Summer cocktails from Canlis' James MacWilliams


Posted on June 23, 2009 at 2:00 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 29 at 9:14 AM

Video: Tasty summer cocktails and mocktails

What better way to celebrate summer than with a delicious summer cocktail or mocktail in hand. James MacWilliams, head barman at Canlis Restaurant, shares a favorite recipes, including a special recipe for a color-changing margarita.

Martinique Rum Swizzle

Build in a highball glass or pitcher with crushed ice

3 Parts Light Martinique Rhum

1 Part Lime Juice

.5 Part Pastis

.5 Part Falernum

Dash of Angostura Bitters

Swizzle until glass is frosted

Garnish with lime wedge


Solstice Swizzle

Build in a highball glass or pitcher with crushed ice.

3 Parts Amber Martinique Rhum

1 Part Fresh Lime Juice

1 Part Fresh Grapefruit Juice

.5 Part Grenadine

.5 Part Apricot Liquor

Dash of Angostura Bitters

Swizzle until glass is frosted Garnish with seasonal flowers




Swizzle Me This Mocktail

In a highball glass filled with crushed ice

2 Parts Fresh Grapefruit Juice

1 Part Fresh Lime Juice

1 Part Orgeat Syrup

Dash of Angostura Bitters

Top with Lemongrass Dry Soda (which is local)

Swizzle into froth

Garnish with grapefruit twist




The color-changing "Proserpina Margarita"

By James MacWilliams, Head Barman, Canlis Restaurant

The Story: Proserpina is the roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Persephone.  She is, Queen of Hades, the underworld, and Goddess of springtime.  She ate pomegranate seeds while abducted to Hades by Pluto, the ruler of the underworld.  Pluto made Proserpina eat them because of his love for her. Anyone who eats the pomegranate seeds can never fully return to the realm of the living.  Thus she spends six months of the year in Hades and six with her mother Ceres, the goddess of earth.  It is her mother's sorrow at losing her daughter every fall that causes winter and her joy of Proserpina's return spring and summer.  

The Proserpina margarita has a light floral note with the addition of St. Germain and changes colors from light green with green foam top to muted pink.  The primary component in this reaction is the Persephone foam.  Phenolphthalein is an acid base indicator found in many fruit skins, in this case pomegranate and blueberry juice. If the solution is alkali above 9.6 pH, it remains clear, while acidic or below 8 pH, it becomes pink.  The green color in the foam is the color of the plant matter in the juices without coloration from phenolphthalein.  The transformation occurs when the foam is mixed with the lime juice and St. Germain, both of which are acidic. Without revealing all my secrets, the trick is the addition of a common supplement found and most vitamin stores and some processing. 

The Black Lava flake salt was chosen for two reasons. First it adds a visual contrast to both the green and pink colors.  Second it is enriched with activated carbon to further buffer a low pH.  These small pyramid crystals are covered with the activated carbon. As the drink changes colors, the salt also changes from dark to white, contrasting both colors of the cocktail. 

The Drink:

1.5 tequila

.75 st germain

.5 simple syrup

.75 lime juice

Persephone foam top

Black lava sea salt rim

Whidbey Island Swizzle

1 Part Strawberry

1 Part Lemon Juice

1 Part Simple Syrup

Pinch of chopped mint

Pinch of lavender

Dash of Fee's Lemon Bitters

Lavender Dry Soda


Muddle strawberry in bottom of glass.  Add the rest of ingredients  except soda and fill with crushed ice.  Top with Lavender Dry Soda and swizzle.  Garnish with a sprig of mint and dust with powdered sugar.