The perfect summer cocktail is easy to drink but difficult to define.
Ashton Aubry, a bartender at RA Sushi in Leawood, likes her summer sips fruity, sweet and bursting with tropical flavors such as coconut and lime.
Paige Unger, a mixologist at M&S Grill on the Plaza, makes deliciously complex drinks when she's on the job. But off-duty, Unger hangs out on the patio at Grünauer in the Freight House with a pint of Bitburger beer or lounges poolside with a refreshingly simple green tea and rum concoction she invented herself.
Kasey Knefelkamp, head bartender at Story in Prairie Village, isn't into sweet drinks or beer, which he considers boring. He prefers spicing up backyard barbecues and dinner parties with one of his many signature cocktails. Knefelkamp puts his own spin on mojitos by adding fresh pineapple, and he adds almond liqueur to margaritas to deepen their flavor.
Whipping up a cocktail — either for yourself or for guests — has a way of making an informal get-together feel special, Knefelkamp says.
"You're entertaining," Knefelkamp says. "When you make something like this, people will think you're being really creative."
Get creative with your cocktails by diving into these six summer recipes from Aubry, Unger and Knefelkamp. Then toast the rest of the summer before it's too late: Labor Day is less than a month away.