Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pop! Fizz! Clink! Delightful Summer Cocktail Recipes

I'm not a big drinker, but if there are drinks I do like they probably contain something bubbly, gin, or some kind of fruit. Summer Cocktails are perfect for me because they usually focus on fresh fruits, organic herbs, and lighter alcohols that are kinder to my tastebuds and sensitive stomach.

Last summer Ketch and I went a little Bellini-crazy with his mom. We had a total blast smashing up a variety of different fruits and pouring Prosecco over them, which eventually led to unstoppable giddy giggle fits and dancing to "Call Me Maybe" on repeat.

A Bellini is the light and bubbly creation of a 1940s Venetian bartender. Its popularity is understandable – a fresh, simple, cool drink that's perfect for a summer's eve aperitivo. Close your eyes, take a sip, and imagine you're relaxing at an outdoor cafe in Italy, enjoying a refreshing Bellini after a long day of sight-seeing in the warm sun.
  • 2 very ripe peaches
  • 1-2 teaspoons of sugar (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons water (if needed)
  • 1 bottle chilled Prosecco
  • Peach slices for garnish
  1. Peach puree: Clean, peel, and pit two very ripe, almost over-ripe peaches. Slice into quarters and puree in blender or food processor. If needed, add 1 to 2 Tablespoons of cold water to make mixture more puree-like. For extra sweetness, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar.
  2. Scoop 1 1/2 – 2 Tablespoons of the peach puree into the bottom of a champagne flute. Pour the chilled Prosecco over the puree until the glass is just about full. Garnish with a slice of fresh peach.
  3. Get creative by adding 1 teaspoon fresh ginger into the blender when making the peach puree. It gives it an invigorating zing! Other tasty variations include: raspberry, watermelon, or mango.
For a non-alcoholic version, try a Baby Bellini. Using the same recipe as a above, substitute chilled Sparkling Apple Cider as a kid-friendly and tee-totaller/SXE-friendly bubbly.
Another fun idea for a backyard brunch or porch potluck is a Bellini Bar. Display a variety of fresh fruit purees in small pitchers or medium-sized bowls, with spoons for serving. Have ice-filled buckets ready with bottles of Prosecco and Sparkling Apple Cider. Your guests can mix and match their own flavors and basically just have a smashed fruit smorgasbord of fun.
Summery Gin Tea
While there are many brands of top-notch gins out there, Bluecoat Gin stands out in a crowd. It's distilled in Philadelphia, making it local to Philly and NYC, especially compared to imports such as Tanquery and Beefeater. Also, it's distilled using organic juniper berries, organic citrus, and other organic herbs. It's truly a handcrafted delight, with distinct flavors that awaken and refresh your taste buds without overpowering. The lovely botanicals of Bluecoat, combined with the red Rooibos tea, cool fresh mint, and the bite of the ginger liqueur create a unique and exhilarating libation.
  • 2 oz. Bluecoat Gin
  • Home-brewed mint red Rooibos tea
  • 1.5 oz. Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
Home-brewed Rooibos Mint Tea:
Bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat. Put 8-10 red Rooibos tea bags and 1 bunch of fresh mint in a pitcher and add the just-boiled water. Steep for 10-15 minutes and remove tea bags. Cool in refrigerator, add ice cubes.
To mix Summery Gin Tea:
Pour Bluecoat Gin, home-brewed mint rooibos tea, and ginger liqueur in a shaker over ice. Add a dash of simple syrup if more sweetness is desired. Shake vigorously. Strain and pour into a cocktail glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
For a non-alcoholic version, brew the iced Rooibos mint tea as described above. Pour into a glass with ice, garnish with fresh mint, and enjoy! The jewel-tone ruby red color of the Rooibos tea makes this visually beautiful as well as super tasty.
Boardwalk Shandy
Growing up, the best part of the summer was when we'd head down the shore for our big family vacation. Each year, Wildwood was my second home for a week of summer magic. It was always a glorious whirlwind of games, rides, wacky antics with my cousins that definitely tested our parents nerves, beach adventures with my glamorous romper-wearing grandma, and of course all the delicious beachy treats. Some of my favorite (pre-vegan) Wildwood boardwalk delicacies were funnel cakes, dippin' dots, gi-normous slices of gooey cheesey pizza, and of course - ORANGEADE. I would go NUTS for Orangeade. Like in a way that my family could not understand. To me, it was the nectar of the gods and I drank as much as I could (which led to many trips down to the ocean to pee) because I knew I was guzzling it down on borrowed time. Come the end of that week, I'd be back in North Jersey, a land devoid of that citrusy sweet Orangeade.
I'm not a big beer person, but this recipe brings back all those feelings of boardwalk magic. Give Orangeade a decidedly adult twist by adding it to a white beer such as Blue Moon. A light and cheery combo, a Boardwalk Shandy is perfect f as a rejuvenating treat after a day of sand, surf, and sun.
  • Juice of 6-8 large oranges
  • Juice of 3 large lemons
  • 2 cups sparkling water
  • 1/2 cup sugar or simple syrup to taste
  • Blue Moon beer (pour to taste)
  1. Pour fresh-squeezed citrus juices into a large pitcher over crushed ice cubes. Add 1/2 cup sugar, stir to dissolve. Sugar amount may be adjusted according to sweetness desired. Top it off with the fizzy sparkling water.
  2. Shandy-ize by pouring orangeade into tall, ice-filled glasses, about halfway. Then slowly pour in the Blue Moon beer. Of course, the ratio can be adjusted depending on taste and preference. Garnish with a slice of fresh orange.
This Shandy is good for parties because the Orangeade can be served separate from the Beer to ensure non-drinkers get to partake in it's deliciousness as well!


  1. Can't wait to try that gin tea recipe!

  2. Yay!! Let me know how it turns out or if you make any yummy changes that I should try. :)