Even in the early days of summer, the typical drinks can begin to feel dull. How many more mojitos or margaritas can you really imbibe? We know you're looking for recipes to stand out, so we talked with expert mixologist Toby Maloney about five summer cocktails your friends have never heard of.

Maloney is the owner of Chicago's The Violet Hour (1520 N Damen Ave.), a nationally renowned cocktail haven. The following five recipes are for drinks Maloney will be serving this summer in the Chi. But now you can put them together on your own.

Here's Maloney on what makes these drinks, which all contain potable bitters, perfect for summer:

"Potable bitters are, for all intents and purposes, liquids that are meant to be drank in quantity that have a very herbaceous quality. The granddaddy, the one the vast majority of people know, is campari. Campari contains fruit but still has an herbaceous quality. It’s often sweet but it also has a very distinct bitter note.

"Potable bitters dry drinks out, making them refreshing. Bitter and dry are the exact opposite of rich and creamy. Think about what you want to drink when it’s hot out. You walk off the street and it's 102 out with 59% humidity, and you walk into a bar, and maybe that really rich framboise doesn’t look good. Something that’s clean, crisp, and light is where you want to go. You don’t want to drink a quart of heavy cream. You want the opposite of that.

"Bitters has those flavors and helps bolster other dry ingredients. Like lemon juice. Lemonade is the quintessential summer drink. And a lot of the drinks we’ll look at today are basically plays on adult lemonades. But using a wider palette of flavor."

Tags: drink, chicago, toby-maloney
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