Stay Cool With These 7 Boozy Popsicles (Recipes)

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By Cooking Panda

Summer is great! You get sunny days, beach trips, tans and all sorts of fun outdoor activities.

But then you also have those days when the thermostat is about to max out, and it’s quite simply too hot for life.

Those days, when you feel like you’re about to melt, are the ones that are perfect for boozy popsicles — they’ll cool you right off.

There’s just something about the adult addition to the favorite childhood treat that brings things full circle when it comes to indulging — plus, booze cuts through any cloying sugary flavors and makes them a little more complex. You’ll love these tipsy pops!

1. Kim Crawford Wines Citrus Sangria Pop​

The fruity drinkability of sangria is always a win in my book. Just wait until you taste it as a popsicle!

Ingredients:
25 ounces Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
1 cup sugar
4 cups fresh-squeezed orange juice
1 cup citrus vodka
1 orange, sliced
1/2 pineapple, diced
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 lemon, sliced

Fully dissolve sugar into orange juice. Add remaining ingredients and let rest at room temperature for 6 hours. Strain-out the fruit. Pour liquid into preferred popsicle vessel and freeze. Hold popsicles below zero degrees for best results. 

2. Peach Bourbon Lemonade Ice Pops

Peach lemonade is a delectable treat to enjoy on its own. Add some whiskey and freeze it, and you’ll be on another level!

Ingredients:
2 cups lemonade
1 cup peach puree
2 ounces bourbon

Full instructions here.

3. Kim Crawford Winds Watermelon Basil Mojito Pops

How much does this one make you want to sit by a pool and sip on it while dipping your toes? A ton, probably. You’ll love this fresh, bright fruity spin on the classic cocktail.

Ingredients:
25 ounces Kim Crawford Rose
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups fresh watermelon juice
1/3 cup vanilla vodka
1 splash fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 cup fresh cubed watermelon

Fully dissolve sugar into watermelon juice and ensure sugar is completely dissolved. Mix all remaining ingredients together and let rest at room temperature for 6 hours. Fill desired popsicle vessels and freeze. Hold popsicles below zero degrees for best results. 

4. Tropical Tequila Sunrise Ice Pops

How stunning is that gradual ombre-style effect? It’s so easy to make, too!

Ingredients:
2 cups pineapple juice
1 pound fresh pineapple, peeled and pureed
3/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup grenadine

Full instructions here.

5. Bourbon Butterscotch Latte Poptails

Craving a rich, creamy dessert? These boozy, buttery coffee pops will no doubt do the trick.

Ingredients:
16 ounces strong or extra bold coffee, room temperature
4 ounces heavy cream
4 ounces bourbon
2 ounces butterscotch sauce

Full instructions here.

6. Kim Crawford Red Wine Cocoa Pops

Want something sophisticated, chocolaty and date-friendly? I’ve got what you’re looking for right here with this rich, smooth, decadent delight.

Ingredients:
25 ounces Kim Crawford Pinot Noir 
3 cups strawberry puree
3 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup framboise liqueur
1/2 cup chocolate liqueur
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar 
12 ounces fresh sliced strawberries

Heat cream, puree and sugar on stove, add cocoa powder and make sure sugar is completely dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and pour into desired popsicle vessel. Hold popsicles below zero degrees for best results.

7. Boozy Campari Citrus Pops

This bittersweet spritzer-friendly liqueur is somehow even better when frozen. Who knew that was possible?

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 cups grapefruit juice or orange juice (add a squeeze of lemon if using orange)
1/2 cup Campari

Full instructions here.

Featured Image: Jennifer Chait/Flickr

Tags: alcoholic dessert, Boozy Popsicles, spiked push pops, summer cocktails, Thirsty Thursday
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7 Delicious Types Of Sangria You Should Make (Recipes)

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By Cooking Panda

Sangria, anyone?

The wine-based libation always strikes me as a rare treat — something you might indulge in at a fancy dinner or a classy cocktail party. Indeed, there’s a lot to love about the drink that somehow manages to be both elegant and fun at the same time, but there’s absolutely nothing exclusive about it.

Sangria is one of the easiest drinks to make. You need little more than wine and fruit, and it is both budget-friendly (the cheaper the wine, the better since you’ll be doctoring it up anyway) and darn near foolproof.

From the classic to the nearly wacky (but still delicious!), here are some great sangria recipes that will really impress your guests!

1. Three-Ingredient Sangria

Here’s your run-of-the-mill, standard sangria. And yet it’s so much more than that, as both new and experienced drinkers alike can attest to! Feel free to use the wine, soda and fruit formula and experiment with it as you please.

2. Mango Strawberry Sangria

Delicious and refreshing! This one is fabulous virgin, too. You can swap out the booze for something like sparkling apple cider, white grape juice or lemonade.

3. Mint and Citrus White Wine Sangria

There’s something just totally upscale yet fun about this pale, tangy version that almost tastes more like a gimlet or mojito. For an extra kick, add a splash of tequila, rum, citrus sparkling water, ginger ale or lemon-lime soda.

4. Sparkling Sangria

Brandy and triple sec make this cocktail strong but sneaky, so be careful! You can use any fruit you want, though I think this would be particularly stunning with a sliced blood orange.

5. Iced Tea Sangria

I absolutely love this one with a mild-flavored tea like a white or a fruit tea, though it’s also quite nice with a gentle green. Want to use red wine instead? Consider pairing it with a more robust tea, like spiced orange, plus a splash of brandy or triple sec wouldn’t hurt.

6. Rhubarb Sangria

This light, sparkling pink drink is stunning, and it’s so good with the classic strawberry-rhubarb pairing.

7. Peach Sangria Slushies

Need something supremely refreshing to cool you off? Consider freezing and blending your sangria like so. P.S. This recipe is great with frozen peaches, and you won’t need to blanch them like it says to in the instructions.

Featured Photo Credit: Public Domain Pictures

Tags: easy cocktail recipe, Sangria, sangria recipe, summer cocktails, Thirsty Thursday
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Take A Vacation With These 6 Hawaiian Cocktails (Recipes)

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By Cooking Panda

Did you know that I’m kind of psychic?

Let me show you.

Right about now, you want to be on a tropical, breezy Hawaiian island with dense black sand or soft green grass between your toes, breathing in the gentle fragrance of local flowers and sipping on something fruity and alcoholic.

How did I do?

Sadly, most of us can’t be on a tropical beach right now (shout out to those who are — I’m jealous of you), but at least we can all enjoy tropical cocktails.

1. Expert-Level Mai Tai

You’ve probably had a Mai Tai before. If you haven’t, you’ve likely at least heard of the delightfully strong drink that features citrus juice, lovely almond-flavored orgeat syrup and orange curacao liqueur, with dark rum floated on top. This drink may have been invented in California, but its quintessentially tropical flavors will immediately transport you to an island paradise.

2. Tropical Itch

With passion fruit, rum and orange liqueur, this drink tastes a lot like your standard tiki fare — but once you add a hefty dose of bourbon and a couple dashes of bitters, you’ll see that this cocktail has a lot more going on than meets the eye, and the darker flavors perfectly complement the fruity, floral tones to make them stand out.

3. Bahama Mama

Orange juice, pineapple juice, rum and grenadine kick this off like a Mai Tai, but things get a little more interesting when you add some vanilla and coffee flavors. It sounds a little unexpected, but they bring the most satisfying pop of complexity to what would otherwise be a super sweet drink.

4. Coconut Mojito

Fresh minty mojitos are always glorious and never go out of style, but if you want to put a decadent tiki twist on the classic Cuban drink, try adding a bit of coconut rum and cream of coconut, and swap out the regular sugar for the darker brown variety.

5. Lava Flow

Everyone knows the classic Pina Colada, and for good reason, but if you want to really elevate it another notch, consider blending it with strawberries and a banana (frozen, if you want a thicker milkshake texture). This is a great one to make virgin and serve to the kids and non-drinkers too!

6. Haupia Nightcap

If you’re looking for a tasty dessert cocktail that’s more creamy than fruity, this coffee, vanilla and rum drink will do it for you. The coconut milk keeps things tropical-tasting, while its velvety thickness mixes perfectly with the decidedly rich flavors.

Tags: cocktail recipes, Hawaiian cocktails, summer cocktails, Thirsty Thursday, tiki drinks
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8 Cocktails You Should Drink This Summer (Recipes)

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By Cooking Panda

It’s hot out there! 

You’re going to want to stay properly hydrated, so it’s important to make sure your drinks are ice cold, refreshing and boozy to boot!

Add some fruit, herbs and maybe a few floral flavors and you’re good to go — you’ll have the most deliciously summery, buzzed beverages that are sure to be a hit with guests.

1. Rose Sangria

The melon balls are a gorgeous, scrumptious addition to the classic drink. Rose makes it decidedly more summery, but you’re encouraged to use whatever cheap wine you have on hand — even better if it’s a reject that you had a taste of and didn’t care for. You’re adding soda, fruity flavors and more booze to it anyway.

2. Fresh Watermelon Mint Juleps

Mint juleps are nice, but they can be a bit strong when you’re trying to whet your whistle. Adding some juicy fresh watermelon gives you a little extra hydration, plus watermelon and mint are always fabulous together!

3. Spiked Cherry Mint Spritzer

There’s a secret ingredient that makes this sparkling lemonade cocktail absolutely wonderful, but you probably wouldn’t guess it: cherry (or any other berry) preserves! It’s lightly sweet and just so delicious!

4. Kombucha Mojitos

Sounds a little weird, but the fizzy earthiness of kombucha (preferably a plain or floral flavor) is just perfect for this cocktail. If you’re not feeling it, you’re more than welcome to use a dry cider for a similar effect.

5. Strawberry Chamomile Paloma

This one is delicious if you make it virgin, too! Palomas are usually made with tart, bittersweet grapefruit juice, but this recipe swaps it out for light, floral chamomile and bright, summery strawberries.

6. Peach and Fizzy Grapefruit Float

Besides the optional herbal garnish, all you need are three ingredients: grapefruit soda, peach ice cream and Campari. This is really versatile, and you can use just about any soda that’s not overly sweet — like ginger beer, apple soda, pear soda or even hard cider — just about any kind of ice cream — vanilla or any fruit flavor are particularly fabulous — and your booze of choice — sweet vermouth, bourbon or brandy would be nice. Follow your heart.

7. Gin-Spiked Earl Grey (Adult) Iced Tea

Botanical gin + malty, floral Earl Grey syrup are meant to be together. Top with ginger ale or a similar mild soda to brighten it up even more.

8. Lemon-Thyme Tequila Spritzer

This is about as light and refreshing as it gets! If you don’t have thyme available, you’re more than welcome to swap it out for a similar herb like rosemary, sage or basil, or you could even use lavender.

Featured Photo Credit: Pexels

Tags: cocktail recipe, refreshing cocktail recipe, summer cocktails, Summer drinks, Thirsty Thursday
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These 9 Frozen Cocktails Will Cool You Right Off (Recipes)

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By Cooking Panda

You look a little warm there, buddy.

It’s officially summer, and boy does the weather know it. It can be pretty miserable when you’re caught in a heat wave, but the nice thing about the blistering heat is that it comes with the wonderful opportunity to do whatever you can to cool off and stay comfortable, which usually means drinking a lot of cold things.

So naturally, when Thirsty Thursday hits, that means one thing: It’s time for cocktail slushies! Talk about a fun way to refresh yourself …

1. Peach and Rose Slushie

Got a big load of fresh peaches that you don’t know what to do with? I’m sure a party full of guests could help you polish these sweet, summery slushies off pretty quickly. P.S. Feel free to use frozen peaches, if you don’t have an excess of fresh ones around.

2. Cantaloupe, Mint and Campari Slushie

Between the bright orange cantaloupe, cool mint, bittersweet Campari and exciting fizz, you’ll feel like you’re lounging on the Italian riviera with this vacation in a glass.

3. Frozen Bloody Mary

Bloody Marys are the ultimate daytime cocktail, so it’s only natural that you’ll want to freeze them for brunch on a sunny day. But hold your horses! This is no ordinary Mary. This one, which features frozen tomatoes instead of ice, is made from scratch and really boasts a stupendous flavor. You’d be amazed at how a tiny bit more effort makes all the difference.

4. Pear Slushy Cocktail

The secret to this bourbon and bitters drink is the frozen, blended pear cider that brings this tasty drink to a whole new fizzy level. If you don’t have pear cider, you can swap it out for any similar flavor, like apple, or you can just use apple or pear soda.

5. Watermelon Limoncello Prosecco Slushies

Between the mint, limoncello and watermelon, this cocktail is about as cool and refreshing as it gets. If mint isn’t your thing, basil would work just as well.

6. Kicked-Up Coffee Granita with Baileys and Kahlua

Iced coffee is great, but it has one major downfall: As the cubes start to melt, the beverage quickly becomes watered down. But this slightly sweet, creamy and delightfully strong coffee drink doesn’t mess around with any of that nonsense, and it’ll stay bright and strong the whole time.

7. Pomegranate Lemon Slushie

Ok, this sweet and tart grown-up version of a Slurpee doesn’t include booze in the recipe, but it’s a pretty simple, seamless adjustment: Add in a couple of ounces of vodka (fruit flavored would be great!), tequila or rum and you’ll be in business.

8. Riesling Peach And Cherry Slushies

As amazing as this one would be with white cherries, you’re more than welcome to swap them out for raspberries or really any other complementary flavor. Feel free to mix it up!

9. Tea and Bourbon Slushies

Sweet tea fiends will fall in love with this stupendously simple frozen cocktail that features water, sugar, tea and bourbon. Yep, easy four-ingredient magic! It wouldn’t be a bad idea to garnish with fresh lemon or peach slices though, or even blend in a little juice if you’re feeling it.

Featured Photo Credit: Travis Isaacs/Flickr

Tags: boozy slushy, granita recipe, hot weather cocktail recipe, summer cocktails, Thirsty Thursday
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You’ll Want To Drink These 8 Gin Cocktails Right Now (Recipes)

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By Cooking Panda

Gin is a fabulous spirit, it really is. There’s just something about its easy, herbal flavor that makes it absolutely perfect to mix into cocktails around spring and summer. 

Its light, refreshing and botanical notes just blend so seamlessly with just about everything I want to drink right now, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s get mixing!

1. The Knickroni

Half Negroni, half Knickebein, this wild libation has campari, sweet vermouth and gin for that classic bittersweet cocktail, but it also has an egg yolk, meringue and orange bitters to bring it all home. Try this one if you love Negronis and want to make them even more extravagant!

2. Grapefruit Tarragon Gin and Tonic

Ever had grapefruit and tarragon together? The bright, bitter citrus perfectly cuts through the bittersweet licorice-like flavor, and the classic gin and tonic combo finish it off for a brilliantly colored, complex sipper.

3. Veranda Way

This unique drink includes tepache, a fermented, fizzy pineapple drink that hails from Mexico. There’s a recipe included for the stuff, but if you’re not keen on making it yourself, you can use a bit of dry hard cider instead.

4. Celery Tonic

Earthy, refreshing celery is a natural match for the herbal notes you find in gin. Plus, the green color makes this lemony drink just that much more exciting. Add a cucumber slice garnish if you want to bring out those fresh, cool notes.

5. Rhubarb Sour

Yeah, you know how simple, classic whiskey sours always manage to hit the spot? This gin version, featuring rhubarb syrup and an egg white (for an extra silkiness — trust, it’s delicious) will really do the trick for you, especially if you order whiskey sours on the regular and want to switch it up.

6. Cucumber Gin Lemonade

You probably knew that cucumber and gin are a match made in heaven, considering that some spirits, like Hendrick’s, are actually made with the savory fruit. So what happens when you add fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and club soda to the mix? Go find out for yourself — I highly recommend it!

7. Honey Sage Gin Fizz

A gin fizz is a great cocktail on its own, but when you throw in some honey sage infused syrup (if you must avoid sage, you can use rosemary or basil, but the sage is brilliant), it takes this drink to a whole new level. And things only get more exciting from there: add a smoked honey bacon rim because…well, why wouldn’t you?

8. Rhubarb and Rose Ramos Gin Fizz

An extra floral, tart pop makes this insanely fluffy yet rich New Orleans drink go down just that much smoother, as the nice bittersweet, refreshing addition modernizes the classic drink and adds a little contrast to the thick, creamy cocktail.

Featured Photo Credit: Farther Along/Flickr

Tags: cocktail recipe, gin cocktail, gin recipe, summer cocktails, Thirsty Thursday
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You’ll Want To Drink These 8 Gin Cocktails Right Now (Recipes)

category:

By Cooking Panda

Gin is a fabulous spirit, it really is. There’s just something about its easy, herbal flavor that makes it absolutely perfect to mix into cocktails around spring and summer. 

Its light, refreshing and botanical notes just blend so seamlessly with just about everything I want to drink right now, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s get mixing!

1. The Knickroni

Half Negroni, half Knickebein, this wild libation has campari, sweet vermouth and gin for that classic bittersweet cocktail, but it also has an egg yolk, meringue and orange bitters to bring it all home. Try this one if you love Negronis and want to make them even more extravagant!

2. Grapefruit Tarragon Gin and Tonic

Ever had grapefruit and tarragon together? The bright, bitter citrus perfectly cuts through the bittersweet licorice-like flavor, and the classic gin and tonic combo finish it off for a brilliantly colored, complex sipper.

3. Veranda Way

This unique drink includes tepache, a fermented, fizzy pineapple drink that hails from Mexico. There’s a recipe included for the stuff, but if you’re not keen on making it yourself, you can use a bit of dry hard cider instead.

4. Celery Tonic

Earthy, refreshing celery is a natural match for the herbal notes you find in gin. Plus, the green color makes this lemony drink just that much more exciting. Add a cucumber slice garnish if you want to bring out those fresh, cool notes.

5. Rhubarb Sour

Yeah, you know how simple, classic whiskey sours always manage to hit the spot? This gin version, featuring rhubarb syrup and an egg white (for an extra silkiness — trust, it’s delicious) will really do the trick for you, especially if you order whiskey sours on the regular and want to switch it up.

6. Cucumber Gin Lemonade

You probably knew that cucumber and gin are a match made in heaven, considering that some spirits, like Hendrick’s, are actually made with the savory fruit. So what happens when you add fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and club soda to the mix? Go find out for yourself — I highly recommend it!

7. Honey Sage Gin Fizz

A gin fizz is a great cocktail on its own, but when you throw in some honey sage-infused syrup (if you must avoid sage, you can use rosemary or basil, but the sage is brilliant), it takes this drink to a whole new level. And things only get more exciting from there: Add a smoked honey bacon rim because … well, why wouldn’t you?

8. Rhubarb and Rose Ramos Gin Fizz

An extra floral, tart pop makes this insanely fluffy yet rich New Orleans drink go down just that much smoother, as the nice bittersweet, refreshing addition modernizes the classic drink and adds a little contrast to the thick, creamy cocktail.

Featured Photo Credit: Farther Along/Flickr

Tags: gin, gin cocktails, gin recipes, summer cocktails, Thirsty Thursday
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Catch All 7 Of These Stunning Pokemon-Inspired Cocktails

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By Cooking Panda

I want to be the very best / Like no one ever was / To catch them is my real test / To drink them is my cause…

Read on to find out how to Drink Them All:

1. Pokeball Jell-O Shots

More like “melted gummy candy shots,” but that didn’t have the same ring to it. Alcohol, I choose you!

2. MarGOrita

Three different flavors of margarita slushies to represent the three different teams. Team Instinct’s yellow should be the smallest layer on the bottom for obvious reasons, while Team Valor’s red should reign supreme with a nice tasty layer on top. Naturally. (Cue hate mail from the three people on Team Instinct.)

3. Bulbasaur #1

This drink is stunning but actually super easy and delicious. All you need is Malibu rum (or something similar), melon liqueur and blue curacao. Garnish with edible flowers and mint.

4. Bulbasaur #2

A.k.a. Rosemary and Rhubarb, featuring apple vodka and rhubarb syrup, among other things.

5. The Exeggutor

(Also known as the Ginger Smash) Pineapple, ginger, rum, and a few other tasty things. If you want to be less subtle, garnish with a few extra pineapple leaves.

6. Vaporeon

This is just a Blue Hawaiian (cream of coconut, blue curacao, pineapple juice, light rum) garnished with a pineapple slice. If you want to go full Vaporeon, add an extra slice on the other side.

7. The Evee

Basically just another reason to drink a super-tasty alcoholic milkshake with ears on it. Feel free to add candy eyes if you have little chocolates or something else that would work.

Official disclaimer: Team Valor will rein supreme.

Featured Photo Credit: Mooshu Jenne

Tags: cocktail recipes, Pokemon cocktails, Pokemon Go, summer cocktails, Thirsty Thursday
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11 Supremely Refreshing Cocktails To Drink On The Beach

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By Cooking Panda

How many times have you been relaxing on the beach wishing you had a nice cold cocktail in your hand?

We want to help you achieve your dreams! Bringing booze to the beach is totally do-able if you plan ahead and know what you’re doing. Make sure you bring a cooler that works well, and make sure to keep at least some of your ice clean — nobody wants a lukewarm cocktail. If you want, you can dump half of the ice loose in the cooler and keep your cocktail ice in a bag on top of the loose ice.

To make these drinks, we recommend mixing them up in big batches and transporting in big bottles or whatever you have that works. If you’re adding something fizzy, like club soda, bring that separately and top each individual drink with it, after it’s poured.

Be careful about bringing soft fresh herbs like mint or basil. They might work a little better if you’re putting them in loose (like for a garnish) at the end, but anything muddled might brown by the time you drink it.

We recommend either skipping the herbs or infusing them into syrup. We’ve included a recipe or two below.

Note: Make sure you follow the rules of the beach you visit. A lot of them don’t allow glass!

1. Classic Sangria

Tangy and fruity, this classic boozy drink is the perfect refreshment for a hot day on the sand. Transport in a wide-mouthed container and serve with a ladle, so that everyone gets enough fruit.

2. Michelada

Is there really anything more refreshing in the summer heat? To make this drink transportable, we recommend making a big batch of the mix first and slicing up the limes. Bring a Tupperware with celery salt in it so you can easily salt the rims without hassle.

3. Mai Tai

Did you know that “Mai Tai” means “the best — out of this world”? You probably did if you’ve ever tasted one. Mai Tais are pretty much designed to be sipped on the beach — get to it.

4. Cucumber Lemongrass Caipirinha

We can’t think of anything that can cool you off faster on a hot day than cucumber and lemongrass. So refreshing!

5. Virgin Ad Lib

Looking for something boozeless to refresh you all day? Jazz up some water (regular or sparkling works) with cilantro (try basil or mint if you’re a cilantro hater), lemon juice and simple syrup. So delicious!

Here’s how to make cilantro simple syrup if you’re worried that your herbs will spoil.

6. Basilico

The combo of peach, apple, basil and vodka is completely incredible. Since you’ll be drinking this on the beach, we suggest making your own basil simple syrup (recipe here) instead of the fresh stuff.

7. Blackberry Basil Mojito

The fruity, tart and herbaceous flavors make an unexpectedly delicious combination. Skip the muddling and make it with this basil syrup.

8. Strawberry Shortcake

Red velvet vodka and cream soda is an amazing combo. if you can’t find red velvet vodka, go ahead and use plain vodka and red velvet coffee flavor, or just replace with any other flavor you like. Strawberry would be delicious too.

9. Jalapeno Daisy

The yuzu’s sweet tanginess perfectly complements the spicy jalapeno. We could sip it all day long, if alcohol worked that way.

10. Grapefruit Rosemary Mojito

Rosemary should keep a little better than softer, leafier herbs, so we’ll go ahead and sign off on muddling this one, especially since you’re going to strain it out anyway. But if you want, here’s how to make rosemary simple syrup.

11. Margarita

Bringing classic margaritas to the beach is a tried and true method, but if you want to branch out a little, you should totally go for it. Serve everything on the rocks and remember our rules about not muddling in soft herbs.

Cheers!

Featured Photo Credit: CD Kitchen

Tags: beach cocktails, drink at the beach, summer cocktails, Summer drinks, Thirsty Thursday
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