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Summer Cocktail Hour

Photo credit: Food Network


When I was 24, my best friend and I threw a housewarming party in the best apartment of all time. It was unlike any other – a wrap-around porch with a swing, a peach living room, a purple and green kitchen and a yellow sunporch complete with a crazy landlady who lived upstairs. It rocked and so did the sangria we served at the party. We still talk about that sangria. Now for the life of me I can’t remember exactly what was in it, but trust me it was good.

Sangria is one of my go to summer cocktails. I love my red wine, but sometimes you just need to mix things up a bit. Summer invites a variety of refreshing cocktail options. As we speak, the streets of Philadelphia are filled with summer sips that would surely hit the spot when your apartment is 90 degrees in the living room – the only place you can get a wireless connection. I’m ready for summer vacation. Get pourin.

Note: Most of these recipes can be found at

Summer Sangria

  • 4 oranges, 2 juiced, 2 halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1 bottle dry red wine, chilled
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups seltzer or club soda
  • Ice cubes, for serving

**Note: My “best ever” sangria also had slices of peaches and plums and grapes so add whatever you like.

In a large pitcher, combine orange juice, sugar, and brandy; stir well to dissolve sugar. Add wine, orange slices, lemon slices, and seltzer; stir to combine. Fill glasses with ice before serving.

Pink Salty Dog

  • Coarse salt, for rim of glass
  • Grapefruit slice, for garnish
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
  • 2 tablespoons vodka
  • 1 tablespoon Campari liqueur, or grenadine
  • 1 to 1/2 cups ice cubes

Place salt in a saucer. Moisten the rim of a glass with a grapefruit slice. Dip rim in salt. Combine juice and vodka with Campari or grenadine in the jar of a blender; blend. With the motor running, add ice until fully incorporated and slushy. Pour into prepared glass.


  • 5 small chunks watermelon
  • 1 lime, chopped
  • 1/2 ounce sugar syrup
  • 1 1/2 ounces gold tequila
  • Apple juice
  • Ice cubes

Mash up watermelon, lime, and sugar syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add a scoop of ice, then the tequila. Shake and strain into a tall, chilled glass 1 inch form the rim; top with apple juice.

Pimm’s Cup

  • 1/2 pint strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
  • 1 lemon, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
  • 1 lime, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
  • 1 orange (blood orange if possible), sliced into 1-inch wedges
  • 3 cups Pimm’s No.1 Cup
  • 48 ounces lemon-lime soda, or ginger ale
  • 2 cucumbers, cut into 1/4-inch lengths

In large pitcher, place strawberries, lemons, limes, and oranges. Add Pimm’s, and mash down lightly with a large spoon. May be made 3 to 4 hours ahead up to this point. Fill each glass halfway with ice. Add about 1/3 cup Pimm’s mixture. Fill glass with soda; stir. Place cucumber spear in each glass; serve.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. ErinG #

    These are my kind of recipes!!!

    June 4, 2010
  2. Mike Long #

    The start to the best summer of my life!

    June 5, 2010
    • cherala34 #

      Mike – so many great memories that summer. But the best has to be the stolen keg.

      June 6, 2010

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