Summer cocktails should be three things: cold, sweet and plentiful. I really like mixing drinks that pull in a lot of summer fruit flavors, like citrus and watermelon, topped with plenty of ice to keep things chilled. These five recipes are a must have in the few weeks of summer we have left, and I’m sure you’ll be saving the recipes to try once winter starts to thaw.
Pomegranates (and pomegranate juice) are freely available now, and I wholeheartedly endorse you trying to fit it into you recipes. This cocktail contains some bold flavors that will be sure to please a tangy palette. Here’s what you’ll need:
• 3.5 cups of pomegranate juice
• 1.5 cups of rum
• 1 cup of cranberry liqueur
• 1/3 cup of lime juice
• Garnish: lime wedges, frozen cranberries and pomegranate seeds
Mix up all the ingredients (besides the garnish) in a large pitcher. Then cover and let sit for at least four hours before serving. If it’s a bit too sour for you, a dash of sugar never hurt anyone. Serves 12.
Oranges are the perfect balance of sweet and sour, being one of the sweeter citrus fruits. That and the bright orange color make this refreshing beverage a delicious style addition to any picnic table. And now, your ingredients:
• 2 ounces of citrus vodka
• 1 ounce of Cointreau or triple sec
• 1 splash of lime juice
• 1 splash of orange juice
• Garnish: orange slices and wedges
Not a lot of special preparation, here. Simply stir up all the ingredients in a pitcher and stir vigorously. If you like, sugar the rim of your glasses and add your garnishes.
I love putting cucumber in just about any drink, even lemon water. Something about the cucumber just cools any drink down, and adding it to lemonade is a logical step. The agave syrup keeps this recipe from being too sour, and the rosemary adds a bit of spice.
• 3 – 4 large cucumbers
• 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
• 1 cup of water
• 6 ounces of gin
• 1/2 cup of lemon juice
• 3 tbsp of agave nectar or syrup
Take two-and-a-half cucumbers, peel them, chop them up, and put them in your food processor with the rosemary until pureed. Use a fine strainer to squeeze the juice out of the pulp. Add the water, lemon juice, agave and gin to the cucumber juice and stir well. Slice up the last of the cucumbers for garnish; mix them in or set them on the rim. Serves 4.
What says summer more than watermelon? Watermelon with cucumber, that’s what. Now, this recipe can vary a little bit, depending on how slushy you want the coolers to be. If you like the texture of watermelon, use a sieve with a less fine mesh. Here are your ingredients:
• 5 cups of seedless watermelon
• 1 large cucumber
• 1/4 of a cup of lime juice
• 2 tbsp of honey
• 2/3 of a cup of vodka
Puree the watermelon in a food processor and remove most of the pulp with a fine strainer (should yield about 2 cups of juice). Then do the same with the watermelon and strain the juice into your watermelon juice. Mix the lime juice and honey together until fully dissolved; then add to your watermelon-cucumber mixture. Pour over ice and serve with cucumber slices.
A little bit of fizz always refreshes on a hot summer afternoon. Raspberries have such a short season, but you can actually make this recipe out of season with frozen raspberries if needed. You can also experiment with different types of soda, which I recommend if you have a favorite brand, or like sparkling lemonade instead of orange.
• 1 cup of fresh raspberries
• 1 lime
• 0.5 ounces of simple syrup
• 0.5 ounces of Campari
• 1 ounce of reposado tequila
• Orange soda
Stir the raspberries into the lime juice and simple syrup. Add the Campari and tequila, followed by ice and orange soda. Stir briefly and serve.
A refreshing summer beverage is the crown jewel to your backyard get-togethers and barbecues, and I hope one of these recipes makes your next one special. Do you have some summer favorites when it comes to cocktails?
Author bio: When Vanessa Lee isn’t passed out on a lawn chair after too many raspberry sparklers, she writes on entertaining, home décor, parenting and celebrity topics at WhatsBestfortheNest.com.