Infusion of Talent

Professional mixologist Sean Norris joins the Coastal Style team to share elevated topics of his trade

Photography by Heartbeat Branding Co.

As the warm weather returns to greet us, so, too, does our palate for bright, light, tasty cocktails. We have much to choose from, but I want to bring us back to the fundamentals. Executing the simple with masterful precision is the hallmark of any craft. In the case of cocktails, it is the difference between good and great. So, with that, let’s explore three delicious, yet simple, recipes that you can easily make at home and enjoy on a sun-kissed afternoon.

For our recipes here, these are the tools to look for:
• Set of mixing tins
• Double-sided jigger — 1oz/2oz
• Hawthorn strainer
• Barspoon
• Paring knife

Blackberry Margarita

There are a wide variety of fruit liqueurs available to utilize here. My favorites are blackberry, cassis and strawberry. Don’t be afraid to venture into something different; My brand recommendation is Giffard. They source their fruit from a select few of the best farms in Europe, so you’ll end up with a flavor much richer than the berries you are likely to get from your local grocery store produce. You will note that I served this cocktail up, which is the traditional presentation. If you haven’t tried it, try it. Cocktails served up do not dilute, so they retain their initial flavor profile for as long as they stay cold — which isn’t long. More reason to sip gratuitously or enjoy it on the rocks. Your choice!

2 oz tequila
½ oz blackberry liqueur
½ oz Cointreau
¾ oz fresh lime juice
¼ tsp agave nectar

It’s time to give that margarita mix the home it deserves — in the drain. RIP. Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin. Shake with vigor for 8 to 12 seconds. Strain into a Nick & Nora glass or martini glass. Garnish with a Kosher salt rim, lime wedge and additional fruit of your liking.


This cocktail is a great exercise in preference. Albeit simple, there are virtually limitless variations based on the rum you like most. Don’t be afraid to experiment. My suggestion: If you choose dry rum, use a touch more sugar; if you use aged rum, try sticking with ½ oz of sugar. This will ensure the subtleties of the spirit can still shine through the acid from the lime juice. In this recipe, I am using Diplomatico Reserva, a wonderfully aged rum that punches way above its weight in value and quality. Speaking of which, use fresh limes! You will thank me later. Enjoy!

2 oz dry or aged rum
¾ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz simple syrup

No blender needed — this is not Applebee’s. Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin. Shake with vigor for 8-12 seconds. Strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass or a martini glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.


The Americano is a precursor to the gin-based cocktail we all know, the Negroni. In this instance, we cut the gin and “stretch” the cocktail with club soda, making this a low-ABV alternative to other drinks. The result is an ever so slightly bittersweet concoction that will serve you well before that BBQ you’re cooking up for friends. Don’t skimp on the vermouth — buy premium. Brands such as Carpano Antica Formula and Cocchi Vermouth di Torino are lovely expressions that I use religiously.

1 oz sweet vermouth
1 oz Campari
Club soda

In a highball glass with ice, combine the vermouth and Campari. Top with club soda and garnish with an orange twist. CS

Sean Norris owns and operates Limbo Mixology, specializing in boutique private events, classes, commercial bar and consultation. Limbo Mixology also provides an in-home bar consulting service, The Bar Tailor, which focuses on optimizing the home bar experience with the unique needs of each client in mind. In addition to recipes, Sean will be covering a wide variety of topics in each issue, including bar tools, mixing techniques, where to drink, bar setup and tips, current trends and much more.

Visit and follow Sean on Instagram @limbomixology. 

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