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Video: 5 ‘pitcher-perfect’ summer drinks

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    >>> it is a good, long holiday weekend to invite friends and family over. that's where the drinks come in.

    >> the party doesn't stop here.

    >> right, maria is here with a cold one for all ages and yes we placed mel in front of the one drink that has booze in it.

    >> let's get wasted.

    >> you have a tai chi going on.

    >> they're perfect because you have to enjoy the party and not have to make drinks and they look great too. we have one easy. we did a cold press. that's the perfect thing to use. people only use it for coffee but you can use it for tea too and then soy milk . you can pour these right into here.

    >> that doesn't look good though.

    >> that looks like baby milk .

    >> it's a little sweet. so it's a good -- it's a trick. it's a trick pitcher.

    >> there we go.

    >> there you go. you can taste that one. that's your favorite right there. it's a spin on a traditional iced tea .

    >> it's quite good. it's really good. do you want to try one.

    >> you have to taste. soy is a great alternative if you want to be lactose free too.

    >> it's not bad.

    >> it's not bad.

    >> no alcohol yet.

    >> and sparkling sweet tea . it's a southern staple but it can be too sweet for some of us. cut it with water or club soda .

    >> take red sweet tea and mix it with that.

    >> we're cutting it in half.

    >> how many calories is this.

    >> well, half the calories. you're taking away half. so it's more refreshing.

    >> great and what about leaf-wise.

    >> do you like that one.

    >> i like sweet tea .

    >> is that too sweet for you.

    >> yeah, now alcohol just for you.

    >> i'm not an alcoholic by the way.

    >> this is our fresh basil and when you use fresh herbs it's great. so we're going to crumble it to get the flavor to come out.

    >> what's in there already?

    >> a honey syrup. simple syrup but we made it with honey. and bitters is the salt and pepper of drink makers.

    >> sure.

    >> i'm going to muddle this and that's fresh lemon juice .

    >> all of it?

    >> always used fresh squeezed lemon juice . this is the pineapple honey vodka.

    >> oh. now we're talking.

    >> it smells so --

    >> i tell you.

    >> you do one, i'll do one.

    >> okay.

    >> here's our pineapple honey vodka and then you see we poured it into our glasses. this is beautiful basil.

    >> that looks lovely.

    >> this is topped off with a little club soda .

    >> and you too.

    >> you're the only one drinking vodka so early in the morning .

    >> it's a refreshing cocktail. isn't that a great summer cocktail.

    >> that's very sweet though.

    >> too sweet for you.

    >> a bit too sweet.

TODAY recipes
updated 7/5/2013 10:25:58 AM ET 2013-07-05T14:25:58

Recipe: Iced chai soy tea

Ingredients
  • 2 quarts cold water

  • 4 to 6 spiced or black chai tea bags (if using loose tea use 4 teaspoons per quart)

  • 1 cup vanilla soy milk
  • Honey or agave syrup, optional
  • Ice
Preparation

Combine the tea bags and water in a large pitcher and cover. If you are using loose leaves a large French press for tea works great.

Place the mixture in the refrigerator overnight, or at least 8 hours. The longer you leave the tea to cold brew the stronger it will become.

Remove the tea bags. Add the vanilla soy milk and sweetener if you like. Stir to combine.

Tips

Sweeten if desired with honey or agave syrup, but be sure to taste first because vanilla soy milk is already sweetened.

Serving Size

Serves 6-8

Recipe: Sparkling sweet tea

Ingredients
  • 6 tea black bags (talking point you may use other flavors of tea too)
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 1 orange sliced
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup of water, for simple syrup
  • Fresh mint sprigs for garnish
  • 2 cups of seltzer water
Preparation

In a large pitcher add the water and the sliced lemon and orange and the tea bags. Be sure to keep the paper tags on the tea on the outside of the pitcher. Cover and place in the sun for 3 to 4 hours.

In a small saucepot combine the sugar and 1 cup of water and bring to a simmer, stirring to completely dissolve the sugar. Cool and set aside.

Once the tea is done steeping, add the simple syrup and chilled seltzer.

Pour this into ice filled mason jars or glasses and add a sprig of mint for garnish.

You may substitute Agave syrup if you want to skip making the simple syrup.

Serving Size

Makes 8-10 servings

Recipe: Pineapple honey bee

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons honey, dissolved in a 1/4 cup very warm or hot water
  • 1 cup Pineapple Honey Vodka from Little Black Dress
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed, lemon juice, strained

  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed

  • 2 dashes of bitters for each
  • Club soda, to top off
  • Lemon slices, for garnish
Preparation

In a small pitcher add the vodka/ honey water and lemon juice. Add the basil and muddle with a wooden spoon.

Fill 4 to 6 mason jars with ice cubes. Add the 2 dashes of bitters to each mason jar.

Divide the cocktail evenly among the glasses. Top with club soda.

Garnish with lemon slices and serve.

Serving Size

Makes 4 to 6 drinks

Recipe: Sparkling cucumber and honeydew "sangria"

Ingredients
  • 1 cup thinly sliced cucumbers
  • 1 cup of Honeydew, cubed
  • 5 cups white peach juice or white cranberry
  • 2 liters of seltzer water for non-alcoholic sangria
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced
  • Mint for garnish
Preparation

In a large pitcher add the cucumber, and white cranberry juice. Lightly muddle.

Add the chilled seltzer water and lemon slices. Stir Lightly.

Serve immediately by scooping some of the cucumber and melon in each glass.

Top with ice and pour in the Sangria. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Tips

Spicy sangria: Add one small jalapeño pepper, sliced into rounds, seeds removed.

Alcoholic version: Replace the seltzer with one chilled bottle of Cava, a Spanish sparkling wine.

Serving Size

Makes 4 to 6 drinks

Recipe: Homemade flavored water

Ingredients
  • Slliced strawberries and kiwi
  • Peaches and Basil
  • Watermelon
  • Cucumber boats and mint
  • Raspberries and thyme sprigs
  • Blueberries and lemon slices with Basil or lavender
  • Water
Preparation

Either simply add sprigs and fruit garnishes or make into gorgeous ice cubes and add to your still or sparkling waters to keep cool this summer.

Tips

These can be made with sparkling water or flat. To sweeten them you can use: white cranberry or white peach juices.

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