Hot Summer Parties Call For Cool Summer Drinks
Nothing says “summer party” like a crisp margarita or a pitcher of sangria. When the sun is blazing down, the chilled and refreshing flavors make these drinks perfect for kicking back and relaxing poolside.
Even if you aren’t on vacation, these beverages can help relieve your stress and make your unmown backyard feel less like a chore and more like a retreat.
The ultimate happy hour drink
Everyone agrees the Margarita, a Mexican cocktail, is the king of happy hour. What no one seems to agree on is the origin story of the drink. According to legend (and Wikipedia), there are no fewer than four popular tales for how the Margarita came to be:
- Don Carlos Orozco: Perhaps the most popular claims Orozco invented the drink at Hussong’s Cantina in Ensenada, Mexico, for a prestigious visitor, Margarita Henkel. Henkel was the daughter of a German ambassador and lived with her husband Roy Parodi near the city in Rancho Hamilton. Orozco concocted a mixture of equal parts tequila, orange liqueur, and lime, served over ice, in a salt-rimmed glass.
- Carlos “Danny” Herrera: Another common story claims Carlos “Danny” Herrera invented it a few years earlier at the Rancho La Gloria Hotel, halfway between Tijuana and Rosarito, Mexico, for Marjorie King, a former Ziegfeld dancer.
- Santos Cruz: Yet another legend says Cruz created the Margarita in 1948 for singer Peggy (Margaret) Lee, naming it after the Spanish version of her name.
- A Different Daisy: One tale that has a hint of logic, claims the Margarita is merely a popular American drink, the Daisy, remade with tequila instead of brandy. Why? Because during Prohibition people drifted over the border for alcohol where tequila was more popular. Margarita is Spanish for Daisy.
Regardless of how it all began, with restaurants touting claims to the best margaritas in town and regularly offering specials on these festive cocktails, the Margarita is wildly popular and just begs to be sipped on outdoor patios. Serving them at your next barbecue or pool party will instantly tell your guests that a fun, carefree night is about to ensue.
Making the ultimate Margarita
- Skip the bottled limeade.
- Use only 100 percent agave tequila. Choosing a blanco instead of other varieties helps preserve the kick of flavor that comes with the liquor.
- Serve your drinks in fun margarita glasses for an authentically good time!
For the best margaritas your friends and family have ever had, try this recipe:
- 100 percent agave tequila (see amounts in directions)
- Triple sec
- Limes for juicing and slicing into wedges
- Coarse salt
- Using a juicer, squeeze limes to make fresh lime juice.
- Rub the rim of chilled margarita glasses with a lime wedge before flipping them upside down and rubbing them in a plate of coarse salt.
- A great rule of thumb for making margaritas is to use a 3-2-1 ratio when mixing the ingredients. So, that’s three times as much tequila as there is lime juice and two times as much triple sec as lime juice for the perfect balance. Add the measured-out quantities, along with some ice, to a blender and combine at high speed until the mixture is like a slushy.
- Pour into chilled margarita glasses, garnish with a lime wedge, and serve immediately.
In addition to serving margaritas frozen, they can also be made on the rocks or without any ice at all. In these instances, combine tequila, triple sec, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker and mix well before pouring into glasses.
Another smooth summer tradition: Sangria
Maybe you’re looking for a more laid back feel and wild fun for your gathering? Consider whipping up a pitcher of sangria for your next cookout, in addition to the expected pitchers of lemonade and iced tea.
Sangria can be as simple as red wine with some sliced citrus like lemon, lime and orange. But if you really want to be creative, it can also be more complex with the addition of ginger ale, brandy, honey, or other sliced fruits. The only limit is your imagination! Tailor your sangria to match the occasion and the foods you’re serving.
Hot shot debut internationally
While sangria is believed to have been around for centuries, it made its international debut with a big splash in the Spanish Pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. It’s enjoyed popularity ever since. Traditionally a red wine is used to make sangria, but white wines can also be used for a fruitier sangria blanco.
Here’s the recipe that started it all:
- 1 bottle red Spanish wine
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 lemon, cut into slices
- ½ orange, cut into slices
- 1 ounce Spanish brandy
- 1 ounce Cointreau
- 2 cups ice cubes
- 1 cup cold club soda
Cut lemons and oranges into slices and add them to the pitcher.
Add the red Spanish wine, sugar, Spanish brandy, and Cointreau to the pitcher and mix well.
Allow the fruit to steep in the mixture for several hours before serving. If possible, let it sit overnight so that the flavors of the individual ingredients have had time to fully come together.
A few hours before serving the sangria, place the pitcher in your refrigerator to chill the beverage.
Remove from the refrigerator and add the club soda and ice immediately before serving.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with other wines and fruits to create a signature sangria. White wines such as Rioja, pinot grigio, or a riesling are great for making sangria blanco and would pair well with other fruits and berries outside of the citrus family.
Which is right for your next party?
Both of these drinks are extremely easy to serve.
Sangria will make your party feel more like a summer holiday and is easy to make in advance.
But even margaritas, although a little more work than the sangria, can be a simple and fun addition. Consider setting up a margarita station to take the pressure off of you and allow your guests the fun of creating their own.
KitchenAid’s new Diamond Vortex 5-Speed Blender makes some seriously delicious summer treats. Visit these other blogs on CHEFS Mix for the details:
- Product Review: KitchenAid Diamond Vortex 5-Speed Blender
- Hot Summer Parties Call For Cool Summer Drinks
- Beat the summer heat with frozen treats
- Smoothies: On-The-Go Treats Loaded With Nutrition
Your turn: Are you more of a margarita maven or a sangria sipper?