Summer is just about here, and I, for one, could not be more excited. Considering that May 6 is National Beverage Day, I think it is time to celebrate with some fancy summer cocktail recipes that are just as festive as they are refreshing. I live in the northern part of the United States, which means that I am treated to lots of snow and chilly weather well into spring, so when summer does finally arrive, it's time to take advantage and get outdoors. One of my favorite ways to celebrate is with a delicious, boozy summer cocktail, and that is exactly what I will be doing to honor this foodie holiday.
Having worked in the service industry for years, I have learned that you don't need to have a ton of specialty ingredients to make a wide variety of drinks. Some drinks do require a ton of different components, but many summer classics are just small variations on the same few ingredients. This was a key revelation for me in college, because liquor and fancy mixers can get really expensive on a student's income. Now that I'm out of school, the same rules still apply. Here are seven cocktails you can make on a budget.
Ingredients: vodka, orange juice. Simple, affordable, and a great way to start the day. Pour vodka over ice, and fill the rest of the glass with orange juice. Add soda water to give it some fizz. Swap out vodka for rum like Food Fanatic if you're looking for a twist.
2. Pierced Fuzzy Navel
Ingredients: peach schnapps, vodka, orange juice, and grenadine. I don't know who gave this drink its name and I always feel a little weird ordering it in a bar. To be honest, most of the time I just list off the ingredients to the bartender and she knows what I mean. Further, and somewhat grossly-named, variations include an "Outie," which is a standard Fuzzy Navel with cranberry juice. An "Innie" replaces the vodka with amaretto. A "Tan Navel" replaces the vodka with dark rum. Order at your own risk. Check out this variation by The Kitchn.
3. Tequila Sunrise
Ingredients: tequila, orange juice, and grenadine. You can also swap out the tequila for vodka and it's just as delicious. The Little Epicurean likes to shake things up by adding a pump of agave syrup and fresh raspberries.
Ingredients: champagne, peach schnapps. Ah, the world of champagne cocktails. So simple. Many of them are just champagne mixed with one other ingredient. This warm weather favorite is a go-to for brunch. Check out how to make an entire Bellini bar at How Sweet It Is.
5. White Peach and Green Tea Bellini
Ingredients: white peach, gin, prosecco, green tea or lemonade. If you have a sweet tooth like me, then you will love this variation on the standard Bellini. Adding pre-made green tea lemonade like My Name Is Yeh creates a delicious variation, as well.
6. Peach Refresher
Ingredients: vodka, peach schnapps, champagne, fresh or frozen peaches, and ice. I don't know if this drink has a widely accepted name, but it's tasty and refreshing, which is all that matters to me on a hot summer day. Plus, it only requires one extra component (peaches) from what you already have on hand to make fuzzy navels. Just put all of the ingredients in a blender and process until it's smooth. This recipe by Damn Delicious is one you have to try.
7. Sex on the Beach
Ingredients: peach schnapps, vodka, cranberry juice, orange juice. Very similar to a pierced fuzzy navel, this popular cocktail adds in cranberry juice as a finishing touch. Follow this tutorial by The Kitchn.
Many of these cocktails are a variation on the same four affordable ingredients: vodka, fruit juice, peach schnapps, and champagne. So go forth and find your favorite summer cocktail without breaking the bank, and kick back and enjoy the sunshine.