I love sangria. But when I see ready-made sangria in the supermarket or liquor store, I get a little confused. Isn’t the point of sangria to use up mediocre wine and leftover fruit? I guess I have a very pragmatic way of approaching such a delicious beverage. Besides, part of the fun is picking out which fruits go into it and then eating the fruit as you sip the drink.
Below is the basic recipe for sangria, but it’s an ideal DIY cocktail because you can improvise so easily. The best sangria I made featured peaches, meyer lemon slices, and strawberries along with a strawberry liqueur instead of triple sec. While you don’t have to use bad wine (though I sometimes do!), it’s a waste of money to use expensive wine since you are adding so many other flavors.
You can do this with white wine or a rosé, for an even more summery drink. It’s perfect for barbecues and big parties. No bartender needed!
1 750 milliliter bottle of red wine
2 cups chopped fruit
2 ounces Cognac (or brandy or dark rum)
2 ounces triple sec (or other fruit liqueur)
2 ounces simple syrup
Combine all ingredients and let them set in the refrigerator overnight.
Photo by Jackson Stakeman
Pimm’s Cup Popsicle from the Tiffin Box
It’s hot. Now is the time to consume your cocktails in frozen pop form! There are a lot of fabulous boozy popsicle recipes out there, so you just might have to make up a variety of them for Dad and the crew this weekend to go with your barbecue. Happy Father’s Day!
Campari Citrus Pops ~ Made with a bitter Italian liqueur, these are more sophisticated than anything the ice cream man can bring your way.
Costa Rican Watermelon Mojito Popsicles ~ I think the name says it all! Anything with watermelon (and rum) is OK in my book.
French 75 Popsicles ~ My favorite champagne cocktail in frozen form. What’s not to love?
Pimm’s Cup Popsicles ~ Turning my go-to warm-weather cocktail as a popsicle (aka Pimmsicle) is a sure way to make sure I never leave your party.
Grilled Mango Smash Poptails ~ While you have that grill out, use it to give this amazing frozen treat a unique flavor by grilling the mangos.
Peach Margaritas from Boulder Locavore
Summer is here! And where I am, it’s a hot one. But fear not, summer cocktails are here to cool you down. ‘Tis the season for fresh cocktails!
Blackberry Mojito ~ It isn’t a summer drinks roundup without some kind of Mojito. This one uses fresh blackberries for a sweet and tart flavor and beautiful color.
Sour Cherry Gin Cocktail ~ If you have pie cherries left over, muddle them up in this seasonal, cooling cocktail. Don’t be afraid to add a little mint.
Peach Margarita ~ Fresh peaches in a traditional-style Margarita. Need I say more?
Summer Evening Garden Chiller ~ Cucumber, basil, and tequila … I feel the temperature dropping already.
Mai Tai ~ Pretend you’re in Hawaii with the iconic tropical drink. Umbrella optional.
Herbs are an essential part of cocktails. For some reason, mint seems to dominate drink recipes even though there are plenty of other delicious herbs in the garden. Now, I don’t have anything against mint. But other herbs that we use to give flavor to our meals are just as good at livening up a cocktail. Here are a few herbal cocktails you might not have tried.
Raspberry-Thyme Smash ~ Get a head start on summer with a refreshing mix of gin, raspberries, and thyme—along with a little simple syrup and lime. I’ve been seeing good berries around, but if you can’t find any, go with frozen.
Pink Rosemary Greyhound ~ Try this slight tweaking of the classic grapefruit-and-vodka Greyhound cocktail, made with Ruby Red grapefruit and rosemary simple syrup. A good one for brunch!
Strawberry Basil Mojito ~ It’s been a hot spring so far in my neck of the woods, which gets me thinking about Mojitos. Adding some strawberries to the mix and using basil instead of mint is my favorite variation on this cooling cocktail.
Gin Lime Rickeys With Cilantro ~ OK, so I know that some people’s tastebuds can’t stand cilantro. But for the rest of us, it has a savory and fresh flavor that brightens up other ingredients. Paired with lime, it really tastes fantastic.
Tequila and Sage Smash ~ As you can see, I am all for smashing things! Honey, sage, and añejo tequila make for a flavorful drink with a lot of complexity.
Photo by Jackson Stakeman
Honey Rye from Bon Appetit
It’s crazy hot here even though I’m ready for lovely, mild autumn weather. Honey is the perfect ingredient to bridge the weather’s seasonal confusion disorder. The sweetness of honey works well in refreshing summer drinks as well as spiced fall concoctions. So I found a few honey drinks that would be equally appropriate for sweltering heat and pleasant fall temperatures. You can even make your own honey liqueur for the occasion.
The Lazy Boy ~Bourbon, figs, ginger, and honey. What’s not to love about this cocktail?
Honey Rum Fizz ~ This drink is sort of like a honeyed Mojito with the added texture and silkiness of egg white. Fresh, sweet, foamy … and refreshing.
Honey Rye ~ The spicy kick of rye is balanced with honey liqueur and ginger ale. Add a few dashes of orange bitters and you have a drink that’s good for a heat wave or a crisp fall day.
Campari Dolce ~ We know honey goes well with sweet and spicy, but it’s also a good match for bitterness. Add honey to gin and Campari for a complex and unique cocktail.
Isartal Rose ~ Gin, Pimm’s, grapefruit, honey, and a few dashes of celery bitters make for an interesting combination that is perfect for sipping on the porch.
It’s almost Labor Day, which means it’s almost time for a watermelon cocktail! I’m a sucker for cocktails that mix watermelon with something spicy. So when Brugal shared this recipe with me, I was more than eager to give it a try. The balance between refreshing and spicy hits the spot. It’s a patio drink for a three-day weekend.
I’m picky about sharing recipes that liquor companies send me, but this one is solid. I got a bottle of Brugal Extra Dry from the company at Tales of the Cocktail, but you can use another light rum if you prefer. (You may want to start with a little less simple syrup and then add more to taste, since Brugal Extra Dry has a little less sweetness to it.)
Lingering Labor Day
Created by Scott Fitzgerald, Mulberry Project NYC
2 ounce light rum (I used Brugal Extra Dry)
1 ounce lime juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup
6 Watermelon chunks
1 Thai chili
Muddle watermelon and chili, then add remaining ingredients. Shake and fine strain over fresh ice, garnish with watermelon.
Photo courtesy of Brugal
Summer Sage from the Kitchn
Summer is coming to an end. And while I’m happy to get rid of the heat, I will miss summer fruit. Plums are the best! They’re the sweetest and juiciest summer fruit. They’re also perfect for cocktails, though we don’t often use them that way. If you have a messy overripe plum, it’s actually ideal for cocktailing! Plum’s deep sweetness is contrasted with a little bit of a wine-like undertone. Fancy fancy. Try these plum drinks:
Plum Smash ~ Smash up some juicy plums for this simple and satisfying cocktail. A little lemon and thyme adds a little contrast to the plum flavor, while bourbon plays up the fruit’s sweetness. PLUM SMASH! (Said in Hulk voice.)
The Summer Sage ~This is another take on a Plum Smash, made with sage and rye for a bit of a spicier flavor.
Plum Blossom ~ I’m a sucker for Champagne cocktails, and this one is a really unique one that combines fresh plums with Aperol. Very sophisticated!
Plumpkin ~ Basically, this is a Plum Mojito. So … I say yes to that. You can make it with plums or their cousin the pluot.
Sugar Plum Dreams ~ Plum reduction and pisco come together for a new twist on an old cocktail from the 1800s.
Summer Hoedown from Chow
Watermelon is an essential part of summer. Essential, I say! It’s also a surprisingly flexible ingredient, pairing well with sweet, spicy, herbal, savory, and bitter flavors. So when you’re slicing up a big old watermelon for a cookout, don’t forget to try one of these unusual watermelon cocktails while you’re at it.
The Merchant’s Wife ~ Watermelon, gin, Aperol, lemon juice, and a splash of club soda combine to make a light and sparkling watermelon cocktail that’s not too sweet.
Watermelon-Cucumber Refresher ~ This is one of the recipes from my book, tested out by the Kitchn. Fresh watermelon and cucumber are a great match to beat the summer heat … with a little boozy help from vodka. As they note, this one works great with tequila, too.
Watermelon Cooler ~ One of the fun things about watermelon is how well it goes with spices and herbs. In this case, a little black pepper and basil gives a little extra something to this gin cocktail.
Watermelon Kicker ~ Watermelon with cayenne and salt? Is there nothing that this refreshing fruit can’t do? Just a wee bit of heat and savoriness brings out the oomph of the tequila.
Summer Hoedown ~ White beer and maraschino liqueur are two more unusual partners for our friend the watermelon, in this intriguing summer drink.
Cherry Berry Sangria from 20something cupcakes
It’s patio party weather, so we want to spend our time sipping drinks outside, not stuck behind the bar making them. That’s when our friend sangria comes in handy. All you need is wine, fruit, and a little booze and/or liqueur. Pour it all together, wait, and then drink with friends. Here are some fun ones that are good for summer.
Watermelon and Raspberry Sangria ~ With a white wine base and sweet summer fruit, this one sounds perfect for a hot weekend in the backyard.
Cherry Berry Sangria ~ A rosé (aka pink wine) mixed with summer cherries and berries makes this one pretty as well as tasty. But I bet it would be just as good with a pinot noir or malbec.
Ginger Plum Sangria ~ Another one with pink wine, this time with seasonal plums and a ginger kick.
Negroni Punch ~ Prosecco adds bubbles, while Campari makes it a little more bitter and deep. Sounds like the perfect match for peaches and summer berries.
Lavender Infused Champagne Sangria ~ Sparkling wine infused with lavender along with lychee and peaches … why am I not drinking this right now?
One could argue that tiki time isn’t limited to just the summer, and one would be right. However, there’s something about summer sunshine that makes a tropical drink with a pineapple spear or tiny umbrella the logical choice. Let’s get tiki!
The Mai Tai is one of the most well-known of the tiki drinks. It’s a bit complicated, with several types of rum and an almond syrup known as orgeat, but once you’re sipping one life becomes quite simple.
You can make your own orgeat, or buy it. It’s easy to make. But if you do buy it, make sure you get one made with real almonds. (Small Hand Foods and Okole Maluna are two good ones.)
3/4 ounce light rum
3/4 ounce gold rum
1/2 ounce dark rum
1 ounce triple sec
1/2 ounce orgeat
1/2 ounce lime juice
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for about 15 seconds. Strain into ice-filled old fashioned glass. (Some people prefer to float the dark rum on top rather than shaking it in.) Garnish with pineapple chunk and sprig of mint.
*If you just don’t have those three different types of rum on hand, you could do one ounce each of light and dark rum instead.
Photo by Jackson Stakeman