Top Cocktails for Memorial Day: Mixing Up Some Summer Sunshine
Patti Cook, BA, MS, Ed.D., Culinary Grad and B & P Student (Photo Credit)
Like many people, I love mixing up the drinks as much as firing up the grill for Memorial Day. After six months of a cold, gray winter in Vermont with too many sub-zero days to count, creating some bright-sunshine cocktails is totally what the day calls for. As a culinary arts student and food blogger, part of the fun is looking at books, magazines and websites for ideas and to see what all the hip and current Memorial Day beverages are. Beer, especially with all the up-and-coming local microbreweries, continues to be a terrific go-to choice as well as a growing culinary trend. I’m planning on offering up a selection of local beers, including Magic Hat’s seasonal Elder Betty (an elderberry Weiss-style beer) that is truly like drinking summer.
However, the real fun is in coming up with amazing drinks that totally wow your guests. My regular Memorial Day crowd often ask for their past favorites. A top request (that’s also the easiest) is simply a mixture of good gin, lemonade and club soda with a lemon garnish. It’s fun to freeze lemon pieces in your ice cubes to jazz it up. And you can totally be part of the trend, since cocktails with homemade lemonade and other citrus-ades are all the rage this year for Memorial Day and summer entertaining.
From my patio seat, there is nothing better than sitting with friends and family sipping delicious cocktails and celebrating the kickoff to summer. This year, I’m making sangria with sparkling rosé, white grape juice, seltzer, berries and mint. And, to make it extra-special, I’ll freeze raspberries in my ice cubes and garnish each cocktail with a perfect strawberry. I’m thinking it may become one of the all-time favorites, since it captures summer in a glass with beautiful color, amazing mix of flavors and delightful bubbles. Cheers to summer!
Sparkling Summer Sangria
1 bottle Sparkling rosé wine
2 cups white grape juice
1 pint raspberries or strawberries
1 quart seltzer water, preferably berry-flavored
Mint sprigs for garnish
Strawberries for garnish
Mix wine, grape juice and berries in a large pitcher. Add seltzer and gently stir. Serve over ice and garnish with a sprig of mint and a fresh strawberry.