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As temperatures continue to rise, leaves pop with green and the area waterways rush after a prosperous snow season, there is a lot to cheers to this summer. Nicole Barker, U.S. Bartenders Guild chapter president, cocktail designer at Atomic Bootlegger Lounge and bartender at The Stick Sports Lounge, has a few trendy libations sure to please palates this summer.

“This time of year you’ll see lighter, refreshing cocktails. Lots of citrus, cucumber and berry will all be hitting the menu,” she explains. “Some of the esoteric trends we’ve seen in San Francisco and New York City will be all over our scene before you know it.”

Pisco Sour

This drink made from pisco, a Peruvian brandy distilled using grapes, is becoming a popular staple on many menus. The pisco sour combines pisco, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg whites. It has a rounded taste but is still very citrusy.

Fresh Fruit Margarita

The Stick Sports Lounge in the Riverwalk District is preparing for hot days and cool nights with fresh fruit margaritas. Here, they shake or blend a generous portion of tequila with housemade syrup and sweet or citrus produce for a tasty cocktail.

“The Stick cares a lot more about their cocktails than the average sports bar,” Barker explains. “They take their time to make quality mixers that they pair with a premium level of spirits. You won’t find premixed syrups here. People like a good cocktail, and The Stick has definitely elevated the level.”

Moscow Mule

Making its way to the hotspots in Reno, this copper mug-served tipple is typically made with vodka, lime juice, simple syrup and ginger beer.

“A few years ago, everyone was making their own version of the mojito. Now we’ll see the raspberry or strawberry mule,” Barker says.

At Atomic Bootlegger inside Sierra Sids in Sparks, she’s created a version muddled with cucumber. “They go down fast and are so good. Since the Moscow mule is made with vodka, most people feel safe drinking them.

“Gone are the days of Tom Cruise in Cocktail where he’s pouring super sweet shots filled with sugar and processed junk. Drinks taste better, are not so heavy and offer a lighter caloric intake. Everyone loves that!”

This summer, take some time to sit back, enjoy the seasonal shift and sip on a refreshing libation.

Grapefruit Margarita Recipe (courtesy of Nicole Barker)

1 1/2 ounces Don Julio Blanco tequila

3/4 ounce Aperol

3/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice

3/4 ounce honey syrup

3/4 ounce fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice

Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Mix well and pour in a glass with a salted rim filled with ice. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

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