Courtesy of Liz Gray
There’s something about hot weather that makes an icy beverage seem not only nice but practically essential, don’t you think? For your next summer party, upgrade from plastic coolers and drink mixes to custom cocktails that are easy to make and even easier to enjoy. Here are 5 versatile options you’ll sip all summer long including our featured Coastal Citrus Punch.
Essential qualities: This summery take on sangria makes enough for a crowd, so you won’t be running up and down the hill playing bartender all day. Mix up the day before your party, chill and serve on ice. It’s easy to double if you anticipate extreme thirst…or more than 8-10 guests. Make it your own: The recipe calls for grapes, pineapple and strawberries, but try throwing in blueberries, peaches or honeydew melon.
Serve it with: Grilled fish, a summer clambake, tea sandwiches — this drink is incredibly versatile.
Here's the Coastal Citrus Punch Recipe, compliments of Matthew Mead.
- 2 medium lemons, sliced thin
- 3 oranges, sliced thin
- 1 lime, sliced thin
- 1 dozen green grapes cut in half
- 3 750-ml bottles off-dry white Riesling wine, chilled
- 2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
- 1 cup simple syrup
- 1 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed and chilled, 4 to 5 lemons
- 3 cups white grape juice
- 3 cups pineapple juice, chilled
- 4 cups sparkling water, chilled
Juice the lemons and oranges. Strain the juice.
At least 3 hours and up to 6 hours before serving, combine the syrup, lemon juice, grape juice, pineapple juice, wine and strawberries in a large bowl or pot. Chill in the refrigerator.
Just before serving, pour the punch into a large chilled punch bowl or glass bottle. Add the sparkling water and gently stir.
Serve punch over ice with additional cut fruit.
Frozen Mint Julep
Essential qualities: If you have ever tried to grow mint, you know the biggest dilemma isn’t keeping it alive, it’s keeping it from choking out the rest of your garden. Keep it at bay (and keep your guests cool) with this slushy take on a classic Southern cocktail.
Serve it with: Barbecue, grilled lamb or vegetables and pretty much any dish hailing from the South.
Here's the Frozen Mint Julep Cocktail Recipe, compliments of Stephen Phillips.
This is the perfect Southern way to celebrate and cool off this summer.
- 3 oz. Makers Mark, Heaven Hill or Knob Creek bourbon whiskey
- 1-1/2 tsp. simple syrup
- 1-1/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 8 fresh mint leaves
- 3/4 cup crushed ice
- 1 sprig of mint for garnish
Place mint leaves, bourbon, simple syrup and lemon juice at the bottom of a glass. Muddle (mash) the mint with the liquids until blended together. Pour this mixture into the blender. Add 3/4 cup of crushed ice and blend until slushy.
Pour into a chilled, large old-fashioned glass or large goblet.
Mellow Melon Margarita
STEPHEN MURELLO, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved
Essential qualities: Margaritas can be delicious, but they usually aren’t. That’s because margarita mix is, well, just not very good. Fix that with this simple cocktail recipe: Just mix together high-quality silver tequila, lime juice, agave nectar and a seasonal twist — cubes of juicy watermelon. Repeat after me: I no longer need margarita mix. Putting it down. Now.
Serve it with: This summery drink pairs well with farm-fresh produce — think corn on the cob or roasted pepper and mozzarella bites.
Here's the Tom's Mellow Melon Margarita Recipe, compliments of Stephen Phillips.
- 1-1/2 ounces Patron Silver tequila
- 1 ounces fresh lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 ounces orange juice
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 5 watermelon cubes
- 1 small watermelon wedge
Muddle the watermelon cubes in the bottom of a shaker glass. Add ice, Patron, lime juice, orange juice and agave syrup. Give it a good shake for approximately 10 seconds. Strain and pour into large rocks glass. Garnish with a watermelon wedge.
The Michelada Cocktail
Essential qualities: This drink makes what’s already a quality beverage — beer — a little more refreshing for summer. Take your favorite Mexican beer (a light lager is best) and mix in a squeeze of lemon, hot sauce and salt and pepper. Pour it into a chilled glass rimmed with salt. It might sound a little weird, but trust me, it tastes delicious.
Serve it with: Big, bold, flavorful dishes, like spicy tacos or bacon cheeseburgers.
Here's the The Michelada Recipe, compliments of Stephen Phillips.
- 12 oz. Mexican beer
- juice of one lemon
- 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 dash soy sauce or Maggi seasoning
- 1 dash Tabasco or chile sauce
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 1 pinch salt
- A dish of salt to rim the glass
Rim the lip of a tall serving cup with salt and fill with ice. Mix in all the ingredients except the beer. Pour in your beer slowly. Stir gently and serve generously.
Spicy Raspberry Lemonade
Essential qualities: Okay, so you have four delicious alcoholic cocktail options, above. Avoid being that person who offers margaritas and juleps but has only lukewarm tap water for non-drinking guests. The new plan: Serve this grown-up take on lemonade, spiked with spicy ginger beer and topped with fresh raspberries.
Serve it with: Ice. No, seriously…drink this all summer!
Here's the Spicy Raspberry Lemon Cooler Cocktail Recipe, compliments of Wes Martin.
A grown-up take on lemonade, this non-alcoholic drink combines the fruitiness of raspberries with spicy ginger beer.
Ginger beer, non-alcoholic despite its name, can be found in the beverage/soda section of your supermarket. It has a much stronger bite than plain ginger ale and is great for mixing mocktails; it adds a spicy punch to anything you mix it with.
- 2 cups frozen raspberries
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 bottles ginger beer
- fresh raspberries or lemon wedges for garnish, optional
Put the raspberries, honey, lemon juice and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the fruit has completely broken down, about five minutes. Remove from heat and let stand until cool. Pour the mixture into a fine mesh strainer set over a pitcher. Press the fruit solids with a rubber spatula to remove as much liquid as possible. Discard the fruit pulp.
To serve, fill a Collins glass with ice and pour three tablespoons of the raspberry syrup into the glass. Fill with ginger beer, stir, garnish with raspberries or a lemon wedge and serve immediately.
Makes about six drinks.
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