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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Refreshing Drinks for the 4th of July!

Happy Wednesday! It's almost July 4th here in the good ol' US of A, and if you're like many Americans planning to celebrate with friends, you need to plan a drink menu. I've compiled a list of both alcoholic and non alcoholic options for different kinds of crowds. Get your pen and paper we go!

Child-friendly favorite...

Berry Lemonade
Giada De Laurentiis


  • 1 (12-ounce) bag unsweetened frozen mixed berries, thawed
  • 1 (12-ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 1 cup vanilla simple syrup, recipe follows
  • 3 cups water
  • Ice
Vanilla Simple Syrup:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed, pod reserved


  1. In a blender, combine the berries, lemonade concentrate and syrup. Blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a large pitcher. Add the water and stir, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Pour the lemonade into ice-filled glasses and serve.
To make Vanilla Simple Syrup:
  1. In a small saucepan, over medium heat combine the sugar, water, vanilla bean seeds, and vanilla pod. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool, about 20 minutes. Strain before using.
Yield: 1 cup

The blended mixture can be strained through a fine mesh sieve to remove the berry seeds, if preferred.

Different from the usual watermelon bowl...

Watermelon-Ginger Aqua Fresca
Molly Stevens, Bon Appetit, August 2007

  • 10 cups 1-inch pieces peeled watermelon (from about 8-pound watermelon), seeded, divided
  • 3 cups cold water, divided
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup (or more) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger juice* (from one 3-ounce piece of ginger)
  • Ice cubes
  • Lime wedges
*To make ginger juice, peel a 3-ounce piece of ginger and grate it over a plate. Wrap in cheesecloth; twist at both ends to squeeze out the juice. Or put the grated ginger in a finemesh sieve and press to release the juices. In a pinch, bottled ginger juice is available at natural foods stores.

  1. Place 2 1/2 cups watermelon and 3/4 cup cold water in blender. Puree until smooth. Pour agua fresca into large pitcher. Repeat 3 more times with remaining watermelon and cold water. Add lime juice, 1/4 cup sugar, and ginger juice to pitcher and stir to blend. Add more sugar by tablespoonfuls, if desired. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 8 hours ahead. Keep chilled. Stir before serving.
  2. Fill glasses with ice cubes; pour agua fresca over. Garnish each glass with lime wedge and serve.

Add a splash of rum...

Lemon Balm Honeysuckle
Cabell Tomlinson, Frankies 570 Spuntino


  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cups lemon vodka or white rum
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) fresh lemon balm leaves or mint leaves
  • 8 lemon slices

  1. Stir honey and 6 tablespoons hot water in a large pitcher until honey is dissolved. Stir in vodka and lemon juice. Add 2 cups ice cubes. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
  2. Squeeze lemon balm several times to lightly bruise leaves; add to pitcher. Fill Old Fashioned glasses with ice cubes. Divide cocktail among glasses. Garnish with lemon slices and serve.

Happy mixing!

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