Summer Drinks

Summer is the season when beverages attract as much attention as food. Hot days require the contrast of the coolest and most refreshing drinks possible. Here are some tips on success for summer entertaining.

THE SUMMER BAR

A summer bar can be as simple or as elaborate as the occasion demands. Frosty drinks made with vodka, tequila, gin or rum mixed with tonic or club soda are always popular in the summer months. Chilled wines, sangrias, Campari, wine coolers and beer are also welcome in the summer heat. Keep plenty of fresh juices and fruit nectars on hand to serve with sparkling water for a refreshing nonalcoholic drink. Icy herbal teas and thirst-quenching mineral water are crowd pleasers too.

Here are a few of my favorite summer drinks:

Margarita: Combine 1 1/2 ounces of tequila, 1 ounce lime juice, 1 ounce Cointreau or Triple Sec and cracked ice. Shake it in a cocktail shaker and serve or blend it in a blender for a foamier drink. You can also add pureed fruit like strawberries and peaches or even Crenshaw or honeydew melon. To serve this drink, first dip the rim of a balloon glass in fresh lime juice, then swirl it in coarse salt. Serves 1 and may be multiplied as needed.

Kir: Pour 1/2 ounce creme de cassis into a wineglass and fill with chilled white wine.

Kir Royale: Pour 1/2 ounce creme de cassis into a champagne flute and fill with chilled dry Champagne

Bellini: An inexpensive, slightly sweet, sparkling wine like Prosecco is recommended here. Use pureed, unpeeled Babcock or other white peaches. Add 1/4 cup peach puree to a champagne flute and top with sparkling wine.

Nonalcoholic Beverages Juices and nectars mixed with sparkling water can be the perfect thirst quencher on really hot afternoons. Try these variations: Tropical Cooler: Mix 1 part guava nectar to 1 part fresh orange juice to 2 parts sparkling water. Float an orange slice on top. Peach Mint Sparkler: Mix 1 part peach nectar to 4 parts sparkling water. Wedge a peach slice and a mint sprig on the rim of the glass.

For an added taste of fruit, make ice cubes out of fruit juice and use them in your coolers or tea. Freezing pieces of fruit, such as chunks of peaches, nectarines, or whole berries, and using them as ice cubes makes a clever and pretty addition to your drinks.

Recommended utensils include:

  • A jigger
  • Measuring spoons
  • A citrus squeezer
  • A citrus stripper
  • A paring knife
  • A blender
  • An ice bucket
  • Tongs
  • A shaker
  • A corkscrew
  • Glasses in assorted sizes and shapes
  • Possibly a pitcher or a punch bowl

Have on hand garnishes like lemon, lime, and orange slices and sprigs of mint. Sliced strawberries, peaches, nectarines or kiwi also make attractive garnishes, adding a refreshing twist and a splash of color to your drinks.

RESOURCES:

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