Let's Eat, Wining & Dining

Festive Coolers for the Hot Weather

By Judy Eichner

Festive Coolers for the Hot Weather

While traveling in Puerto Rico and Jamaica, several years ago we were invited to several outdoor barbecues and to our delight, we discovered some different drinks than those that are normally served at a barbecue.

You can make any summertime gathering festive with this assortment of cool, refreshing party beverages. You will find both alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks below.

Orange-Mint Tea

2 cups boiling water

2 tea bags

¼ cup fresh mint leaves

2 tablespoons sugar

1 quart orange juice

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

In a large pitcher, place boiling water, tea bags, mint leaves and sugar; let stand 10 minutes.  Remove the tea bags, then stir in the orange and lemon juices. Refrigerate until cold. Before serving, strain to remove mint leaves. This makes about 6 eight ounce servings.

Peach Champagne Punch

1 can (16 oz) sliced peaches in light syrup, chilled

1 pint strawberries

1 cup peach-flavored brandy, chilled

1 bottle (2 liter) lemon-lime soda, chilled

2 bottles (each 750 ml) champagne, chilled

Drain peaches; reserve syrup. Place peach slices and strawberries in two ice-cube trays; fill with water; freeze until firm. Just before serving, in large punch bowl, combine reserved peach syrup, brandy, soda and champagne; stir. Add fruit ice cubes to punch. Makes about 32 four ounce servings.

Champagne Fruit Punch

6 cups chilled orange juice

1 cup water

½ lb. seedless grapes

1 sliced orange

1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and halved, if large

1 bottle (48 oz) chilled Hawaiian guava drink

1 bottle (750 ml) chilled, dry champagne

Fresh Mint

The day before – combine 2 cups orange juice with the water in a large pitcher. Pour 2 cups orange juice mixture into a 3 cup ring mold. Reserve remaining orange juice mixture. Freeze mold for about 3 hours, or until firm. Arrange grapes, orange slices and strawberries around the top of the mold. Fill with reserved orange juice mixture and freeze.

In a 6-quart punch bowl, combine the remaining 4 cups orange juice and the guava drink. Just before serving, stir in the champagne. Unmold the ice ring. Float fruit side up on punch.  Garnish with mint. Makes about 24 four ounce servings.

Citrus Cranberry Cooler

2 cups chilled cranberry juice

2 cups chilled grapefruit juice

½ cup chilled seltzer

In a pitcher combine all ingredients. Serve over ice in chilled glasses. Makes about 4 ten ounce servings. Vodka would be the alcohol of choice for this combination.

Publishers Note: This column first appeared in the July 2011 issue of the OTC. We decided since we gave you some of Judy’s recipes for cold soups in the June issue, it would be appropriate to follow up with some equally as refreshing beverages. Perfect for your 4th of July or Happy Birthday Alexandria celebration.

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