Rochesterians instinctively know how to celebrate the coming of Spring and Summer. Just like the grape vines of the Finger Lakes or our famed lilac bushes, we crave sunlight and warmth. May brings budbreak to the vineyards, predictions about when the lilacs will reach their peak, and unending opportunities to enjoy the change of seasons with interesting and innovative adult beverages.

It is time to stow your bulky sweaters, trade hot drinks for cold, switch from red wine to white and rose, stock the bar with gin and vodka, chill the champagne and start to think about mixing your favorite rum with fresh squeezed fruit juice. Plan an afternoon or evening out at your favorite watering hole, or better yet get the invites out for that cocktail party you’ve always dreamed of hosting.

RWO and Rochester Drinks have a few tips and events to help you get social:

• Rochester Cocktail Revival runs May 1 through May 7 at some of the most interesting venues our city has to offer. We are extraordinarily lucky to have access to the 40 plus events focused on craft cocktails and cocktail culture. While many events are free of charge, do your homework and don’t delay. The best events, like the Ardbeg Scotch dinner at a Good Luck on Anderson Ave May 4th, sell out quickly.

• RCR week will be followed on May 10th by a unique opportunity for bar professionals to hone their craft with four classes presented by the Bar Institute when they come through town and set up shop at Black Button Distilling from 10am to 4pm. We love the Black Button Lilac Gin available in their tasting room on Railroad Street outside the Public Market or at select stores like Country Club Liquor Mart on Fairport Rd. where they will be sampling Black Button spirits May 12th from 4pm to 7pm.

• Cinco de Mayo provides us with plenty of opportunities to get in on the tequila trend or even try a mezcal. If you are tentative about tequila we recommend relying on the expertise of your favorite bartender to mix you up something tasty. Once you have discover an amazingly complex liquid like Don Julio Reposado you may never go back to your old standby vodka cocktail.

• Don’t forget the bubbles for Mother’s Day- Italian prosecco, Spanish cava, American sparkling, or French Champagne…depending on your budget we recommend Domaine Chandon Rose, Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label, or the fun new Moet & Chandon Ice which is served over ice in a wine glass. If mom likes mimosas spurge for fresh squeezed juice. Mom deserves the best.

• Plan a day at the Lilac Festival Craft Beverage Expo – Thursday, May 18- Saturday, May 20 or hit up a couple of the dozens of craft brewers who have popped up all over the region.

• Take a drive to “Sunday Funday” at Colloca Estate Winery on Little Sodus Bay in Fair Haven. They have a amazing wines, great food, and live music every Sunday.

• Have fun while perfecting your favorite gin and tonic recipe. We recommend Nolet’s gin, Q tonic, a splash of Aperol, and a squeeze of fresh grapefruit juice. Or let the staff at Revelry on University Ave mix you up a gin concoction at the Nolet’s Hip Hop Brunch May 7th starting at 1pm.

• Invite your friends over for a “no rules” make your own tiki cocktail party. Get the biggest bottle of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum or Naked Turtle White Rum at your local liquor store. If fresh squeezed juice is to much work, just go with whatever strikes your fancy in the juice isle at the grocery store. Let your guests choose from any piece of glassware you own. Give them plenty of ice and a shaker and let them go wild. Don’t forget fresh fruit skewers for garnish.

• Check out I-Square in Irondequoit for their “Swine. Wine. Steers. Beers.” wine and beer, five course pairing dinner, scheduled for May 25th. These dinner are always incredible and always sell out.

• Spike your iced coffee with the new Almande from Bailey’s, a gluten free, dairy free, and vegan liqueur made with almond milk.

• Zoo Brew, May 26th at 5:30pm at the Seneca Park Zoo on St Paul St. has become a a highly anticipated event. We can’t think of a better way to support wildlife than by getting out for a happy hour in the sun drinking with our animal friends.

• Memorial Day is all about grilling and chilling. Pair grilled shrimp with a Finger Lakes Riesling, we like the selection at Knapp Vineyards. Steaks on the grill pair perfectly with Argentinian Malbec like the affordable and delicious wines from Terrazas de los Andes. If you prefer to let others do the cooking check out Mochi Grill at Village Gate for their Memorial Day wine dinner Monday May 29th at 5pm. The chefs at Mochi Grill will be pairing four courses with four California wines including Smoke Tree Chardonnay and Smoke Tree Pinot Noir. All for just $35 per guest.

• Plan ahead for Father’s Day. Stop by Iron Smoke Distillery in Fairport to shop for the man who has everything. Any dad will appreciate a bottle of locally crafted whiskey wrapped in a shirt or jacket featuring Skully, the Iron Smoke mascot.