Late Summer Cocktails

Aug 5th, 2011

The days are long. The weather is hot. The kids are screaming of boredom. What’s a mom to do? Instead of uncorking that wine try one of these more interesting summer cocktails. The Salty Chihuahua is my personal favorite.

Elderflower Sparkler


8 tablespoons elderflower concentrate, or syrup (see Shopping Tip)

2 cups brut or extra-dry Champagne

2 cups seltzer

Edible flowers, or mint sprigs for garnish


Place 1 tablespoon elderflower concentrate (or syrup) in each of 8 Champagne glasses; add 1/4 cup Champagne to each glass, then top off with 1/4 cup seltzer. Garnish with flowers (or mint), if desired. Serve immediately.

*Elderflower concentrate or syrup, made from the blossom of the elder tree, has a delicate, lightly floral aroma and mild honey flavor. Popular as a drink ingredient throughout northern Europe, it’s thought to help fight fevers and colds. Look for it in specialty shops that feature northern European foods (such as Ikea). Apricot nectar can be used as a substitute.

54 calories per cocktail. Makes 8 servings

Salty Chihuahua


Coarse salt, (optional)

4 ounces tequila, divided

2 ounces orange-flavored liqueur, such as Cointreau, divided

3 cups grapefruit juice, divided

4 grapefruit slices, for garnish


Wet the rims of 4 glasses and coat with coarse salt (if desired); fill the glasses with ice. Pour 1 ounce tequila and 1/2 ounce liqueur into each. Top each with 3/4 cup grapefruit juice and stir. Garnish with a slice of grapefruit.

188 calories per cocktail. Makes 4 servings.

Summer Fruit Punch


2 cups diced stone fruit, (apricots, plums, peaches, nectarines)

2 cups apricot juice

2 cups sparkling wine

1 cup seltzer


Combine diced fruit, apricot juice, sparkling wine and seltzer. Divide among 4 ice-filled glasses. Non-alcoholic version: Substitute sparkling cider for the wine. Boring.

173 calories per cocktail. Makes 4 servings.

Tomato-Jalapeno Bloody Mary


3 large ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 jalapeños, stemmed and seeded

2-3 teaspoons prepared horseradish

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

6 ounces (3/4 cup) vodka

4 caperberries, or large green olives for garnish

4 pickled dilly beans, for garnish


Puree tomatoes in a blender with lemon juice, jalapeños, horseradish to taste, Worcestershire, sugar, celery salt and pepper, scraping down the sides as necessary. Stir in vodka. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. Divide among 4 ice-filled glasses. Spear caperberries (or olives) and dilly beans on toothpicks to garnish the drinks.

136 calories per cocktail. makes 4 servings

*Capers are dried and pickled small flower buds from a shrub native to the Mediterranean. Caperberries are the more mature fruit produced by the shrub. They are about the size of an olive, starchier than the smaller caper and usually sold with the stem still attached. They typically used as a drink garnish, but can also be served as an appetizer—like olives. Look for them in well-stocked grocery stores.


A lower-calorie version of the classic Pina Colada


2 very ripe bananas

1 cup diced fresh pineapple, plus 4 wedges for garnish

1 cup pineapple juice

1/2 cup “lite” coconut milk

3 cups ice cubes

6 ounces (3/4 cup) light rum


Puree bananas, diced pineapple, pineapple juice, coconut milk and ice in a blender. Stir in rum. Divide among 4 glasses. Garnish with pineapple wedges.

228 calories per cocktail. Makes 4 servings.



Written by Lea Barlow • 2 Comments

Wild Berry Mojito

Jun 15th, 2011

1-1/2 oz. Bacardi Light Rum

3-4 each of fresh blackberries, blueberries and red raspberries

8-12 fresh mint leaves

Juice of one lime

1 oz. simple syrup

Soda water

Mint sprig for garnish

In a 12-oz. highball glass, muddle mint, simple syrup, wild berries and lime juice.

Fill glass with crushed ice – it is very important to use crushed ice, not cubed – then add rum.

Stir well until the ice is reduced by 1/3, then top with more crushed ice, stirring until the glass begins to frost on the outside.

Spritz with soda water and stir one last time to incorporate. Enjoy!


Written by Lea Barlow • Leave a comment

I thought this recipe was quite fitting for today. Enjoy your Cinco de Mayo! I know I will.


  • 1 inch-thick watermelon wedges (enough to lay flat in two 9×13-inch baking dishes)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1/4 cup Triple Sec
  • 2 limes, halved or cut into wedges
  • sea salt

Arrange watermelon wedges in a single layer in 2 (9×13-inch) baking dishes. Prepare Spiked Simple Syrup: Bring sugar, water, tequila, and Triple Sec to a boil in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Set aside to cool.

Pour cooled syrup over watermelon and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes (longer if you wish). Remove watermelon from syrup, and arrange on a platter. Squeeze limes over the watermelon and sprinkle with sea salt.

An alternative way to serve these: you can use a melon scooper to scoop out round balls of watermelon to soak in the syrup, then place two watermelon balls on a toothpick and serve them that way (more like an appetizer).

Reader Tip: These will look delicious to the kiddos. Make sure they have their own virgin wedges to join you in celebration. Happy Cinco de Mayo!


Written by Lea Barlow • 1 Comment

Blackberry Sunset

Mar 12th, 2011

A recent study found that adding ethanol — the type of alcohol found in vodka — to blackberries and strawberries boosts their antioxidant levels. This recipe gets an extra dose of vitamins from the juice of yuzu, a citrus fruit popular in Korea and Japan that’s high in vitamin C and antioxidants.

1 medium handful of blackberries, muddled
2 oz yuzu juice
1 oz lime juice
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz agave nectar
3 oz vodka (or sake) Prosecco (or sparkling white wine) to taste

Divide muddled berries between 2 tall glasses. Fill glasses to rim with ice. Combine next 5 ingredients and pour over ice. Top with splash of Prosecco. Makes 2 servings.



Written by Lea Barlow • Leave a comment