TODAY's culinary producer and food stylist Katie Stilo is in the kitchen stirring up big batches of her favorite cocktails for summer entertaining. She shows us how to make a juicy orange-infused refresher, cherry and stone fruit sangria and a sparkling sipper with rose and ginger.
This is my rendition on the classic Gold Rush cocktail, which typically contains bourbon, honey simple syrup, and lemon juice. While recently in Italy, I discovered many different flavored/infused honeys at the local markets, one being orange blossom honey. I switched out classic honey and used orange honey to make the sweetener for this drink. To boost the orange flavor even more, I added a splash of orange liqueur, and a splash of citrus juices for some acidity. If you want this drink to be a bit stronger, add less orange juice. On the opposite end of this, if you would like to have less of a bourbon taste, add more orange juice.
Sangria is typically made with red wine but for my Italian summer take, I'm using white wine and Amarena cherries. The syrup used to package the wild Amarena cherries is the perfect sweetener for your summer cocktails. It can also be used in a variety of desserts. When choosing what fruits to add to your pitcher, think seasonal! Try a mixture of stone fruits such as cherries, apricots, and peaches. Add a splash of lime juice for some acidity to cut the sweetness and it's the perfect sip of summer in a cup.
This recipe is my riff on a drink I recently had at one of my favorite NYC restaurants, Rezdora. They call this the Romana in NY, playing on the fact that the Lambrusco (sparkling red wine) comes from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. The combination of gin, grappa and splash of rose water add a refreshing floral, herbal element which pairs perfectly with the refreshing fruit flavor from the sparkling red wine. If you're a fan of the classic Aperol spritz, you'll love this!
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