by Kathryn M. D'Imperio
Something about the warm weather and the bright sunshine can be just intoxicating. Oh wait, maybe that’s just your margarita. Patio drinks are a prerequisite for a relaxing and enjoyable summer with friends and family. Gather up your favorite crew, get the grill going, and sit back to enjoy some cocktails and tasty concoctions you won’t soon forget.
SIMPLE & DELICIOUS
It’s hard to go wrong with traditional favorites like rum & Coke or lemonade and vodka, especially during the warmer months. Some other fun and summery drinks to enjoy on the patio may include Malibu Bay Breeze (1.5 oz coconut rum, 2 oz cranberry juice, 2 oz pineapple juice) or a raspberry Cosmo (1.5 oz raspberry vodka, .75 oz triple sec, .75 oz cranberry juice, 1 oz fresh lime juice).
For a simple crowd pleaser, toss a variety of craft beers into a tub or large bucket with ice for all of your guests to enjoy. Beer tends to go especially well with your favorite grilled foods and it never really goes out of style. For the greatest variety of new flavors, ask each guest to bring a six-pack of something they enjoy that can be shared across the group.
Wine is a favorite all year long, but as the spring and summer approach, it?s time for a fun and fruity change. Grab a few bottles of your favorite red or white and mix up a batch of homemade Sangria that is big enough to share with your entire crowd. Even if you have some left over, it certainly won’t go to waste.
- Large bottle of red wine, or 2 bottles of 750ml
- 1 cup triple sec
- 1 cup brandy
- 2-4 cups ginger ale or club soda,?to taste (optional)
- 1/2 cup white sugar (if desired)
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (fresh queezed, if possible)
- 3/4 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed, if possible)
- 2 lemons cut into wheels
- 2 limes cut into wheels
- 2 oranges cut into wheels
*Recipe can be halved for a smaller group.
Pour the wine into a large bowl or container. Using a juicer if available, squeeze the juice from lemons until you reach 1/2 cup and from oranges until 3/4 cup. If no juicer is available, you can use bottled lemon juice and orange juice. Add fruit juice to the wine. Add 1 cup brandy and 1 cup triple sec. If desired, add 1/2 cup white sugar and mix well. Toss cut fruit into the mixture. Chill for several hours or overnight to allow the full flavor to develop. Optional: For sparkling sangria, add club soda or ginger ale (sweeter) to taste, before serving.
NOTES: For white sangria, consider using your favorite white wine along with cut peaches and sliced strawberries or blueberries, grapes or other fruit to your liking.
Mojitos become even more popular as the days get longer. Mix one up with some fresh mint leaves, 1.25 oz of rum, 1 T sugar, .5 oz lime juice, and 2 oz club soda. For a flavorful twist, try these specialty mojito recipes from local Lehigh Valley restaurants.
Rooftop Mojito | Courtesy of Melt
- 1.5 oz strawberry rum
- muddled strawberries
- club soda
- simple syrup
Cut up 1/2 lime and 1/2 strawberry. Add 3 fresh basil leaves. Muddle together lime, basil with strawberries with a splash of simple syrup. Add Cruzan strawberry rum. Top with ice and fill with club soda.
NOTES: Serve with a straw in a highball glass. Add a splash of Sprite, (or substitute Sprite for club soda,) for extra sweetness!
BREAK OUT THE BLENDER
Take a stroll through your favorite grocery store or the local wine and spirits shop and you?ll be sure to find countless options for frozen drinks sure to cool you off this summer.
Enjoy the best of both worlds with this frozen drink that is half strawberry daiquiri and half pina colada. Follow the bottle instructions and mix up a pitcher of each so that your entire gang can get in on the deliciousness and the fun.
Who doesn’t love a frozen margarita or strawberry margarita? Mix up a pitcher using your favorite tequila, Cointreau and lime juice, and blend with crushed ice. Serve with salsa and chips on the deck or patio and enjoy.
You can experiment with your favorite liquors, fruits, juices and other mixers to create delicious drinks that also satisfy your taste for adventure. Ask your friends to get in on the fun and see what kinds of yummy concoctions you can whip up!
Most of your favorite summery drinks can be served sans alcohol so younger guests, and those choosing not to imbibe, can also enjoy the delightful flavors of a refreshing drink. Consider these virgin style drinks for those who can?t have alcohol.
In a tall glass with ice, add half a glass of iced tea and half a glass of lemonade. Enjoy with your favorite golf talk, or not.
Put some ice in a tall glass and toss in some raspberries, blueberries or chopped strawberries. Using an iced tea spoon, muddle the berries against the ice until the fruit starts to come apart a bit. Pour in some lemonade, swirl with the spoon, and enjoy!
For any of the frozen drinks, first check to make sure the mixers do not already contain alcohol. In most cases, you can mix up a virgin frozen strawberry daiquiri or pina colada just as easily as if you were spiking it.
No matter what you decide to serve on your deck or patio this season, remember to savor the memories as well as the flavor.