Summer cocktails: With and without alcohol

News-DemocratJune 9, 2014 

Can you say, "Ahhhhh?" It's the sound made after a sip from a refreshing summer drink.

While a ice-cold beer might be just the ticket for watching a ballgame, a cocktail made with fresh fruit -- and in come cases a hint of herbs or vegetables -- will turn your summer party into an event.

Guests may go home talking about sipping a Positano Twilight or a Blueberry-Peach Mojito, rather than the hors d'oeuvres.

What separates the two drinks is that the first is minus the alcohol. But, both are full of flavor and so much color they are irresistible to look at, let alone drink.

So, if you're throwing a summer cocktail party, make sure to offer something memorable for everyone. Don't leave your friends who don't consume alcohol holding a soda while others carry fruity, delicious drinks. You'll find some good choices for both here.

Drinks with alcohol

This all-natural, virtually sugar-free drink requires no cooking. But you will need a heavy-duty juicer or food processor to make the juices.


5 leaves fresh mint, plus optional mint sprigs for garnish

2 ounces tequila

2 1/2 ounces fresh watermelon juice

1/2 ounce fresh cucumber juice

3/4 ounce agave syrup (1 part agave nectar mixed with 1 part water)

1/2 ounce lime juice

Additional watermelon with rind, cut into spears to use as garnish

Place mint leaves in the palm of your hand, slap them to bruise and place in a shaker.

Add tequila, watermelon juice, cucumber juice, agave syrup and lime juice. Fill with ice, shake and pour into tall glass. If desired, garnish with sprigs of fresh mint and watermelon spears.

A note on making the juice: If you don't have a juicer, you can make juices in a food processor. No need to peel or seed the cucumber. Cut off stem ends, cut into chunks, and pulse until soupy. Do not strain.

For the watermelon, place chunks of seedless watermelon in the processor and pulse until soupy. Do not strain. You can also juice the watermelon by pushing chunks through a metal sieve.

Makes 1 cocktail with 171 calories, 1 gram protein, 10 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, no cholesterol, 6 mg sodium.


1 (750-ml) bottle dry white wine, such as Chardonnay

1 (6-ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate

1/2 cup light rum

1/2 cup orange-flavored liqueur, such as a triple sec

1 (15.25-ounce) can pineapple tidbits packed in natural juices

1 large apple (about 1 1/4 cup diced)

1 (16-ounce) bottle or 2 cups chilled lemon-lime soda

Strawberries and/or orange slices for garnish, if desired

In a 1-gallon pitcher, combine wine, frozen lemonade concentrate, rum, orange liqueur and pineapple with the juice. Core and dice apples in pieces no bigger than the pineapple tidbits and add to the sangria. Stir well and refrigerate, covered, at least 2 hours.

Just before serving, stir in soda. Serve over ice in wine glasses, garnished with strawberries and orange slices, if desired.

Makes 8 servings, each with 250 calories, no cholesterol, 33 grams carbohydrates, 18 mg sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.

Kansas City Star(*20*)

Watermelon Margaritas

1 teaspoon lime zest

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons coarse salt

1 lime wedge

1 cup watermelon puree (see note)

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/2 cup tequila

1 ounce orange-flavored liqueur (like triple sec)

1 cup ice

In a medium saucepan, combine the lime zest, water and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature and strain out the zest. (Can be made in advance; keep in a covered container in the refrigerator.)

Chill a margarita glass in the freezer for 30 minutes. Place the coarse salt in a shallow dish or saucer. Wet the rim of the glass with a lime wedge and dip the glass into the salt, coating the top edge.

In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 tablespoons of the cooled lime syrup with the watermelon puree, lime juice, tequila, orange-flavored liqueur and ice. Shake until frothy and well chilled, at least 1 minute. Strain into the prepared glass and garnish with a lime wedge.

Note: To make the watermelon puree, remove seeds from fresh watermelon and cut into large chunks. Place in a blender and process until smooth and well pureed. Makes 1 drink.

Emeril Lagasse

Blueberry-Peach Mojito

1/4 cup blueberries, plus more for garnish

12 fresh mint sprigs, plus more for garnish

1 tablespoon peach preserves

1 tablespoon lime juice


1/4 cup rum

1 ounce club soda

1 lime, quartered, for garnish

Place blueberries, mint, peach preserves and lime juice in a cocktail shaker and muddle. Add ice and rum. Shake vigorously to blend. Strain into glass. Top with club soda. Garnish with additional sprinkle of blueberries and quartered lime on top. Add additional mint sprig if you like. Makes 1 drink.

Adapted from Driscoll's

Pineapple Basil Cocktail

3 basil leaves, rolled and sliced into thin strips

1/4 lime

1/4 cup pineapple juice

1 1/2 ounces gin


Club soda

Put the basil and lime in the bottom of a glass and muddle. Add pineapple juice, gin and ice cubes, and top with club soda. Garnish with a slice of pineapple, lime wedge or a sprig of basil. Makes 1 drink.

Minus alcohol

This first creation has a mild, citrusy flavor and a light fizz. You can make substitutions with no great impact. Make it as a mocktail or just make a big batch for the punch bowl. This recipe is for the nonalcoholic cocktail, complete with garnishes.


3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice

1/2 or 3/4 ounce bitter lemon soft drink (such as San

Pellegrino Limonata)

1 teaspoon sugar

1 1/2 or 2 ounces sparkling water

1 1/2 or 2 ounces ginger ale or ginger beer

Ice cubes

Slice of lemon

Sprig of mint

1. Mix lemon juice and bitter-lemon soft drink. Add sugar. Stir. Add sparkling water. Top with ginger ale.

2. Add ice cubes. Garnish with a skewered lemon slice and a mint sprig.

Note: It's more refreshing if you use a soft drink such as Barritt's Ginger Beer or Gus Dry Ginger Ale; and a sparkling water such as San Pellegrino, which isn't aggressively fizzy. Makes 1 drink.

Peter M. Gianotti, Newsday


1 cup orange juice

1/4 cup sugar

4 cups grape juice

1/2 fresh lemon, sliced

1/2 fresh orange, sliced

1 small apple or peach, cut into wedges

4 cups club soda or seltzer

1. In a large pitcher, combine orange juice, sugar and grape juice.

2. Add all cut fruit. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

3. Refrigerate until cool. Add club soda or seltzer just before serving. Makes at least 8 servings.


1/2 ripe mango, peeled, cut and diced

1 2/3 ounces carrot juice

1 2/3 ounces pineapple juice

1 2/3 ounces fresh orange juice

2/3 ounces fresh lemon juice

Ice cubes

Noncarbonated mineral water

Orange slice and maraschino cherry, for garnish

1. Put mango pieces into blender. Add juices and a scoop of ice cubes. Blend.

2. Using lid to stop ice tumbling into glass, pour mixture into a goblet filled with fresh ice. Fill to three quarters.

3. Add water to dilute mixture to taste. Stir.

4. Garnish with a slice of orange and a maraschino cherry. Serve with a straw. Makes 1 serving.

"Complete Home Bartender's Guide" by Salvatore Calabrese (Sterling, 2002)


1 ounce lime juice

1 dash grenadine

1 dash bitters

Club soda


1. Add juice, grenadine and bitters to ice-filled old-fashioned glass. Top with club soda.

2. Stir and garnish with a long twist of lime. Makes 1 serving.

"Mr. Boston Platinum Edition," edited by Anthony Giglio (Wiley, 2006)

A shrub is a fruit syrup, preserved with vinegar and mixed with water or alcohol to make a tangy, refreshing beverage.

Non-Alcoholic Sangria Shrub

2 oranges

2 limes

8 tablespoons sugar

2 1/2 cup unsweetened purple grape juice

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

2 liters cold seltzer

In a large pitcher, squeeze the juice of 1 orange and 1 lime together. Cut the remaining orange and lime in half-moon slices and add to pitcher. Add sugar and muddle the mixture together with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the grape juice and red wine vinegar. Stir together.

This can be made advance and refrigerated.

Just before serving, add cold seltzer to pitcher. (You'll actually need slightly less than the 2 full liters.) Serve in glasses with ice.Makes 8 drinks.

"Homemade Soda" by Andrew Schloss (Storey Publishing, 2011)

You can make the puree up to one day ahead, but it's best if you prepare it within a few hours of serving.

Non-Alcoholic Apricot Raspberry Shrub

Apricot-raspberry puree:

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries

2 cups apricot nectar

1/2 cup agave syrup or simple syrup (see note)

1/2 cup raspberry or white wine vinegar

For assembling:

3 cups seltzer

To make the puree, mash the berries in a medium bowl with the back of a fork. Mix in the apricot nectar a little bit at a time, until thoroughly incorporated. Pour the mixture into a strainer set over a small bowl. Gently lift and stir the mixture to help the liquid pass through, without forcing any solids through the strainer. Discard the solids. Stir the agave syrup and vinegar into the strained puree.

To make the drink, pour 1/4 of the puree into a tall glass. Add 1/4 of the seltzer and then fill with small cubes of ice. Serve immediately. Makes 4 drinks.

Note: Simple syrup is made by simmering equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. As the mixture begins to bubble, the sugar will dissolve. Remove from heat and let cool. Simple syrup will keep in the refrigerator for two months.

"Homemade Soda"

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