Big-Batch Cocktails for Summer Parties

just add prosecco

Fruit Puree + Prosecco = Party

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
watermelon punch mix

If you label the punch mix containers with instructions, those pesky guests who arrive early can help you with last-minute setup.

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.


mix and match summer punch


watermelon-prosecco punch

Add a fruity garnish and serve!


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.

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