A chilled glass brimming with a frosty beverage is one of the simplest — yet most delightful — pleasures of summer. Beat the heat with one of these delicious updated retro-style thirst-quenchers: We’re talking patio favourites like sangria, old-school libations such as punch, and cheeky mocktails and cocktails served up with fresh, sophisticated twists.
Anatomy: Wine + fruit juice + liqueur, brandy or fortified wine + fresh fruit
Make it: Whether you choose white, red or sparkling wine as the base, sangria is an easygoing pitcher drink you can embellish to make your own. For a tropics-inspired version, combine sliced mango and pineapple with white, rosé or sparkling white wine, add guava or passion fruit juice, and top with a splash of white vermouth. Or try some of our favourite recipes: bubbly Clementine Sangria pairs luscious ripe peaches with fresh basil and white wine, while Fresh Cherry & Strawberry Sparkling Sangria gets its fruity flavour from strawberries and cherries. Tip: Chop fruit into bite-size pieces so it’s easier to eat and won’t splash as much when you’re pouring.
Serve it: A large, clear pitcher is ideal because it shows off all those rich colours, but a punch bowl will do just as well. Try adding ice cubes made of the same fruit juice that’s in the recipe so they don’t dilute the drink as they melt.
Garnish it: Cocktail skewers stacked with fresh mint leaves and/or berries come in handy for spearing the wine-soaked fruit at the bottom of your glass.
Anatomy: Base (pop, fruit juice or sparkling water) + spirit(s) + fruit garnish
Make it: The most versatile of crowd-pleasing drinks, punch can be simple and family-friendly (think juice and sparkling water topped with thin slices of citrus fruit) or pre- spiked for an adults-only crowd. Guests typically serve themselves out of a wide punch bowl, so pick a recipe that’s as visually appealing as it is delicious, like our Clementine and Ginger Punch. Updated classics, such as Watermelon Rum Punch, are always a hit at summertime get-togethers. Tip: If you’re using a bubbly base, such as pop or sparkling water, add it right before serving so it doesn’t lose its fizz.
Serve it: A punch bowl with a ladle and lots of small glasses is perfect. No punch bowl? No problem: Use a pitcher or soup tureen instead.
Garnish it: Floating garnishes, such as berries or thinly sliced fruit, make a punch even prettier. To keep it chilled, add ice or frozen juice cubes with fruit or herbs embedded in them. Hint: Larger ice chunks or rings work best in punch — they melt more slowly than cubes. (Make a decorative ice ring yourself by freezing juice or water plus garnishes in a bundt pan and then adding the ring to the punch bowl at serving time.)
Anatomy: Spirit(s) + mixers (juice, sparkling water, pop, cream, beer, simple syrup, etc.)
Make it: Cocktails are always in style, and today’s trend is to purposefully match them with your meals, like you do with wine. Shake things up with creative pairings, such as a bold Fiery Carrot Caesar coupled with a juicy burger to celebrate a special occasion or a Berry Beet Daiquiri combined with Atlantic Salmon Kabobs with Maple Chipotle and a salad on a relaxed Friday night with friends. Other retro-inspired cocktails making waves are shandies and radlers, tried-and-true British summer staples of beer mixed with pop or juice, such as ginger ale or grapefruit juice. A twist on this theme, the Rye & Ginger Cider Spritzer makes a refreshing partner to grilled mains.
Serve it: A tumbler, an old-fashioned or a double-old-fashioned glass, is the best choice for summery cocktails. You can use your wineglasses and champagne flutes too — cocktails look (and taste) great in them.
Garnish it: Old-school lemon and lime twists are fun, but watermelon stars, made with a cookie cutter, are even sweeter. A simple cocktail pick of flavour-matched fruit or a sprig of herbs taken straight from the garden is a classy garnish. Tip: Mint adds a hint of freshness to most cocktails, while rosemary gives a woodsy note to shandies and radlers. (Watch our video below to learn how to rim your caesar glass like a pro.) Tip: No matter what tasty garnishes you’re adding — citrus twists or wedges, herb sprigs, unpeeled fruits and so on — always wash them before popping them into your beverages.
Anatomy: Juice + pop + simple syrup
Make it: A traditional mocktail is simply a cocktail made without the alcohol, but you can increase the wow factor by layering flavours to create a complex, exciting taste profile. That can mean blending everyday juices (orange or cranberry) with exotic ones (blueberry or watermelon), adding interesting flavoured pop or sparkling mineral water, or experimenting with tasty homemade simple syrups infused with ginger, fruit or herbs. We love our playful Blue Hawaiian, the refreshingly tart-sweet Grapefruit & Watermelon Cooler and the bright and bold Lemon Ginger Fizz.
Serve it: Have fun with glassware here; any shape or size will do. Serve your mocktails in canning jars with striped paper straws or in a natural fruit vessel, such as a scooped-out pineapple half.
Garnish it: A showy garnish is exactly what a mocktail needs. This summer, the trend is to incorporate unexpected tasty snacks into drinks. Bamboo skewers with melon balls wrapped in prosciutto, and even hamburger sliders and grilled lobster tails are over-the-top additions that take mocktails to the next level.