Cocktails

Pitcher perfect! Celebrate with these cool cocktails

July 4, 2012 at 10:08 AM ET

These red, white and blue drinks are perfect for you Fourth of July party -- or anytime!

Red

Margaritas have gone from the typical sweet and sour to very sophisticated. This gorgeous batch served in a glass pitcher does double duty as table top decor and the perfect sip to kick off the summer celebration

Strawberry Basil Margaritas

Makes 1 pitcher

  • 1 can (12 ounces) frozen limeade concentrate
  • 10-12 strawberries, hulled and sliced lengthwise
  • 8 basil leaves
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups tequila (gold or silver)

Empty the limeade concentrate into a pitcher. Add 2 1/2 cans of water and 1 1/2 (18 ounces, or 2 1/4 cups) cans of tequila (or a bit less, if you don't want your drinks to be quite as strong).

Add strawberries to the pitcher. Crumple the basil a little in your hands (this will help the basil flavor release into the drink) and add it to the pitcher, too.

Place the pitcher, covered, in the fridge overnight, or for at least four hours.

When you remove the pitcher from the fridge, your margaritas will be a lovely pale pink color. Now all you have to do is serve them and wait for the compliments to pour in.

Watermelon Cooler

A non- alcoholic and healthy punch for designated drivers, pregnant pals and, of course, the kids.

  • 1 medium sized watermelon, split lengthwise in half
  • 1/2-1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (depending on size of watermelon)
  • Seltzer water, chilled
  • 1 star fruit, sliced 1/4- inch thick, for garnish

For the side of the watermelon you will be using for your punch bowl, slice the rounded edge off just so that you will have a flat surface. This will give you a steady punch bowl.

Scoop the flesh of the watermelon out using a small melon baller to get 16-20 balls. Place these on a sheet tray and freeze.

Scoop the rest of the watermelon from the side you will use as a punch bowl until you get to the white part of the rind. Scoop the other side as well. Puree the watermelon flesh and strain.

Keep chilled. When ready to serve, fill the watermelon punch bowl three quarters with the pureed watermelon, add the lime juice a little at a time (stir and taste, add as much or as little as you need).

Top with seltzer water to fill.

Add the watermelon ice cubes and the sliced star fruit.

Ladle and enjoy.

White

Sangrias now incorporate all different types of wine and fruits so you don't have to stick to the classic red wine mixture. Here, we're using ripe peaches and the super popular Moscato.

Sparkling White Peach Sangria

  • 1 bottle Moscato, chilled
  • 1 bottle White Peach Seltzer water chilled
  • 3/4 cup peach brandy
  • 2-3 white peaches sliced (depending on the size)

In a pitcher place 3/4 of the sliced peaches (saving some for garnish) and brandy and lightly muddle.

Add the Moscato and seltzer water

Stir with wooden spoon to mix. Pour into ice filled glasses that have peaches in already or we can top.

Blue

Blueberry Lavender Vodka Spritzer

For a 32 ounce pitcher

  • 1 cup blueberries (for ice cubes)
  • 2 cups Vodka, chilled
  • 3/4 cup simple syrup* recipe below
  • 4 ounces lime juice
  • Soda water, chilled
  • Fresh lavender for garnish

Divide the cup of blueberries between two ice cube trays and fill with water. Freeze completely.

In a glass pitcher combine the vodka, 3/4 cup simple syrup and club soda. Add ice cubes. Add remaining ice cubes to glasses. Pour the mixture over top and serve with a sprig of lavender.

*Blueberry Lavender Simple Syrup Recipe (Combine 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup blueberries in a saucepan and bring to a boil stirring to dissolve sugar, reduce heat to a low simmer, add 4 lavender sprigs (or 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried lavender) for 10 minutes. Strain pressing the blueberries to get all of their juice.)

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