While you’re staying hydrated this summer with copious amounts of water to get you through sweltering days, try branching out at lunch or dinner with a beer or glass of wine. These pairings work particularly well with your favorite summer recipes for burgers, ribs and even dessert.
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The food world is all about trends, and drinks are no different. You can barely walk into a bar right now without finding something containing muddled ginger. And there are plenty of tried-and-true classics that are easy enough to make (and elevate) at home. Drinks like mint juleps, mai tais and rum punch are always great to have in your entertaining arsenal during the summer. Plus, these favorites (below) each have an added twist, so they’re even more exciting than the originals.
Mint Julep: This cocktail is just about as simple as they get. A little bourbon, a dash of sugar and some mint and you’ve got yourself a foolproof refreshment. Bobby’s recipe includes shaved ice, so it’s the perfect option for a hot summer day. Don’t forget the cherry on top for a little sweetness and a splash of color.
Few drinks give us more of what we love in one sip than sangria. Each version, no matter how fancy or simple, always has refreshing fruit, perfectly chilled wine and that sweet element that brings it all together. But the best thing about sangria isn’t the fact that you can get your buzz on while drinking something that tastes incredibly good. It’s the idea that as long as you include a few basic ingredients, the possibilities are endless. So get started with this roster of recipes and soon enough you’ll be fixing up your own creations.
Peach, Raspberry and Lime Sangria
Most sangria recipes just infuse the liquid with fruit overnight, but Giada’s takes it one step further by recommending you puree the simple syrup with some of the fruit. In this case, most of the peaches are pureed, giving every sip a strong dose of flavor. And since the base of the drink is infused with peaches from the start, this one is a great choice for those days you just can’t wait overnight for a sample.
While there are plenty of ways to get festive for the holiday with cakes, pies and all-American favorites, the drink department requires a bit of effort. At any July 4th party, you can probably find lemonade, iced tea and maybe some punch. But to really wow your guests, you’ll need a few of these colorfully creative cocktails.
Fireworks Red, White and Blue Daiquiris
Ah, the daiquiri. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t enjoy this classic summer drink. The red portion of this version is sweetened with strawberries and watermelon, making it extra-light, while the white portion is made with coconut sorbet, giving the drink a bit of creaminess. And the blue center is made with white rum, blue passion-fruit liqueur and blue curacao, giving the drink its grown-up kick.
Alton Brown may be spending most of his time on the set of Food Network Star or Cutthroat Kitchen, but there’s always time for a cocktail. He gave us the low-down on his favorite drink for summer, told us which trends he is totally over and answered how you can best stock your at-home bar.
What cocktail trends are you over?
Alton Brown: I’m over anything that involves a cheese-stuffed olive because I don’t like cheese in my booze.
A traditional Moscow Mule calls for vodka mixed with lime, sugar and ginger beer. This version infuses even more ginger flavor by simmering ginger grounds with maple syrup (you can also make your own brown sugar syrup) before stirring in lemon juice and vodka. Top with club soda and garnish with a piece of fresh ginger.
There’s no reason kids should have all the fun when it comes to slushies. They’re simple to make and they do a nice job of cooling you off during the hottest months of the year, so what’s not to love? While these options include alcohol, they can easily be made family-friendly with a bit of simple syrup or fruit juice. Either way, FN Dish is convinced that after a few sips of one of these guys, you’ll be bidding farewell to punch and beer this summer.
These days, instead of taking coffee hot with cream and sugar, most take it with ice cubes. This week and beyond, stick a straw into refreshing, family-friendly summer sips that revitalize any day spent picnicking on the beach, lounging on the patio or eating in the backyard with the whole clan.
Stir together The Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Homemade Lemonade, which achieves a perfect sweet-and-sour bliss point that you can get only from fresh lemon juice and homemade simple syrup. For a fruitier take, add a bag of frozen raspberries and stir. Pour either in a pitcher and you’ll be one step closer to having the most-popular lemonade stand on the block.
Instead of chugging from the soda fountain, make your own sparkling drink at home. Fix Bobby’s Raspberry Ginger Ale by blending chopped fresh ginger, sugar, ice-cold club soda and ripe, juicy raspberries.
Whether you’re planning a cocktail party or just desire a good, strong drink, it’s nice to have a solid cocktail book to turn to. Here are three Food Network Kitchen favorites that’ll serve you in good stead in times of need.
The Craft of the Cocktail, Dale DeGroff (2002)
From the man widely credited with reviving interest in classic (pre-Prohibition) American cocktails. Dale educates, instructs and amuses in equal turn here. All bases are covered: Techniques are lavishly illustrated; spirits are usefully broken down and brands recommended; and cocktails are typologically organized, their histories winningly recounted. Since its publication, The Craft of the Cocktail has become a bible for bartenders professional and amateur alike. It remains essential.