I love a great cocktail to kick off the weekend or to start with at a dinner party. Creating a mixed drink can be a great way to set the tone of a party and it really make guests feel welcome. So, when I started reading the Summer Cocktails recipe book by Maria Del Mar Sacasa, I was hooked. Each page is filled with fun drinks and photography that look and sound amazing. For the most part, these drinks do take a little preparation and time, but I quickly found out that it was well worth the extra effort. With drinks like these, your guests will never know or care that you ordered in the dinner, ha!
The book starts off with an introduction section that outlines everything from barware, pantry basics, and pineapple prep. If you take the time to really sit and read these few pages I promise it will be like a light bulb going off repeatedly above your head. I am now ready to cut into a pineapple with confidence!
To really put the book to the test though, I decided I needed to try out a recipe with friends. We had our good family friends Susan and Ashley staying with us last weekend, so we opted on a group drink. Sangria…But not any ordinary Sangria…La Dolce Vita Sangria. The results were delicious. We all thought it was the perfect sweet drink to sip while we laughed pool side in the warm weather. I also really felt like the rosemary and thyme helped even out the flavor and smell, so that it wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet.
The full recipe is below, but here are my few notes. We halved the recipe which was perfect for 4 adults. Make sure to plan ahead, the brandy sits on the apples for 1-2 hours ahead of time. The recipe calls for tangerine juice. We looked everywhere for tangerine juice as it wasn’t a step I really wanted to do by hand. We couldn’t find any in the stores, so we opted for orange juice and it worked just fine. Finally, we loved this drink so much we made it again the next day. This time we used a Cava sparkling wine and all agreed that we liked it even better as it was a little more dry and less sweet. Enjoy lovelies!
Ingredients (makes 13 cups)
2 Granny smith apples cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 cups brandy
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 bottles Asti Spumante, chilled
2 cups fresh tangerine juice, chilled (we used OJ)
2 cups dry lemon soda such as San Pellegrino, chilled
1 cup sour mix
Large ice cubes
1 cup red grapes thinly sliced
Fresh thyme and rosemary sprigs for garnish
1. Place apples in large bowl. Rub lemon zest into sugar until no strands remain and sprinkle mixture on apples. Add brandy and lemon juice. Let rest at room temp. for 1-2 hours.
2. Stir together wine, tangerine juice, lemon soda and sour mix in a punch or serving bowl. Add several large ice cubes, the apple-brandy mixture, and grapes. Stir.
3. Serve drink in ice filled glasses, adding a scoop of fruit to each. Garnish with fresh rosemary and thyme and serve immediately.
Overall, I think this book would make a great gift for anyone who loves entertaining or taking a little extra time to make that special drink. We certainly loved this sangria and I’ll be trying my hand at another cocktail soon!
Disclosure: We were not compensated for this post, however we did receive a copy of the book to review.