Mambo margaritas

It’s late July in Nashville, which means it’s really too hot to do much of anything but try not to break a sweat by blinking too much. Getting up to make a margarita, however, is worth the effort. Lissa and I found these when we were taking turns reading the Sweet Potato Queens books a few years ago, and we’ve been making them since then. They’re fast, they’re easy, they’re a little fizzy, and they’re crazy refreshing on an unbearably hot summer evening.

Mambo margaritas

Ingredients

  • 12 ounce can frozen limeade concentrate (still frozen; save the can to measure remaining ingredients)
  • 12 ounce bottle of Corona
  • 12 ounces of Sprite or 7-Up
  • 12 ounces tequila
  • Salt for glasses, optional

Instructions

  1. Pour all ingredients into a pitcher and stir well
  2. Serve over ice (and don’t forget the salt!)

Because variety is the spice of life and all, what’s your favorite summer drink? Margaritas? Sweet tea? An ice bath?

Bourbon slushes

It’s Lissa‘s birthday! Despite the fact that we’re a few states away from each other these days, I’m celebrating with her bourbon slushes. These are such a great hot-weather drink, and are easy to make for a crowd, something Lissa almost always has at her house. :) You should keep these in your freezer this summer!

Bourbon Slushes

Ingredients

  • 2 tea bags
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 6 oz lemonade concentrate
  • 6 oz orange juice concentrate
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups bourbon
  • 7-Up

Instructions

  1. Steep the two tea bags in the 2 1/2 cups boiling water
  2. Stir in lemonade and orange juice concentrates, water, and bourbon to the tea in a freezer-safe container
  3. Freeze for 24 hours or so (it won’t freeze completely solid because of the bourbon), then use an ice cream scoop or sturdy spoon to scoop into glasses
  4. Top with 7-Up, stir and serve

What are other summer drinks you love??

Happy birthday, girlfriend!

Fruit Tea

This is another one of those scribbled-on-a-piece-of-paper recipes. With a predicted high in Nashville of 96 degrees on Sunday, you’re gonna want to scribble it down as well — trust me.

Fruit Tea

Ingredients

  • Two quart-size (I use the family size Luzianne bags)
  • 1 1/2 quarts boiling water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 can (48 ounces) pineapple juice
  • 1 can (12 ounces) frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 can (12 ounces) frozen lemonade concentrate

Instructions

  1. Brew the tea bags and cinnamon stick in the boiling water for 15 minutes
  2. Remove and discard the tea bags and cinnamon stick; stir in sugar till it dissolves, then stir in remaining ingredients
  3. Serve with plenty of ice and enjoy!

Snow cones

Somehow the stores are gearing up for back to school. Apparently fall is coming? (Someday?) But it’s still 110 degrees in the shade right now and I’m HOT. And so are the kids. Enter: snow cones!

There are a bunch of recipes floating around the interwebs for snow cone syrups so I just picked out the bits that sounded good and came up with this one.

Snow cones

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 packet Kool Aid (or whatever brand; Kool Aid does not know I exist)

Instructions

  1. Stir the sugar and water together in a saucepan and heat till boiling; boil for one minute and remove from heat, then stir in drink mix
  2. Let it cool completely then funnel into a bottle (a Wilton-type squeeze bottle or a water bottle with a sports top work brilliantly)

Sadly, I do not own a groovy Snoopy snow cone maker, but I do have one of these spiffy blenders that I used to grind ice into little snow cone cups I picked up at Target — mission accomplished! The kids had a great time getting to pour on the syrup themselves, and eating them on the back patio meant minimal cleanup. Go make some!

Peppermint syrup

This is another one of those “I can’t believe I ever spent money on this” sort of recipes. I love those!

Last year I sweet talked a barista into selling me a bottle of peppermint syrup so I could have my own peppermint coffees at home. You know, for less than $6 a cup. This year I thought I’d go one better and make it myself. As with so many things, it is ridiculously simple to make on your own.

Peppermint syrup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract

Instructions

  1. I did this in the microwave in my trusty Pyrex but in a saucepan on the stove is fine too — just stir together the sugar and water and heat till the sugar dissolves, then stir in the peppermint extract (which, I have found, varies a lot from bottle to bottle, so be sure to taste and adjust accordingly)

You can also replace the peppermint extract with vanilla for quick and easy vanilla syrup.

That’s all, folks! Then add about a tablespoon to your coffee, hot chocolate or whatever floats your boat. Enjoy!

Fresh limeade

Summer’s not quite over yet (as evidenced by the 90+ degree September we’re currently having in Nashville), so I thought I’d pass this one along while there’s still some heat in the air.

You can make this with lemon, lime, key lime or any combination thereof; today I had a bunch of limes so limeade it is.

Fresh limeade

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups lime juice (or lemon or key lime)
  • Additional 4 cups water

Instructions

  1. Heat the water and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved; you can do this in a saucepan on the stove or in a glass Pyrex in the microwave
  2. Let the sugar mixture cool and stir in juice and additional water
  3. Serve over ice, ideally on a veranda.

This may or may not be great with a splash of vodka. I haven’t heard either way. Ahem.

Mediterribbean punch

Some people come from money; I, on the other hand, come from funny (which is even better). My Uncle Steve named this drink. Don’t you love it?

The folks over at Pom Wonderful contacted me a while back and asked if they could send me some of their juice to try (for free, okay, FTC?). I was honestly a little hesitant because, um, I was pretty sure I was the last person who hadn’t tried pomegranate anything yet and I wasn’t sure what to expect. A lot of people love the stuff, however, so I gave it a shot.

For my first attempt I thought I’d try pomegranate molasses.

Fail, party of one. Not having a clue what I was doing following a specific recipe, I cooked the mixture too long and ended up with a giant Le Creuset-shaped lollipop. Oops.

Not wanting to wash that pan again repeat my mistake, I thought I’d try something different. And, if y’all haven’t noticed, it’s a million degrees outside so a cool cocktail sounded like the thing for my next pomegranate attempt.

Success! It is yummy and tart and sweet and limey (is that a word?) and I’m loving it.

Mediterribbean punch

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. simple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • squeeze of lime

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients; serve over ice and enjoy!

This makes a sweet drink, so feel free to adjust the simple syrup as your little heart desires.