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K I S S = Keep It Simple, Sweetheart!  

Cocktails Anyone?
by Sheila Swerling-Puritt

I especially love entertaining in the summer. The sun makes me smile, the warm breezes beckon me to relax and, of course, the key to easy entertaining is to be free to enjoy your guests.

You can accomplish this by serving drinks that are delicious yet simple to prepare. This month's column contains recipes which can be prepared ahead of time to serve a crowd or tossed together quickly on the spot.

Here's to you Otto (Serves 1)
This tall drink couldn't be easier to make. A good pear eau-de-vie captures the aroma of fresh pears. It is probably the most popular and identifiable of all the fruit eaux-de-vie. Many smaller French and Alsatian distillers seem to have captured the essence of the pear in the bottle.

  • 1½ ounces of Poire William eaux-de-vie
  • Tonic water
  • Ice cubes
  1. Fill highball with ice.
  2. Pour in Poire William.
  3. Top up with chilled tonic water.

Strawberry Fields (Serves 4)
This drink is forever!

  • 6 ounces Chambord Liqueur
  • 1 quart ripe strawberries, hulled
  • ½ cup cranberry juice, chilled
  • 2 cups pink lemonade, chilled
  1. Place Chambord, strawberries and cranberry juice in blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into highball glasses and top up with lemonade.

Mojito (Serves 1)
Summer and white rum make perfect partners. Cuba's national drink is a tall glass sparkling with bubbles and greenery.

  • 8 fresh mint leaves
  • 1½ ounces Havana Club White Rum
  • 3 Tbsp. lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1½ tsp. powdered fruit sugar (or 2 Tbsp. simple syrup)
  • Club soda, chilled
  • Ice
  • Garnish: 1 sprig of mint and 1 thin slice of lime.
  1. Combine sugar, lime juice and mint in high ball glass. Bruise the mint with a fork.
  2. Stir thoroughly.
  3. Add ice.
  4. Pour in rum and mix.
  5. Top up with club soda.
  6. Garnish with a slice of lime and a sprig of mint

Nervous Bullfrog
Why do the dastardly deed and dump fruit juice into great champagne? Inexpensive sparkling wine results in a sensible compromise.

  • 4–5 ounces limeade, chilled*
  • 3 ounces sparkling white wine
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 lime wedge for garnish
  1. Pour limeade into highball glass.
  2. Add sparkling wine.
  3. Add ice cubes.
  4. Garnish with wedge of lime.

*I prefer using fresh fruit whenever possible. (An average-size lime will yield approximately 1½ oz. of juice.) You can substitute canned frozen limeade if you plan on creating a number of nervous bullfrogs.

Tidal Wave

  • 1 ounce Captain Morgan white rum
  • 1 ounce lime juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 3 ounces chilled sparkling wine
  • 1 lime slice for garnish
  1. Pour rum into champagne flute.
  2. Add lime juice.
  3. Top up with sparkling wine.
  4. Garnish with lime slice.

Lynchburg Lemonade (Serves 18)
(created by bartender Matt Williamson)
Life for the host or hostess becomes much easier when guests have the opportunity to serve themselves from the punchbowl. While there are many a folk who believe Jack Daniel's is a Bourbon, it is made according to the sour-mash process, but where they changed the law is by processing their Tennessee whiskey through sugar-maple charcoal.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1½ cups water
  • 2½ cups fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups (16 oz.) Jack Daniel's whiskey
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • Ice
  • 2 lemons, cut into thick slices for garnish
  1. Mix sugar and water in a medium size saucepan and boil over moderate heat until sugar dissolves. Then cool this simple syrup.
  2. In a very large jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine syrup, lemon juice, whiskey, pineapple and orange juices. Shake vigorously. Add ice and shake again. (Shaking up the drink makes it frothy.) You can also mix the ingredients together in a large pitcher. The ingredients can be premixed and refrigerated overnight.
  3. Fill highball glasses with ice. Strain the lemonade into the glasses, garnish with the lemon slices and serve.

White Wine Sangria (Serves 6)
What could be more satisfying than an icy cold Sangria? For a change, try this one made with white wine instead of the usual recipe calling for red wine. Prepare this the night before – then all you have to do is add the ice and soda when your guests arrive.

  • 1 (750 mL) bottle dry white wine
  • 6 tsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier
  • Assorted fresh fruits: thin slices of apples, oranges, lemons, limes, pineapple
  • 1 cup club soda
  • Ice cubes
  • Orange slices for garnish
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and stir.
  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight (if in a hurry, allow to stand at room temperature for at least an hour).
  3. To serve, add club soda and ice.
  4. Serve in large wineglasses with a slice of orange.

Minty Berry Punch (Serves 8)
Now, here is the perfect solution for those who are either designated drivers or passengers!

  • 4 cups pink grapefruit juice, chilled
  • 2¼ cups club soda, chilled
  • ¼ cup lime juice (fresh)
  • 1½ Tbsp. mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup raspberries
  • 1/3 cup blueberries
  • 2 limes, thinly sliced
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a punch bowl.
  2. Before serving, place a bowl of ice cubes near the punch bowl so that guests can help themselves (replenish ice as needed).
  3. For those passengers who are looking for a little kick in their punch, serve yourself from 50 mL bottles of vodka placed next to the punch bowl and your prayers will be answered.

Pinini (Serves 8)
My colleague Irv brought this easy to prepare recipe from Hawaii.

  • 2 cups (16 ounces) of Captain Morgan white rum
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans of frozen orange juice (undiluted)
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • Ice cubes
  • Garnish: 8 fresh orange slices (and yellow or orange paper parasols if you can find them)
  1. Place all ingredients into a blender and frappe until smooth.
  2. Pour into tall glasses and garnish with orange slices and paper parasol.

For more information, you can contact Sheila at




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