4 cocktail recipes to start the weekend off right

Long week? Can't figure out what to fix for dinner? While you're figuring out the meal, may we suggest some cocktails to help you ring in the weekend? Sip on these ideas:

Mucho Ultima's fresas mojito: Bright and lightly sweet, fresh strawberries — now in season at farmers markets — are a perfect complement to the classic lime and mint in this mojito.


"Gin"-ger basiltini from the Girl & the Fig: This cocktail marries the bright, fresh flavors of basil and lime with delicate cucumber and spicy ginger. Make the cucumber gin and ginger syrup in advance to chill. You'll have enough for 15 to 20 drinks, but both keep up to two weeks.

Tasting Kitchen's Braveheart: A touch of fresh lemon and ginger juice give a subtle tang to blended scotch in this wonderful concoction, sweetened with just a hint of honey. From Casey Lane's Venice restaurant.

White hot peach sangria: Fresh and bright with flavor, this smooth sangria combines a touch of vanilla with just a hint of heat, a very refreshing cure for a hot day -- or a long week. And peaches are just hitting the farmers markets, an event that in and of itself requires a drink.


Total time: 25 minutes, plus cooling and refrigerating time / Servings: 8

Note: Adapted from Cafe del Rey in Marina del Rey.


1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1/4 vanilla bean, scraped and seeded

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water, vanilla bean (seeds and pod) and red pepper flakes. Heat over medium heat, stirring gently, until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Set aside until cool, then refrigerate until needed. This makes about one-half cup syrup, slightly more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe. The syrup will keep for up to 2 weeks, covered and refrigerated.


1 (750-milliliter) bottle dry white wine

2 tablespoons brandy

2 tablespoons peach schnapps

1/3 cup white hot peach simple syrup

3 white peaches, sliced, plus extra for garnishing the servings

1/2 orange, sliced into wheels

1/2 lime, sliced into wheels

1/2 lemon, sliced into wheels

Seeds from ¼ vanilla bean

1. In a large bowl, combine the wine, brandy, peach schnapps and white peach simple syrup. Stir in the peach, orange, lime and lemon slices. Stir in the seeds scraped from the vanilla bean, discarding the pod.

2. Cover and refrigerate for 48 hours.

3. To serve, fill a glass three-fourths full with sangria. Top off with soda water or lemon-lime flavored soda, depending on the sweetness desired. Serve immediately.

Each serving: 126 calories; 0 protein; 12 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 0 fat; 0 cholesterol; 10 grams sugar; 5 mg sodium.

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