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Cool Cocktails for Toasty Tailgates

Photo courtesy of http://www.amctv.com/shows/mad-men/cocktail-guide/moscow-mule

The days are getting longer, the nights are slowly getting warmer, and baseball season is in full swing. That’s right folks, summer is right around the corner! With a change in season comes a welcomed change in cocktails. Goodbye, eggnog; farewell hot-buttered rum. Bring on the ice-cold adult beverages!

Now, it’s hard to argue with beer as the go-to summer beverage, but I thought I’d mix it up a bit with this post. Whether you’re getting a group together to work on your fantasy drafts, or having a full-fledged tailgate at your league softball game, these brisk beverages will cover all of your bases. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Moscow Mule

Ingredients:

  • 1.25 oz vodka
  • 3 oz ginger beer
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
  • 1 sprig mint
  • 1 lime wedge

Now, to serve this right, you should do it in a copper mug–but if you don’t have one, a regular glass will do the trick. Just combine all of the liquids over ice and stir; garnish with mint and lime. Enjoy perfection!

2. Blackberry-Bourbon Iced Tea

Photo and recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay

Photo and recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups fresh blackberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh mint (plus mint for garnish)
  • 6 good-quality black tea bags
  • Good-quality burbon to taste (like Woodford Reserve)

Combine the blackberries, sugar and chopped mint in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher or wooden spoon; let sit while making the tea.

While the blackberries are macerating, bring 1 1/2 quarts cold water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags and let steep for about 3 minutes. Remove the tea bags and pour the tea over the blackberry mixture. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour to let the flavors meld.

Pour the mixture through a strainer into a pitcher, pressing on the solids. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours. (You can also pour the mixture into a bowl set over an ice bath to cool it faster.)

Serve the blackberry tea over ice in tall glasses and float a shot of bourbon (or more! Remember–it’s to taste, so go with what you feel.) on top of each. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs (like a mint julep).

3. Tropical Rum Smoothie

Mouthwatering picture courtesy of perfectsmoothie.com and Junk Food Betty

Ingredients: 

  • 4 oz Coconut Rum (rum is always a win in my book)
  • 2 tablespoons whipped cream
  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 banana
  • 1 peach
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup ice

Blend all of the ingredients, serve, and go back for more!

4. Limoncello Collins

photo and recipe courtesy of foodandwine.com

Photo and recipe courtesy of foodandwine.com

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces limoncello
  • 12 ounces gin
  • 8 ounces fresh lemon juice (fresh makes a world of difference–don’t cheat this step!)
  • 24 paper-thin lemon slices
  • Ice
  • 16 ounces chilled club soda
  • 8 mint sprigs

In a pitcher, combine the limoncello, gin and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. Add ice to your glasses, stir the limoncello mixture and pour. Stir 2 ounces of club soda into each drink and garnish with a mint sprig and lemon wedges.

5. Watermelon Plata Tequila Cocktail

Photo and recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay

Photo and recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of seedless watermelon chunks
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup
  • 2 limes cut into wedges
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves (plus extra for garnish)
  • 1 cup plata (silver) tequila
  • crushed ice

Puree the watermelon in a food processor until smooth. Strain the juice into a bowl pressing on the pulp, then discard the solids.

Put the simple syrup, lime chunks, berries and mint in a pitcher and muddle until the berries are slightly crushed. Add the tequila and watermelon juice and stir to combine. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour. Serve over crushed ice, garnished with mint sprigs.

Of course, all of these drinks can be made sans-alcohol, since their bases are delectable all on their own! However you choose to enjoy them, I highly suggest giving these summertime drinks a try at your next tailgate. Enjoy!

Julia Randall will be working diligently on testing out new summer drinks. When she’s not busy barbecuing, you can find her catching the latest Padres game and writing about sports.

 

 

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