The Five Day Summer Cocktail Challenge

This whole experiment had but one simple catalyst: for the first time ever, I have a pool. It is summertime and I have a pool!

This has never happened before, and as a result there have been a lot of impromptu instances of, “Hey come over, and let’s sit by the pool and drink!” But there are only so many bottles of “Pinot Greeg” one can chill at a moment’s notice, so I decided that, for five days, I would create a new summer cocktail each evening using only the ingredients I currently had in my fridge and liquor cabinet.

Here is a rough list of the items I had to work with:

  • Lemonade
  • Orange juice
  • Frozen raspberries and strawberries
  • Black Cherries
  • Lime Sparkling Water
  • Cranberry-Raspberry juice
  • Rum
  • Tequila
  • Whisky
  • 1/4 a bottle of margarita mix
  • White Wine
  • Rosé Wine
  • Fresh basil
  • Cucumbers
  • Honey

And here are the results!

Sidenote: I tend to like my drinks on the stronger side. If you are of the lighter persuasion, you may want to cut the alcohol ratios in half or double the juice ratio. Whatever you fancy!

DAY ONE

Named after my dear friends who once made me a very similar cocktail on a sweltering New York day in August, I call this sweet thang The Brosman-Keach.

INGREDIENTS

  • lemonade
  • whisky
  • frozen raspberries (keep them frozen, like juicy little ice cubes!)

Add ingredients in no particular order. I don’t typically do exact measurements, but this is pretty much 1 part whisky per every 2 parts lemonade. Mix to taste, however, if you like yours stronger. Serve in a glass on the rocks.

Simple, tangy, and super refreshing. The best part is the syrupy, boozy raspberry juice at the bottom once you finish it!



 

DAY TWO

My basil plant had basically begun to commit seppuku in this 100+ degree heat, so I thought it best to utilize it in a drink before it passed on to herb heaven. (Confession: even sans global warning, I still kill all my houseplants.)  The result? Frozen Boozy Basil Lemonade.

INGREDIENTS

  • lemonade
  • tequila
  • 4-5 basil leaves
  • ice
  • 1 slice of cucumber for garnish

Blend 2 parts lemonade for every 1 part tequila with the basil leaves and the ice and serve frozen, garnished with the cucumber.

Much like a mojito, a little kick from a fresh herb goes a long way! The only stumbling block I encountered here was that the drink and the crushed ice did not want to be friends. They just kept separating, as indicated in the photo above. This can be alleviated, however, by just drinking it right away!


 

DAY THREE

I thought I’d make my poolside go-to work overtime and give me a little sangria action. The result? Triple Berry Threat White Sangria, baby.

INGREDIENTS

  • frozen raspberries and strawberries (again, keep ‘em frozen so they melt in the drink!)
  • fresh black cherries (pitted and cut in half)
  • 2 parts chilled white wine (I used pinot grigio here)
  • 1 part rum
  • a splash of OJ
  • a splash of lime sparkling water.

Pour liquids over berries.

Addendum: As I was drinking this one, I realized it could do with a little simple syrup, as it’s quite sour! Since I didn’t have any simple syrup (i.e. I was too lazy to make it myself in that moment), I decided to get a little sassy and improvised with a drizzle of honey on top. You may want to do the same if it’s too tangy for you!



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

DAY FOUR

I’m convinced that I got progressively better (and drunker) at this game with each passing day, so I am telling you right now that these last two drinks are definitely my MVPs. This bad boy here was borne of a need for twice as much margarita mix as I currently had in my liquor cabinet. Necessity, the mother of invention, would like to introduce you to… The Cran-Razarita!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 part Tequila per every 2 parts cran-raspberry juice
  • a splash of margarita mix
  • frozen raspberries (yes, as before, keep them frozen!)
  • ice

Blend the above, serve frozen, and rim with salt (if that’s your jam). Or, however you usually like your margaritas!

I’ll bet they didn’t think of this on that episode of Mad Men where they’re trying all the different Ocean Spray flavors!


 
 
 
 

DAY FIVE

I really don’t like rosé wine. Every time I buy it, I think I’m just craving a change in my world that manifests itself in a weird wine choice instead of a healthy life choice.

Point being, I did that. I bought rosé wine recently. But as luck would have it, I finally figured out what to do with it! It was pretty much destiny in the form of … Hard Cherry Lemonade!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 parts Rosé or white zinfandel wine
  • 1 part rum
  • 1 part lemonade
  • a handful of black cherries (cut in half and pitted)

Some of you Los Angeles–dwelling vino aficionados might recognize the Malibu Wines shoutout on the glass here: apropos for the girliest drink on the menu. And yes, although this is the girliest drink, it is also probably the strongest! Drink slowly! Or don’t. :)

 
 
 
 

Photos by Liz Kerin

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