When it comes to homemade cocktails, much like with the food that I create at home, I rely on simple, fresh ingredients rather than pre-mixes or lengthy recipes for the best results. And since we’re in the midst of the hottest season for entertaining al fresco, also peak season for the yummiest berries and stone fruits, it’s the perfect time for a sip of something good.
I always opt for fresh-squeezed fruit juice over store-bought sugar-filled and hidden ingredient laden bottled stuff because I like to know what I’m drinking (and eating). Yes, there are occasions where I do buy bottled lemonade or juice (preferably organic), even the commercially sweetened kind, and I will partake when someone else mixes up one of those drinks. I order them in restaurants. But when it comes to what I like and prefer and want to encourage you with, it’s fresh and simple baby.
Food for thought: using fresh fruit can be less expensive! Especially if you’re using the season’s pick. Yes, it requires a teeny bit of effort in order to squeeze lemons or blend berries, but the results are delicious and impressive. It’s worth it for your budget and your taste buds!
If you’re looking to mix up the beverage selection at an upcoming dinner party, or want to surprise your man with something cool and tasty using what you have in the kitchen, try one of my favorite recipes:
Gin and juice
Gin + fresh fruit juice + splash of lime + soda water. Done. (One of my favorites is fresh-squeezed blood orange juice. It’s gorgeous, to!)
Clear tequila + fresh lime juice + fresh fruit juice + soda water + perhaps a touch of homemade simple syrup if needed (Ooo or a flavored simple syrup like rosemary or thyme). Stir with ice. No blender or triple sec needed. For the fruit juice, think pureed strawberries, grapefruit juice or more lime!
Champagne or sparkling wine + pureed or muddled berries. My favorite is raspberries, and you can cheat with a gourmet sorbet. Fancy.
I know what you might be thinking. These are so simple, too simple. But the thing is, it doesn’t have to be complicated to be homemade and crowd-pleasing. And think of these recipes as starting points. I swear, once you try any of them, you’ll be thinking about how you can incorporate your favorite fruits and playing bartender in no time.
*If you’re freaking out because there aren’t any measurements, I apologize. Let me know in the comments if you’d like further guidance. I typically don’t measure, and pour by feel and taste.
Talk Back: Share some of your favorite summer cocktail recipes in the comments!