Sip on these icy cocktails during hot summer nights.
Strawberry-Lemon Mojitos – Courtesy of Food & Wine. The mojito is a quintessential summer drink but when you’re craving something a little fruiter than the classic mint and lime flavors, try this sweeter version.
Ingredients 8 lemon wedges 24 mint leaves, plus 4 sprigs, for garnish 4 strawberries, plus 2 halved strawberries, for garnish Ice cubes 8 ounces gold or aged rum 3 ounces fresh lemon juice 2 ounces sugarcane syrup or agave nectar
Directions In a cocktail shaker, muddle the lemon wedges with the whole strawberries and mint leaves. Add ice and the rum, lemon juice and sugarcane syrup; shake well. Strain into crushed ice-filled highball glasses. Garnish with the berry halves and mint sprigs.
Yields four drinks.
Tequila Lemonade – Courtesy of Chuck Hughes. This make-ahead recipe is perfect for your next backyard party and can easily scale for your guest list. Adjusting the seltzer water levels allow guests to customize their drink’s strength.
Ingredients 2 cups of ice cubes 8 Meyer lemons Dash of sugar can syrup or simple syrup 4 sprigs of fresh peppermint leaves, torn 1 lemon, sliced into wheels for garnish 4 ounces tequila Dash of soda water or seltzer 2 vanilla beans, for garnish
Directions Into a pitcher, put about 2 scoops of ice cubes. Squeeze in the juice of 8 Meyer lemons or 8 regular lemons in a pinch! Add several dashes of sugar cane syrup. Add the leaves of 2 fresh mint sprigs, torn into pieces. Add a few lemon wheels for garnish. Add 4 ounces of Tequila and give it a stir. Place in the refrigerator to chill.
When ready to serve, put the ice in tall glasses and pour the Tequila Lemonade over the top. Top off each drink with a splash of fizzy soda water. Garnish each glass with a wheel of lemon, a vanilla bean and a sprig of mint.
Yields two drinks.
French 75 – Courtesy of Epicurious. This champagne-based drink is a crisp and light summery cocktail. Chill your champagne flutes before serving as the French 75 tastes best served very cold.
Ingredients 1 lemon 3 Tablespoons (1 ½ ounces) gin 1 ½ Tablespoons (3/4 ounce) fresh lemon juice 1 Tablespoon (1/2 ounce) simply syrup 1 cup ice cubs ¼ cup (2 ounces) dry sparkling wine, chilled
Directions Using zester or paring knife, slice peel from lemon in long, thin spiral. Reserve lemon for another use and set peel aside.
In cocktail shaker, combine gin, lemon juice and simple syrup. Add ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Strain into chilled champagne flute and top with sparkling wine. Curl lemon peel around finger to create twist at least 6 inches long. Garnish drink with twist and serve immediately.
Yields one drink.
Wake County Cooler – Courtesy of Bon Appetit. Whip up this spiked iced tea before a summer BBQ and then finish the cocktail off with lemon juice and club soda as your guests request these refreshing cocktails.
Ingredients 1 750-ml bottle vodka 2/3 cup loose-leaf black tea ¼ cup sugar ¼ cup water 6 ounces fresh soda Club soda Lemon wedges and mint sprigs for garnish
Directions Combine one 750-ml bottle vodka and 2/3 cup loose-leaf black tea in a large pitcher. Let sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally, 2 hours. Strain into another large pitcher. Combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a jar, cover, and shake until sugar is dissolved; mix into vodka. For each cooler, fill a Collins glass with ice. Add 2 ounces infused vodka and 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice. Top with club soda and garnish with a lemon wedge and a mint sprig.
Watermelon Gin Fizz – Courtesy of Delish.com. As pretty as it is tasty, this Watermelon Gin Fizz is good both virgin or spiked.
Ingredients 5 cups diced watermelon, divided 6 ounces gin, divided 8 Tablespoons lime juice, divided 1 1/3 cup ginger ale, divided Lime wedges for garnish
Directions Freeze 1-cup watermelon for garnish and puree the remaining 4 cups watermelon. Strain; divide the juice among 4 ice-filled glasses. Top each with 1 1/2 ounces gin, 2 Tablespoons lime juice and 1/3 cup ginger ale. Garnish with the frozen watermelon and lime wedges.
Yields four drinks.