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Cocktails to Cool Down with for Virtual Summer Celebrations

A backyard barbeque is as much a summer tradition as itching away at mosquito bites or going camping. While everyone focuses on the food menu, often overlooked are the just as important drinks. Ice cold beer is nice and refreshing, but a summery cocktail will wow any guest even if you burn the burgers.

Spicy margarita
Spicy margarita

Delicious Experiences has several virtual offerings to get you ready for your own virtual celebration, including the upcoming July 4th bonanzas. Sharpen your home bartending skills with Joseph Haywood’s Home Bar Essentials class, discover your personal wine profile with Sommelier Etheliya Hananova or demystify the world of wine with one of Food & Wine’s Sommeliers of the Year Thomas Pastuszak.

With everything going virtual this summer, consider gathering a group of friends for a virtual happy hour in your backyard and impress them with these stunning twists on classic summertime cocktails.

Mai Tai

What better way to celebrate summer than with the iconic Mai Tai cocktail of the tiki movement? The rum-based cocktail was invented in 1944 by Victor J. Bergeron at his restaurant Trader Vic’s in sunny California. The origin of the name allegedly comes from the Tahitian “maita’I” which translates to “good” or “the best.” According to Victor, when he shared the drink with his Tahitian friends they liked it so much they called it “Maita’I roa a’e” or “out of this world!”

The Mai Tai cocktail’s fame quickly grew, especially as tiki-themed restaurants and bars began popping up around the country. The original recipe made with rum, lime juice, orgeat syrup (almond syrup), and orange curaçao soon grew in popularity, and in sweetness with the additions of fruit juices. The Mai Tai cocktail became the symbol of a beach vacation, featured in the Elvis Presley film Blue Hawaii and the favorite drink of President Richard Nixon.

For your summer barbecue, use the grill for your drinks in this Grilled Pineapple Mai Tai. The recipe keeps the classic rum and orgeat syrup found in the traditional Mai Tai but adds juice from a grilled lime and grilled pineapple wedges to bring some char to your cheer.

Be on the lookout for a new Delicious Experience offering from Shannon Mustipher, Beverage Director of Glady’s Caribbean in New York and author of Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails.


Grilled Pineapple Mai Tai

Grilled Pineapple Mai Tai by Matt Wencl

Ingredients (1 serving):

  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 lime, halved
  • ¼ pineapple, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 ounce gold rum
  • ½ ounce silver rum
  • ½ ounce triple sec
  • ½ ounce orgeat almond syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat grill for medium heat and lightly oil the grate.
  2. Place sugar in a shallow bowl and dip lime halves in sugar to coat.
  3. Grill lime and pineapple wedges, turning occasionally, until lightly browned (5-10 minutes). Remove from grill and cool.
  4. Fill a cocktail shaker and Old Fashioned glass with ice.
  5. Squeeze ½ ounce lime juice and 1 ounce pineapple juice into the shaker. Add rums, triple sec, and orgeat syrup. Shake until outside of the shaker has frosted. Strain into glass and garnish with grilled pineapple wedge.

Recipe from allrecipes

Pisco Sour

This South American cocktail is so popular that the first Saturday of February is the official Día del Pisco Sour, or Pisco Sour Day. As Peru’s national spirit, Pisco is a brandy that is made from distilled grapes. The origins of the Pisco Sour hail from Lima, the capital of Peru, when in the early 1920s American bartender Victor Vaughn Morris started serving this frothy cocktail at his bar.

Pisco Sour
Pisco Sour

Like many origin stories, the Pisco Sour story is surrounded by controversy. Both Peru and Chile claim to be the home of the first Pisco Sour cocktail and both name it as their national cocktail.

No matter the origin, the name comes from the ingredients: Pisco and a sour citrus juice. A classic Pisco Sour is made up of Pisco, lemon or lime juice, egg whites, bitters and sugar.

For our virtual happy hour however, we’re taking an American ode to the Pisco Sour with New York City bartender Pamela Wiznitzer’s Southern Border cocktail. She also has an upcoming offering with Delicious Experience to answer all your Pisco questions and more.

Wiznitzer adds blue curaçao to her shaker which turns the cocktail a striking blue. Paired with the white frothy egg white and red dash of bitters, this is a red, white and blue cocktail perfect for Fourth of July and virtual summer celebrations.

Southern Border by Pamela Wiznitzer

Ingredients (1 serving):

  • 2 ½ ounces Pisco
  • ¾ ounce blue curaçao
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • ¼ ounce simple syrup
  • 1 egg white

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake without ice.
  3. Add ice and shake until chilled.
  4. Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass.
  5. Drop a dash of bitters over top to garnish.

Sangria

It’s nearly impossible to avoid sangria during the summer. While normally on almost every restaurant’s menu during the hot patio season, these days sangria is the perfect punch for lazy weekends or virtual happy hours without a fully stocked bar.

Easily adaptable, the varieties are endless as long as the ingredient list contains some type of wine and something, usually fruit, to add sweetness. The origins of sangria, however, are a bit more complicated than the recipe.

Peach Sangria
Peach Sangria

The name sangria, which means blood in Spanish, comes from the main ingredient: red wine. Traditional sangria goes all the way back to the Greeks and Romans, who were mixing their wine with sugar and spices for “hippocras.” People living in modern-day Spain were drinking something similar since water was unsafe to drink. This continued until the 700s A.D. when the Spanish wine business fell under Moor conquest. When the Moors’ rule ended in 1492 A.D. wine, and thus sangria, reentered the scene.

Sangria’s popularity in the United States started after the punch made its grand entrance at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. Spain’s pavilion proved popular, with sangria popping up in restaurants, bars, and backyard barbecues ever since.

For a summery sangria that doesn’t require complex ingredients, this fresh Peach Sangria from Tori Avey is one of our favorites. It’s bubbly, full of fresh fruit, and easy to prepare in batches. Freshen up your wine skills with a Delicious Experience wine offering before sipping away the summer with homemade sangria.

Peach Sangria by Tori Avey

Ingredients (8 servings)

  • 1 lb fresh peaches, sliced
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup peach liqueur or peach schnapps
  • 1 bottle white wine
  • 1 liter ginger ale, chilled

Directions:

  1. Place the sliced peaches in the bottom of a pitcher.
  2. Bring the sugar and ½ cup water to boil in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Set aside the simple syrup and cool.
  3. Pour the simple syrup, peach liqueur and white wine over the peaches. Stir.
  4. Store the pitcher in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  5. When ready to serve, top off the pitcher with chilled ginger ale and stir gently. You can also pour the ginger ale into individual glasses rather than the pitcher, so it doesn’t lose its carbonation.