Spring is one of my favorite seasons. Leaves and blossoms quietly sneak
up on you, the days get longer
and warmer and you can’t help but feel happy and jovial when mother
nature taps you gently on the shoulder and reminds you how amazing she
is. And now that spring is almost here and the grill’s been cleaned
after months of hibernation, it’s time for get-togethers and grill
parties. I’m doing my best to save the true grilling for summer,
holding back on full-flavored meats and ribs and doing nice springtime
things like salmon and plenty of happy little spring vegetables. It’s
sometimes difficult not to jump the gun when you live in a place with
mild seasons. However, one thing I won’t need to wait on is having a
selection of pitcher drinks to everyone to enjoy.
year I wrote about some tasty make-ahead drinks that went well with
really hot days, but this time around I’m going to tone it down just a
bit. We can always get crunk in July. Oh, and please remind me never to
use the word crunk again. I’m almost 40 for pete’s sake.
drinks are a bit lighter in alcohol than a big pitcher of mai tais or
margaritas. It’s most likely due to the fact that I am getting older
and the stronger spirits tend to shake me up a little bit too much for
my liking. I enjoy a lighter, constant level of innebriation that
begins at 10am. I mean really, who doesn’t? But still, they are
alcoholic and should be enjoyed in moderation.
I’m a huge fan of campari and aperatifs in general. There’s something
so grown up about them. Plus I crave that sweet, herbal bitter flavor
and love the balance when it’s added to fruit juices or soda water.
This recipe is adapted from Donna Hay and calls for blood orange juice
but I’ve found that regular orange or tangerine juice works just as
well. Serves 4.
3/4 cup Campari
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1 cup orange juice
lime wedges for garnish
Mix ingredients and pour over ice.
This drink is an adaptation of a cocktail we discovered last month at
Home Hotel in Buenos Aires. It’s different and delicious – I’d never
even think of using sake as a base for a drink! I’ve veered from their
version a bit by omitting vodka and adding white grape juice for a tiny
bit of extra sweetness. Serves 4.
1/4 cup simple syrup
1 1/2 cups dry sake
1/2 cup white grape juice
32 or so grapes, but who’s counting?
Add 8 sliced grapes to a glass and muddle gently to release some juice.
Add ice. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the grapes and
Zesty and gingery, this ginger lemonade is a slight adaptation on the
Pimm’s cup, one of my favorite things on the planet. Add extra freshly
grated ginger if you want to knock your socks off, but hopefully you’ll
be outdoors wearing sandals so your socks will already be off. So
2 cups lemonade
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 cup Pimm’s
lemon wedges for garnish
Mix ingredients and pour over ice. Garnish with lemon wedges and a sprig of mint.
It’s hard to mess up with this one. Toss chunks of melon into the
freezer ahead of time and use them to keep your drink cool. I am fully
aware it’s not really melon season but I didn’t want to wait. Serves 4.
1 1/2 cups fruit nectar (available in cans or glass bottles, but it’s not fruit juice but nectar we’re talking about here)
1 1/2 cups lemon lime soda
1 cup melon liqueur
Mix the ingredients and pour over ice. Add the frozen chunks of
cantaloupe or honeydew to make your glass really pretty. Que bonita!
A note about ice… I am a stickler about the proper ice in my drink. The drinks above all call for crushed ice, but not superfine crushed ice and not big giant chunks, either. Somewhere in the middle should do just fine.
A Simple Solution…When you’re playing bartender you should always keep this on hand. Simple syrup is your friend! I repeat, simple syrup is your friend!
It’s the perfect way to add a dash of sweetness to drinks without
having to stir and wait, stir and wait, stir and wait…you get the
idea. Combine 1 part sugar to 1 part water and heat until dissolved.
it’s that simple.
Add more, add less…These drinks are all basic approximations and not written in stone. Add more syrup if you want them sweeter, use different fruit juices for new combinations, whatever you like. Just make sure you enjoy them in good company – that’s an order!