(credit: Colleen Bement)(credit: Colleen Bement)

There is not much better during the hot summer months than relaxing in your backyard with a cool, refreshing, fruit-filled cocktail. Amateur mixologists will appreciate these tips about creating the perfect summertime cocktail by local bar manager Steven Colligan of Scruffy Murphy’s in LoDo.

Steven Colligan
General Manager
Scruffy Murphy’s
2030 Larimer St.
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 291-6992

Steven Colligan is a local Denver mixologist with more than 20 years of experience. Steven shares his secrets in creating the most refreshing summer vodka cocktails. Along with the standards, he makes creating summer vodka cocktails an art form. His motto is to drink what you like to drink. Throw a summer BBQ and play bartender. Have fun with it and surprise the friends.

Colligan’s Top Summertime Vodka Cocktails

Break out the BBQ and invite family and friends over for dinner. Steve’s first and foremost secret to making the perfect summertime vodka cocktail is to get creative. No doubt there is fun in the theory of practice makes perfect when it comes to making a tasty drink. Steve’s second secret is to use the better quality vodkas and the cleanest and most distinct flavors. The third secret is to follow the nose. The fresher the fruit is, the more amazing the cocktail will be. Summer is all about fruit, and an aspiring mixologist should never be afraid to try a variety of fruits. Steve maintains that people are 60 percent more inclined to like the drink if the guest can really smell it. While cutting up the juicy fruit, go ahead and cut up a few extra limes, slap some cloves in the middle and help keep those annoying mosquitoes at bay.

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Peachy Keen (Credit, Colleen Bement)


Peachy Keen

The Peachy Keen is always a hit. It is mixed with peach-flavored vodka, peach-flavored tea and shaken with plenty of ice. It is a simple and a big summertime favorite. Char the peaches on the grill for just a moment and the flavor will be enhanced twofold.

Absolute Citron Lemon Drop Martini (Credit, Colleen Bement)


Absolute Citron Lemon Drop Martini

Lemon Drop Martinis are always a crowd favorite. Put a twist on the standard recipe and make it with Absolute Citron vodka and then add freshly skinned kiwis, a little blood orange liquor and sweet and sour mix.

Vodka Vodka

The Vodka Vodka is a big time favorite at Steve’s bar Scruffy Murphy’s. This masterpiece is made with four different flavors of Stoli vodka: strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and vanilla. Simply mix it with two ounces of pineapple juice, one ounce of cranberry juice and a half ounce of yummy grenadine. Add some ice and bring in the fun.

Traditional Vodka Martini

It is important to not throw the classic martini under the bus for summer. It is just time to lighten it up a bit for summer. Replace dry vermouth with sweet vermouth. Then, mix half with a favorite flavored vodka and half regular vodka. Add some orange or cherry bitters to go lighter, fresher and fruitier for the season.

Become Your Own Mixologist

When it comes to creating one’s own drink, realize right up front that sometimes the creations are going to fail. The only way to learn is to try. Steve says to try often and enjoy the time. If the creating is for a party, be sure to make the test shots early. Keep the creations simple. Then, make up a big batch in order to enjoy the party and not be stuck behind the bar. Even in Steve’s off time, he enjoys creating unique and fun drink recipes for parties and for work. Never stop learning.

Scruffy Murphy’s (Credit, Colleen Bement)

Scruffy Murphy’s

Just a block and a half away from Coors Field is Steve’s home base—Scruffy Murphy’s. This local neighborhood mom and pop type of pub is loved by locals. A big time favorite, Rockies fans swing by before the game, watch an inning and then wander over. Later, whether win or lose, fans drop by for a drink and a bite to eat. Scruffy Murphy’s has a bit of fame to its name as it was featured on the “Hot Mixology” TV show when it was in Denver. After 19 episodes, Steve had a running joke of how he would create a new drink and ask the crew to name it. With a saturated bar market here in Denver, this local pub stands out.

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Colleen Bement is a freelance writer covering all things Denver. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.