Simple Summer Drinks

Summer’s here: What better way to spend the afternoon than with a refreshing drink? Here are four simple cocktail recipes to enjoy – with or without alcohol.

Summer parties, evenings with friends, relaxing on a patio or at the cottage – when the weather warms up, it’s nice to have a sip of something cool. Put your inhibitions aside and let loose with these libations. The best part? You don’t have to be a bartender to master these simple sippers:

The Mimosa

This is a classic, refreshing drink that works any time of day: brunch, lunch, afternoon, or evening. It’s tame and great for those who don’t like the taste of alcohol. Bonus: it’s super simple to make.

In a flute, fill half with cold champagne/sparkling wine and, in the other half, add pulp-free orange juice. To kick it up a bit, play with portions – use three parts champagne to 1 part orange juice. For a fancier look, pour in some grenadine or add some berries. Note: this is a great drink for parties; make it ahead of time in a large pitcher for fast, easy pouring Mimosas.

Alcohol-free version: Swap out the champagne for alcohol-free sparkling wine or soda.

The Strawberry Daquiri

A favorite summertime slush. It’s cold, colorful, and fruity. There are many pre-made daiquiri mixes available at the liquor store, and true, they are delicious, but it’s just as easy to make this drink at home.

While many recipes suggest using frozen strawberries, if fresh berries are available, always use them. For each drink, you’ll need:

 4-5 ice cubes
 5-6 strawberries (remove stem)
 2 ounces of golden rum
 1 tbsp of lime juice
 ½ tsp of sugar
 Optional: add 1 ounce of triple sec

Using a blender or food processor, add all the ingredients together and blend until slushy. Pour into a tall glass and garnish with a strawberry.

Alcohol-free version: Remove all alcohol and replace it with soda or ginger ale.

The Mish Mash

Turn a backyard bash into the Caribbean with this delicious drink. Using a tall glass, fill ¾ with Sprite or 7Up.

Then, add the following ingredients:

 1 ounce of white rum
 1 ounce of coconut rum
 2 ounces of lime juice

A variation of this mish mash includes pineapple juice. Instead of filling the glass up entirely with Sprite/7Up, use two parts Sprite/7Up, 1 part pineapple.

Alcohol-free version: Remove the rum, add pineapple juice. To get the true taste of the Caribbean, you can add a drop of coconut flavoring or syrup.

The Sensational Sangria

This Spanish favorite is a perfect recipe for a party; it’s easy to make in advance, and many people will enjoy it. There are tons of Sangria recipes out there; some use white wine; others use juices. Feel free to substitute ingredients and make your own Sangria signature!

In a large pitcher, pour a whole bottle of red wine. Take ripe berries and toss them into the wine. This is a great time to clear out the fridge. Raspberries and blackberries work really well with this drink as they absorb the alcohol and break up nicely in the pitcher. You can use fresh strawberries as well. Cut two oranges and one lemon into slices, and toss those into the mix. Add 2 ounces of Triple Sec and a splash of lemon juice. Fill the remainder of the pitcher up with Sprite and add about 1 cup of ice.

It’s best to make the Sangria in advance and allow the fruit to sit in the juice. When it’s time to serve, scoop out some fruit for every guest and fill the glass with Sangria.

Alcohol-free version: Replace red wine with cranberry juice. Remove Triple Sec. The drink will have the same look, sans alcohol.