Sipping the Summer away

Sex on the Beach? Not for me! I’ll stick with Cuddles by the Pool.

Summertime is synonymous with relaxing, right? We lounge around the pool; go to the beach; gather around the backyard grill. Summer is prime time for girls’ getaways and mancations. With all the traveling, relaxing and partying going on, it seems natural to have a frosty glass of something cool and refreshing to sip.

A cool and refreshing summer drink need not be alcoholic to be delicious. After all, everyone is a non-drinker some of the time. Whether you’re the designated driver, on a diet or never imbibe, you can still enjoy delicious and gorgeous mocktails.

Infused waters are a wonderful way to stay deliciously hydrated this summer. Let’s start with my favorite.

Cucumber Mint Spa Water

Yield: 2 quarts

1 small, fresh cucumber, washed well, unpeeled

2 to 3 large sprigs of fresh mint

½ small lemon, sliced

2 quarts of water

Thinly slice the cucumber and add to a 2 quart container with a tight fitting lid. Tuck the washed mint sprigs and lemon slices. Add the water; cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

Stir and strain well. Transfer the water to a serving pitcher and serve over ice. Garnish with cucumber slices and mint sprigs if desired.

Will keep refrigerated and tightly covered for 2 days.

We have Cuba to thank for the mojito. It’s simple, containing only 5 ingredients and in my opinion may be the perfect cocktail. It’s easy to convert a traditional Mojito to a Nojito by eliminating the rum and adding a bit more club soda, but if you’re looking to expand your mojito horizons, give this Pineapple Nojita a try.

Pineapple Nojito

Yield: 1 serving

4-5 pieces of 1-2″ pineapple spears

4-5 fresh mint leaves

1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice

½ cup chilled white grape juice

½ cup chilled club soda (no sodium)

1 teaspoon agave nectar or simple syrup (optional, to adjust sweetness. I never add this)

Lime slices for garnish

Place the pineapple in a mixing bowl. Use the back of a wooden spoon or spatula to muddle the pineapple until all the pineapple pieces have been broken up. Add the mint leaves and muddle again for a few seconds to bruise the leaves and release the flavor.

Transfer the muddled mixture to a tall, chilled serving glass. Add ice cubes, grape juice and lime juice; stir to combine. Top the mojito with the club soda.

Adjust the sweetness (if necessary) and garnish with the lime slices.

Who doesn’t like Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain? But what we don’t like is the hangover associated with having a few too many. This non-alcoholic version of the classic Piña Colada is the love that you’ve looked for, so whip up a batch and escape.

Piña Colada Mocktail

Yield: 4-5 cups

2 cups of pineapple juice

½ cup cream of coconut (shake the can before opening)

Ice

Pour the pineapple juice and cream of coconut into your blender. Add ice until it is up to the liquid level. The liquid should just cover the ice. Blend until smooth.

For best results use GOYA brand Cream of Coconut.

Sex on the Beach is a simple, mild, fruity cocktail. It’s easy going and let’s face it, gives you plenty of opportunities to make ridiculous jokes. A little vodka, peach schnapps, and some orange and cranberry juice and all you need is a tiny umbrella.

For those times when Sex on the Beach is just not a good idea, why not try Cuddles by the Pool. It looks like the real thing, only much wiser.

Cuddles by the Pool

Yield: 1 drink

2 ounces of cranberry juice

2 ounces of grapefruit juice

2 ounces of peach nectar

2 ounces of chilled Sprite

Place the juices and nectar in a highball glass with ice. Stir to combine. Top with Sprite and an umbrella or slice of citrus. Pat yourself on the back for making good decisions.

In 2016, Nielsen announced that the Margarita is the most popular cocktail in America. Unfortunately, because it relies so heavily on tequila, it’s also the hardest cocktail to transform into a mocktail.

Spicy Cucumber Mockarita

Yield: 2 servings

3 ounces fresh lime juice

2 ounces fresh lemon juice

2 ounces fresh orange juice

1 Tablespoon agave nectar (optional to adjust for sweetness)

1 medium cucumber, unpeeled and sliced

1 small jalapeno, thinly sliced (seeds removed if desired)

Sweet Chili Rim Salt (recipe follows)

Garnishes: thinly sliced cucumber, lime wedges, jalapeno slices

Add the juices, agave and cucumber to a blender and process for about a 1 minute or until smooth and strain into a cocktail shaker. Add the jalapeno slices and muddle until the margarita has the desired level of heat. The longer the jalapeno sits in the cucumber mixture the spicier the mockarita will be. Remove the jalapeno if you desire a milder drink. Add ice to the cocktail shaker and shake until the mixture is chilled. Strain into a glass rimmed with Sweet Chili Rim Salt and garnish as desired.

To make a Spicy Cucumber Margarita:

Decrease the lime juice to 2 ounces

Omit the lemon juice

Decrease the orange juice to 1 ounce

Add 4 ounces of tequila

Add the juices and tequila to the blender and blend for 1 minute or until smooth. Proceed with the rest of the recipe.

Sweet Chili Lime Rim Salt

1 Tablespoon chili powder

1 Tablespoon Kosher salt

1 Tablespoon turbinado sugar

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl with a tight fitting lid. Shake to combine.

To rim a glass: Run a lime wedge around the lip of a serving glass. Dip the rim of the glass in the salt mixture until the rim is coated.