Your New Summer Day Drink: The Wine Cooler

Day drinking is an adult skill set. If you're of age, and hoping to have a little buzz poolside, lemonade is just not going to cut it this summer. On the flip side, tequila shots aren't going to cut it either, unless you want the party to end before sundown. Meet in the middle, and try these wine cooler recipes — a blend of white wine, natural fruit juice, soda, or carbonated water.

Similar to the classy wine spritzer (white wine, club soda, and a twist of citrus), wine coolers are making a comeback, and are not the syrupy sweet beverages your parents sipped on after they put you to bed — as long as you know how to make them yourself. The key is to use fresh or frozen fruits: peaches, watermelons, mangoes, strawberries, and raspberries make great purees. Grapefruit juice is also a nice addition. When choosing a white wine, look for a dry Riesling, Pinot Grigio, or Sauvignon Blanc. These wines are light-bodied, acidic, and pair well with fruit flavors.

Responsible day drinking means having the ability to enjoy your beverage, savor it, and maybe refresh it once or twice without the consequences of drinking too much, too fast, and risking a hangover the next morning. This summer, have fun with your beverage choices and look to forgotten favorites... it could just be your new summer drink.

Below are three wine cooler recipes that are fruity, flavorful, and 100 percent refreshing. Recipes can be easily doubled or quadrupled depending on the crowd... or the party. Feel free to interchange the wines depending on your preference. Straining the pulp from the fruit juice is also optional.

1. Watermelon and Lime

The freshly pureed and strained watermelon juice gets an acidic kick from the added lime. Sweetened with simple syrup and then topped with seltzer, this cooler can almost pass for a watermelon soda.

Serves 1

  • 1/3 cup of watermelon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of simple syrup
  • Juice from 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2 cup of chilled Pinot Grigio
  • 1/4 cup of seltzer water

To make the simple syrup, boil 1 cup of water with 1 cup of sugar in a saucepan until the liquid is reduced to half. Set aside and let cool.

Cut, halve, and peel a small watermelon. Set one half aside for other uses. Cut the remaining half into small cubes, and puree in a blender or food processor. Strain the puree to get rid of pulp and seeds. Set aside the remaining juice.

Fill a tall glass halfway with ice, and add in 1/3 cup of watermelon juice, lime juice, 2 tablespoons of simple syrup, and chilled wine. Stir until combined, and top with seltzer.

2. Peach and Raspberry

Riesling aromas range from honeycomb and apricot, to ripe peaches and pears, making this wine cooler combination a winning pair. Ginger and raspberries are also great complements to peaches.

Serves 1

  • 1/3 cup of strained peach puree
  • 1/2 cup of chilled dry Riesling or other acidic and light white wine
  • 1/4 cup of ginger ale soda
  • 3 to 4 raspberries for garnish

Peel and chop two small peaches, and puree in a blender. Strain out the solids, and set aside. Fill a tall glass halfway with ice, and add the peach puree. Stir in the chilled Riesling, and top with ginger ale. Garnish with a couple of raspberries.

3. Strawberry

If you haven't already heard, strawberries are in-season, meaning they are the sweetest this time of year. For a twist, substitute a crisp, dry rosé for the white wine.

Serves 1

  • 1/3 cup of strained strawberry puree
  • 2 tablespoons of simple syrup
  • 1/2 cup of chilled rosé or light white wine
  • 1/4 cup of seltzer water

Hull and chop between five to seven strawberries, and puree in a blender. Strain out the solids and set aside. Fill a tall glass halfway with ice, and add the strawberry puree. Mix the puree with the simple syrup, and stir in wine. Top with seltzer.

Images: Taylor Henriquez