We are spoiled in the summer with all of the delicious fruits and vegetables. In fact belonging to a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm is a blessing and a curse. The curse part being we have to process A LOT of vegetables and fruit. So once we’ve had our fill of cooking, inevitably the ingredients make their way to the bar.
Sweet tea is a Southern staple, and some people literally drink it like water. As a Yankee girl who’s had the pleasure of living in the south for a few years, I learned some ins and outs of how to make the best sweet tea. Basically, steeped tea and sugar was all it took. The only differences seemed to be how strong you liked your tea. I always loved a little lemon and even orange slices if I had it in the house. What I did NOT EVER see was baking soda being used.
Summertime drinks are synonymous with sitting on the beach, lounging on the dock of the bay, or simply relaxing in the backyard. But often these fun summery blended sips also carry unnecessary calories and can be loaded with sugar. Typically, if you’re having a drink – that’s one drink – I say enjoy it and forget about the calories. However, with warm weather also comes day drinking and extended happy hours, which means we’re imbibing in more than one. So cutting the sugar is a great way to keep the calories from creeping up on you.
Lavender, from the mint family, lends a slightly sweet, herbaceous flavor to lots of dishes. Infused in honey it is perfect paired with cheeses like soft goat, lovely when used to sweeten iced tea and to-die-for drizzled over vanilla ice cream or buttered toast. It’s also delicious in drinks like this lavender vodka spritzer.
Check out my recipe on TODAY.com
The Honey Bee is a classic rum cocktail, typically served up in a martini glass. It’s sometimes called the Honeysuckle and, when topped with Champagne, it’s known as the Airmail. My version takes the sting out of the stronger martini-style sip by topping it off with club soda.
For the full recipe check out my post on TODAY.com
Lillet Blanc is a bottle you must add to your bar for summer. It’s a wine- based aperitif that has a light honeyed citrus flavor, typically served with a slice of orange or lemon peel. On the rocks, with tonic or sparkling water this pretty pour makes a light and refreshing, low- alcohol sip mid- day or for happy hour. For something stronger enjoy it in this Vesper Martini.
Check out my recipe on TODAY.com
The traditional Moscow Mule—made of vodka, fresh lime juice and ginger beer—is refreshing and easy to drink. Serve it in a stylish vessel and voila, you’ve got a smash hit at the bar. This version adds in some sweet, ripe mango, but still keeps the freshness of the lime and the bite of the ginger beer. Mule mugs or not, this cocktail is easy and always a crowd-pleaser.
For the full recipe check out TODAY.com
Summer is in full swing with parties taking to patios, porches, and parks from coast to coast. Don’t want to show up empty handed, but also not loving the idea of hanging out near a hot stove before your next soirée? Here’s the perfect fix: offer to bring the drinks instead! Whether you’re headed to a picnic or BBQ, this simple summer cocktail is perfect for a happy hour on the go.
With one warm breeze, everyone is ready to share a sip with friends. So this week’s happy hour is a big batch drink. Check out my full recipe perfect for entertaining on TODAY.com, Clink!