summer cocktail

Can there possibly be anything more refreshing than a cool cocktail straight from the garden? I doubt it. Garden cocktails feel like a luxurious extravagance, but in truth they’re relatively healthy and easy to make. Here are recipes for three delicious drinks to spice up your weekend, all made with foods from your own garden (or farmers market).

Peach Margarita

This recipe comes straight from my mom’s pool deck, where she’ll be enjoying peach margaritas for her birthday party this weekend. Buy peaches ahead of time, slice them into chunks and freeze. Then blend together:

  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 1 cup ice
  • 2.5 oz tequila
  • 1 oz peach schnapps
  • 2 oz sweet & sour mix
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Pour into 2/3 margarita glasses and garnish each with a fresh strawberry.

Sparkling Watermelon Agua Fresca

This drink works equally well with or without vodka, so make your aqua fresca virgin and add alcohol to individual glasses.

To make a thick agua fresca base, blend:

  • 4 cups cubed seeded watermelon (about 3 pounds with the rind)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

Strain the mixture through a coarse strainer into a pitcher. Cover and refrigerate at least a couple of hours, up to two days. Directly before serving, add a half liter of club soda or seltzer water, and pour immediately into ice-filled glasses. Stir in a shot of vodka for each glass, and garnish with a lime wedge.

Bloody Mary

Generations of bartenders have argued over what goes into the “perfect” Bloody Mary. I’d be willing to bet it has more to do with delicious, homegrown, organic ingredients than the presence or absence of bacon. Here’s the New York School of Bartending’s recipe, with a special addition: Homemade tomato juice.

To a large, non-aluminum pot, add:

  • 6 very ripe tomatoes, cored, roughly chopped
  • 1 chopped celery stalk with leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp sugar (to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • A couple shakes of hot sauce (to taste)

Simmer 25 minutes until soupy. Strain into a pitcher and chill.

Fill a highball glass with ice and add a shot of vodka. Fill the glass with tomato juice and add:

  • 2-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 tsp. pure horseradish
  • Dash of lemon or lime juice

Stir, and garnish with a celery stalk. For more garnish ideas, check out our Bloody Mary recipe.

Catch up with Jessica on Love and Trash, or on Twitter: @jessicareeder

image: little blue hen