Warm-weather entertaining is a breeze with cool, refreshing drinks made in batches. Keep these tips in mind when planning your next summer get-together:
- Offer at least two choices of drinks.
- If serving alcohol, provide at least one non-alcoholic beverage option.
- Cold cocktails made in batches make serving a crowd easy and fun.
Alcoholic Drink Recipes
Berries, basil and more summer flavors fill these adult-only beverages. Try one of these unique cocktails at your next summer party.
Passion Fruit Hurricanes
This is our version of the famous Hurricane beverage that's so popular in New Orleans.
—Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Blue Lagoon Margaritas
This is one super drink that'll have the neighbors asking, "What's that?" Show them and make an extra batch to share.
—Willie DeWaard, Coralville, Iowa
Blackberry Beer Cocktail
This refreshing hard lemonade has a mild alcohol flavor; the beer adds just enough fizz to dance on your tongue as you sip. Sorry, adults only!
—Ginger Sullivan, Cutler Bay, Florida
New England Iced Tea
While growing up in Massachusetts, my family spent summers at our cottage. The clam bakes on the beach would also include these cocktails for the adults.
—Ann Liebergen, Brookfield, Wisconsin
This cocktail of sun-ripened strawberries and tender basil is so refreshing without being overly sweet. It's our favorite.
—Mary Marlowe Leverette, Columbia, South Carolina
Summer Wine Drink Recipes
Ideal summer wines are light, affordable and best served with a slight chill.
For red wine, choose an inexpensive Chianti, which is great with grilled meats; or Beaujolais, a fruity, young, fun wine that's perfect for picnic foods or light hors d'oeuvres. Pop reds into ice for 20-30 minutes before serving.
For white wines, consider a light, versatile Riesling or, if feeling a bit more adventurous, Portugal's Vinho Verde (green wine) is refreshing, tart and excellent served ice-cold.
Quick White Sangria
Using white instead of red wine makes my version of sangria a little lighter, yet it still has the same wonderful sweetness. Frozen fruit allows me to serve this any time of year.
—Sharon Tipton, Orlando, Florida
Bella Basil Raspberry Tea
Beautiful basil and fresh raspberries lend bright color and refreshing flavor to this grown-up iced tea. You'll love the fun fizz and make-ahead convenience for parties.
—Laurie Bock, Lynden, Washington
Peach Wine Coolers
The fantastic flavors of honey, wine and brandy come through to make a special drink for summer. It's like sunshine in a glass!
—Annie Hendricks, Burbank, California
Non-Alcoholic Drink Recipes
Pretty pitchers of lemonade and other non-alcoholic choices let guests help themselves, and it's easy to keep plenty on hand in reserve.
Raspberry Iced Tea
One sip and you'll likely agree this is the best flavored tea you've ever tasted.
—Christine Wilson, Sellersville, Pennsylvania
Sunny Orange Lemonade
Here's a beverage that'll really hit the spot. Filled with tangy goodness, it'll quench your thirst any time of year.
—Martha Schwartz, Sarasota, Florida
Summer means cooling off with a slice of watermelon and a glass of cold lemonade. This combines two favorites in one.
—Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon
Blueberry Lime Slush
My husband's family makes a cranberry beverage for the holidays. I've changed it up and serve it winter and summer, when blueberries are in season.
—Rebecca Bratsman, Tacoma, Washington
Don't Forget the Ice!
Taste of Home readers share how they make summer drinks special with flavored ice cubes.
- Iced tea or lemonade for a party looks lovely and tastes great when served with special ice cubes. Freeze a sprig of mint or lemon balm or several slivers of lemon zest in each cube and drop a few in each glass. I also put cubes of frozen pink lemonade (sometimes with maraschino cherries in the center) in regular lemonade. As they melt, the yellow lemonade turns a delicate pink.
—Ginger B., Reidsville, North Carolina
- Make "flavored" ice cubes from lemonade, fruit juice or punch to help chill the same beverage. This keeps the drink cold without diluting it.
—Julia Griffin, Walsh, Colorado
- I freeze leftover fruit juices in an ice cube tray. I use these fruity ice cubes to add extra flavor to lemonade and iced tea. They're handy to have on hand when someone drops in to visit because they seem a little more special.
—Betty D., Abbotsford, Wisconsin