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Time to Entertain 

Cocktails Anyone?
by Sheila Swerling-Puritt

Although summer is almost over, it's still the season of choice for those of us who love to entertain. After months of huddling indoors by the fire, we can invite lots of guests over to enjoy outdoor entertainment on the patio, by the pool, or down on the dock. If the weather turns, just set up your tables by a window looking out on what's left of summer or bring lots of flowers inside.

You can foster festive camaraderie by preparing your food and drinks ahead of time and letting your guests serve themselves buffet style. That way, you can relax and enjoy your guests while they enjoy you! (Just make sure you don't fill up on endless hors d'œuvres before lunch or dinner).

Fun drinks like punches (spirits in fruit juice) and chilled rosé wine in ice buckets maintain the festive mood. Acknowledge the designated drivers in your crowd with fresh lemonade or iced tea.

Perhaps most importantly, make your food and mix your drinks when you're in a cheery mood. A dear friend once told me, "The love and patience that goes into the preparation for entertaining are reflected in its taste and presentation. Grumpy hostesses prepare grumpy food and drink."


This recipe is from Dinah Koo, one of Canada's top caterers:

Mai Tai

Serves 6

  • 8 oz. fresh orange juice
  • 6 oz. frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 6 oz. frozen raspberry juice concentrate, thawed
  • 6 oz. Myers's dark rum
  • 4 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1½ oz. Amaretto
  • 1½ oz. Cointreau
  • 1 cup peeled and diced fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup strawberries with green hulls left on
  • Ice
  1. Stir together orange juice, pineapple and raspberry concentrates, rum, lime juice, Amaretto and Cointreau in a 6-cup pitcher.
  2. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours or until ready to serve.
  3. Stir together pineapple and strawberries in a medium bowl. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours or until ready to serve.
  4. Place 4 to 6 ice cubes in each of six glasses; divide Mai Tai among glasses, then spoon 1/3 cup fruit into each glass.
  5. Serve each one with a straw and long spoons.


Mystic Passion

Serves 8

  • 12 oz. (1½ c.) Appleton Estate V/X Rum
  • 16 oz. (2 c.) mango juice
  • 16 oz. (2 c.) lemon-lime soda
  • 8 oz. (1 c.) simple syrup
  • 4 fresh limes chopped
  • 8 basil leaves, torn
  • Ice
  • Garnish: 8 basil leaves
  1. Add simple syrup, limes and torn basil to a pitcher and muddle with a long spoon.
  2. Add the other ingredients.
  3. Pour into tall glasses filled with ice.
  4. Garnish with a basil leaf.

Simple syrup: In a heatproof container, mix equal parts boiling water and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Chill.


Peach and Lemon Prosecco Punch

Serves 30–35 six-ounce servings

  • 16 oz. chilled simple syrup
  • 1 750 mL bottle chilled Absolut citrus vodka
  • 1 750 mL bottle chilled dry sherry
  • 8 oz. chilled peach schnapps
  • 4 oz. Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 4 750 mL bottles chilled Bottega Vino dei Poeti Prosecco
  • 1 liter chilled lemon-lime soda
  • 1 large block of ice
  • Garnish: 6 peaches, stoned and sliced
  1. Stir all of the liquids (except Prosecco) together in a large punch bowl. Add the ice.
  2. Add Prosecco just before serving.
  3. Garnish with peach slices.


For more information, you can contact Sheila at




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