Back-to-school and Labor Day - two happenings that supposedly mark the official end of summer. But according to whom? Neither of these events have to necessarily mean the end of all things fun. In fact, it can be the cause of celebration - BTS means adults can finally get back to a routine and the September holiday means cooler temps are around the corner and outdoor patios beg to be used for entertaining.
Now that the heat, humidity and monsoon rains have subsided, keep the summertime fun from waning by hosting a late summer party with signature libations that pack a refreshing punch and take summer socializing to the next level.
Creating a signature cocktail is easy — tinker with a standard favorite drink and incorporate a splash and a dash of your personality. It adds an element of fun to parties that your guests won’t soon forget.
When devising your signature drink during humid, hot months, think about infusing fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs and using lighter spirits such as gin and vodka to make brightly colored, refreshing combinations. A drink can go terribly wrong if there are too many flavors, so choose one or two liquors with one or two fruits and maybe an herb or spice. Be adventurous but stay within the comfort zone of your guests.
There are three primary components to a great cocktail: sweet, sour and the spirit. While you can always add subtle nuances to a drink, the foundation of all cocktails is the same, and balance is the key. Consideration should also be given to the season and what occasion the drink is for. Are you celebrating a specific holiday? Is someone graduating or getting married? Perhaps one of your guests is jetting to an exotic vacation spot.
A common summertime favorite, Bellinis are typically prepared with peaches. But you can change up the ingredients and create a help-yourself “Bellini Blast” drink bar that will keep any celebration going. The drink’s simple syrup provides sweetness; fruits add an element of tartness; and Prosecco serves as the spirit. Crisp, clean and delicate, Ruffino Prosecco makes an excellent choice.
Get your juices flowing and start thinking outside the glass to create your own signature cocktails — and have a cool, refreshing rest of the summer.
Serves 4 to 6
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
16-ounce bag, frozen blueberries, thawed
16-ounce bag, frozen strawberries, thawed
1 to 2 bottles Prosecco (we choose Ruffino)
Fresh strawberries and raspberries, for garnish
Orange-peel twists, for garnish
Prepare a simple syrup by stirring the sugar and water in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, in about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
Puree the blueberries in a food processor with ½ cup of the sugar syrup until smooth. Transfer to a glass bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Clean the bowl of your food processor, then puree the strawberries with ½ cup of the sugar syrup until smooth. Transfer to another glass bowl, cover and refrigerate.
For each serving, scoop 2 to 4 tablespoons of the desired fruit puree into a champagne flute. Slowly pour enough Prosecco into the flute to fill. Gently stir to blend. Garnish as desired with fruits.