4th of July Cocktail

blueberry peach sparkler top viewI am working on 4th of July party food ideas. I will have Sewing Sister and my nieces with me, and we want to do a good picnic at the beach and watch fireworks. I think the adults will need a refreshing cocktail to balance out the meal. I first made this vodka sparkler when Aunt B was here last year. At that time, we used strawberries and peaches. At the swim meet last week, I mixed it up again using blueberries and peaches. Either fruit combination will be perfect for July 4th!

Ingredients

  • 12 strawberries (~10 for the fruit vodka and extra for garnish)
  • OR 1/2 pint of blueberries in place of the strawberries
  • 1 peach (peeled if it is not too soft)
  • 2 c. vodka
  • 1 c. simple syrup (see the notes)
  • 1 c. fresh lemon juice
  • Prosecco (or other sparkling wine)
  • fresh mint for garnish

strawberry peach sparkler ingredients

Directions

  • Cut 10 strawberries into bite sizes and place in a pitcher OR put blueberries in a pitcher. Cut the peach into bite sizes and add to the pitcher. Pour vodka over the fruit and let steep in the refrigerator 3+ hours.
  • Make simple syrup and let cool (see notes below).
  • After the vodka finishes steeping, strain the fruit from the vodka.
  • Mix equal parts fruit vodka, simple syrup, and lemon juice. I mixed 1 cup each of fruit vodka, simple syrup, and fresh lemon juice, which yielded about 4 cocktails. You can double or triple (or reduce) as needed.
  • Fill a glass about 2/3 full with crushed ice. Pour the drink mix over the ice; top with a splash of Prosecco (~2 oz.).
  • Garnish with a mint sprig and a slice of strawberry (or a few blueberries) and serve.

Notes

  • The color of the strawberries leeches out while sitting in the vodka, so it is not very pretty to leave the soaked fruit in your cocktail, but you certainly can. The blueberries retained their color, so I did use the vodka soaked blueberries as a garnish in the blueberry version.
  • To make simple syrup, Put equal parts water and sugar in a pot and heat on the stove until sugar is dissolved. Swirl the mixture a few times while heating. Remove from heat and let cool. If you only need a few cocktails, mix 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. If you are mixing cocktails for a large group, double or triple. Leftover simple syrup can be kept in a container with a lid in the refrigerator for a long time.
  • Sonic Drive-In sells their really good pellet ice by the bag, cup, or will even fill your cooler! It is the perfect ice if you are making this cocktail in picnic/tailgate conditions. I find Reusable Tumblers and colorful straws add a nice touch too.

blueberry peach sparkler

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Mixing Margaritas

watermelon margarita

Margaritas are my favorite summer cocktail. There seems to be an explosion of flavored margaritas that take a basic lime margarita recipe and put a spin on it. I have been mixing a few, and while none have lived up to the success of the Cherry Margarita, they come close. Over the 4th of July weekend, we served a watermelon margarita (on leftover May Day coasters). I made them ahead of time and stored them in a giant Mason jar. The jar needed a little shake to mix the cocktail before each serving because the watermelon separates a little while sitting. Aside from that, the overall verdict is that the drink is very tasty.

Ingredients

  • 1 c. simple syrup
  • 2 c. watermelon cubes (or enough to fill the blender)
  • 1/2 c. fresh lime juice (or more to taste)
  • 3/4 c. tequila
  • 1/4 triple sec
  • crushed ice
  • lime wedges for garnish

watermelon margarita blender

Directions

  • In a blender, puree watermelon until liquified. Pour watermelon juice through a fine mesh sieve into a pitcher– or Mason jar. Push on the solid watermelon parts with a spatula to get all of the watermelon juice into the pitcher. Discard the “solid” watermelon stuff. You should have about 1 c. watermelon juice.
  • Add simple syrup, lime juice, tequila, and triple sec to the watermelon juice and stir.
  • Serve over crushed ice with a lime wedge.

watermelong margarita juices

Notes

  • To make simple syrup, Put equal parts water and sugar in a pot and heat on the stove until sugar is dissolved. Swirl the mixture a few times while heating. Remove from heat and let cool. If you only need a few cocktails, mix 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. If you are mixing cocktails for a large group, double or triple. Leftover simple syrup can be kept in a container with a lid in the refrigerator for a long time.
  • To make any fruit flavored margarita, mix equal parts fresh fruit juice, simple syrup, and liquor (like 1 cup of each).  Add half the measurement of fresh lime juice (or to taste). Serve over crushed ice or blend with ice to make a frozen version.

watermelon margarita closeMargaritas travel well. Look what TheSwimFriend brought to our final swim meet last night! What are other good “To Go” cocktails in hot, humid, muggy  weather?

margaritas to go

Houseguests– Day 5

strawberry peach sparkler with garnish

I think things are going well considering there are 10 people sleeping in my house. Everyone has made it to the beach and/or pool every day. Kids are going to bed at roughly the correct bedtimes, and I have not had to visit the grocery store more than once a day.

Current damages are minimal. Only 4 of Mr. Star Wars’ Lego men have missing hands; about a dozen have rearranged body parts. I don’t think the toddler ate the hands, but it is a possibility. Miss Priss slammed her foot in the car door while we were loading up the crew, and one niece got sick resulting in a late night visit to the 24-hour pharmacy.

Even though we have not had any major catastrophes or arguments, it was time for an adult beverage. Aunt B and I scrolled through my Yummy Drinks Pinterest Board for inspiration and created a Strawberry Peach Vodka Sparkler last night. We highly recommend.

Is this a normal coping strategy when family visits? Can anyone else relate?

Ingredients

  • 12 strawberries (~10 for the fruit vodka and extra for garnish)
  • 1 peach
  • 2 c. vodka
  • 1 c. simple syrup (see the notes)
  • 1 c. fresh lemon juice
  • Prosecco (or other sparkling wine)
  • fresh mint for garnish

strawberry peach sparkler ingredients

Directions

  • Cut 10 strawberries into bite sizes and place in a pitcher. Cut the peach into bite sizes and add to the pitcher. Pour vodka over the fruit and let steep in the refrigerator 3+ hours.
  • Make simple syrup and let cool (see notes below).
  • After the vodka finishes steeping, strain the fruit from the vodka.
  • Mix equal parts fruit vodka, simple syrup, and lemon juice. I mixed 1 cup each of fruit vodka, simple syrup, and fresh lemon juice, which yielded about 4 cocktails. You can double or triple (or reduce) as needed.
  • Fill a glass about 2/3 full with crushed ice. Pour the drink mix over the ice; top with a splash of Prosecco (~2 oz.).
  • Garnish with a mint sprig and a slice of strawberry and serve.

Notes

  • The color of the fruit leeches out while sitting in the vodka, so it is not very pretty to leave the soaked fruit in your cocktail, but you certainly can.
  • We think the strawberries and peach could be replaced with different berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries) but have not tested our theory yet.
  • To make simple syrup, Put equal parts water and sugar in a pot and heat on the stove until sugar is dissolved. Swirl the mixture a few times while heating. Remove from heat and let cool. If you only need a few cocktails, mix 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. If you are mixing cocktails for a large group, double or triple. Leftover simple syrup can be kept in a container with a lid in the refrigerator for a long time.

strawberry peach sparkler

Sangria in the Summer

sangria pitcher

Fruity, refreshing cocktails go so well with many of my summer activities like sitting around for extended hours at the pool or watching kids ride bikes up and down the street. We also live in a beach town so that contributes to the summer cocktail vibe.

I rarely drink wine, but I will drink sangria. To kick off the summer season, I made a pitcher of sangria. My recipe has the fruit steep in rum for several hours before adding the wine, but I have seen recipes that use brandy and/or triple sec.

Ingredients

  • 1 orange
  • 1-2 lemons
  • 1-2 limes
  • 1 1/2 c. light rum
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle dry red wine
  • 1 c. orange juice
  • club soda

sangria fruit slices

Directions

  • Chill fruit, rum, wine, orange juice, and club soda.
  • Slice the lemon, lime, and orange into thin rounds and place in a large glass pitcher.
  • Add the sugar and rum and stir until sugar starts to dissolve. Chill in refrigerator 2+ hours.

sangria rum and sugar

  • Crush the rum soaked fruit slightly with something like a wooden spoon and stir in wine and orange juice.
  • When ready to serve, pour over ice leaving a little room at the top for a splash of club soda. Make sure to top with a few fruit slices.

sangria servingNotes

  • Since I don’t know how to pick out good wines, this is a good recipe for me because it is perfectly acceptable to use cheap red wine a la the sale aisle at the grocery store. Most recipes recommend Rioja, Pinot Noir, or Beaujolais.
  • Try to remove seeds from the fruit slices before adding to the pitcher.
  • Sangria is easy to serve from those party beverage dispensers with a spigot, and it transports well in go-cups.

sangria go cup

Christmas Cocktail

cranberry margarita poured

Margaritas are my favorite cocktail, and I will try about any version of the classic concoction. We had a bag of fresh cranberries that had been hanging around the refrigerator since Thanksgiving (did I just admit that outloud?), and I knew we wouldn’t use them for anything else, so I gave this cranberry margarita recipe a spin on Christmas Eve.

cranberry jam

Cranberry Jam Ingredients

  • 3/4 c. fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 t. finely grated orange zest
  • 2 T. fresh orange juice

Bring cranberries, sugar, orange juice, and 1/4 c. water to a boil in a medium saucepan; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and jammy (30 to 40 minutes). Mix in orange zest. Let cool. The jam can be made a few days ahead. Cover and chill until ready to use.

Cranberry Margarita Ingredients (makes 4)

  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 t. each of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg
  • 4 T. cranberry jam (see above)
  • 2 oz. fresh lime juice (and a few wedges)
  • 4 oz. fresh orange juice
  • 6 oz. tequila

cranberry margarita rimmed

Directions

  • Mix sugar and spices on a small plate. Rub rims of cocktail glasses with a lime wedge. Dip the glass edge into the sugar mixture. Fill glasses with crushed ice.
  • For 1 cocktail, combine 1/2 oz. lime juice, 1 oz. orange juice, 1 1/2 oz. tequila, and 1 T. cranberry jam in a shaker. Add ice. Cover shaker and shake contents. Strain into prepared cocktail glass.

Notes

  • To make all 4 servings at one time, prepare 4 glasses with the sugared rims. Combine all drink ingredients in a small pitcher, add ice, and stir until chilled. Strain the mixed ingredients into another container and keep chilled until ready to serve– or strain straight into the cocktail glasses.
  • You can experiment with the spiced sugar. Try Chinese 5-spice powder or pumpkin spice instead of the spices listed above. I did not follow the amounts exactly but gave a few shakes of each into the sugar.

cranberry margarita