as it makes a world of difference in flavor profiles. Syrups, he adds, are actually fairly easy to make. “If you use good ingredients, it kind of makes up for everything else,” he adds. Also, similar to how salt on a watermelon can boost the flavor, salt can do the same thing for certain cocktails. Finally, don’t forget your ice cubes and garnish.

His best advice when bringing these or your own cocktails to life this summer? “Don’t overthink it,” Will says. “Let’s not take ourselves too seriously. Cocktails are fun.” We couldn’t agree more. Now, get out there and craft away. And don’t forget to tag us in your Instagram and Facebook posts: #cityviewsummercocktails.  

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