Spicy cocktails lend themselves perfectly to hot summer days. Spicy cocktails complement fresh fruit and pair well with fresh vegetables. As farmer’s markets overflow with a wide variety of vegetables for the summer season, treat yourself and your friends to light vegetable based appetizers and the Tennessee Devil.

The Tennessee Devil is summoned with Jack Daniels Single Barrel Proof. Pour Adobo sauce, fresh lemon juice, as well as slices of watermelon into a sugar-rimmed glass to perfectly balance the Barrel Proof. This concoction balances the right amount of sugar and spice.

The sweet and spicy flavors of the cocktail befriend light and fresh appetizers that maximize your outdoor and social time rather than doing massive amounts of prep work. Mini caprese bites are a scaled down version of this popular dish. Simply take a few fresh cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil drizzled in some olive oil, balsamic glaze, and sprinkled with sea salt and cracked pepper.

Got cherry tomatoes on the brain? Try Trapanese sauce with crusty French bread. Just toss some cherry tomatoes, garlic, basil, almonds, olive oil, and parmesan cheese into the blender. Blend it until it reach a smooth consistency for the perfect dipping sauce for small, crunchy slices of French bread.

Dazzle your guests with fresh appetizers that don’t require hours of kitchen prep and leave a little extra time to linger on a quality summer cocktail.

Tennessee Devil


1 ½ tsp. sugar

lemon wedges

3 oz. (about ½ cup) seedless watermelon, cut into 1″ cubes

2 oz. Jack Daniels Barrel Proof

½ oz. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. adobo sauce


Place ½ tsp. sugar on a small plate; wet rim of cocktail glass with lemon wedge; lightly press glass into sugar. Combine watermelon, bourbon, lemon juice, adobo sauce and remaining sugar in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well chilled. Strain into the rimmed cocktail glass filled with ice.

Mini Caprese Bites


1 pint red cherry tomatoes, cut in half

8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, bite size chunks or use Bocconcini

1 bunch basil leaves (about 18-30 large leaves)

Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling

Extra Virgin Olive oil for drizzling

Maldon sea salt or Kosher Salt

Cracked black pepper

2-3 dozen long toothpicks


Slide cherry tomato, piece of mozzarella onto the toothpick, folded basil, more mozzarella, last tomato should be cut side down. Drizzle your platter lightly with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil and arrange your mini caprese bites on top. Sprinkle with coarse salt and cracked black pepper.

Trapanese Sauce and Crusty Fresh Bread


3/4 pound (about 2 1/2 cups) yellow cherry tomatoes

3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1/3 cup whole toasted almonds

1/4 teaspoon hot chili Red Pepper Flakes (or to taste)

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

12 large fresh basil leaves

Kosher Salt to taste

1 loaf rustic bread, sliced and toasted


In a food processor, pulse tomatoes, garlic, almonds, chili flakes, ½ tsp salt. Scrape bowl as needed. Add cheese. With the machine still running, pour in the olive oil in a steady stream, emulsifying the puree. Add basil and pulse several times to incorporate but while keeping the bright yellow color with green flecks. Season with salt if needed. Serve with fresh rustic bread.