Warm weather demands that you find some outdoor space and have a party in it. Back yards, beaches, decks, rooftops, or balconies – any slice of outdoors will do as long as you can catch a glimpse of sky and a warm breeze.
When I have a summer get-together, I like to serve beer (pale ale!), wine (rose!) and round out the drink menu with a signature cocktail. Since nobody wants to stand behind the bar muddling limes and crushing mint for hours while everyone else mingles, I go for big-batch cocktails that can be made in advance. If you’re a fan of sangria, this is its moment to shine. But my favorite summer libation is Prosecco punch. It’s more of a formula than a recipe, and allows me to take advantage of whatever ripe fruit looks most tempting. Fresh fruit puree + a sweet liqueur + a spirit + lemon or lime juice, topped with chilled sparkling wine = a flexible blueprint for a drink that’s out of the ordinary, fun to experiment with, and insanely delicious. A few of my favorite combinations are:
- Strawberry puree, gin, elderflower liqueur, and lemon
- Watermelon puree, tequila, Aperol, and lime
- Pineapple puree, rum, ginger liqueur, and lime
To puree the fruit, simply zip it up in the food processor and pass it through a strainer (or use a food mill if you have one). You can mix together everything but the sparkling wine a day in advance. Just keep it in a covered container in the fridge. When the guests arrive, pour the fruit-and-booze mixture into a pitcher, top it with a bottle of icy-cold Prosecco, and get ready for compliments.
The Prosecco Punch Formula
2 cups fruit puree or juice
1/2 cup spirits
1/4 cup liqueur
3 tablespoons citrus juice
1 750 ml bottle sparkling wine
Fresh whole fruit for garnish
Looking for more summer drink ideas? Check out our gallery of Sangria, Summer Punch, and Cooler Recipes.