Easy weekend recipes: Cheers! Three refreshing summer cocktails

Cool cocktail recipes for a summer weekend

It's Friday. You've made it. Celebrate the week's accomplishments with a refreshing cocktail if you'd like. Each of these ideas comes together in less than an hour, though they may call for additional time to allow the flavors to infuse.

Bloody Mary: Use those fresh tomatoes you're finding in the market about now to make your own Bloody Mary mix -- try homemade and you may never go back to store-bought again. If you're feeling extra industrious, pickle your own green beans to add to the finished cocktails as a garnish.

Cool cucumber martini: Fresh cucumber, chervil and limes are muddled to bring out their flavor, then quickly infused with gin and vermouth for this cocktail that comes together in minutes. Serve chilled, garnished with a peeled cucumber strip and sprig of chervil.

Sangria No. 27: Fresh peaches, blackberries, orange and lime slices, thyme, lavender and mint are combined in a large pitcher, along with vanilla seeds, orange juice, wine, Cognac, Grand Marnier, vermouth and bitters. Serve over lots of ice. You can find the recipe below. Cheers!


Total time: About 30 minutes, plus infusing time | Serves 8

    4 large or 6 small ripe peaches, peeled and sliced in wedges
    1/2 pint blackberries
    2 large or 3 medium oranges, washed and cut into 3/8-inch slices
    2 limes, cut into 1/4 -inch slices
    2 sprigs of thyme
    2 sprigs of fresh lavender (optional)
    4 sprigs of mint
    1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
    1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
    1 bottle good-quality red wine
    1/2 cup Cognac or other brandy
    1/3 cup Grand Marnier
    1/2 cup sweet red vermouth
    5 shakes of angostura bitters

Place the peaches, blackberries, orange and lime slices, thyme, lavender and mint in a large pitcher. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the bean, and add the seeds and pod to the mixture. Add the orange juice, wine, Cognac, Grand Marnier, vermouth and bitters and stir to combine. Let sit, unrefrigerated, for 1 to 3 hours. Add lots of ice and serve.

Each of 8 servings: 111 calories; 0 protein; 8 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 0 fat; 0 cholesterol; 5 mg. sodium.

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