Celebrate Summer With These Refreshing And Easy Cocktails And Mocktails

For food and drink blogger Sonja Overhiser, delicious summer drinks need bubbles.

“What I love to do in the summer is pair everything with bubbles,” said Overhiser, a blogger and co-author of “Pretty Simple Cooking: 100 Delicious Vegetarian Recipes to Make you Fall in Love with Real Food.”

Mixing a refreshing and hydrating bubbly drink doesn’t have to be complicated, said Overhiser, who with her husband, Alex, runs the website A Couple Cooks featuring easy-to-make recipes often with few ingredients. 

“We wrote the book, ‘Pretty Simple Cooking,’ and I think we’ve now kind of started to hone in on pretty simple drinks,” she said. 

For example, she said you can turn carbonated beverages into spritzers by adding some wine, or even try mixing it with beer. 

“It makes a lovely hydrating cocktail and makes it a little lower alcohol, as well,” she said.

One of her recipes that follows this simplistic style is the rosé spritzer, which is a combination of wine and soda water or sparkling water, such as LaCroix.

“I love it with rosé because it’s nice and crisp and tart,” she said. For added coolness, mix some rosé with strawberries, freeze it and blend it into a slushy.

Another simple option is to make your own shandy. Original to Britain, this drink was made by mixing beer and ginger ale or ginger beer. More recent iterations mix the beer with a sparkling lemonade or a sparkling lemon lime soda.

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Overhiser’s recipe uses homemade sparkling lemonade made with 1 ounce of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, an ounce of simple syrup and 4 ounces of soda water.

The standard ratio is half beer and half lemonade, but the ratios can be adjusted for taste.

“For our summer shandy, we like making it with a craft wheat beer, and it tastes incredible,” she said. 

Non-alcoholic Drinks

When it comes to non-alcoholic drinks, Overhiser said her recipes try to stay true to the cocktail experience. For example, she said her virgin margarita is very tart, and it calls for pickle juice. That adds a bitter edge that mimics the taste of alcohol. 

“I promise it will not taste like a pickle,” she said.

Her recipe for a cherry lime rickey is a bit sweet, she said, but it’s well-balanced with the sourness of the lime. 

Typically, a rickey is made with gin, and that can certainly be added to this, but Overhiser said this drink as a mocktail has become the common and preferred choice for many.

This mocktail is made with a bit of cocktail syrup, lime juice and sparkling water.

“It’s super tart and crisp and bubbly, and I love it,” she said.