Ask A Pittsburgh Expert: Best Summertime Vodka Cocktails

July 31, 2014 7:00 AM

(Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for HELPS Teas)

There might not be anything better on a hot Pittsburgh afternoon than to sit out on the patio with a cool, refreshing cocktail. And vodka cocktails can be especially refreshing during the sweltering summer months. Pittsburgh bartender and chef Marissa Klein shares some fruit-filled vodka cocktail recipes to quench adults’ thirst this summer.
marisa 1 Ask A Pittsburgh Expert: Best Summertime Vodka Cocktails

Marissa Klein (Courtesy of Marissa Klein)

Marissa Klein
Savoy Restaurant and Lounge
2623 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 281-0660

Marissa Klein is a maestro of the food service industry. She’s a traveling chocoholic working as a bartender at one of Pittsburgh’s most preeminent restaurants, Savoy, and also owns her own custom cookie and sweets boutique, Sweet Sophistication. If Ms. Klein couldn’t be busier, she’s also serving as Savoy’s pastry assistant, plus bartends private events and makes plenty of time for her family and friends.

Fortuitously for CBS Local, the gorgeous (not to mention svelte – so unfair!) pastry chef and bartender extraordinaire sat down to share her three favorite summertime vodka cocktail recipes. Any can be requested at Savoy – and make sure you call ahead to reserve a spot during Marisa’s shift. You might luck out and score a delectable, hand-crafted cupcake for your troubles. All of her custom creations are available to purchase, and she’s available to bartend your event. Marisa may be reached at

Summer Time Fun Lemonade


  • 1.5 oz Blackberry Vodka
  • Lemonade
  • Simple syrup
  • Lemon
  • Blackberries
  • Sprite
  • Ice


  • Muddle a few blackberries, two slices of lemon and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. 
  • Add the vodka and lemonade and shake. 
  • Strain, if desired, or pour directly into a Collins glass. 
  • Top off with a splash of Sprite, a few blackberries and a slice of lemon.

Food pairing:

This is the perfect drink for your standard burger and hot dog fare, or an after-dinner aperitif with your favorite dessert.

Berry Peachy


  • 1.5 oz Red Berry Ciroc
  • .75 oz Peach Schnapps
  • Cranberry juice
  • Sprite


  • Combine all ingredients in a Collins class over ice.  
  • Garnish with a candied peach ring. 
  • Bonus: This makes a delicious shot by eliminating the Sprite and reducing the cranberry juice.

Food pairing:

This is a sweet drink that would best pair with a nice summery dessert; consider vanilla ice cream with berries, strawberry shortcake or vanilla bean cheesecake.

Related: Savoy Restaurant Offers Menu Full Of Flavor

Cucumber Melon Martini (a Savoy summer favorite)


  • 2 oz Cucumber Vodka
  • .75 oz Watermelon Pucker
  • .75 oz Cucumber Liqueur
  • Simple syrup
  • Cucumber
  • Ice


  • Muddle a cucumber slice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. 
  • Add all other ingredients, shake and then strain into a martini glass.  
  • Garnish with another slice of cucumber for a refreshing summer cocktail.

Food pairing:

Simple summer foods are the best to pair with this drink because it is so light and refreshing. Vegetable kabobs, a nice grilled fish or a spring salad with a light balsamic would go perfect with the Cucumber Melon Martini.

Related: A Taste Of Savoy Restaurant’s Holiday Menu

Nikki Tiani-Moroney is a full time mum of two boys, wife of a professional poker player/photographer/amateur pencil-sharpening competitor and writer from Pittsburgh, PA. When she isn’t studiously neglecting her housework in favor of a good book, she’s out simultaneously fighting crime and picking up sidewalk litter while savoring an occasional cigarette. Her work can be found at

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