Bring on the summer with casual entertaining on the deck, by the pool. or even on the beach! I love enjoying the long, warm evenings visiting with friends, nibbling a little food, sipping a little drink.
Coastal Living's Beach Cocktails (Oxmoor House, 2017), has been published just in time to enliven summer fun. Its beautiful photos, matte finish, and tasty variety of recipes also make this a great Mother's Day gift.
I love cookbooks that have stories to tell, and Beach Cocktails gives us the low-down on tiki bars, tells us the origins of famous drinks, helps us make our own mixers, and advises us on equipment and glassware. It's a pleasure just to flip through the book, looking at the photos of beaches and of beautifully garnished drinks.
The cocktails themselves run the full range. Beach Cocktails includes classic Manhattans and martinis, old favorites like margaritas and pina coladas, and newer drinks like Indian Summer (bourbon based) and Christopher Robin (vodka based). Never mixed a drink? No worries. The recipes in Beach Cocktails don't require a degree in mixology; they're all easy to put together.
You aren't a drinker? Again, relax. There's a whole chapter on mocktails with fruit-based drinks in beautiful summer colors with grownup flavors and garnishes. Try a Florida spritzer (grapefruit juice based) or a mango smoothie. All the non-alcoholic drinks look like the perfect refresher for a hot afternoon.
Of course, if you're drinking, you'll probably want to do a little snacking. Fortunately, Beach Cocktails includes a handful of tiki bar munchies. The variety of salsas are easy to make as are the Maine crab cakes.
One of the great features of the book are the recipes for mixers: flavored syrups, grenadine, bitters, sour mixes, and more. Homemade is almost always better than a bottled mix, and most of us welcome having the chance to leave out the preservatives and other unwanted ingredients.
Coastal Living's Beach Cocktails is the single-resource book to slip into your bag before your beach or resort vacation. Kicking back and relaxing in the summer sun and surf--whether you're partial to rum drinks, champagne, or fruit, you'll find cocktails or mocktails to suit your taste. You might even be inspired to make glazed chicken wings to get you through the cocktail hour.
Because today is Kentucky Derby Day, here's the drink I'm making tonight. You'll find it on page 222 of Beach Cocktails.
Mint Julep Iced Tea
- 8 fresh mint leaves
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 1 lime, sliced
- 1 cup (8 ounces) bourbon
- 3 cups (24 ounces) cold sweetened tea
- Garnishes: fresh mint springs, lemon and lime slices
Thanks to Time-Life Books for the review copy; all thoughts given here are entirely my own.