|be the perfect host/ess||.||
The sweaters have gone into storage and the t-shirts have taken their place -- say hello to sunshine and summer (oh, how we've missed you!). Whether you're kicking back on the patio, lounging poolside, or hanging out in the hammock, relaxing all by your lonesome after a long workday, grilling with the gang, or hosting a bridal shower for the girls, you'll need the perfect summery drink to quench your thirst. If you're looking for a change from your usual gin and tonics, try one of these recipes instead…
To make enough strawberry puree for 6-8 glasses: puree 2 cups of hulled strawberries in a blender or food processor till it's nice and smooth. Strain and discard any chunky bits. Add a teaspoon or two of sugar to taste -- how much will depend upon how ripe your strawberries are, but basically, you want to sweeten just enough that the berry flavor comes through clearly.
Add the strawberry puree and Cointreau to a champagne flute and stir to combine. Gently pour the bubbly on top, being careful not to overfill. When the bubbles have settled, stir very gently to combine the strawberry and the bubbly. Top off with a little more champagne and enjoy.
Combine vodka, pear nectar, amaretto and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Give it a good shake until the ingredients are icy cold. Strain into a cocktail glass; garnish with a lemon twist.
*To make the ginger syrup (enough for about 8 cocktails): Combine ½ cup sugar with ½ cup water, plus a thin slice of fresh ginger, in a small saucepan. Bring to a bubble. Lower the heat and gently simmer for at least 5 minutes, or until the flavor is sufficiently gingery for your taste. The longer it cooks, the more peppery the flavor will be. Let the syrup cool.
Combine the ginger syrup with mint leaves in a tall glass. Squash around the mixture with the back of a spoon for about 30 seconds or so, until you can smell the minty goodness. Cut the lime in half, squeeze out the juice from both halves, then drop one half into the glass. Add rum and stir. Add plenty of crushed ice. Top off with ginger ale and garnish with a sprig of mint.