What are you up to this weekend? A picnic, a party? Some grilling? Us, too...and we're really excited. We've been running around grabbing ingredients for an epic barbecue, but we wanted to make sure you were covered on the drinks side, too. From punch and sangria to beer and wine, here are a few of our recommendations to get you inspired for the long weekend. (Don't forget to drink water, while you're at it.)
It's important that every party offer some alcohol-free options. Though you could cop out and serve store-bought lemonade, your guests will be much more impressed if you make your own. Or offer a lemonade bar with a few options, like Kenji's Raspberry Limeade, Cucumber-Basil Lemonade, and Spicy Strawberry Jalapeño Lemonade. If you're lucky enough to live somewhere where peaches are already in season, celebrate your good fortune with a pitcher of Peach and Thyme Lemonade.
You're not limited to lemonade, though. How about some creamy homemade toasted coconut horchata or a tart blueberry-lime rickey? Or make a rhubarb shrub (it's easy, we promise!) and serve booze-free rhubarb lime gimlets. Or go old school and make soda-fountain style chocolate phosphates.
In case your guests need a little caffeination, make a batch of cold-brewed tea in the fridge. That's right: sun tea is actually better without the sun.
Since strawberries are starting to appear at our local greenmarket, we're pretty excited to whip up a batch of strawberry sangria. Our recipe is made with sparkling wine for an extra bit of fun.
Watermelon with a squeeze of lime makes a delicious and unusual watermelon sangria with the addition of a little rum. A minty garnish will add a lovely aroma to this juicy drink.
If the weather ends up being warm, we'll reach for crisp, tart white sangria. This Sauvignon Blanc-based version is unusually delicious with the addition of a little herbal gin and orange bitters. Starfruit make for a festive garnish.
Kelly Carámbula's spring rosé sangria calls for fresh and spicy ginger syrup. Frozen grapes keep things chilled and a variety of citrus adds a little interest.
We also love this fruity apple sangria based on a recipe from Diana Barrios Treviño. The secret ingredient is half a cup of applesauce added to a mixture of fresh orange and lime juice and a few cups of decent red wine.
If you're starting early, this brunch-friendly variation on the Salty Dog which calls for freshly squeezed grapefruit, tonic water, and tequila or mezcal is a nice way to launch the party.
This Negroni-inspired punch is refreshingly bittersweet. It's made with Aperol, gin, and loads of citrus juice, and lightened with a bottle of sparkling wine.
If you like it bitter, try this pretty pink blend of Campari, tequila, and tangerine. It's easy to mix for a crowd and not too boozy, thanks to the addition of seltzer water.
Hibiscus tea gives this rum cooler a bright, tart flavor, with the help of lots of fresh lemon juice. It's light in alcohol and plenty thirst-quenching.
The Perfect Pimm's Cup is easy to make by the pitcherful, and fun to deck out with loads of cucumbers, apple, lemon, orange, and strawberries. We like it diluted with Sprite or 7-Up, though you can also use ginger ale.
Ripe cantaloupe makes a deliciously fruity but not-too-sweet melon margarita, cut with plenty of fresh lime juice. You can blend these up a few hours in advance, but don't be surprised if you find yourself stealing sips of the chilled mixture out of the fridge.
Want to get more specific tips? Start with your menu items here:
- Best Beers for Grilled Sausages
- Beers to Drink with Sliders
- What to Drink with Ribs
- Best Beers for Grilled Veggies
- Beer Pairing Pointers for Salads
- Beer Pairing Pointers for Chips, Cheese Puffs, and More Junk Food
Or, if you're choosing the beer first, here are some customized food suggestions.
- What to Eat with Wheat Beer
- Sommeliers Share Their Favorite Wines for Burgers
- Wine Picks for Grilled Sausages
- Tips for Pairing Wine With Grilled Seafood
- Best Wines to Drink with Ribs
When there's a group involved, we're happy to be stocked up with our favorite affordable wines. (Call us cheap, but it doesn't seem like the right time to pop open pricey bottles we've been saving.) Here are some recommendations for the best white wines under $15, and here are our top picks in budget reds. Drinking pink? Here are some affordable and delicious French and Italian options, a few top bottles from California, and some cheap choices from the shelves of Trader Joe's.
Already decided what food you're serving? Here are a few tips for choosing wine to go with it:
What will you be drinking this weekend?