By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Apr 22, 2008 at 5:10 AM

After slogging and shoveling through one of the more punishing winters in Milwaukee's history, you may feel the urge -- now that the weather has warmed a bit -- to venture outside and enjoy a cocktail.

We at encourage you to do so (responsibly, of course) and offer the following list of delicious spring cocktail suggestions to help get you beyond the routine wine spritzers or gin-and-tonic.

2 oz. vodka
½ oz. dry vermouth
½ oz. lime juice
lime peel garnish

Pour ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and enjoy this variation on the classic martini.

2 oz. gin
1 oz. dry vermouth
1 oz. apricot brandy
½ oz. lemon juice
1 tsp. grenadine

Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled glass. What says "spring" more than the flavor of apricot? This is a great before dinner drink.

5 cups cubed watermelon, seeds removed
1/2 cup simple syrup
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 cups tequila
4 oz. orange liqueur
2 oz. melon liqueur
watermelon wedges (for garnish)

Place watermelon in a food processor and process until smooth. Pour the pureed watermelon into two empty ice cube trays and freeze until firm, at least four hours. Place eight martini glasses in the freezer to chill.

Place two cups of the watermelon ice cubes and the remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into four glasses and repeat with the remaining ingredients. Garnish each glass with a watermelon wedge.

1 ½ oz. Beefeater Gin
2 oz. lemonade
crushed mint leaves

Stir all ingredients with ice and serve in a highball glass. Garnish with crushed mint and a lemon wheel

2 oz. apricot brandy
1 oz. lime juice
½ oz. simple syrup
¼ oz. grenadine
4 dashes Angostura bitters
white soda

Mix ingredients in a shaker with ice. Strain and serve over ice.

2 oz. white rum
1 oz. crème de menthe
3 green grapes
ginger ale on top

Put three ice cubes and the grapes in a Collins glass. Add rum, crème de menthe and top with ginger ale.

2 oz. vodka
1 oz. triple sec
4 oz. orange juice

Pour vodka and triple sec over ice and top with orange juice.

Pineapple chunks
½ oz. vodka
½ oz. triple sec
1 oz. pineapple juice

Muddle two pineapple chunks and triple sec in a cocktail shaker. Add vodka, ice and pineapple juice. Strain into a chilled martini glass and top with champagne.

1 blackberry
1/2 oz. strawberry puree
1 ½ oz. Gentleman Jack
1 oz. chilled black tea
1 oz. pomegranate juice
½ oz. maple syrup
fresh blackberries

Place the blackberry and the strawberry puree into a shaker and muddle. Add the rest of the ingredients and a few ice cubes. Shake and strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass and garnish with fresh blackberries.

3 tbl. mango puree (mango chunks in a blender)
5 oz. sparkling sake
mango cube for garnish

Place mango puree into a highball glass. Fill to the brim with sparkling sake. Garnish with a mango cube.

LEMON DROP (shooter)
½ oz. vodka
½ oz. triple sec
½ oz. lemon juice

Shake all the ingredients together and fine strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with thin slice of lemon coated in sugar.